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Accelerate Your Education With 1-Year Online MPH Programs

Ready to earn your master’s in public health? With 1-year online MPH programs, affordability and convenience combine to deliver a healthy return on investment. Keep reading to learn more.

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A close-up image showing a gloved hand holding a rapid test cassette while another gloved hand dispenses a liquid sample into the cassette's sample well. The image suggests a medical or diagnostic testing procedure.

The dividing line between work and toil can be a thin one at times. But in most cases, that distinction is a matter of fulfillment. All other things being equal, we’d all likely prefer a job we find meaningful over one that feels hollow and purposeless. And even the most generous of salaries can only make a soul-crushing role tolerable for so long.

Of course, this begs the question: Do you have to choose between a livable wage and a fulfilling career path?

The short answer is “no.” The long answer is “Not if you earn a Master of Public Health degree, which can be done in as little as 1 year with the right online program.” The really long answer — well, that’s for you to take in as you explore the following pages.

A 1-year online MPH program can quickly get you on track for a rewarding and well-paying job that benefits the lives of people in your community. Keep reading for answers to some important questions as you embark on your journey toward your master’s degree. And prepare yourself for a profession that’s fulfilling — both for you and your bank account.

College Spotlights: Today’s Best Accelerated Online MPH Programs

We’re kicking things off with a list of top accelerated public health master’s programs. Keep in mind that timelines will vary depending on the school, what bachelor’s you have and where you got it, your clinician status, and a few other considerations. Most programs have credit requirements between 40 and 45 credit hours, though some go higher. Ultimately, your speed of completion is dictated primarily by your ability to commit time to schoolwork and complete classes as quickly as possible.

University of Arizona Online

We start with the University of Arizona, with its expansive distance learning catalog that includes nearly two dozen different degree options. The University of Arizona online MPH program is fully accredited through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and can be completed entirely online.

The curriculum includes 42 required credit hours in total at a tuition of $950 per credit hour. If you’re completing your degree through University of Arizona Online and aren’t transferring in with existing credits, the estimated tuition cost to complete the program is just under $40,000.

MPH students usually graduate in about two years, but customized study plans can be arranged to facilitate a faster or slower pace of completion based on your bandwidth.

Specializations:

  • Applied Epidemiology
  • Climate Change and Health
  • Global Health
  • Health Administration
  • Health Behavior Health Promotion

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE

University of Washington

The image displays the text "UNIVERSITY of WASHINGTON" in purple capital letters.

The University of Washington is our next spotlight, offering 20 different degree programs via distance learning — including an online Master of Public Health.

This accelerated online program is fully accredited through the CEPH and can be completed either full time or part time, with students graduating in 18 months or 27 months, respectively. At 63 credit hours, the curriculum is more extensive than other programs in this list, but at only $940 per credit, the total tuition cost (est. $59,220) is still less than most other programs mentioned below.

Accepted students will have to attend a three-day, in-person orientation at the UW campus in Seattle, Washington. The first day is mandatory, while the second and third day are optional. After that initial orientation, the rest of the program is fully online.

Students hoping for financial assistance can apply for standard aid, as well as the MPH-specific scholarships offered by UW.

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE

Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)

NEOMED offers a unique Master of Public Health degree that is tailored specifically to current clinicians and working professionals. The program — called the Consortium of Eastern Ohio Master of Public Health — is a partnership between four universities in Eastern Ohio: Cleveland State University, Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), The University of Akron, and Youngstown State University.

You’ll take core courses that are delivered through webinar and online teaching each semester, and you can take electives either online or at any of the four partner universities. Students can also attend up to five non-mandatory interaction webinar days on Saturday per semester — all other instruction is online.

The program is CEPH accredited and can be completed as quickly as one year, though you’ll have up to six years to earn your degree. Estimated total cost for the program is $39,958; the school does have scholarships, grants, and other aid opportunities available.

