How long does it take to get a public health degree?

George Washington University

As the US healthcare industry expands every year, now is a great time to enter the field with a degree in Public Health. Studying for the degree online provides a tremendous amount of flexibility, and allows prospective students to find a timeline to a degree that works best for their life. 

There are definitely real reasons to take classes part time and earn the degree over a series of years, such as minimizing debt by working throughout, testing out the material to make 100% sure the investment is worthwhile, but for the people who are seeking to power through the coursework and enter the healthcare sector with their improved certification should consider perusing our ranking of the top 15 Accelerated MPH programs.



On the short side, it is possible to earn an MPH within one calendar year by signing up for George Washington University’s (GWU) one year degree program. Despite the condensed time frame, the degree still contains a full 45 credits and is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health. GWU actually claims the top spot in our ranking of accelerated MPH programs, as the renowned university is rated as the 14th best graduate school for public health by the US News and World Report.

The University of Vermont is the only other institution that offers a 12 month degree program, with a 42 credit summer-to-summer timeline. The next quickest program is a 15 month sprint with Southern New Hampshire University that was crafted to align with values, practices, and functions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).

Several schools offer programs that can be finished as fast as 18 months, such as Capella University, offering concentrations in General Public Health, Management and Policy, Leadership, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Capella University is very supportive of its students and doesn’t require completion in the 18 month window, instead remaining fully flexible and allowing them the stretch out their 48 credit course load over a longer period if necessary.


Loyola University Chicago allows for its students to complete their normal 2 year, 44 credit program in 18 months by taking summer courses, and the University of New England similarly allows for students to finish their 46 credit degree in 18 months. UNE also eliminated an intimidating barrier to entry for their program by not requiring GRE scores for admission to their program.

Conversely, for the prospective learners who are unable to commit to full time study and are seeking to earn the degree over a longer period, the University of Florida allows students up to 7 years to work through their 48 credit hour program. The University of Massachusetts, ranked 14th on our list of best online MPH programs, also created ways for students to be empowered by letting them take up to four courses prior to enrolling in the MPH program, and once they are, lets part time students take as few as one class per semester.

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