Fastest Master’s in Public Health Programs

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Public health professionals work to improve the collective health and well-being of people living in communities around the world. They develop disease prevention protocols, health education programs, and advocacy initiatives that address prevalent health threats. A master’s in public health (MPH) program can prepare experts able to work on these challenges at the local, state, national, and even global levels.


Professionals with an MPH can assume a variety of positions because the field is very flexible. Career options for MPH graduates include community health educator, epidemiologist, and biostatistician. Graduates can also work in research or policy development.


The MPH curriculum generally requires students to complete 42-65 credits depending on the school. Most programs require core courses in areas such as population health promotion, epidemiology and biostatistics, and determinants of health.


In addition to a generalist track, schools may offer fields of specialization that reflect the many career paths one could pursue. An MPH typically takes 18-24 months to earn. Students can complete an accelerated master of public health program in 10-12 months.


Degree-seekers should prepare for a more demanding pace of study and a heavier course load to complete an accelerated MPH. An online program can give working professionals added flexibility. The average cost of tuition varies depending on many factors, including whether a student studies in state or out of state and in person or online. Students can expect to pay between $471-$1,882 per credit for an MPH based on the sampling of schools below.


MPH graduates can expect to enter a buoyant job market for public health workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 30% job growth for epidemiologists between 2020 and 2030. The job outlook is also good for health education specialists and community health workers with a projected growth rate of 17% during the same period.


Public health workers with an MPH earn above-average salaries depending on factors like their profession, location, and employer. A graduate degree is necessary for many public health roles. Review the nation’s fastest master’s in public health programs and learn more about this exciting field.



Fastest Accredited Master’s in Public Health Programs


Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team


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#1

Harvard University

Location Cambridge, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 5%
Graduation Rate 97%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes

New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 18%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Academic Year

In State | $29,408-$66,960

Out of State | $29,408-$66,960 

Credits to Graduate

45-65

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

Harvard’s master of public health program enrolls a spectrum of healthcare professionals and people new to the field. Full-time students typically complete the 45-credit MPH on campus in one year. Enrollees choose a specific field of study such as global health, health management, or health policy. 

Harvard’s sweeping public health program also includes a 65-credit master’s in public health delivered in an accelerated 18-month format. Applicants must possess at least a bachelor’s degree, with a minimum of five years’ relevant health-related experience.



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#2

Dartmouth College

Location Hanover, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 8%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes

New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 2%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Academic Year

In State | $76,362 

Out of State | $76,362 

Credits to Graduate

48

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

The master of public health at Dartmouth is an 11-month immersive on-campus program. The MPH enrolls mid-career professionals and recent college graduates. Enrollees must complete online foundational courses before they begin MPH coursework.

The MPH curriculum explores core topics such as health systems and policy and measuring health. Students can tailor the MPH with elective credits that could include an internship or independent research project.

The MPH features classes with a small 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Ninety-four percent of MPH students receive a loan and/or scholarship. Students must possess a bachelor’s degree in any major to gain admission to the master’s in public health program at Dartmouth.



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#3

Columbia University in the City of New York

Location New York, New York
Admission Rate 5%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes

Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 6%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $1,882

Out of State | $1,882

Credits to Graduate

42-45

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

Columbia is a pioneer in public health education and practice. The university offers a one-year accelerated master’s in public health program delivered on campus in New York City. The 42-45-credit MPH includes several specializations.

All enrollees complete a core curriculum that explores concepts such as determinants of health and public health interventions. Students can pursue a specialization such as population and family health. 

Participants work with public health professionals during a required field practicum. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree and 2-5 years of related work or research experience.



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#4

Northwestern University

Location Evanston, Illinois
Admission Rate 9%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes

Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 2%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Unit

In State | $7,123 

Out of State | $7,123 

Credits to Graduate

16

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

Located in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern offers a customizable one-year master of public health program. Students complete a generalist track or one of three concentrations: epidemiology, global health, or community health research.

The MPH develops core competencies in areas such as biostatistics and epidemiology. Participants complete an applied practice experience that includes 160 hours of work at an approved site. Enrollees culminate the public health program with a thesis or capstone project.

