Top 10 Best Online Master of Public Health Programs in Epidemiology
Epidemiology is a vital part of the field of public health. It looks at how often certain diseases and conditions occur in populations. It uses data to develop strategies to improve health outcomes and reduce disease. Epidemiologists work to:
- collect and analyze research data
- design and implement clinical research studies
- put that information together to understand and prevent common public health problems within a defined population
Epidemiology looks at several different population factors and analyzes how those factors contribute to health problems. That information is then applied to improving research, health care, and health education to better control or prevent these problems. It is complementary to biostatistics in many ways. Biostatisticians analyze medical data and statistics and see how those findings can be applied. Epidemiology relies on that data, but an epidemiologist specializes in the prevalence, cause and effect, and prevention of health problems in society.
If you are interested in working in epidemiology as a career field, you will need to obtain a masters degree. There are few, if any, undergraduate epidemiology online programs because it is a specialized field. Any career that you could get as an epidemiologist has a masters-level degree as a minimum requirement. The most common degree in the field is a Master of Public Health with a concentration or focus on epidemiology or community health. Masters programs in epidemiology are becoming more widely available, but the MPH is still the route that many students will take. As part of earning your MPH Epidemiology online degree, you will take a range of online courses that teach you how to collect medical information, analyze that information, how it can be applied, and more. You will learn about:
- research methods
- environmental and occupational health
- social determinants of health
- climate and health
Some online MS epidemiology degree programs will also allow for further concentrations based on your career goals. If this is a field that appeals to you, there are plenty of online degree options for you to earn an MPH in Epidemiology online. We’ve ranked ten of the best online epidemiology programs according to the following.
1) Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts
MPH in Epidemiology Program
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1636 and throughout its long history, it has built a reputation as one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Harvard is the oldest school in the country and is one of nine colonial colleges that were chartered before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It opened as Harvard College but became a university within its first three years of operation. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The university is renowned for its research and is one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities. There are 11 academic units that comprise Harvard, through which 46 undergraduate majors, 134 graduate degrees, and 32 professional degrees are available. Harvard has a student body of 31,120 in total, of which less than one-third are studying at the undergraduate level.
One of the best schools for epidemiology is Harvard University. Harvard University is highly residential; less than 10% of the students are participating solely in distance education programs. The Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at Harvard, though, is a program that only requires you to come to campus three times. It is a 45-credit, two-year program that has three summer intensives that each last for three weeks. Coursework is delivered online and includes case studies, modular video sessions, and interactive activities. The program culminates with a year-long supervised practicum that you design as well as a capstone project. The National Research Council rated the Harvard Chan School Department of Epidemiology as the most prolific research department in the world. Courses that you’ll take as part of this program include:
- Analytic Methods for Epidemiology
- Critical Thinking and Action for Public Health Professionals
- Health Economics and Applications to Global Health Policy
Harvard University is one of the best in the world and doesn’t offer many degree programs online, so this opportunity is incredible.
For more information, you can visit the Harvard University program website.
2) University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan
Master of Public Health in General Epidemiology
The University of Michigan is a public sea- and space-grant research university that is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is the oldest university in the state of Michigan; it opened in 1817, which was 20 years before Michigan became a state. UMich was a founding member of the Association of American Universities and is recognized as one of the nation’s premier research institutions. It has made significant contributions to the medical field, including the EKG and the gastroscope, two crucial diagnostic tools. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and holds an additional 22 program-specific accreditations in a range of fields including law and public health. There are 18 colleges and schools that comprise UMich, through which it offers almost 300 different programs of study to over 46,000 students. It also has one of the largest alumni bases in the world, with over half a million living alumni. Notable graduates of the university include Larry Page, Gerald Ford, and more.
