Texas is the second largest state in America in terms of population and physical area. It had the second biggest economy in in America as of 2014 and had a greater GDP than Australia and South Korea that year. Texas is known for its large store of natural resources, and for its growing economy despite the economic struggles of many neighboring states. It’s known for extremely low taxation, warm weather, growing cities and robust educational system. Along with California, it boasts the highest number of headquarters of Fortune 500 companies. In 2010 there were over 300,000 millionaires in Texas, the second-largest population of millionaires in any state in the union.
In terms of healthcare, Texas is in crisis. It ranks among the worst states in the nation in terms of quality of care, access to care, cost of care, and equity of access to care among different groups of citizens. It has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world and consistently ranks above average in obesity, and far below average in residents who regularly exercise. All this spells out the greatest need for public health professionals in America and in many ways the developed world. Here we’ve ranked the five best public health degree schools in Texas, based on the following methodology:
1) University of Texas at Austin in Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a public research school and the flagship university of the University of Texas System. It was founded in 1881, about a mile from the Texas State Capitol. It’s a gargantuan school, with over 51,300 students. Even with that massive student body it still maintains an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UT Austin offers more than 100 undergraduate and 170 graduate degrees through eighteen different schools and colleges. In 2017, USNR ranked it 56th in the nation in its National Universities Ranking list. The Texas Longhorns are extremely consistent and offer 8 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports that compete in NCAA Division I. Notable alumni of the school include Matthew McConaughey, Roger Clemens, Laura Bush, Farrah Fawcett, and many others.
UT Austin offers a bachelor’s degree program in Public Health in order to prepare students for entry-level positions in public health or to be able to go on to a certificate or graduate programs in Public Health. The program is administered through the School of Human Ecology (SoHE) and serves several student populations including those interested health careers and dual degree programs, such as medicine and public health. The degree plan includes prerequisite courses, foundational courses, core public health courses, and the student’s choice of six elective concentration areas. There are external supporters of the degree program which include GWU, School of Public Health and Health Services; UT School of Public Health (Austin, Brownsville, and Houston campuses); the Association of Schools of Public Health; the Association of Public Health Laboratories; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Workforce and Career Development; the Texas Department of State Health Services; and the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. Students interested in majoring in Public Health are offered three degree options; BS in Public Health, Public Health Honors, or an Advanced program which includes a BS and MPH (4 +1).
For more information, you can visit the University of Texas at Austin website.
2) Texas A&M School of Public Health in College Station
Texas A&M is a public research university headquartered in College Station, Texas. It was founded in 1876 and became part of the Texas A&M University System in 1948. Over 65,600 students attend the school, which has a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio. A&M confers certificates, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees through 12 colleges and schools. Its Aggies athletes compete in 18 varsity sports as a member of the Southeastern Conference in NCAA Division 1. USNR ranked it 68th among National Universities in 2017. Notable alumni include former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, astronaut Steven Swanson, seven World War II Medal of Honor winners and many others.
Texas A&M has a wealth of Public Health programs. They offer degrees in the discipline at the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral level. Students can also minor in Public Health. The Master’s program offers concentrations in epidemiology; biostatistics; environmental health; occupational safety and health; health policy and management; health promotion and community health sciences. It offers two doctoral programs: a DrPH in health promotion and community health sciences and a DrPH in epidemiology and environmental health. There are also related programs in Health Services and Health Administration. Some of these programs can be taken online, some on-campus, and in some cases, there’s hybrid delivery. Make sure to inspect the program you’re interested in for where it can be taken, and how much it costs. A&M’s MPH in Epidemiology can be completed entirely online, a rarity among top comparable Texas programs.
For more information, you can visit the Texas A&M School of Public Health website.
3) Baylor University in Waco
Baylor is a private, Baptist university based out of Waco, Texas. It serves nearly 17,000 students and has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Baylor was founded in 1845. Baylor offers certificates, in addition to Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees from 12 colleges and schools. Baylor University’s athletic teams, known as the Bears, participate in 19 intercollegiate sports and are members of the Big 12 Conference in the NCAA Division I. In their 2017 rankings, USNR ranked Baylor tied for 71st in the national universities category. Notable alumni include Willie Nelson, Robert Griffin III, Rand Paul, Brittney Griner, Ann Richards and many others. In total there are over 120,000 living alumni of Baylor.
