PhD Public Health Online

By Brandon Mario D`Souza

Updated February 10, 2023

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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In various ways, public health professionals work to protect the health of individuals and communities. They may perform infectious disease research, educate the public about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco, and develop workplace safety regulations, among other things. Earning a DrPH or PhD Public Health Online can help individuals prepare for new opportunities by gaining advanced knowledge and abilities in community health challenges, data analysis, and leadership in public health. Students who are also working professionals can benefit from online DrPH programs and PhD public health programs. The PhD in public health program equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to influence policy and save lives in communities and around the world. This advanced degree will help individuals succeed whether they desire to conduct research, increase public awareness, or lead public healthcare organizations. Employment in public health is predicted to expand because of the need to educate the public about preventive health care and give more services to people suffering from mental health or drug addiction challenges. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers jobs are set to grow 17% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. This article covers all there is to know about a PhD in public health, where to pursue one, what the admission requirements are, what careers one can choose upon graduating, where to find the right college and more.

Best Online PhD in Public
Health Programs

The Ph.D. is the most important degree a student may earn because it determines their future career path and their level of future accomplishment. It is important to look for the best Ph.D. PhD public health programs, as well as a top university with a solid reputation, extensive research facilities, excellent student resources, and experienced and qualified faculty. Based on these and other crucial factors, several FBD teams have created a list of the best online Ph.D. programs in public health: *

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

Find Online PhD Programs in
Public Health Near Me

Most PhD students are working professionals who work and study at the same time. In addition, many also have other commitments such as a family to look after, making it essential to choose the right location to pursue a PhD program. In all likelihood, these students and others may prefer studying at a college closer to their homes rather than far across the country. On the other hand, some students may choose to enroll in a college that suits them well, disregarding location. Whatever be the preference, here is a list of ”PhD in public health near me” to choose from:

What to expect from the Online PhD
in Public Health?

PhD in Public Health

In a doctoral degree in public health, students would have come across the dilemma of DrPH vs. PhD. So, what is DrPH, and what is PhD? A DrPH is intended for public health professionals, while a PhD in public health is intended for scientists. For those who wish to work in the field, putting programs and policies into effect, the DrPH can assist them in gaining the high-level expertise that will enable them to be a more effective leader. In contrast, students can focus on specific research expertise, jumpstart their research career, and set themselves on the path to making significant contributions to our understanding of public health challenges and solutions through the PhD in public health program.

Areas of Specialization for Online
PhD in Public Health

Specialization refers to a subfield of study. Some specializations merely allow students to delve further into a particular component of their major. Others are multidisciplinary, combining both the chosen major and additional subjects of study. PhD public health students pursue a concentration by enrolling in a series of courses focusing on a particular topic of study within the public health domain. Specializations offer important insights for students who intend to dig deeper into a specific area of interest and desire to develop specialized skills. There are several specializations in public health that PhD aspirants can weigh and consider. Here are a few examples:

PhD Epidemiology Online

The Epidemiology specialization builds on the knowledge of how diseases affect populations and investigates options for community health maintenance. Students examine how the prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes may put communities under stress and learn how to develop education programs to help prevent the spread of chronic disease. They will also perform an epidemiological field study that incorporates original research.

PhD in Community Health Online

Students pursuing the community healthy concentration get knowledge and experience in administrative elements of health care, community outreach and advocacy, health disparities, illness risk factors and trends, and more to enhance health behaviors and results. They learn how to promote health, eliminate risk factors, and influence community leadership in order to sustain healthy conditions in a variety of populations. Students will look at the leadership principles, health education policies, and social and behavioral change theories that underpin effective community health education and advocacy, as well as the planning and organization of health programs.

PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health

This specialization provides students with a holistic picture of how environmental and occupational factors affect human health on a local, global, and national scale with this online PhD in Public Health specialization. Students develop advanced research skills that will enable them to come up with novel solutions to the complicated environmental health issues that affect communities and populations.  They also learn how to encourage healthier home, public, and work settings, through research, policymaking, and health promotion.

