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Best CEPH-Accredited, Online MPH Programs

You don’t have to sacrifice quality by earning your master of public health (MPH) degree online. This guide outlines today’s best CEPH-accredited, online MPH programs answers all of your accreditation questions.

Author: Quinn Dannies

Editor: Mikalee Byerman

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As you set out to earn your online masters of public health, you may be wondering how to ensure you’re getting a quality education that will serve you well down the road. And there’s a surprisingly easy answer: choosing MPH online programs with accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

The CEPH reviews public health programs at every level to guarantee they meet a rigorous set of academic standards. When you seek out CEPH-accredited online MPH programs, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll graduate with the skills you need to excel in public health careers and a diploma that will hold weight with future employers.

To help you understand how a single certification can carry so much weight, we’ve broken down the program details in this guide. Keep reading to learn why the CEPH designation matters and explore qualified, accredited online MPH programs.

Common Questions About CEPH-Accredited Online MPH Programs

What is CEPH accreditation?

Seeking out accredited programs is an important step in finding a top-tier MPH program. When a school is accredited, it means it has passed rigor by a U.S. Department of Education recognized agency that regularly reviews the school’s curriculum and operations to ensure high ethical and academic standards. Additionally, specific programs can be accredited by field-specific accreditation organizations that focus on maintaining curriculum standards in areas including business, education, and public health.

CEPH is the gold standard for public health degree accreditation. Their review process works to ensure that public health programs nationwide are offering up-to-date curricula. Because of this, diplomas from accredited online MPH programs are considered more valuable by employers than their non-accredited counterparts.

Why is attending an accredited MPH program important?

While you’re evaluating potential online MPH programs, accreditation should be the first item on your checklist. Limiting your school search to CEPH-accredited online MPH programs guarantees that you’ll be attending a program with high academic standards that is equipped to prepare you for your career goals. As you start applying for jobs, your program’s CEPH certification shows that you have the requisite skills and experience to take on new roles.

If you’re considering clinical, administrative, or educator roles after graduation, opting for CEPH-accredited online MPH programs might be mandatory. Many military and government organizations require employees to have graduated a CEPH-certified school. If you need to apply for state licensure, this may be a requirement as well.

Are CEPH-accredited programs more academically difficult?

We prefer to think of CEPH-accredited programs as the “right” amount of difficulty; after all, earning your MPH shouldn’t exactly be easy. CEPH-accredited online MPH programs must meet certain standards for content and credit hours. This is to make sure that you receive a well-rounded education. There may be some easier non-CEPH programs out there, but proceed with caution, because the trade-off may not be worth it.

We should note that, even with CEPH accreditation, academic rigor can vary between schools and disciplines. The best way to evaluate a program’s rigor is to review program requirements and, if possible, connect with current students, graduates, or faculty.

Can I earn my MPH 100% online, or do I need to go to campus?

You’ll find a mix of 100% online and hybrid MPH options to consider. Online degrees tend to be more popular because they allow students the most flexibility. However, if you live near a campus and want a hybrid approach to coursework, schools like The University of San Francisco allow you to experience both in-class and online lessons.

Remember, too, that you’ll have opportunities for firsthand learning in many fully online programs. In fact, CEPH-accredited online programs like the one at Arcadia University are required to incorporate practicum hours into their curriculum. Typically, 100% online programs will arrange for you to partner with a public health project in your area to get that real-world experience.

How long will it take to earn my MPH online?

Traditionally, earning an MPH takes about two years. But in the past few years, online degree programs have been shaking things up. As a result, you can now opt for accelerated, traditional, or part-time timelines depending on the program and your needs. If you’re trying to graduate as quickly as possible, you’ll be delighted to know that many schools now offer intensive 12-month MPH options.

If you’re more of the slow-and-steady type, you’ll have plenty of part-time programs to choose from. The great news is that now most accredited online MPH programs offer multiple pacing options. For example, The George Washington University offers MPH tracks that can be completed in one year, 18 months, or up to five years.

Do I need to take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) to apply to an accredited MPH program?

It depends. Many schools are making the GRE optional or doing away with it altogether in favor of other methods of assessing future academic success. So if the thought of standardized testing makes your palms sweat, you have plenty of excellent no-GRE programs to focus on.

However, some programs do still require the exam. If your dream school requires GRE scores, be sure to start prepping as early as possible. Keep in mind, too: If you’ve been out of school for a while or your undergraduate grades are looking a little shabby, a solid GRE score may help strengthen your application.

Do any accredited online MPH programs offer dual-degrees?