University of Michigan’s School of Public Health offers a hybrid MPH program in General Epidemiology. For students who are entering the program with a doctoral degree, it will only require 42 credits and can be completed in roughly 18 months; for a typical student that doesn’t already hold a doctoral degree, it is a 60-credit program that can be completed in two years. The General Epidemiology program is designed to emphasize the basic principles of epidemiology and teach students to apply that to the study of health in human populations. Additional tracks are also offered at UMich as well. The Hospital & Molecular Epidemiology track puts a focus on lab methods; the Global Health Epidemiology track takes a more interdisciplinary approach and gives students the skill and perspective they need to work anywhere in the world; the Occupational & Environmental Health Epidemiology track is for those who want to study the health impacts of exposures to chemical pollutants and non-chemical stressors.
For more information, you can visit the University of Michigan program website.
3) University of California – Berkeley, California
Online MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
The University of California, Berkeley is a public land-grant research university located in Berkeley, California. It is the flagship institution of the University of California System, and it was initially established in 1868. It can trace its roots back to the College of California and the Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College, which merged to create UC Berkeley. It was the state’s first full-curriculum public university. The inaugural class was just 40 students, but the university has grown to serve nearly 42,000. The university is highly recognized for its research, UC Berkeley researchers have played roles in discovering more chemical elements of the periodic table than any other university worldwide, a total of 16. The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission and offers degrees from the bachelors level and up. There are 350 programs available.
UC Berkeley offers an online MPH Epidemiology and Biostatistics program. It is a two-year program that emphasizes essential skills in both fields and strives to give students a diverse background on which they can build their careers. This program was specifically designed for someone who is studying these subjects for the first time, so if you’ve only completed your undergraduate degree thus far, this program will be a good fit for you.
This program serves as a terrific point of entry for students that may not meet competitive requirements for admission into some epidemiology graduate programs. Core course offerings include:
- Epidemiologic Methods
- Epidemiological Analysis
- Intro to Data Management and Programming
Students can also choose unique elective course offerings like:
- Infectious Disease Modeling
- Social Epidemiology
- Outbreak Investigation
There is an opportunity to take more advanced courses if you feel like you have mastered the basic knowledge in the field. Over the course of the program, you will investigate the history and clinical course of disease and the statistical methods used to determine and analyze risk factors in health outcomes.
For more information, you can visit the University of California, Berkeley program website.
4) University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida
MPH in Public Health Practice Online
The University of Florida is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university based in Gainesville, Florida. It is the third-largest university in the state of Florida based on enrollment and ranks among the top ten largest institutions in the country with a total of 52,669 students. UF is the result of consolidating four other institutions, which were the:
- East Florida Seminary
- Florida Agricultural College
- St. Petersburg Normal
- Industrial School
- South Florida Military College
The oldest of the predecessors was founded in 1853, and the consolidation took place in 1905. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Degrees are offered at all levels including associates, bachelors, masters, doctorate, and several different certificates. Hundreds of academic programs are offered through the university, which comprises 16 colleges and schools and operates an excess of 150 research centers.
The University of Florida offers an online masters in epidemiology focused on public health practice. The program is designed for health professionals with a doctorate in a health-related field or those who have been working in a public health setting for several years. While not specifically an epidemiology degree online, the program includes core courses required by all Master of Public Health students followed by electives in their area of interest. Course offerings include:
- Epidemiology of Infectious Disease
- Epidemiology and Biology of Chronic Disease
- Zoonotic Diseases in Humans and Animals
All students complete an applied practice experience to apply their public health skills and knowledge. This experience usually takes place during the student’s last semester and runs in tandem with the capstone project.
For more information, you can visit the University of Florida program website.
5) University of South Carolina – Columbia, South Carolina
Online MPH in Epidemiology
The University of South Carolina was founded in 1801. South Carolina has over 350 degree programs including accelerated and dual degree programs. In the fall of 2022, there were over 35,000 students including almost 6,500 graduate students. The University of South Carolina is known for their diversity-focused programs and organizations. South Carolina is also recognized by The Carnegie Foundation as an RI university for their “very high research activity.”
