Guide to Earning Your Master’s (MPH) in Epidemiology Online in 2023

Get answers to key questions, find top-ranked accredited schools, and start your journey towards earning your master’s in epidemiology online.

Last Updated: 05/04/2023

Search hundreds of schools for the degree you want ......

I want my
Focusing on

Pursuing a career in epidemiology or related fields focused on studying and preventing the spread of diseases can be facilitated by obtaining a master’s degree in epidemiology online. With the ongoing pandemic and the potential for new diseases to emerge, the demand for epidemiologists is increasing. Pursuing an online master’s degree in epidemiology can provide a flexible and cost-effective path towards achieving this career goal.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 10-year growth rate for epidemiologists is 5%, which is above the national average for all occupations. Median pay is also quite high at $77,990 as of May 2019.

Earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a focus on epidemiology is the most direct way to enter the in-demand field of epidemiology. Thankfully, a growing number of accredited universities now offer online MPH epidemiology programs, making it easier to pursue this career path. This guide aims to provide an overview of the experience of obtaining a master’s degree in epidemiology online, present a list of top accredited schools offering such programs, and provide other useful information.

2023’s Best Online MPH Epidemiology Programs

As the demand for epidemiologists continues to rise, many universities now offer MPH epidemiology online degrees. However, not all programs are created equal, and some provide better value than others. Here are three universities that stand out in terms of the quality of education, convenience, flexibility, and cost of their MPH epidemiology online programs.

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.


  • 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: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 14:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 77%
Online Students 3,312
Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 13:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 78%
Online Students 4,197
Indiana University-Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 61%
Online Students 3,367
University of Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 909
East Tennessee State University

Johnson City, Tennessee

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 16:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 56%
Online Students 421

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 19:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 56%
Online Students 980

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 20:1
Tuition (In-State) $$
Institutional Financial Aid 82%
Online Students 1,230

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 21:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$
Institutional Financial Aid 88%
Online Students 723
Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Total online programs: 1

Academic Counseling Yes
Career Placement Yes
Student-to- Faculty Ratio 11:1
Tuition (In-State) $$$$$
Institutional Financial Aid 100%
Online Students 1,382

What You’ll Study in an Epidemiology MPH Online Degree Program

Enrolling in a master’s in epidemiology online degree program prepares you for almost any role within the field. After graduating, students can work in practice-based or research-based positions. To provide this professional flexibility, courses cover topics such as:

  • Chronic diseases
  • Infectious diseases
  • Data analysis and management
  • Biostatistics
  • Strategies for disease prevention and treatment

Students also apply their knowledge through a practicum, which often provides opportunities for developing a plan to address an actual public health issue. This allows students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills learned in their online epidemiology degree program.

Core Classes in Online Epidemiology MPH Degree Programs

Most programs leading to an epidemiology degree have two types of courses. The first includes core classes in public health optics. The second type is epidemiology specific. The five sample classes below give an idea of the types of courses to expect.

Foundations in Public Health

This course introduces the basic tenants of public health and the U.S. healthcare system. Students also learn about principles affecting how public health is run. These include social justice, human rights, racism, and public health programs throughout history.

Introduction to Biostatistics

Critical data analysis is key for anyone wanting a career in public health and epidemiology. This class introduces the fundamentals of statistical methods and interpretation and covers descriptive statistics, regression, and correlation.

Qualitative Data and Mixed Methods Analysis

Qualitative data is collected through direct observation and sampling methods like questionnaires and interviews. This course is designed to introduce students to the process of analyzing qualitative data and managing it alongside quantitative data in a mixed-method analysis.

Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Human Research

Research on humans helps gain an understanding of the common biological processes and health problems people encounter. This class explains the ethical and regulatory considerations when designing and conducting research involving individuals.


To gain a better understanding of knowledge and skills learned in the classroom, students complete a practicum to demonstrate application of these concepts to issues in public health.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Epidemiology?

