Earning Your Online Public Health Degree

A degree in public health can prepare you for careers at hospitals, non-profits, and other community-focused healthcare facilities. An online degree can make that journey more convenient. Review top programs, read about cost and quality, and see answers to questions posed by students considering a degree in public health online.

Last Updated: 05/11/2022

Best Schools for Online Public Health Degrees: 2022

With more and more online public health degrees available, it’s important to do your homework. This means vetting each school, program, and curriculum for affordability, flexibility, and the courses you need to make sure your higher education will help you move your career forward. To help, we’ve compiled a list of top schools for public health degrees online that includes cost, college type, number of programs, and more. See which colleges stand out for 2022, and use our sorting function to see which opportunities make the most sense for you.

About the ranking

Methodology for the STEPS Best Online Programs in 2022

Generate List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

Assign Impact of Data Points

After generating the list of eligible schools, the STEPS data team then assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability. Online program availability and overall affordability received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. When unable to verify this number, a star-based system was used to signify the number of programs relative to peers.

Affordability

  • Cost:
    Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid:
    Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement:
    Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

All STEPS rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

Total online programs: 4

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 56%
Online Students 17,053
2
University of South Carolina-Columbia

Columbia, South Carolina

Total online programs: 4

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 83%
Online Students 12,929
3
Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

Total online programs: 4

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 6:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 57%
Online Students 850
4
University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 76%
Online Students 17,813

Total online programs: 4

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 38%
Online Students 3,955

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 14,291
7
George Washington University

Washington, District of Columbia

Total online programs: 4

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 71%
Online Students 304
8
Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 88%
Online Students 3,310

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 58%
Online Students 3,429
10
University of Lynchburg

Lynchburg, Virginia

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 1,545
11
Portland State University

Portland, Oregon

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 56%
Online Students 6,265
12
Purdue University-Main Campus

West Lafayette, Indiana

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 40%
Online Students 26,603
13
University of Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 89%
Online Students 17,100
14
Central Washington University

Ellensburg, Washington

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 65%
Online Students 3,494
15
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 54%
Online Students 19,050
16
The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 65%
Online Students 24,765
17
Benedictine University

Lisle, Illinois

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 88%
Online Students 414
18
Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 51%
Online Students 1,413
19
University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 23%
Online Students 4,348
20
Indiana University-Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 61%
Online Students 20,400
21

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 80%
Online Students 14,189
22
Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 717
23
University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 68%
Online Students 16,307
24

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 56%
Online Students 19,589
25

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 96%
Online Students 5,582
26
Tufts University

Medford, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 38%
Online Students 4,978
27
University at Buffalo

Buffalo, New York

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 71%
Online Students 10,293
28
Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 47%
Online Students 180
29
Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 61%
Online Students 17,882
30

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 67%
Online Students 17,806
31

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 12,496
32
University of Illinois Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 12:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 91%
Online Students 1,052
33
Boise State University

Boise, Idaho

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 52%
Online Students 11,071
34
Idaho State University

Pocatello, Idaho

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 70%
Online Students 4,221
35
East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 49%
Online Students 15,367
36
Texas State University

San Marcos, Texas

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 31%
Online Students 23,961
37
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 6%
Online Students 1,260
38

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 73%
Online Students 6,618
39
Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 15:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 4,199
40
University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 84%
Online Students 6,130
41
University of Maryland-College Park

College Park, Maryland

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 43%
Online Students 11,536
42
Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 69%
Online Students 7,981
43
Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 72%
Online Students 10,337
44
St Catherine University

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 1,257
45
Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 78%
Online Students 6,746
46
Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 73%
Online Students 7,475
47
Mercer University

Macon, Georgia

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 1,568

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 76%
Online Students 31,917
49
East Tennessee State University

Johnson City, Tennessee

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 56%
Online Students 5,721
50
University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 35%
Online Students 8,354
51
University of Evansville

Evansville, Indiana

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 1,097
52
Simmons University

Boston, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 9:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 99%
Online Students 64
53
University of Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 3,264
54
Georgia Southern University