Specializations:

  • Generalist
  • Nutrition

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE
  • Online
  • Hybrid

Chamberlain University

Chamberlain’s Master of Public Health degree is an accelerated, CEPH-accredited online program that can be completed in as little as four semesters. Coursework is broken into sessions, with six sessions covering a full year. The online MPH program, when studying full-time, can be fit into just six and a half sessions, putting the completion time at just over 1 year.

Toward the end of this MPH program, you will begin a two-part applied practice experience practicum; this practicum allows you to work with a public health professional in an area that interests you.

At $8,000 per session, you’ll pay roughly $56,000 for the entire program. Chamberlain doesoffer many financial aid options and resources, including the $5,912 Public Health Community Grant, education partnerships with employers, and more.

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE

Claremont Graduate University

CGU’s Accelerated Master of Public Health is entirely online with supervised field experience, and the program can be completed in as little as 12 months. The curriculum encompasses 44 credit hours at a cost of $2,020 per credit, so $88,000 in total. Financial aid and funding opportunities through CGU include departmental fellowships, Blaisdell fellowships, and trustee fellowship awards, among others.

Of particular note is how CGU’s program adds evaluation to its curriculum. Students leave the program prepared for roles that require both quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods.

The program describes its ideal candidate as a motivated, aspiring leader in public health, noting that medical students and nurses are particularly suited. GCU also follows a rolling admissions process, meaning you can start your degree study on one of six start dates throughout the year.

Specializations:

  • Health Promotion, Education & Evaluation

Program Options:

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE

1-Year MPH Programs Online: Pros & Cons

As a future graduate student, you may be wondering which master’s program is right for you — an accelerated online MPH program or something else entirely? But first, ask yourself: Is online learning right for you? While the ability to work remotely and often asynchronously can help you balance your work and school life, some students don’t thrive in online settings. However, keep in mind that you’ll discover tips for success as an online student, such as how to master online collaboration.

What are some other benefits and challenges specific to accelerated online MPH programs? Keep reading.

The Benefits of Attending an Accelerated MPH Program

Benefit #1: Quicker Time-to-Value

They say “time is money,” and discussions in the business world are often focused on how quickly you can turn an investment or asset into the positive outcomes you’re expecting from it. The same is true here. The quicker you can put the cap on and accept the diploma, the faster you can put that new degree to use at a new job. To that end, you’ll learn effective study tips through your program, and you’ll want to research time management as well. After all, you’re looking to complete the program and get on with your life, and accelerated degree tracks speed up the process dramatically.

Benefit #2: Reduced Tuition Cost

Speaking of “time is money”: Not only does completing your program faster save you time, but you will likely also pay less in tuition. Most schools have per-semester pricing, or at least a per-semester option. In other words, you save on tuition costs by “buying in bulk,” and the quicker you can tear through the courses, the less you’ll pay in the end.

Benefit #3: Improved Flexibility

Just as office workers have come to enjoy the convenience of remote work, many students now prefer the ease of studying wherever and whenever they like. You may consider your living space the perfect place for productivity — or at least far better than a sterile classroom. But you’ll also find other flexibility advantages: No commuting to campus or jogging from building to building. No parking fees or traffic to deal with. And you can balance school with your existing schedule, whether that involves working a job, caring for children, or otherwise living a life that’s not solely defined by student status.

Challenges You May Face With a 1-Year MPH Program

Challenge #1: The Grind

Any accelerated curriculum comes with this caveat: You will likely work harder than you would if you were on a less compressed timeline. Not only do you have to manage your time effectively, but you’re also trying to pack in as much coursework as possible into every open spot in your schedule. With traditional programs, you also have more time to digest material as you study it. But then again, you also have more time to forget it.

Challenge #2: Scheduling Conflicts

Let’s not forget: That aforementioned flexibility can be both a blessing and a curse. Sure, you can balance your load to more easily manage work, school, domestic duties, caretaking, errands, appointments, self-care, and so on. But that also makes it surprisingly easy to procrastinate in problematic ways. Staying on top of your classes — and by extension, successfully graduating with your master’s degree — depends on your ability to stay on track and treat your studies like a job.