Obtaining an MPH degree in epidemiology can lead to a range of career opportunities in the public health, healthcare, and medical fields. These roles often involve making important decisions that can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of large populations. Pursuing a career in epidemiology can provide opportunities to engage in high-level decision making that has the potential to positively affect the lives of countless individuals. The following careers demonstrate what someone with a master’s degree in epidemiology might do.


Through research, education, and policies, epidemiologists improve the overall health of the general public. They find ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases or reduce the lethality of chronic diseases.

Health Services Manager

These specialized administrators strategize and coordinate the distribution of healthcare services to patients and the general public. Health services managers are often found in hospitals managing the entire facility but may also focus on a single department.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Medical research is pivotal to studying and understanding human diseases. To help make this research possible, clinical research coordinators plan and help operate research programs. They also help interpret the data collected during research.

Clinical Data Manager

Clinical data managers extract information from healthcare management systems and databases and analyze it to identify valuable insights. By analyzing trends and patterns in the data, they can provide useful information that can inform decision-making processes for governments and healthcare systems when developing strategies and allocating resources to tackle health challenges.

Medical Scientist

Medical scientists study human diseases by conducting research and analyzing data. They are involved in all stages of medical research from study design to conducting studies, publishing findings, and analyzing data.

Why Accreditation Matters for Online Epidemiology MPH Programs

It is crucial to confirm whether a master’s in epidemiology online program is accredited before submitting an application. Accreditation is a process whereby an independent organization verifies that a school or academic program meets the required educational standards. Accreditation can apply at both the institutional and programmatic levels.

Epidemiology master’s programs are accredited by the Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH). A program’s website should indicate this accreditation. You can also go to the CEPH’s website and check its List of Accredited Schools and Programs.

FAQs About Earning Your MPH in Epidemiology Online

How long does it take to complete a master’s degree in epidemiology online?

Degree completion varies based on the pace of learning and the flexibility offered. Most online epidemiology programs last one to four years and require 42 to 80 credits. Most full-time students can earn their epidemiology MPH degree in about two years. Part-time students should expect to take at least three years.

How much do online epidemiology MPH degrees cost?

The cost of earning a master’s in epidemiology online depends on a school’s tuition along with other variables. These include scholarships, course load, prior academic training, and if an employer is paying for any costs. The following chart gives an idea of what to expect in tuition cost.

School NameNo. of CreditsCost/CreditTotal Cost
UC Berkeley’s Online Master of Public Health Program42$1,103$49,000
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health80$1,197$73,960
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health42$549$23,058

What are the admissions requirements for online epidemiology MPH degrees?

Each program has its own admissions requirements, but most expect the same core elements. Those include:

  • An application: Most are completed online.
  • Official transcripts: Includes any undergraduate or post-secondary work.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae: Many students in MPH programs already have a few years of professional experience. Admissions officers want to see this practical experience.
  • Letters of recommendation: Expect to provide two or three letters.
  • Essay: An opportunity to explain your interest in public health and epidemiology.

Some programs also require GRE scores. Standardized test scores are usually optional, though, or only required if students have not taken certain coursework like high-level math classes.

Can I earn my epidemiology master’s completely online?

Many online programs allow students to complete most of their coursework online, but typically require an in-person practicum at an approved location. Other online programs may have additional in-person requirements, such as on-campus visits to present research findings. However, there are a few online programs that are entirely virtual, and the practicum requirement is replaced with a practical experience that can be completed online.

Do I need to take the GRE to get into an online epidemiology MPH program?

Many online MPH programs in epidemiology do not require the GRE, but most allow submission of GRE or other standardized test scores to strengthen applications. Some schools require applicants to complete portions of the GRE but only if they have not taken certain types of classes.

Will I learn the same skills in an online epidemiology MPH as an on-campus program?

MPH epidemiology online programs cover the same topics and teach the same skills as traditional, on-campus programs. By requiring a practicum, online programs have the same in-person requirements as on-campus programs. With classwork, though, students watch virtual lectures. Online programs also make sure students get the same access to faculty as on-campus students.