Best Online Doctorate in Public Health

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Best Online Doctorates Public Health

In the midst of multiple public health crises, it makes sense that you might be considering going as far as you can go in the field of public health. Getting a terminal degree in this career path can put you at the front lines of decision making and leadership that can help shape a healthier and more just future for so many people. Not to mention, The projection for leadership positions is expected to grow progressively. For example, epidemiologists are expected to have a five percent increase in job availability between 2018 and 2020. Similar statistics are the case for biostatisticians and medical scientists. So, to clear up any possible confusion, this is definitely a predictable and important field worth pursuing. If you are interested in achieving an online public health Phd, you have found a great place to start. One of the things about a doctorate in public health that is different from other degrees in the field is you will most likely hyper focus on one specialization in the field. This will inform your career path.  We have sourced the best online PhD programs in public health for you, by using the following metrics for our ranking:

  • Cost
  • Reputation
  • Rate of success

If you are interested in the steps that lead to a doctorate in public health you can take a look at the best master of public health degrees and or the best bachelors in public health to kickstart this new career path. Studying online can offer a great deal of flexibility for a self directed learner. In fact, many people choose to continue working full time in the field or otherwise while completing their studies.

Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Health offers a DrPH program in public health, also known as a doctor in public health. This is considered a professional degree path for people who want to advance their career options to leadership roles in the field. Students will be thoroughly prepared for a career path in teaching, administration, or practice with a conceptual and analytical framework. There are three concentrations for students to choose from which include: environmental health, health promotion and community sciences, and epidemiology. They anticipate that each prospective student will already be a practitioner in some form and able to conduct effective research. All students will be required to participate in 31 credit hours worth of core coursework, which require a variety of seminars. The students’ concentration will take 12-15 credit hours. Each student will participate in a dissertation that culminates the program. 

Degree Title: DrPH – 3 Concentrations


UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health offers a public health degree online. This course of study is technically an executive online doctor of public health with a heavy emphasis on health leadership. They have a strong commitment to training the leaders of tomorrow in a field that is ultimately shaping a healthy future. The program is designed for students who have a minimum of five years of professional post masters experience in the field. They ensure that at least one third of each cohort come from underrepresented communities, many of which live outside of the United States. Over the course of two years students will convene virtually for a weekly meeting, and there will be five to six on campus requirements to enhance the work that is being done virtually. They pride themselves on being one of the first institutions of higher learning to engage mid career professionals in an online public health phd program. 

Degree Title: Executive DrPH


University of Georgia School of Public Health

The University of Georgia School of Public Health out of Athens Georgia offers a public health doctorate online. Prospective students should have an interest in either a career in applied research or academic teaching in public health. Students should have already completed a minimum of 3 years of professional experience post masters in public health. They prioritize diversity and inclusion when choosing students for the program. The student body is made up of people who are employed by non-profit organizations, the environmental protection agency, and the center for disease control. The entire degree path is made up of 57 credit hours of post masters coursework. They consider their course delivery to be an executive style, which means students take two classes per semester. A minimum of a B grade is required to pass the program. The entire course of study should be completed in four years. 

Degree Title: DrPH

The Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus offers an online doctorate of Philosophy program that can be completed entirely online. Though the coursework is delivered online, students will have some residency requirements after completing the first 30 credit hours of the program. They are transfer friendly, however, a minimum of 24 credits must be completed through Ohio State. There are five concentrations for which students can choose in the department that include: environmental public health, health services management and policy, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and an interdisciplinary phd in biostatistics. Every student must choose a concentration to qualify for admittance. They view their students as colleagues who are here to make significant contributions to the field of public health. Prospective students should apply through the graduate programs page of their website. 

Degree Title: PhD – 5 Concentrations

The School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health offers four online phd programs in public health. The program specializations include: epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, and health services, research, policy and administration. All of the programs are designed to cater to research heavy disciplines in the field of public health. They are committed to creating competitive professionals who can conduct original research and be active collaborators on a team. Political, financial and social elements of the public health will be heavily addressed in the health services, research, policy, and administration track. There are many aspects of this program that support an effective career in the discipline as well as extensive networking opportunities. They also offer a master of public health program with similar disciplines and interesting outcomes. They also offer executive working degrees that are geared towards working professionals. 

Degree Title: PhD – 4 Concentrations

The School of Public Health at the University of Michigan offers an online public health PhD program through the Rackham Graduate School for Various SPH programs. Students will generally take six terms to complete the entire course of study. Students will conduct their own original research throughout the program. A required dissertation will culminate the program, tying together what the students have accomplished. There are many public health options at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and the PhD can be connected to most of them. This includes: biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health management and policy, nutritional sciences, and health informatics. There are some financial aid options for the program and costs should be confirmed with the registar. The coursework in this program is designed to be flexible enough for students to continue working while participating in the program. 