Statesboro, Georgia

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 22:1
Tuition (In-State) $
Institutional Financial Aid 22%
Online Students 16,693
55
The University of Montana

Missoula, Montana

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 18:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 66%
Online Students 2,772
56
Shenandoah University

Winchester, Virginia

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 10:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 610
57
University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 80%
Online Students 3,190
58

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 17:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 53%
Online Students 5,261
59

Total online programs: 3

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 0%
Online Students 1,601
60

Total online programs: 2

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 22

Inside the Online Degree in Public Health

Feature Image

The growth of online public health degrees over the last decade makes sense given how naturally many topics translate to distance learning. With a focus on theoretical and practical knowledge, students can gain an understanding of best practices via online classes before putting those to use during often-required internships. Many programs exist fully online to meet the needs of busy students, but other schools offer hybrid programs that combine both class-based and online learning. If you’re still looking for more details, keep reading. The following sections answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

What Would I Learn in an Online Public Health Degree Program?

Online public health program learning outcomes depend on the degree level you attain. Bachelor’s level programs focus on giving students a foundational knowledge of the discipline that can aid them in finding entry-level positions. Master’s degrees begin digging into the nuances of the field and allow students to delve into research of emerging topics. Doctoral programs, the highest degree available, helps transform learners into scholars, researchers, and industry leaders who further public health study and educate the next generation of learners. Common courses include:

Public Health Communications

Credits:2

Type:Core

Delivery:Campus or Online

Communication exists as a vital skill for public health professionals, both when addressing scientific communities about their research and theories and when communicating to community stakeholders about public health initiatives. This course allows students to examine effective strategies and begin developing their written and oral communication skills.

Diversity in Healthcare Facilities

Credits:3

Type:Core

Delivery:Campus or Online

This course underscores the importance of creating a diverse public health workforce, with particular focus on the need for patients and other community members to see individuals who look like them to feel comfortable and confident in their care. Students also study theories about the importance of diversity in encouraging more individuals to seek preventative healthcare services.

Public Health Program Planning

Credits:3

Type:Core

Delivery:Campus or Online

Students in this class learn how to design and implement public health programs in diverse communities, with special emphasis on creating budgets, using logic models, writing program proposals, applying for grant funding, and presenting their plans to various stakeholders.

Social Inequalities in Health

Credits:3

Type:Core

Delivery:Campus or Online

This survey course examines some of the sociological and epidemiological theories behind reasons for health inequalities. Students look at how socioeconomic position and access to health resources relate to one another and study differences between industrialized and third world countries.

Nutrition in the Life Cycle

Credits:3

Type: Elective

Delivery:Campus or Online

After completing chemistry and biology courses, students can enter this class and learn about the nutrients required for human growth and development. From there, learners consider some of the health consequences resulting from inadequate nutrient intake, why dietary guidelines are important, and how other lifestyle factors contribute to or harm growth and development.

International Public Health

Credits:3

Type: Elective/Specialty

Delivery: Campus, Online, or Study Abroad

Students with aspirations to work in public health initiatives overseas often elect to complete this class, which looks at topics such as cross-cultural competencies, country-specific health disparities, the role of nongovernmental organizations, funding opportunities, political and economic considerations, and the role of inequality.

LGBTQIA+ Health Disparities

Credits:2

Type:Elective/Specialty

Delivery:Campus or Online

With a focus on some of the unique issues faced by members of this population, this course provides students with skills needed to address health disparities. Learners also consider how stigma and marginalization contribute to gaps in care, and what can be done to create greater health equality for populations and subpopulations identifying as LGBTQIA+.

Public Health Practicum

Credits:3

Type:Core

Delivery:Online/Campus/Practicum Site

Typically taken during the final year of studies, this hands-on course allows students to use all the theoretical knowledge gained throughout the degree and put it into action. Learners work with program administrators to find an approved site and build practical, administrative, and clinical skills under the supervision of qualified public health practitioners.

Learn the most essential skills for public health students and find out how each of them will benefit you both in the classroom and out in the professional world.

FAQs: How Does a Public Health Degree Work Online?