Yes, many accredited online MPH programs offer dual-degree options in fields like nursing, social work, business, or other relevant subjects. For example, online students at Arizona State University can opt to earn a dual MPH-DNP degree with specialization in Family Nursing or Executive Health Systems Administration.

Earning a dual degree is an excellent choice for students preparing for specialized careers or students looking to develop a deep background across multiple subjects.

How can I find CEPH-accredited programs?

CEPH-accredited online MPH programs are easy to track down. If you want to see all of your options, you can go straight to the source by browsing CEPH’s online directory. Because all the best online MPH programs are CEPH-accredited, you can also start by looking at college rankings. These rankings tend to include more program information than the CEPH directory, so they can be a faster way to narrow your search. If you go this route, be sure to double check the school’s accreditation before applying. You can also look for a CEPH certification logo or accreditation statement on a program’s website.

College Spotlights: Today’s Best CEPH-accredited Online MPH Programs

Now that we’ve covered the basics of CEPH-accredited online MPH programs, let’s consider some real-world examples. Below, we’ve highlighted five excellent programs that offer innovative approaches to online learning across a range of specializations. You can use these spotlights to get a feel for how online MPH programs operate and to kick off your college search.

University of New England

The online Master of Public Health program at University of New England (UNE) stands out for its interdisciplinary approach to public health. By drawing in coursework and concepts from various fields, MPH graduates from UNE have a broad base of knowledge that prepares them to see the big picture of public health and how it connects to their specialty and future careers.

UNE also offers a unique cross-cultural health immersion experience in Ghana to its online MPH students. This program invites students to spend two weeks working with the Ghana Health Service and local health practitioners to provide health services to urban and rural communities. The opportunity to work directly with public health projects provides valuable hands-on experience that is relevant to a range of public health careers.

Specializations:

  • Epidemiology
  • Global Health
  • Health Education

Program Options:

  • Accelerated
  • Traditional
  • Part-Time
  • Graduate Certificate
  • International Internship
  • No-GRE

National University

At National University, flexibility is the name of the game. Its 100% online MPH is a great option for working professionals and is designated as military friendly. National’s curriculum is based on accelerated four-week courses. This model allows students to focus deeply on one subject at a time and offers the opportunity to take breaks as needed. All courses are asynchronous so that students can plan their studies around already busy schedules. National also offers year-round enrollment, so there is no need to wait until fall to start your classes.

The MPH program at National is committed to preparing students for successful careers in public health. To this end, they focus heavily on data analysis and critical thinking skills that can be applied to a range of public health positions. The curriculum also prepares students to sit for their health education specialist licensure exams.

Specializations:

  • Community Mental Health
  • Health Promotion
  • Healthcare Administration

Program Options:

  • Accelerated
  • Part-Time

Purdue University

The online MPH program at Purdue University focuses heavily on providing real-world skills that prepare graduates to advocate for the needs of families and communities at the local, national, and global level. In each class, students will apply course content to contemporary public health problems to develop experience with issues they will meet in their future careers. The program culminates with a 200-hour practicum at a project in the student’s community. These practicums allow students to explore their area of interest and build a foundation for future work.

Purdue also stands out for its excellent student support. Instructors regularly take part in one-on-one meetings with online students to consult on their projects and goals. Students can also seek out support from dedicated financial aid and academic advisors to ensure that they are staying on track and taking advantage of all available opportunities.

Specializations:

  • General Public Health
  • Family and Community Health

Program Options:

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

St. Ambrose University

Logo of St. Ambrose University featuring a blue shield to the left with a cross and three bees. The words "St. Ambrose University" are written in blue to the right of the shield.

St. Ambrose University’s online MPH program is dedicated to health equity, social justice, and service. This ideals-based approach to public health makes the program a great choice for students interested in advocacy, policy, and community-engaged projects. Although St. Ambrose only offers a generalist MPH, you’ll find an ample number of electives and a flexible degree path that allows you to customize your curriculum based on their goals and interests. Notably, St. Ambrose also offers an MSW-MPH dual degree path. This path prepares students to work in public health at every level including clinical and direct-service settings.

MPH students at St. Ambrose benefit from experienced instructors who also teach in-person classes at the St. Ambrose campus. This offers students a direct connection to the networking and community engagement opportunities available to traditional students. Online public health graduate students also participate in an in-person practicum with a public health project in their community. These practicums offer real-world experience, the chance to connect with local public health leaders, and often lead to job offers after graduation.

Specializations:

  • MSW-MPH Dual Degree
  • Generalist

Program Options:

  • Accelerated
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • Accelerated BA/BS to MPH

Boston University

A red rectangle with a white border contains the text "Boston University" in capital white letters.