Degree-seekers may qualify for partial tuition scholarships. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and at least two years of related professional work experience.



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#5

Tufts University

Location Medford, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 15%
Graduation Rate 94%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes

New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 3%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Course

In State | $5,658 

Out of State | $5,658 

Credits to Graduate

42

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

Tufts’ medical school offers an accelerated MPH that trains a variety of highly-skilled public health practitioners. Full-time students complete the degree in 12 months on campus in Medford, Massachusetts. The MPH features a customizable curriculum with a choice of two concentrations: epidemiology and biostatistics or health services management and policy.

The core curriculum covers topics like epidemiology and biostatistics principles. Participants design a project that provides practical experience in addressing public health challenges at an agency. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree and submit school transcripts.



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#6

University of Virginia-Main Campus

Location Charlottesville, Virginia
Admission Rate 24%
Graduation Rate 95%
Accreditation Yes

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 10%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Academic Year

In State | $19,464 

Out of State | $32,122 

Credits to Graduate

42

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

UVA offers an intense one-year master of public health program on campus in Charlottesville. Students customize the degree with one of two concentrations: research in practice or health policy, law, and ethics. The core curriculum provides training in areas like biostatistics and health promotion and health behavior. 

Enrollees partner with local organizations to complete a required practical experience. Participants produce portfolio-ready artifacts such as videos, websites, and posters that highlight their skills. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree and submit standardized test scores, such as GRE or MCAT results.



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#7

University of California-Davis

Location Davis, California
Admission Rate 39%
Graduation Rate 87%
Accreditation Yes

Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Academic Year

In State | $20,817 

Out of State | $33,062

Credits to Graduate

56

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

Future public health leaders can earn their credentials through UC Davis’ accelerated MPH program. Students choose an epidemiology or general public health specialization and complete the degree in 10-12 months.

The MPH core provides training in areas like SAS programming, public health informatics, and program planning and evaluation. Students complete a practicum project in partnership with a public health agency or organization. The program’s location near California’s capital gives students access to various practicum sites and internship opportunities.

Applicants to UC Davis’ master’s in public health program must possess a bachelor’s degree, minimum GPA of 3.0, and prerequisite coursework.



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#8

George Washington University

Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 41%
Graduation Rate 82%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes

Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 22%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online| Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $1,800

Out of State | $1,800

Credits to Graduate

45

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

Degree-seekers can earn a master of public health without taking classes on campus at GW. The institution’s accelerated online MPH offers intensive 12-month and 18-month tracks. The cohort-based MPH offers the same curriculum as the traditional on-campus version. 

The degree requires a core curriculum of public health competencies. Students choose career-focused electives in a track like global health or health policy. Enrollees can also customize the degree with a health informatics concentration. 

Students may receive a $10,000 GW scholarship to help pay for this master’s in public health. Prospective learners must have a bachelor’s degree and submit school transcripts and a statement of purpose.



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#9

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Location Brooklyn, New York
Accreditation Yes

Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 13%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

On Campus | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $471

Out of State | $963

Credits to Graduate

42

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

The master of public health program at SUNY Downstate produces practitioners who can help address the unique public health challenges in urban areas. Students complete the flexible MPH in 1-6 years on campus in Brooklyn. 

The curriculum’s six concentrations include healthcare administration and health policy and management. The community health sciences concentration explores common health challenges that affect urban and immigrant communities.

Students can earn the MPH faster by transferring up to 12 credits from an accredited program. Applicants to the master’s in public health program must have an accredited bachelor’s degree, preferably possess a minimum GPA of 3.0, and submit school transcripts.



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#10

Oregon Health & Science University

Location Portland, Oregon
Accreditation Yes

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 22%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit

In State | $595

Out of State | $769

Credits to Graduate

56

Program Information

Program Accreditation | Council on Education for Public Health

OHSU’s hybrid MPH in public health practice program places an emphasis on providing underserved populations with high-quality and accessible healthcare. Students complete the degree in 12 months via a mix of on-campus and online classes. 