Completing a public health degree online may sound easier than following a campus-based program, but in reality distance learners must be far more focused and disciplined to succeed. Before beginning studies, you’ll need to ensure you feel both academically and technologically prepared for the rigors of study. Once classes start, you’ll need to make sure you stay on top of your studies in the absence of driving to class and seeing your peers and professors each week. And while still completing assignments and participating in a practicum, you’ll need to be preparing yourself for the job market. The following FAQs tackle some of the most important questions you can ask as you navigate the full process.

What Public Health Degrees Are Available Online?

Public health degrees can be found online at every degree level. Some of these programs exist fully online while others combine online classes with coursework taught at the school’s brick-and-mortar location. Below you’ll find a rundown of the most common public health degrees online, including what they entail and whom they’re best for.

  • Online Certificate in Public Health
    Given the breadth of the public health field, many schools offer certificates in more nuanced subjects to help students build skills and knowledge in a particular area. Most certificate programs last anywhere from one to three semesters and require participants to already possess at least a bachelor’s degree. These programs also appeal to individuals with unrelated academic backgrounds who are considering a career change but not yet ready to commit to a degree.
  • Online MPH Programs
    The most well-known program within the world of public health, master’s of public health (MPH) degrees allow graduate learners to begin specializing their knowledge in niche areas of the field. Most programs require two years of full-time study and offer specializations in areas of community health, health policy, infectious diseases, and global public health, to name a few. Learn more about earning your master’s in public health online.
  • Online PhD in Public Health
    Students who pursue an online Ph.D. in public health know they want to work in a research and/or faculty role after graduating. These programs provide coursework that emphasizes skills in research methodologies, analytical frameworks, and teaching experience to prepare alumni for positions in colleges or research institutions. A Ph.D. in public health usually takes five to six years to complete and requires you to write a dissertation. See if earning a Ph.D. in public health online is right for you.
  • Online DrPH Programs
    Offered as a professional degree, the DrPH program exists for students who want to build skills in areas of program direction, leadership, policy development, and advocacy. Learners study topics related to communication strategies, working with diverse populations, leading and managing teams, developing policy proposals, and harnessing health information. Most programs last between four and six years. Read what it takes to earn a doctor of public health online.

What Are the Admissions Requirements for an Online Bachelor’s in Public Health

Admission requirements for public health bachelor’s degrees online vary by school, so students should check with the admissions office or program administrator to learn exactly what is needed. That being said, many departments ask for similar information. Students should be prepared to provide official transcripts from any school previously attended, official ACT/SAT scores, a personal statement outlining why they want to study public health at that particular school, and two or three letters of recommendation from former professors, supervisors, or mentors who can speak to their preparedness for higher education. Particularly competitive programs may also ask you to participate in an online or in-person interview to help differentiate you from other candidates. In terms of academic expectations, many departments set GPA and coursework requirements. Competitive programs usually look for GPAs of 3.0 or higher, while less selective schools accept GPAs of 2.0-2.5. Some schools also want candidates to undertake general education and program-specific prerequisites (typically in science and math) to ensure they possess the skills needed to complete the program.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor’s in Public Health Cost?

The cost of an online bachelor’s in public health ranges significantly based on whether learners attend a public or private institution, if they transfer credits from a school previously attended, and if they receive funding. Check out the table below to get a sense of what to expect.

School NameNo. of CreditsCost/CreditTotal Cost
Southern New Hampshire University120$320$38,400
The University of Arizona120$525$63,000
Rivier University123$360$44,280
South University182 quarter credits$426$77,532
University of the Cumberlands128$199$25,472

What Can You Do with a Public Health Degree Online?

If you decide to continue your studies in public health after finishing a bachelor’s degree, a master of public health (MPH) can help you qualify for more advanced roles with higher levels of responsibility and autonomy. Common titles of MPH holders include public health educator, policy advisor, epidemiologist, healthcare administrator, and researcher. Students with a clear sense of their professional aspirations can take advantage of one of the many specialty tracks offered to further solidify their path and signal to future employers their expertise in a particular area.

To learn more, visit our page dedicated to what jobs you can get with a public health degree.