Public health professionals with a Master’s in Public Health and want to advance their career might consider earning an online doctorate public health degree. Graduates with an online doctorate programs in public health have the skills needed to:
- conduct research
- teach and provide health education
- provide consulting services
are successful in careers such as teaching, researching or providing consulting services in the field. A doctorate in public health online can take between four and six years to complete but, it can pay great dividends. The Association of Schools of Public Health suggests that the demand for public health professionals has never been higher. Earning a DrPH or PhD in Public Health is going to open many different career doors for you so you can rise up and meet that demand.
Choosing to pursue a public health doctorate online in lieu of a face-to-face program can help you to complete your degree faster and more affordably without sacrificing the rigor and depth of your courses. At this time, only a limited number of online doctoral programs in public health exist, only five at the doctoral level. In the following ranking, you can read about those public health programs that are out there in the order of which ones give you the best education and value. All the public health programs were ranked according to the following methodology:
1) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Doctor of Public Health Online
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university and the flagship institution of the University of North Carolina System. It was originally founded in 1789 and took in students as early as 1795; however, it was a men’s only institution until 1877. UNC Chapel Hill is one of the oldest universities in the country and was the first public university to be chartered under the Constitution. It managed to stay open throughout the Civil War because many of its students were pardoned from the draft but it did close from 1870 to 1875. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Several of its professors are Nobel Prize winners and some of the 300,000 living alumni have gone on to be politicians, award-winning entertainers and authors, business leaders, and athletes.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a primarily online Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership. The program is ideal for those in mid to senior level positions with their eyes set on higher-level positions. The DrPH is offered as a three-year distance learning program. During the first two years, students complete coursework requirements. The remaining time in the public health leadership program is spent working on a dissertation.
While course requirements can be completed online, there is a residency component to the program. Students participate in six, five-day sessions on campus over the course of two years. One of these six site visits may be held at an international or alternative location in the US.
One of the strengths of the program is the unique background each student brings to the table. While some students may already be experts in some areas of the curriculum, all students take the same series of courses. Students move through the program in a cohort, sharing their knowledge and expertise with each other. Course offerings include:
- Fundamentals of Research Analysis
- Health Policy Analysis and Advocacy for Leaders
- Program Evaluation for Health Leaders
All students complete a practicum approved by their program director. The practicum must cover foundation or concentration-specific competencies.
For more information, you can visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill program website.
2) Johns Hopkins University
Online Doctor of Public Health Program
Johns Hopkins University is a private research university that’s home to almost 24,000 students. The majority of its students live on campus in Baltimore, Maryland. It was founded in 1876 and revolutionized education in the United States. JHU was one of the first institutions to integrate teaching and research in one curriculum. The university was one of the founding members of one of the most prestigious organizations in higher education, the Association of American Universities. Johns Hopkins is organized into 10 different academic divisions, one of which is The Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Bloomberg School is the oldest school of public health in the world as well as the largest. Since its inception in 1916, it has been regarded as one of the leaders in the field.
The Doctor of Public Health online program offered at Johns Hopkins University comes from one of the best schools of public health in the world. It is offered on a part-time basis and is almost completely online. Students who wish to complete their degree faster can talk to the program director to arrange to complete it at a full-time pace instead. Students will have to participate in summer and winter institutes for their first and second year. on campus. New students are admitted into cohorts during the summer semester, the program commences with the first institute. Outside of that, all of the coursework (even for concentration-specific classes) can be completed online.
The Doctor of Public Health at JHU is one of the most robust public health doctoral programs online. There are 11 different concentrations and tracks available to students. Some of these include:
- Health Policy and Management
- Women’s and Reproductive Health
- Environmental Health
- Global Health: Policy and Evaluation
Most students must complete 57 credit hours of coursework along with a proposal/thesis and a practicum experience. While there are over 400 students in the program, each cohort is comprised of only 90 to 110 students.
Applicants should have a Master’s in Public Health or another health-related master’s degree from an accredited institution. Students are expected to have at least three years of professional, full-time experience in public health practice before the application deadline. Standardized test scores are not required as part of the admission process.
Earning a DrPH from JHU doesn’t have to break the bank. Financial aid opportunities are available including the Bloomberg American Health Initiative DrPH Fellowship.
For more information, you can visit the Johns Hopkins University program website.