Degree Title: PhD

The School of Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health offers an online phd program in public health. They offer eight distinct concentrations in the field including: behavioral and community health, biostatistics and bioinformatics, epidemiology, health services, maternal and child health, family science, kinesiology, and environmental health sciences. They are all designed to be flexible courses of study for professionals already working in the field who are wanting to deepen their specialized practice. All of the concentrations are research heavy with collaborative aspects that bring students into leadership roles in the field. Human populations are heavily covered in all of the coursework and the ways prevention, health, and safety can be implemented in communities. They have over 2,500 students scattered throughout all of the 25 programs. 

Degree Title: PhD – 8 Concentrations


SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health

SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Public Health in Brooklyn New York offers an online public health Phd Program. Students will learn critical research skills and practices that include problem solving for complex issues. Students can transfer in up to 15 credit hours from another institution as long as it is accredited by the Council for Education of Public Health. This course of study is designed to be flexible enough for students to complete the coursework while maintaining additional field work or careers in public health. They encourage students to re-apply if they have been rejected in the past, as they do accept some re-applicants. Applications are submitted through the ApplyYourself system for applications. Applications heavily weight the three letters of recommendation that are required and the personal statement written by the applicant. There is an onsite requirement for the application interview. 

Degree Title: DrPH

The University of California Irvine Program in Public Health offers an online public health Phd Program. There are two distinct concentrations associated with this program including disease prevention and global health. Many faculty members also contribute work to the environmental health sciences program. Students can complete the program in 4 or 5 years. There are four specific modules which include the sequence: preparatory, elective- which includes electives and the generation of research hypothesis, research module-this includes the building of skills related to methodology, and the final module which is the culminating dissertation defense. Prospective students must have a 3.0 GPA minimum from their previous academic experience. Transcripts are required. Students are also required to submit GRE scores as well as a minimum of three letters of recommendation. The statement of purpose is a heavily weighted aspect of the application process. 

Degree Title: PhD – 2 Concentrations

The University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle Washington, offers a fully online public health Phd program. The intention of this program is to offer critical academic skills that have significant rigor and attention towards a successful career in the field. They have ten specific concentrations including: public health genetics, pathobiology, nutritional sciences, health services, global health metrics and implementation science, epidemiology, environmental toxicology, environmental and occupational hygiene, statistical genetics pathway, and biostatistics. Students will gain the underpinnings of large and small public health inquiries while seeking research based solutions to solving complex problems. Students will have many opportunities to collaborate with one another as they work through the program. Like all of the public health programs at the University of Washington School of Public Health, there are many opportunities for students to practice their work with experiential learning options. 

Degree Title: PhD – 10 Concentrations

Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health in Bloomington offers an online public health phd program that is specifically in Public Health and Global Health Leadership. This virtual doctor of public health program aims to address the biggest public health challenges of our time. Even though it is a distance program, they still employ the cohort model, ensuring that students will have the necessary community experience to collaborate and engage discussions that build on a framework of public health. They emphasize collaboration in all aspects of the program. The entire course of study is made up of 45 credit hours. There are three requirements per year for students to come to campus and connect face to face. This is only for the first two years of the program. The third and final year consists of the culminating dissertation and extensive fieldwork. 

Degree Title: DrPh in Global Health Leadership

The University of South Florida College of Public Health in Tampa, Florida offers an online public health Phd program. This doctor of public health trains students to engage in leadership roles in a variety of public health disciplines. There are two concentrations, which include Public Health and Clinical Laboratory Service and Practice and Advanced Practice Leadership in Public Health. Students will be trained to effectively work in practice based settings including non profit organizations, health departments, international agencies, health service, and organizations that are community based. Students will study the foundations associated with participating in evidenced informed practice that includes the development and implementation of such programs. There are some on campus requirements, so it is not a good fit for students who do not live within the area. 

Degree Title: DrPH

The School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers a doctor of public health program with four distinct concentrations including: biostatistics, maternal and child health policy, health care organizations and policy, and a concentration in outcomes research. For all of their online options, the courses are delivered in an asynchronous format, making it easy for ultimate flexibility. The University of Alabama has a public health network made up of alumni scattered throughout the country, which supports students to find internships and for graduates to connect with new colleagues in the field. The faculty members in the program work hard to make themselves available to their students, and maintain a low student to faculty ratio. Each year new leaders in the field of public health come out of this program and enter the associated disciplines to create real change in local and global communities. 

Degree Title: DrPH – 4 Concentrations

The School of Public Health at Rutgers offers an online Phd program in public health.  This distinct course of study has five specialized concentrations including: environmental and occupational health, biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, and health systems and policy. One of the exciting aspects about attending Rutgers for a terminal degree program is that you can take advantage of their ample fellowship opportunities and extensive research funding options. They are interested in accepting students that seem to be a good fit for faculty research projects that are already in the works. This course of study requires the completion of at least 72 credit hours. All students will be required to complete written and oral exams and must participate in the program on a full time basis. Each student will have their dissertation archived. 