The University of South Carolina is the state’s most comprehensive health science teaching and research university. The Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina offers one of the best epidemiology programs in the nation. The program is fully CEPH accredited. Courses are taught be renowned faculty who have a broad spectrum of expertise in a variety of public health areas. Course offerings cover areas like:
- population health research protocol development
Epidemiology students complete 100% asynchronous coursework. They have opportunities to gain experience in a public health practice setting during an applied practicum experience. Students also have the opportunity to participate in public health research. The epidemiology program is a great choice for students with a background in areas like environmental and occupational health, health sciences, and global health. Graduates have the skill set needed to work as public health professionals in organizations like the World Health Organization and the federal government.
For more information, you can visit the University of South Carolina program website.
6) Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia
Executive Master of Public Health in Applied Epidemiology
Emory University is a private research university in Atlanta, Georgia, specifically the Druid Hills area. In 1836, Emory College was founded, and it went on to be rechartered as Emory University in 1915. Shortly after becoming Emory University, the school was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The university is among the oldest private institutions of higher education in the country. Emory is highly recognized for its research, especially pertaining to the medical field. It has been classified as an R1 institution, the highest distinction awarded by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The university houses the most extensive healthcare system in the state of Georgia, which includes the internationally recognized Emory University Hospital. The university has partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society and is the headquarters for the International Association of National Public Health Institutes. Emory University comprises nine colleges and schools through which is offers programs from the bachelors level and up. There are roughly 14,000 students in attendance.
Emory University offers an online MPH in Applied Epidemiology or Prevention Science. The Applied Epidemiology program requires just two on-campus sessions throughout its duration. It is a 42-credit program that typically takes three years to complete, but students have the option to take fewer courses at a time which stretches the program out over three years. Students are only admitted to the program in the fall. This program is geared towards those who expect to work in a practice-based setting and will include a practicum of 200-400 hours that you can complete somewhere local to you, as well as a presentation based on the practicum you completed. This program requires a thesis. Graduates are well prepared to work in a variety of settings including state, federal, and global public health agencies. The EMPH is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.
For more information, you can visit the Emory University program website.
7) Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas
MPH in Epidemiology Online
Texas A&M University is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university that is headquartered in College Station, Texas. The school was initially established in 1871 and then began enrolling students in 1876. During the first semester, enrollment slowly grew to 48 students. Now, TAMU has upheld the old saying that everything is bigger in Texas because it is the largest university by enrollment in the entire country and serves just under 68,000 students. The main campus in College Station is also one of the largest in the country, spanning over 5,000 acres. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The university awards degrees at the bachelors, masters, and doctorate levels along with a selection of certificates. There are around 150 courses of study from which to choose, which are offered through the ten academic divisions that fall under TAMU.
Texas A&M University is home to the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, through which it provides students access to innovative research opportunities and cutting-edge education. The Health Science Center encompasses five colleges, including the School of Public Health. The online MPH in Epidemiology at TAMU is unique because it doesn’t include any on-campus meetings, you can complete the degree program in a fully-online format. In exceptional circumstances, certain statistics courses may need to be taken online via the main campus because they are not offered every semester. The typical full-time student completes the program in two years, but there is also a part-time option for those of you who require a more flexible approach to earning your degree. This program includes a practicum that can be completed locally.
For more information, you can visit the Texas A&M University program website.
8) University of Southern California – Los Angeles, California
Online MPH in Epidemiology
The University of Southern California is a private sea- and space-grant research university that is located in Los Angeles, California. USC was the first private research university to be established in California in 1880. At that time, it was affiliated with the Methodist Church, but they severed formal ties in the year 1952. The university is ranked among the top five worldwide for the most billionaire alumni. Graduates have gone on to form companies like Lucasfilm, Intuit, Qualcomm, and more. USC comprises 19 colleges and schools, including the School of Cinematic Arts which is the oldest and largest film school in America as well as the Thornton School of Music, one of the most highly regarded in the country. As a whole, the university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission. There are nearly 100 undergraduate majors and 150 minors offered along with over 100 graduate-level programs. USC has close to 46,000 students.
