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Top Online MPH Programs in California for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Do you want to play an integral role in protecting your community from disease and illness? Online MPH programs in California pave the way to do it. Find out about the best online MPH programs California schools offer and jobs you’ll be qualified for once you finish.

Author: Kenya McCullum
Editor: STEPS Staff

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Are you interested in healthcare? Do you want to make a significant contribution to your community? Then a public health career may be a great choice. Online MPH programs in California provide the knowledge and skills you need for a successful MPH career.

Public health is a vast field made up of those who research the prevalence of illness in an area, create campaigns to inform people about a disease, and run healthcare facilities. In California, public health professionals may be involved in warning consumers about specific products that can cause adverse reactions; investigating the effects that factors such as racism and loneliness may have on health outcomes; or educating the public about pregnancy and reproductive health. As a result, when you enroll in MPH programs in California, you’ll receive the education necessary to pursue a variety of jobs in public health.

Continue reading to learn about the online MPH programs California schools provide. You’ll find out which schools offer the best programs in the state, as well as the funding available to pay for them. Also, you’ll get information on the jobs you can land after earning your degree and valuable resources you can use during your public health program and beyond.

Best Colleges to Earn an MPH Degree in California: Campus-based

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, dozens of colleges and universities around the state offer advanced degrees in public health. Some provide online MPH programs in California, while others are traditional programs offered on campus. To get an idea of what the best MPH programs in California offer, check out the following spotlights. These schools were chosen based on their affordability, student support, and accreditation.

Once you become familiar with the best on-campus and online MPH programs California schools provide, you’ll be much better equipped to find the one that’s right for you. Be sure to come back to this page as you research because we’ll be providing a full list of standout public health programs later this year.

University of California, Berkeley

Logo of the university of california, berkeley in dark blue, featuring the word "berkeley" in script overlaid on "university of california" in block letters.

The University of California, Berkeley, offers concurrent MPH programs that allow students to combine their public health studies with another discipline. For example, the school’s Master of Journalism/Master of Public Health program, which takes three years to complete, is designed for those who want to become public health professionals and who are adept at handling media communications or for journalists who want the expertise to specialize in healthcare. Students can choose a concentration in health and social behavior, infectious diseases, epidemiology and biostatistics, or environmental health.

Similarly, the concurrent Master of Business Administration/Master of Public Health is a two-and-a-half-year program that prepares students to become leaders in healthcare, whether they want to pursue executive roles at healthcare facilities or entrepreneurship. The coursework covers life sciences marketing, advanced healthcare finance, population health economics, and mass communications in public health.

The University of California, Berkeley, also offers MPH degrees that are coupled with social work, city planning, and public policy.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Health
  • Global public health minor

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Public Health
  • Doctor of Public Health

University of California, Irvine

The University of California, Irvine, MPH program trains students to understand the disease risk factors of specific populations; develop plans to inform these groups about illnesses and prevention strategies; and analyze the health status of certain cohorts. The curriculum includes core classes recommended by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. As a result, the curriculum covers health behavior theory, biostatistics, environmental health sciences, and health policy and management. Also, students have the opportunity to concentrate their studies on epidemiology, environmental health, sociocultural diversity and health, and biostatistics.

To successfully complete the program, students are required to pass the National Board of Public Health Examiners Certified in Public Health examination, which is designed to demonstrate mastery of the core coursework. Also, students participate in an internship, in which they work 240 hours at a public health agency. Afterward they’re required to complete a comprehensive report and present it during a departmental symposium.

Irvine charges $11,442 for tuition annually. The school supports students by offering scholarships, fellowships, and grants.