PhD in Health Behavior

Students who complete this specialization will be able to develop theoretical models for evaluating population behavioral change, qualitative and quantitative research methods, design and evaluate interventions to improve health behavior in underserved and vulnerable populations, and advocate for and promote changes in health care policy.

PhD Global Public Health

Health issues and challenges that transcend all borders, including geographical, class, color, ethnicity, and culture, are part of and relate to global health. The global health specialization emphasizes the universality of health concerns faced by the United States and its worldwide partners and calls for collaborative, science-based treatments to address these problems. Graduates will be equipped with the core scientific knowledge, ethical understanding, and key competencies needed to work as public health researchers and leaders in a variety of settings.

PhD in Biostatistics Online

The fundamentals of statistical reasoning will be emphasized in the biostatistics specialization, and graduates will be required to undergo rigorous training in applied probability and statistical analysis. This specialization equips individuals with strong math and science backgrounds to work as research biostatisticians in academia, industry, or government. They learn about public health outbreaks, surveys, response times, and fatality rates through collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data.

PhD in Health Services Research and Policy

This specialization prepares students to conduct original quantitative, qualitative, and/or mixed methods research in a variety of areas related to health policy and health services research in the United States and abroad. It emphasizes research that can be translated into policy, programs, or practice.

PhD in International Health and Sustainable Development

Students who complete this specialization will be prepared to conduct cutting-edge research on global health and development concerns, as well as minimize injustices and help design a sustainable future for the globe. Doctoral students learn to identify and evaluate scientific theories and methodologies; conduct original scientific studies in resource-constrained settings; leverage findings toward best practice and strategic planning for global health programs; teach, mentor, and advise students, programs; development officials and governments; and conduct original scientific research in resource-constrained settings. Students also learn about interdisciplinary and mixed-method research methodologies, cultural competency, and ethical research.

PhD in Human Nutrition

The PhD program in Human Nutrition is aimed to prepare professionals to identify, comprehend, and address problems of public health concern in human nutrition using scientific methodologies. Students learn how to enhance the nutritional well-being of vulnerable populations, assess the nutritional needs of various groups, develop and implement nutrition programs, and manage nutrition programs in both community and institutional settings.

PhD in Social and Behavioral Interventions

This specialization trains researchers and public health practitioners interested in using social sciences in the design, implementation, and appraisal of public health programs and community-based treatments.   The specialization uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and covers gender and health issues, community participation in health initiatives, and cultural and environmental elements that influence global health.

Why should I do Online PhD in
Public Health?

How to get into an Online PhD in
Public Health program?

With most universities, the path to getting a Ph.D. in social work begins with a master’s degree, preferably in public health or a closely related discipline. Other PhD in public health requirements is the same as all other Ph.D. programs – official academic transcripts, letter of recommendation, personal statement, etc. Here is a list of admission requirements for an online Ph.D. public health program:

  • Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, preferably with a major in the biological, physical, or social sciences. (Varies by school & program)
  • Acceptable undergraduate coursework Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Master’s degree in public health or a closely related discipline from a CEPH-accredited program. (Preference is generally given to applicants with a public health master)
  • A Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 in graduate-level studies
  • Acceptable Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
  • Professional Resume
  • At least 2 to 3 Letters of Recommendation

In some instances, application to a Ph.D. in public health program may require submitting an Admission Essay or writing sample, completing prerequisites courses, and facing an interview before an admissions panel.

How long does it take to complete a PhD
in Public Health Online?

Accreditation for Online Doctorate
in Public Health

Students are guaranteed a high-quality education when programs and institutions are accredited. To receive an accrediting seal, a school must be able to demonstrate that it has met a set of established quality standards. Students who earn a public health degree from a recognized institution have demonstrated that they possess a certain level of knowledge and skill in the field. The accreditation of a PhD program in public health is even more important when applying for licensure because many licensing boards require that applicants have completed an approved curriculum or demonstrate equivalency.