Challenge #3: Risk of Burnout

As we’ve noted, just because an accelerated program is faster doesn’t mean it’s any less work. On the contrary, most students find that increasing the pace increases the difficulty. And if you’re studying full time, working full time, and attempting to meet any other adult responsibilities beyond that, running out of steam is a real possibility. Properly managing and balancing the effort and the stress is critical, at least if you don’t want to crash and burn. Every high-performance machine has limits on how much you can push it beyond normal operating thresholds, and the human brain is no different.

Tuition Costs for Accelerated Online MPH Programs

We mentioned some estimated costs for the programs listed above, and they’re fairly indicative of the ranges you’re likely to see. You’ll find MPH degrees coming in at around $30,000 on the low end and pushing $90,000 on the high end.

But the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to shoulder the full financial burden yourself.

You’ll find a host of grants, scholarships, and other aid opportunities for current and former service members. Employers (and future employers) are in many cases willing to partially or fully cover education costs so you can qualify for a new position with them, at least in healthcare-related industries. Government programs also tend to be more generous to students studying in this vertical. And finally, a lot of these schools have their own scholarships, grants, and other cost-saving options, as do many state and local organizations.

With that in mind, here are a few more online programs we’ve sampled to give you an idea of what your MPH might cost.

School No. of Credits Est. Tuition

42

$63,000

45

$82,575

42

$94,248

Financial Aid Options for Accelerated MPH Students

When it comes to financing your education, you’ll fare a lot better on the financial front if you start with a plan in mind. Identifying the right MPH program to match your goals is more than just checking curriculum, delivery method, and class schedule. You’ll also want to compare tuition costs; look into potential aid options based on school, subject, region, etc.; discuss tuition reimbursement with your employer; and so on. In the end, the more prepared you are before you start, the lower your cost will likely be.

FAQs About 1-Year Online MPH Programs

How does the curriculum in accelerated MPH programs differ from traditional online programs?

The major difference you’ll find between a traditional MPH program and an online/accelerated one is course length. A lot of universities offer abridged schedules, either for specific parts of the year or as an ongoing option for those who want to move faster. Chamberlain, for example, breaks the year into “sessions,” with each session lasting eight weeks, as opposed to full semesters (which commonly run 16 weeks at most universities).

In other words, where an in-person class would normally stretch the studies out over about four months, accelerated programs reduce this to about half the time. It’s the same amount of material, but you’ll be on a more rigorous reading and study schedule.

Are accelerated MPH programs CEPH accredited?

Each program we’ve highlighted in this guide is accredited through the CEPH (the primary accrediting body for public health degrees and programs) and each school also is regionally accredited. In a field as technical and regulated as this one, it’s critical that you choose an institution with properly evaluated and approved curriculum.

What are the typical admissions requirements for 1-year online MPH programs?

While admissions criteria vary from school to school, there are a number of common requirements you’re likely to see from most MPH programs. Some require GRE test scores, while some do not (and a few require the GRE if your GPA is below a certain threshold). Nearly every program is looking for GPAs of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. And even when lower GPAs are accepted, universities will still require strict minimum grades in science and math courses.

Do online accelerated MPH programs offer the same specializations as traditional programs?

This depends on the school and the program. In some cases, you’ll only be able to complete a generalist MPH degree. For others, you may have a host of specialization options to choose from. As mentioned above, the University of Arizona Online offers nearly half a dozen tracks for those who want to specialize.

Are there any accelerated dual-degree programs available for online MPH students?

You have options if you want an accelerated dual degree MPH; however, if you’re specifically looking for an accelerated master’s degree with dual concentrations, this is a little harder to find. The Brown University School of Public Health is one example of a program offering several opportunities for highly motivated students to complete dual degree MPH programs at an accelerated pace.