Delivery:

  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Health Policy
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health Sciences
  • Public healthminor

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Public Health
  • Doctor of Philosophyin Public Health

Specialization Options:

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental health
  • Epidemiology
  • Sociocultural diversity and health

University of California, Riverside

The University of California, Riverside, MPH program prepares students to work for colleges and universities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or healthcare systems after they have completed their two years of study. The curriculum includes coursework in epidemiology, environmental health, community health theory, and statistics in public health. In addition to public health theory, students gain expertise in the ethical standards of the profession. The ethics in public health course provides a look at policy, federal and international codes, and industry expectations for conducting research and working with study participants.

The school also requires that students participate in an integrative learning experience, which can be a thesis or capstone project. Those who choose the thesis option demonstrate their understanding of a public health issue by conducting original research, which may include the use of human subjects. They then go through the peer-review process. Students who select a capstone project participate in fieldwork and write a report demonstrating their mastery of public health principles.

Delivery:

  • On-Campus
  • Full-Time

Graduate Program:

  • Master of Public Health

Top Online MPH Programs in California

Do you think you’re too busy to earn a degree from online MPH programs in California? Think again. These degrees are specifically designed for people with demanding schedules. This means you don’t have to sacrifice your job or family responsibilities to earn a degree. Online MPH programs California schools offer allow students to take courses in a completely virtual format. In some cases, they can watch lectures during times that are best for their schedule. In addition to convenience, these programs are often more affordable than traditional ones because schools may charge per credit, rather than a flat fee for a semester or year.

Below is a preview of some of the best MPH programs in California offered virtually. Our full rankings will be available later this year, so don’t forget to bookmark this page and come back. Soon we’ll have information about additional online MPH programs in California to help you further understand your options.

Touro University California

Touro University California offers entirely online public health master’s degree programs that each have a unique focus. For example, the school’s MPH program emphasizes the role of social justice in the delivery of healthcare and has concentrations in community action for health, global health, and health equity and criminal justice. Students choose to attend on a full- or part-time basis. Online classes are held live during afternoons or evenings.

Those interested in physician assisting through a public health lens can enroll in the school’s joint Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies/Master of Public Health program. When students complete this degree, they’re able to provide culturally sensitive care, as well as become strong advocates for patients in underserved communities. Similarly, the dual Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine/Master of Public Health teaches students how to deliver care in a holistic way that considers the roles economics, history, politics, and sociology play in patient outcomes.

Graduate Program:

  • Master of Public Health

Program Options:

  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online

Specializations Offered:

  • Community action
  • Health equity and criminal justice
  • Global health

University of Southern California

The image features the letters "USC" in large, bold red font on a transparent background, highlighting a notable California destination.

The University of Southern California (USC) MPH program is made up of coursework entirely online, along with a local practicum. For added flexibility, the school allows students to begin their studies in the spring, summer, or fall. Also, students receive support through personalized instruction, so they’re able to augment their classroom learning with the help of mentors they meet with virtually. Students choose one of five concentrations: biostatistics and epidemiology, community health promotion, global health, health policy and services, and generalist.

Also, USC has an Accelerated MPH Fast-Track program that can be completed in two years. To expedite the curriculum, which is the same as the three-year version of the program, students are required to commit 40 hours to coursework each week.

Graduate Program:

  • Master of Public Health

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online

Specializations Offered:

  • Biostatistics and epidemiology
  • Community health promotion
  • Global health
  • Health services and policy
  • Generalist

San Diego State University

San Diego State University (SDSU) has MPH programs that can be completed in about two years. For example, the health promotion and behavioral science concentration focuses on group behaviors in diverse communities and the impact they have on health. The curriculum includes core coursework in epidemiology, health services administration, and biostatistics. The concentration classes cover motivating health-related behavior, health communication, and public health program evaluation.

Similarly, SDSU’s epidemiology concentration teaches students to handle the study, control, and prevention of disease from a holistic perspective. By the end of the program, students are able to understand risk factors of disease, conduct population-based research, and recognize different types of bias.

Those in both concentrations participate in a field practicum in which they get hands-on training to further understand classroom concepts. During this time, students collaborate with diverse government officials and community leaders.