Programmatically, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), which is an independent agency that accredits schools of public health, and public health programs outside schools of public health, is an exclusive programmatic accrediting agency for public health programs. CEPH accredited online doctoral programs public health are the most recognized programs in the job market. Where programmatic accreditation is unavailable, an equivalent alternative is a regional accreditation, provided by any one of the following six accrediting agencies, authorized by the U.S Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA):

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Read the Accreditation Guide for in-depth information on accreditation and its importance.

Doctorate in Public Health without
Masters in Public

Many students have the thought – “”DrPH without mph”” – on their mind. There are three ways for bachelor’s degree holders to pursue a doctorate in public health:

Option 1

Students can choose to forego their master’s degree by enrolling in a Ph.D. program as soon as their undergraduate degree is completed. This may be a suitable option if they are certain they want to pursue a Ph.D., have a strong concept of what they want to do for their dissertation, and are confident in their abilities to conduct academic research.

Option 2

Students have the option of enrolling in an integrated Ph.D. program. An Integrated Ph.D. program is a four-year curriculum (sometimes known as an integrated master’s degree). It consists of a one-year master’s degree followed by a three-year Ph.D. program. If one wishes to pursue a Ph.D. without a master’s degree but is having trouble meeting the eligibility standards, this could be a suitable choice.

Option 3

Students have the option of upgrading their present master’s degree. It is somewhat common practice to upgrade one’s masters’ dissertation to a Ph.D. dissertation, especially in science-related academic subjects. This may be a viable choice for those who have discovered a promising study area during their master’s degree that justifies PhD-level academic involvement.

Some colleges allow students to enter the PhD program in two different tracks, depending on their academic background. For example, students can choose from two options (a) if they have a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) or an MS (Master of Science) in public health, or (b) if they hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in an academic discipline other than public health. However, it must be noted that if a college offers the latter, there will be additional admission requirements to meet.

Online PhD in Public Health
no GRE Programs

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) must be taken, or scores submitted at the time of application for most Ph.D. in public health programs, except for a few. Fortunately, some institutions have waived or eliminated this requirement because of the Covid outbreak, at least for the Fall 2023 admission. It is also not uncommon for colleges to waive the GRE requirement for students who already have a doctoral degree or over 7 years of experience in the field. However, finding a school or program that does not need candidates to submit a GRE or GMAT score is generally difficult to come by. Still, here are a couple of examples of universities that provide a PhD in public health without requiring students to take the GRE or submit GRE scores.

Capella University

The Capella University offers online DrPH programs no GRE that include online coursework and in-person experiences.

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut offers a PhD in Public Health for which GRE scores are not required.

Fully Funded Online PhD in
Public Health Programs

Accelerated Online PhD in
Public Health Programs

How to Pay for Online PhD in
Public Health Programs?

Free Online PhD in Public
Health Programs

PhD public health students are unlikely to find free online PhD in public health programs and courses that may be of help to them in their study or research. Despite this, some graduate-level or PhD-level courses may provide a distinct viewpoint on a topic, which might help students to learn something new and become more knowledgeable. Here are a few resources for free public health courses for PhD public health candidates:

Course Description Offered by
Public Health & Public Health-related TopicsHarvard University offers a few free online courses ranging from 1 week to 10 weeks on a variety of topics. The courses are free to audit, but students must pay a fee if they want a certificate. Topics include PredictionX: John Snow and the Cholera Epidemic of 1854, The Opioid Crisis in America, Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19, MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe, etc.Harvard University
Public Health & Public Health-related TopicsCoursera’s public health courses cover a wide range of topics at various learning levels, including foundational and specialist themes. Epidemiology, precision nutrition, and clinical research are among the topics covered. Coursera also offers tools and techniques for illness prevention, community health promotion, and health disparities reduction.Coursera
Public Health & Public Health-related TopicsEdX offers free online courses in public health on a wide range of topics, including Congenital Hypothyroidism: What Every Primary Care Provider Needs to Know, Viruses & How to Beat Them: Cells, Immunity, Vaccines, Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety, Injury Prevention for Children & Teens, and more.EdX

FAQs about Online PhD in
Public Health Programs

How to get a doctorate in Public Health?