The 56-credit program explores core subjects such as epidemiology and environmental health. Learners at OHSU prepare for the certified in public health examination, a unique feature among other ranked master’s in public health programs. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and all prerequisite coursework.



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Popular Online Public Health Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.


How We Rank Schools


Each year, the BestColleges Ranking Team evaluates hundreds of programs to produce our annual Fastest Master’s in Public Health ranking. In 2022, the team sourced the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. We identified 24 schools that qualify for our ranking list based on the following criteria.


  • Each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution.
  • Must offer a master’s degree program in the given subject.
  • Must submit an annual report to the National Center for Education Statistics.


To ensure the accuracy and quality of our final ranked list, the ranking team reviewed each qualifying school to ensure it met the criteria for our ranking and then applied our proprietary ranking methodology to identify the best schools offering this program in the nation. Each school is ranked based on a formula measuring academic factors (60%) and affordability (40%).


The BestColleges Ranking Team is made up of contributors from our data science and product management teams. These contributors operate independently from the editorial team. All BestColleges school rankings are produced by the ranking team and are free of editorial influence. Read our Editorial Policy and Standards to learn more.


Frequently Asked Questions About Public Health Programs


Is a master’s in public health worth it?


Obtaining an MPH is a good investment because of a global need for public health experts. COVID-19 and other emerging challenges have highlighted the importance of maintaining a sophisticated public health system in any country. Public health professionals also address social, economic, and environmental challenges, making them indispensable participants in maintaining community health.


MPH graduates enjoy stable employment and well-paying jobs that make a positive impact on society. Overall, the job outlook appears strong across all potential job paths for MPH graduates. For example, the BLS projects that jobs for epidemiologists will grow 30% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the 8% average for all occupations. Online and part-time programs allow MPH students to pursue advanced training without leaving the workforce.


What can I do with a master’s in public health?


The public health field is diverse, something reflected by the MPH specializations available at many schools on this ranking. Graduates with a master’s in public health can pursue careers in a niche like epidemiology, health education, global health, healthcare administration, or community health research.


Some professionals specialize in evaluating policy and program effectiveness. A variety of employers hire MPH graduates, including healthcare organizations, humanitarian organizations, governmental agencies, and academic institutions.


What continuing education is available for public health graduates?


There is no national licensure for public health practitioners. MPH graduates can pursue certification and other credentials specific to their field as part of continuing education. These credentials usually require an exam that demonstrates the holder’s expertise.


Certified in Public Health: The CPH is offered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners and is open to students and alumni with a master’s or doctorate from a CEPH-accredited school. Candidates must meet all eligibility requirements and pass the CPH exam.


Certified Health Education Specialist: The CHES, administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), is designed for people in the early stages of their health educator careers. Candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree and pass the CHES exam. Public health workers may also want to consider NCHEC’s master certified health education specialist credentialing developed for experienced health educators.


Some MPH graduates may decide to pursue a doctorate in public health, especially if they want to teach or do research.


How fast can I get a master’s in public health?


All of the MPH programs on this ranking offer an accelerated 10-12 month curriculum. Traditionally, learners complete a master’s degree in two years, but an increasing number of schools recognize the need for accelerated programs. Many degree-seekers want to keep their jobs and maintain other obligations while they earn a master’s in public health.


Students can complete accelerated programs on campus, entirely online, or using a mixture of the two formats.


What are the highest-paying jobs with a master’s in public health?


Public health salaries depend on a number of factors such as the specific profession an MPH graduate pursues. Factors that also contribute to pay include years of experience, location, and industry.


As of July 2022, Payscale reported an average base salary of $67,000 per year for professionals with master’s degrees in public health. According to Payscale, top-paid professionals include biostatisticians, who earned an average annual wage of $77,970 in June 2022, and epidemiologists who earned $68,120 in July 2022. Public health experts working in administrative roles earn much higher salaries, according to Payscale. For instance, healthcare program directors made an average salary of $82,500 in July 2022, and data scientists earned $97,580.

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