Baylor offers a Master’s in Public Health. It has a specialization in Community Health, which emphasizes community service, research, and hands-on training. It also has an emphasis in Global Health, which is 15 credits of the overall 42 credit Master’s program. Baylor also maintains a public health study abroad program in Brazil. The program takes approximately two years. The program offers students a practice-based approach, global health opportunities, and a small faculty-student ratio. Baylor also offers a Bachelor’s in Public Health and a unique 5-year BSPH/MPH in Community Health. So far, 100% of Baylor graduates who have taken the national certification exam have succeeded in becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). There are a number of different delivery methods and prices for these programs.
For more information, you can visit the Baylor University website.
4) University of Texas at El Paso in El Paso
UTEP is a public research university and part of the University of Texas System. It was established in 1914. It’s made up of seven colleges which convey over 150 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level. Currently, there are nearly 24,000 students, and a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UTEP was the first college in the South to integrate its athletic programs. The UTEP Miners are comprised of 15 varsity teams that compete in NCAA Division 1. Notable alumni include SNL great Jack Handey, professional golfer J.P. Hayes, NFL referee Ed Hochuli, NBA star Tim Hardaway, and many others.
UTEP offers students an MPH program as well as a Graduate Certificate in Public Health program. The Certificate in Public Health is a 15-credit hour program which provides students with knowledge in core areas of public health so that they may enhance their professional knowledge or be better prepared to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health. Students who graduate with a B average or better are given consideration to continue on to the MPH degree program, although admission is not guaranteed.
The MPH program also provides students with core knowledge as well as analytical and technical skills in areas of social and behavioral sciences, health services administration and policy, environmental health and biostatistics, and epidemiology. The program consists of 42 credit hours of coursework broken down into 15 credit hours of core courses, 9 credit hours in the Hispanic and border health concentration, 6 hours of practicum, with the remaining credit hours being electives and the “culminating experience” which is a thesis or graduate research project. The MPH Graduate faculty serve as mentors for each student, with usually no more than 4 to 5 students assigned per faculty member. This allows mentors to be able to give their students individualized attention.
For more information, you can visit the University of Texas at El Paso website.
5) University of Texas at San Antonio in San Antonio
UTSA is a state research university and member of the UT System. UT offers 67 bachelor’s, 69 masters and 24 doctoral programs through nine colleges. There are nearly 29,000 students currently, and a 23:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The UTSA Roadrunners compete in 17 intercollegiate sports in NCAA Division 1, including baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and women’s volleyball. Notable alumni from UTSA include sports anchor Michelle Beadle, the NBA’s Bruce Bowen, many professional golfers, rapper Travis Scott, civil rights leader Mario Marcel Salas and many others.
UTSA offers students a Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree program for students who are interested in a career in the field of public health. There are two concentrations available for the degree: Epidemiology and Disease Control which is offered by the Department of Sociology in College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA) and the other is Health Promotion and Behavioral Science which is offered by the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD). Students of the program will benefit by gaining knowledge and skills in a number of healthcare related areas, such as biostatistics, environmental science, health behavior, epidemiology, as well as health and public administration. Graduates of the program are able to obtain entry-level employment in the field of Public Health or continue to earn graduate degrees or certificates.
For more information, you can visit the University of Texas at San Antonio website.
Another great option and deserving of an honorable mention is the University of North Texas’ School of Public Health in Fort Worth. It offers a Master of Health Administration and a Master’s in Public Health. The MPH program can be taken entirely online, which is extremely rare among comparable public health programs in Texas. Due to incomplete data, UNT School of Public Health was unable to be scored accurately, however, the data which was obtained indicated that it is just as affordable as most options in the ranking and well-liked by students who have attended.
For more information, you can visit the University of North Texas School of Public Health website.