Degree Title: PhD- 5 Concentrations 

The Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University offers a doctor or public health program that is known for being a gateway to some of the most critical networking opportunities in the field. They have five distinct concentrations that students can choose between, which include: environmental health sciences, biostatistics, sociomedical sciences, and population and family health, epidemiology. The disciplines might each have their own required prerequisites; for example, the biostatistics concentration requires students to have a significant amount of calculus coursework completed prior to matriculating into the program. Leadership is one of the program focal points in this course of study, as they are determined to give students all of the skills to lead in a myriad of public health disciplines. Prospective students must already have a master of public health under their belts with extensive coursework and field experience.

Degree Title: DrPH – 5 Concentrations

The University of North Texas health Science Center School of Public Health offers a  Phd program in Public Health and Health Sciences with some coursework that is delivered online. This course of study trains professionals in the field to be leaders in specialized aspects of public health. They have two concentration tracks including health behavioral research and epidemiology. Students will be required to accomplish nine hours of coursework each semester. All of the classes have a heavy research and fieldwork component, which means that students will not have time to have employment outside of the program. The entire program should be completed in 5-7 years. Students will start the program each fall, and will not be allowed entrance any other time of year. Students can focus research on: biostatistical application, chronic disease and epidemiology, environmental epidemiology, health behavioral research, health services research, and maternal and child health. 

Degree Title: PhD – 2 Concentrations

The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans offers a Phd Program in public health with online programming options. They have three specializations that students can choose between including: epidemiology, behavioral and community health, and biostatistics. This doctor of philosophy with an emphasis on community health was brought to fruition after approval from the board of regents in 2010. The course of study is actually delivered by the behavioral and community health sciences program which is part of the LSUHSC School of Public Health. A minimum of 60 credit hours are required for completion of the program. There are some competitive assistantships and internships that are options for a select number of full time students in the program. Each student will have to complete at least 27 core curriculum credits. 

Degree Title: PhD – 3 Concentrations

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health offers a doctoral program in public health through Emory’s Laney Graduate School. Many of the specializations offer online coursework. Prospective students can choose between a variety of program specializations including: epidemiology, behavioral, social and health education sciences, biostatistics, nutrition and health sciences, and the program in health services research and health policy. The programs all, in their own way, tackle the most imperative public health issues of our time. This includes topics such as nutrition and general wellness to looking at some of society’s deepest ailments. They prioritize community building and collaborative efforts to solve such large scale problems with the tools to conduct effective and timely research methods. Every student that is admitted to the program is eligible for a merit based package that is unique to them and their circumstance. 

Degree Title: PhD – 6 Concentrations

The New York University Global Institute of Public Health in New York city offers a rigorous public health doctorate degree program. The faculty members in the program include NYU’s own global and interdisciplinary network of researchers and experts on issues that pertain to public health. Students will have opportunities to tailor their academic work to their personal academic and career interests. This includes such topics as public health policy and management, epidemiology, and social and behavioral sciences. Prospective students must have the prerequisite of an undergraduate degree and a post professional degree in a related field with good references. All of the applications will be looked at in terms of compatibility for the program and not in terms of the concentration that interests the student. Students will typically complete the program within 4 to 5 years, however, they have a total of 7 years to finish. 

Degree Title: PhD

West Virginia University School of Public Health in Morgantown, West Virginia offers a Phd program in public health sciences with many online components. This program has an emphasis on healthcare and its many implications. Some focal points include population health, public health education, and a variety of practice and policy connections. Graduates of the program are the future leaders of the field of public health, including researchers and advocacy experts. Students in the program will be required to remain in good academic standing throughout the course of study. They must also take required classes that will be specified as well as electives that match their interests. All students will also participate in a practicum related to teaching, as well as graduate seminaries, a qualifying exam, and a dissertation that includes research rotations. They offer three rotations for students to choose between, including occupational and environmental health sciences, epidemiology, and social and behavioral sciences. 

Degree Title: PhD

Loma Linda University School of Public Health offers a Doctor of Public Health program with distance options. They have three specialized programs including preventative care, health education, health policy & education. The entire course of study is a minimum of 50 credit units. If students study on a full time basis they can complete all of the program requirements in a minimum of two years. As Loma Linda is a faith based institution, the program is no different. In fact, nine religion credits are required in an effort for students to heighten their spiritual experience. Prospective students should have a minimum of a 3.5 GPA from a fully accredited MPH program, with satisfactory GRE scores. Though they do not require students to have a religious affiliation, they require students to adhere to a code of conduct that is in line with modesty and abstinence of drugs and alcohol.  