Undergraduate Program:

  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Graduate Programs:

  • Master of Public Health
  • Advanced Certificate in Public Health

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online

Specializations Offered:

  • Health promotion and behavioral science
  • Epidemiology

Financial Aid for MPH Students in California

As you research online MPH programs in California, chances are you’re also thinking about what kind of financial aid you’ll qualify for. From scholarships to grants to loans to graduate assistantships, students in MPH programs in California have numerous options to pay for their education. For example, professional groups such as the Society for Public Health Education and the American College of Healthcare Executives have scholarships to help promote the field and ensure future employees get the training they need.

Also, the online MPH programs California schools offer also provide funding. For example, USC, the University of California, Los Angeles, and California State University, Fullerton, offer awards to help students pay for their degrees.

Want more information about your financial aid options for online MPH programs in California? Review our Public Health Scholarships page to find out more ways you can get help paying for your education.

Job Outlook for MPH Graduates in California

Are you concerned about whether online MPH programs in California will help you get the kind of job you want? Do you wonder if MPH programs in California yield a good return on investment? Of course, the answers to these questions are as individual as the students earning degrees. However, we have data to help you find your answer.

Growth in specific jobs in the public health field will vary in the coming years. For instance, in California, epidemiologists, dieticians and nutritionists, and social and community service managers are expected to have an increase of 27%, 15.9%, and 14.6%, respectively.

Also, the amount that you can earn after attending the online MPH programs California schools provide will vary. While health and safety engineers around the country earn an average salary of $108,740, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in California they make $128,560. Similarly, epidemiologists make $102,390 in California, which is significantly above the national average of $90,430.

Review the table below for more details on what to expect from specific careers in the U.S. public health job market that you can pursue after completing MPH programs in California.

CareerJob Growth Rate
(2022-2032)
Average Annual Openings
(2022-2032)
Annual Mean Wage (2023)
Epidemiologists27%900$102,390
Emergency Management Directors3%900$131,580
Health and Safety Engineers5.3%130$128,560
Social and Community Service Managers14.6%2,580$89,480
Dieticians and Nutritionists15.9%730$84,560

Sources: Projections Central; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

California Public Health Professional & Student Resources

Healthcare is constantly evolving, so it’s important for students in online MPH programs in California, as well as professionals, to stay abreast of developments in the field. The following are resources you can use to keep up:

  • California Department of Public Health
    The California Department of Public Health’s website includes information on various topics that concern people around the state, such as the opioid crisis, air quality, prenatal screenings, and veterinary public health. Also, there’s information on the various programs the agency runs, including the Center for Healthy Communities, the Center for Family Health, and the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics.
  • The Public Health SPOTlight Podcast
    Produced by the PH SPOT, The Public Health SPOTlight Podcast is the home of discussions that host Sujani Sivanantharajah has with a variety of professionals who share career advice. Episodes cover best practices for completing public health job applications, creating a personal brand, and networking. Guests also share thoughts on what public health professionals can expect to be paid.
  • Public Health Foundation
    The Public Health Foundation (PHF) has been supporting the needs of the public health workforce since 1970. The organization provides training for those in different areas of the healthcare field, including public and behavioral health professionals. Also, the PHF has tools and technical assistance that help people do their jobs more effectively.
  • Society for Public Health Education
    The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) supports people who work in the public health field, while promoting diversity, collaboration, teamwork, and innovation. Members of the organization — college instructors, government public health professionals, K-12 healthcare workers, and employees at healthcare facilities — receive access to professional development, events, and publications. Also, SOPHE awards scholarships for those training to enter the field.
  • Southern California Public Health Association
    The Southern California Public Health Association is dedicated to improving the medical outcomes of residents in 10 Southern California counties including San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernadino, and Riverside. In addition, the organization supports public health professionals by providing advocacy services, continuing education, and networking opportunities. Members receive news about the organization and developments in the public health field.