Students who want to pursue a master's degree in public health can enroll in programs available at 4-year colleges and universities. Available degree options include a Master of Public Health (MPH) and a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH), and dual-degree programs are also common in this field.
Top 10 Graduate Public Health Schools
Here's a list of some of the top institutions with programs in public health:
|College/University||Institution Type||Location||Tuition 2015-2016*|
|Johns Hopkins University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Baltimore, Maryland||$48,710; Fees $1,800|
|Harvard University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Cambridge, Massachusetts||$41,832; Fees $1,042|
|University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill||4-year, public||Chapel Hill, North Carolina||In state: $9,143; Out-of-state: $26,354; Fees: $1,931|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||4-year, public||Ann Arbor, Michigan||In state: $20,638; Out-of-state: $41,688; Fees: $328|
|Columbia University||4-year, private not-for-profit||New York, New York||$42,280; Fees $1,896|
|University of Washington||4-year, public||Seattle, Washington||In state: $15,207; Out-of-state: $27,255; Fees: $1,071|
|Emory University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Atlanta, Georgia||$38,800; Fees $3,140|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||4-year, public||Minneapolis, Minnesota||In state: $15,844; Out-of-state: $24,508; Fees: $1,445|
|University of California - Berkeley||4-year, public||Berkeley, California||In state: $11,220; Out-of-state tuition: $26,322; Fees: $2,211|
|Boston University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Boston, Massachusetts||$47,422; Fees $660|
*Source: National Center of Education Statistics
College Selection Criteria
While deciding which degree type to pursue and which school to enroll in, aspiring public health graduate students may want to keep the following in mind:
- Prospective students should choose a college with a program that matches up with their career goals. An MPH program prepares students for careers in clinics and government agencies for public health policy, while an MSPH program prepares students for academic careers in teaching or research.
- Consider a dual-degree program for additional career opportunities; for example, combining an MPH with a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) allows students to start a career as a doctor, lawyer or veterinarian who focuses on public health issues.
- Public health master's degree programs differentiate themselves with available specializations, including biostatistics, community health education, epidemiology or public health administration, so students should seek programs that offer specializations in their area of interest.
- Check program accreditation; the Council on Education for Public Health accredits programs in this field that meet its standards.
Master of Public Health
An MPH program prepares students to be public health practitioners and work on public policy. Students learn to understand the community context of public health issues and to apply relevant research to solve recurring problems. They must complete coursework and a practicum or fieldwork experience. Some programs also require a thesis or project. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree and scores from graduate exams; prior coursework in mathematics and the sciences is also necessary.
Master of Science in Public Health
An MSPH program trains students to be researchers in the field of public health. Participants typically focus their studies on a specific concentration, such as biostatistics or environmental health. MSPH programs emphasize quantitative analysis and laboratory research. A thesis or research project and practicum may be required to complete the program. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with sufficient preparation in mathematics and the sciences to be admitted. They also need to submit scores from graduate exams.
Universities offer both professional and academic master's degree programs in public health. Students should seek a Council on Education for Public Health-accredited program that has an educational track to match their career goals.