Degree Title: DrPH – 3 Concentrations

The University of Kentucky College of Public Health offers a doctor of public health program with many online options. They have both a Phd In epidemiology and biostatistics and a Phd in gerontology. Both paths of study are easily tailored to the students interests and goals. Their faculty members are all actively engaged in scholarly work and are able to offer cutting edge course delivery and research skills. They are one of the oldest public health programs in the country, and therefore, they have ironed out the kinks and have made a name for themselves in the field. Both programs take a deep look at population health and the ways different factors impact the entire population including the ways people age. Diversity and inclusion are important aspects of their mission that run through all of their programming. 

Degree Title: DrPh

Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences offers a Phd in Public Health that can be completed with some online coursework. It is notable in the area, as it is the only public health phd program in public health in the state of Oregon. They offer five unique concentrations including in: health promotion and health behavior, environmental and occupational health, health policy, epidemiology, and global health. Each program has its own point person that can be contacted directly for questions. Many students find this program because they are interested in leadership roles in the field of public health, and they are known for their high caliber of research. Prospective students must have a masters degree in a related field. Without an MPH they must first take some prerequisite courses before taking the higher level classes. 

Degree Title: PhD – 5 Concentrations

The Dartmouth College for Health Policy and Clinical Practice offers a PhD in Health Policy and Clinical Practice with some distance options. This is an excellent program for many reasons, but especially for those who are trying to achieve a leadership or research position that deals with the policy end of public health. They pride themselves on the interdisciplinary approach to public health that brings together the most current theories and methodologies. The faculty are experts in a variety of disciplines that are connected to public health including decision science, clinical medicine, economics, health services research, epidemiology, political science, geography, sociology, public health, and psychology. Graduates have contributed to the public health field in a variety of ways; some of their recent dissertation topics include Treatment Decision Making in Multi-Vessel Coronary Artery Disease and Patient-Centered Communication About Early Abortion Methods in the United States. 

Degree Title: PhD

The School of Public Health and Information Sciences at The University of Louisville offers a doctor of public health program with some online options. The program has a specialization of health management and policy. Within that specialization they have two concentrations including Health Policy Research and Health Organization Research. Students will learn the most effective research methodologies that are relevant to the current moment. Students will also learn how to navigate some of the most pressing issues of our time with the outcome of achieving an academic or research career upon graduation. The entire course of study is 51 credit hours in length and should be able to be completed in two years with additional time for the dissertation component. They look for prospective students to be team collaborators and be confident investigators. All students must apply through the graduate school. 

Degree Title: PhD – 2 Concentrations

Why Should I Get a DPH?

If you are considering getting a doctorate in public health there are many things to think about before you make a big life decision such as this. Do you already have a masters in public health? A doctor of public health is a terminal degree that will enable you to go as far as you possibly can in the discipline. Doctor of public health degrees generally have specific concentrations that enable students to go deeply into a specialization that interests them. In many cases, prospective students have already been working in the realm that they are choosing to dive deeper within. Many people choose this degree path, because they are interested in leadership roles that may include running organizations and participating in large scale research projects. A doctorate in public health can also make it more possible to impact policy and work within the systems to create change. Many times the real reason people choose to engage in a public health doctorate is because they are hitting roadblocks with their mph and realize if they take their education one step farther they can make a bigger impact. 

How Do I Choose a Doctorate Program in Public Health?

There are many things to look at when considering doctorate programs in public health. You want to ensure that you are picking a program that offers what you specifically need to further your role in the field and give you the necessary tools to be as employable as possible. Some things to take a microscope to include the faculty you would be working with. You want to make sure that they are not only experts in their fields, but that they are accessible for extensive mentorship opportunities. You will notice many programs even give students an opportunity to work as research colleagues alongside their faculty members, which is an experience that can not only give you the research tools to be an effective leader in the field, but also make a valuable contribution. You want to ensure that you will be given as many experiential learning opportunities as possible. Getting your hands dirty in your public health doctorate program will make all the difference when it comes to gaining employment within your specialization in the future. This leads me to my last point, which is networking and job connections. This is a critical component of a program that does it’s job. It should offer valuable networking opportunities, that in many cases build lifelong colleagues in the field. 

How Much Can I Make with a Doctorate in Public Health? 

The public health Phd salary range is huge, as I’m sure you can imagine. There are so many places you can take this degree, so your specialization will make a big difference here. The average salary for phd in public health according to payscale is $85,000. The higher salary ranges include professions like executive directors, chief science officers, and clinical laboratory directors. A chief science officer makes something to the tune of $170,000. The lower edge of this range is the category of assistant professor, which makes something near $70,000 and epidemiologist, which makes something near $76,000.


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