What are the best PhD programs in Public Health?

What is the average fee charged by the colleges?

Why get a PhD in public health?

 How long is a DrPH program?

What can I do with a doctorate in public health?

Is there a PhD in public health online?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after
Online PhD in Public Health

Whether one is interested in research, managing healthcare organizations, promoting public awareness of health issues, or assisting in policy creation, the public health sector has a wide range of job opportunities available for PhD public health holders. Furthermore, the dramatic transformation of the country’s healthcare delivery system, along with a national emphasis on healthy living and disease prevention, is creating an increasing demand for highly trained public health professors, researchers, and leaders across the United States.

What can I do with a doctorate in public health? PhD in public health graduates can choose from several professions spanning the corporate sector, National Institutes of Health (NIH), health care organizations, academia, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health departments, hospitals and medical facilities, nonprofits and more.

Options in PhD public health and DrPH jobs include:

Students should note that in order to pursue certain career paths, they may need extra experience, training, or other requirements in addition to completing a PhD in public health degree program successfully.

Public health PhD graduates should expect their salaries and job growth to be heavily influenced by the type of position they take on, their specialization, and the number of years of experience they have. O*Net OnLine reports that Health Services Managers earn a median annual pay of $104,280 and have a job outlook that is 15 percent or more between 2020 and 2030, which is significantly faster than the national average.

Here is a quick look at careers in public health, their annual median salaries, and growth potential, as reported by PayScale and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

OccupationJob DescriptionMedian Annual Salary Job Growth (up to 2030)
BiostatisticianBiostatisticians assist with experimental design and conduct statistical analysis for a wide range of biology-related topics. They collaborate with a scientific team on the statistical design of investigations, assisting in identifying the team’s needs and acceptable approaches. They also assist with grant applications, data analysis, and interpretation of findings in collaboration with the research team.$77,768NA
EpidemiologistAn epidemiologist is a researcher who investigates the link between the transmission of contagious diseases and the cultures and vectors through which they propagate. The epidemiologist gathers data on several cultural elements before assisting communities and cultural groups in preventing, or at least slowing, disease spread.$67,154NA
Health Information ManagerHealth information managers oversee the gathering of data and the maintenance of records, ensuring that all data is sent and maintained legally and ethically. The majority of information is held electronically by health information managers; however, some still work with paper records. A Health information manager’s responsibilities also include designing and implementing health policies and related information systems.$57,181NA
Health Education Specialist and Community Health WorkerA health education specialist instructs people on how to adopt healthy habits. They propose strategies to improve people’s lives and the well-being of communities. A community health worker advocates for people’s needs in collaboration with healthcare providers and social service agencies. They create wellness programs by gathering data and speaking with people from various demographics about their health concerns. The roles of health educators and community health workers are distinct, even though they commonly collaborate.$48,14017% (much faster than average)
Environmental Scientists and SpecialistAn environmental scientist or specialist applies their natural science knowledge to safeguard the environment and human health. They might clean up contaminated areas, provide policy advice, or collaborate with businesses to reduce waste. Environmental scientists and specialists may conduct a study and offer recommendations on industrial methods, such as avoiding the use of chemicals known to be harmful to the environment.$73,2308% (as fast as average)
Medical and Health Services ManagerA health services manager, often known as a healthcare executive or administrator, oversees planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services. They can be in charge of a specific department or clinical area, or they can supervise the work of a group of doctors. A health services manager must keep up with changes in healthcare legislation, regulations, and technology in order to be successful in this position.$104,28032% (much faster than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Online
PhD in Public Health

Additional Resources for Online PhD
in Public Health Degree

Author Bio:

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners. | Page last updated: Dec 2023.