3) Indiana University-Bloomington
Online Doctoral Program in Global Health Leadership, DrPH
Generally referred to as just IU Bloomington, Indiana University Bloomington is a public research university with its main campus in the city of Bloomington, Indiana. It is the flagship institution of its system, and also the largest by enrollment with just under 50,000 students. IU Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is one of America’s Public Ivy institutions. It was founded in 1820 as the State Seminary and has since grown into one of the top schools in the country in a variety of fields. Students can earn degrees at the associates, bachelors, masters, and doctoral levels; there are also several different types of certificates available. IU Bloomington is divided into the
- Jacobs School of Music
- School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
- Kelley School of Business
- School of Public Health
- School of Nursing
- School of Optometry
- School of Public and Environmental Affairs
- Maurer School of Law
- School of Education
- Media School
- School of Global and International Studies
Indiana University Bloomington offers a Doctor of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health Leadership. This program is a synchronous three-year program that you would take alongside a cohort and faculty from all around the world. Face-to-face meetings are required three times in the first and second year; the third year is dedicated to completing your dissertation or field-based project. All students of any of the 115 online programs offered at IU have access to all of the same student services as traditional students. The international public health educators of this online doctoral program in public health are sure to provide students with the most well-rounded and globally informed education possible in this area of study.
The broad scope of the program also means that as a graduate of the program, you have all the skills and tools that you need to apply what you’ve learned to your professional life from London to Los Angeles. Course offerings include:
- Leadership in Global Health Systems
- Executive Communication for Global Health Leaders
- Leadership Challenges in Global Health Informatics
Graduates are prepared for top leadership positions including:
- Chief executive officer
- Executive director
- Agency commissioner
For more information, you can visit the Indiana University-Bloomington program website.
4) University of South Florida
Online Doctor of Public Health
The University of South Florida is a public space-grant research university in Tampa, Florida. It was founded in 1956, making it the first independent state university of the 20th century. Courses began several years later in 1960 and the school quickly gained its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges in 1965. Academically, USF grew at a fast pace as well. The first master’s degrees were offered in 1964 and the first doctoral programs were added to the curriculum in the 1970’s. USF serves 49,708 students and has degrees available from the associates to doctoral levels.
The College of Public Health at the University of South Florida offers two unique DrPH programs online. The Advanced Practice Leadership in Public program DrPH degree is a 46-credit hour program available online. Students choosing this program prepare for leadership roles in practice-based settings that include:
- community health based organizations
- health departments
- health services
USF also offers a DrPH in Public Health and Clinical Laboratory Science and Practice. Students complete 46 credit hours while gaining an advanced public health education to take on leadership roles in public health and clinical lab settings. Graduates leave with the educational requirements needed to sit for the American Board of Bioanalysis Director’s and American Board of Microbiology examinations. The purpose of both programs is to advance the knowledge of students already engaged in their careers. Earning a DrPH can help build skills to develop, implement, and evaluate practices that are evidence-informed and create better outcomes.
The majority of the coursework can be completed online. Students complete their program as part of a cohort and have several start dates throughout the year.
For more information, you can visit the USF Health website.
5) University of Illinois at Chicago
Online Doctor of Public Health
The University of Illinois at Chicago is a public research university in Chicago, Illinois. It was established officially in 1965 but its history goes back much further than that. UIC’s roots go back to a number of private health colleges dating back to 1859. UIC does offer degrees in a variety of areas of study like business, education, engineering, and more but it has stayed true to its beginnings and now excels in the area of health education. The university operates the largest medical school in the nation. It is divided into several different colleges and schools through which it offers its 30,000 students the choice of 83 bachelors programs, 93 masters programs, and 64 doctoral programs. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has 16 programmatic accreditations. The Council on Education for Public Health has accredited all levels of programs in the field at UIC since the early 70’s.
The University of Illinois at Chicago offers one of the best online DrPH programs for working professionals. The program is tailored to meet the needs of mid-career public health professionals. Students of the program will have to complete a capstone project. They also participate in summer institutes once every year. You have the option to transfer up to 32 credits if you already hold an MPH. Students are admitted once per year in the fall.
The program focuses on an adaptive leadership approach to public health. Adaptive leadership emphasizes leadership skills to assist the community or organization with an adaptive challenge. The program also emphasizes the importance of equity and anti-racism in public health.
One thing that makes this program stand out is the incredibly diverse history the school has in the field of health. Students have access to these diverse resources throughout their education, even from a distance. The program can take up to six years to complete when done so on a part-time basis, which allows you to work while in pursuit of your doctorate.
For more information, you can visit the University of Illinois at Chicago program website.