The University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine offers an online Master of Public Health in Biostatistics and Epidemiology, allowing you to cultivate an understanding of both fields and expand your professional prospects. You can also earn an MPH in Community Health Promotion. The program is 100% online and consists of 43 credits. There are three start dates which are in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. You also have the opportunity to complete your practicum anywhere in the world, so you wouldn’t have to relocate at all to complete the program. Students of the program will experience cutting-edge coursework that immerses them in the real-life application of what they’re learning, going the extra mile to prepare them to enter their professional lives. Online MPH students also receive the same highly-personalized academic advising, specialized practicum advising, and career counseling as campus-based students.
For more information, you can visit the University of Southern California program website.
9) University of South Florida – Tampa, Florida
Online MPH in Epidemiology
The University of South Florida is a public space-grant research university in Tampa, Florida. USF was the first state university that was conceived, planned, and built in the 20th century; it was initially founded in 1956. Despite claiming 1956 as the year of its founding, the university wasn’t even named until the following year and classes didn’t begin until 1960. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges accredited the university in 1965. There are more than 43,000 students at USF, enrolled across 14 colleges and schools. There are over 200 programs of study available at the university, which awards degrees at the associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorate levels. The University of South Florida is most known for its research. It is considered in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation and ranks fifth in the nation and tenth worldwide for the number of patents granted. It is a member of both the University of South Florida System and the State University System of Florida.
The University of South Florida offers a fully-online MPH in Epidemiology through its College of Public Health. This is a 42-credit program that can be completed in two years of full-time study or two and a half years of part-time study. The curriculum of the program was designed to equip epidemiology students with the knowledge and skills that they need to evaluate community health, examine research, and formulate health-related intervention strategies to produce better outcomes in a community. Courses include Population Assessment, Categorical Data Analysis, and History & Systems of Public Health among others. The majority of the classes are presented asynchronously, allowing you to work at your own pace and according to your schedule. There are a few courses that are synchronous, requiring you to participate in scheduled lectures and other events. USF has designed this program to be flexible, collaborative, and comprehensive.
For more information, you can visit the University of South Florida program website.
10) George Washington University – Washington, DC
MPH with a concentration in Epidemiology and Public Health Research Methods
George Washington University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. George Washington called for a university to be founded in the United State capital, which resulted in the United States Congress chartering the university in 1821. It opened as Columbian College, becoming Columbian University in 1873 when it was granted university status. Due to an agreement with the George Washington Memorial Association that they would build a campus, the name was changed to George Washington University. Funds to build the campus weren’t successfully raised, but the institution kept the name. GWU is one of only five universities that were established by congressional charter, and it is the largest research university in Washington D.C. The university is comprised of 14 colleges and schools, several of them holding specialized accreditation. As a whole, GWU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. There are roughly 28,000 students at GWU, enrolled in degree programs from the associates to doctorate level.
The Milken Institute School of Public Health has ranked among the top 20 public health graduate schools in America according to U.S. News & World Report. The online MPH at George Washington University is one of the most flexible. It can be completed in a traditional full-time pace, an accelerated pace with an 18-month or one-year option, or you can attend on a part-time basis that fits into your schedule. Regardless of your preferred track, you will move through the program in a cohort. The program is tailored to your career-specific interests and goals through electives that you select. Examples of the epidemiology courses available are Evaluation of Nutrition Program, Epidemiologic Based Strategies for Global Infectious Disease Control, and Introduction to Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology. You can also opt for an interdisciplinary approach and explore classes like Cost-Effectiveness in Health Promotion Programs or Qualitative Research Methods In Public Health.
For more information, you can visit the George Washington University program website.
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