Boston University’s online MPH program takes an innovative approach to curriculum design that offers flexibility for working professionals and an emphasis on skills-based learning. Rather than the traditional credit structure, the MPH at Boston University consists of six online modules organized around different skills and disciplines. Students complete one module at a time and have the choice to take breaks in between each section. Instead of paying per credit, students pay a flat fee of $24,000 for the degree program, regardless of how long it takes to complete. Full-time students typically finish their degree in two years, but you’ll also have a part-time option that gives you up to five years to complete your coursework.

Boston University takes considerable pains to ensure students have opportunities to connect with each other and network with faculty and industry experts. Each week, students can attend live virtual coffee hours with school and public health leadership to learn more about important subjects in the field. Although all coursework is asynchronous, Boston University faculty lead optional live sessions each week where students can ask questions and dig more deeply into course content.

Specializations:

  • Health Equity
  • Public Health Practice
  • Generalist

Program Options:

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

Lucrative Public Health Careers for MPH Graduates

An MPH is a versatile degree that can prepare you for roles in clinical care, research settings, advocacy, administration, or community projects at home and abroad. Because your degree gives you so many options, it is important to select a degree path that matches your long-term goals.

Although passion for an emphasis is an important factor, don’t forget to include your future earning potential in your calculations. We’ve done some of the heavy lifting on that front and offered a few examples of the average pay in different public health careers below.

Community Health

These careers can be extremely fulfilling for people who want to have a direct, positive impact on the health of their community. Although many careers in social work, organizing, and advocacy are available with a bachelor’s degree, the pay isn’t always great, and the opportunities for advancement are limited. But with an MPH, you can level up to management and director positions in advocacy work, community health centers, or working with government organizations. By earning your MPH, you’ll develop skills to take on larger roles and amplify your impact.

Job Title Median Salary (2023) Projected Growth (2022-32) Projected Annual Job Openings (2022-32)

Health Project Manager

$110,680

9%

54,700

Community Services Director

$77,030

9%

16,000

Healthcare Social Worker

$62,940

9%

18,700

Source: O*NET OnLine, 2023

Public Health Leadership

Taking on leadership and administrative roles is another opportunity to effect change at the highest level. MPH holders with an emphasis in leadership can secure well-paid positions in hospitals, government, or private health organizations.

A leadership concentration is a great option for administrative and business minded public health students who are interested in developing and managing large projects or organizations. However, leadership doesn’t have to be all behind the scenes. You can also consider careers in outreach that allow you to work more closely with the public to share policy proposals, advocate for change, and advance your cause.

Job Title Median Salary (2023) Projected Growth (2022-32) Projected Annual Job Openings (2022-32)

Clinical Informatics Analyst

$103,800

9%

37,600

Public Affairs Director

$134,760

5% – 8%

5,400

Health Policy Analyst

$78,980

5% – 8%

6,900

Source: O*NET OnLine, 2023

Global Health

Working in global health gives you opportunities to impact public health at every level. An MPH in global health allows you to work on the ground in communities worldwide sharing important information and strategies that improve people’s lives.

Alternatively, you can opt to pursue a more research-based career analyzing data or working in a lab to help contribute to broader understandings of public health issues and generate new knowledge at the highest levels.

Job Title Median Salary (2023) Projected Growth (2022-32) Projected Annual Job Openings (2022-32)

Epidemiologist

$81,390

9%

800

Global Health Research Scientist

$100,890

9%

7,500

Environmental Health Specialist

$78,980

5% – 8%

6,900

Source: O*NET OnLine, 2023

Costs and Financial Aid for CEPH-Accredited Online MPH Programs

As we saw in the last section, earning an MPH opens the doors to many high-paying careers. But before the big paychecks start rolling in, you’ll need to figure out how to cover the cost of your degree. Begin by searching for CEPH-accredited programs; when you’re confident your program reflects highest academic quality, you can then focus on affordable MPH programs that match your budget. Online learning is also a great way to save on your degree because you can avoid relocating and cut costs on commuting and certain student fees.

Keep in mind, too, that there are options for funding your degree through scholarships, financial aid, employer reimbursement, graduate assistant positions, and fellowships. So you can get away with paying less out of pocket than a school’s advertised costs. To help you start budgeting, we’ve looked at the tuition costs of a few CEPH-accredited online MPH programs in the table below.

How Much Your Online MPH Might Cost

School Program No. of Credits Est. Resident Tuition

Old Dominion University

43

$25,757

Baylor University

42

$74,970

San Diego State University

51

$30,804