Looking for a career boost in the healthcare sector? We rank the fastest online PhD in public health doctorate degrees for busy working professionals.
A PhD in public health is a doctorate degree designed to help students become more knowledgeable and well-versed in public health issues not only on a local but also on a global scale. This doctorate degree also teaches students to develop programs and tools that can help improve public health.
A doctorate degree is typically awarded following at least five to six years of intense schooling and work beyond a master’s degree. By earning a PhD, graduates will qualify as experts within their chosen field which can lead to amazing career opportunities and the ability to make a difference in global and public health.
The huge time commitment required of traditional doctorate degree programs in public health can be daunting. These degree programs can even take eight years or more if pursued on a part-time basis. This is a huge commitment!
The good news is that the fastest online doctoral program can be completed in as little as 3 years! The featured programs in public health outlined below are shorter yet made more comprehensive and intense than traditional doctorate degree programs.
Accelerated online doctoral degree programs are designed for students who want to take a shorter route toward a PhD or doctorate degree.
These accelerated public health degree programs are accomplished by completing the same amount of work in a shorter time frame. They enable students to waive two to three years of schooling to be ready for the job market more quickly.
Each of the accelerated online doctoral programs that we feature below can be completed in four years or less.
Bottom Line: Completing an accelerated online doctoral degree program in public health provides the same learning outcome as taking classes via a traditional on-campus PhD program. But completing this program can provide an early return on investment.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and the Doctorate of Public Health are the highest degrees for this field. Although both programs are generally similar and best serve public health professionals, the PhD degree is more research-intensive, while the doctorate is geared toward future practitioners and developers or researchers in public health programs. Both degrees prepare students for health sciences careers in the academe.
Accelerated online education programs may be best suited for those who are already engaged in other personal and time-consuming matters, like having a full-time job.
As PhD students in public health, students get to choose which area of concentration to focus on, such as:
Like any other online degree program, an online PhD in public health consists of either online coursework or regular class meetings via video that can both be completed on one’s own time. Some schools, however, will require their students to come to campus a few times each year for face-to-face sessions or present their dissertations. There are also those that require in-person practicum hours at a local institution.
Online PhD programs in public health usually run between 5 and 6 years, but thru online accelerated options, this duration can be significantly minimized.Back to Top
The Master of Public Health – Doctor of Philosophy (MPH-PhD) dual degree program allows students to have a better learning experience by developing competencies in both public health and their chosen doctorate field of study. Unlike the MPH-MD dual degree that prepares doctoral students to become medical doctors with public health knowledge, an MPH-PhD dual degree prepares them for careers in research and academia as health educators with a public health focus.
Students with a bachelor’s degree can apply directly into this program, which results in both a master’s degree and a doctorate degree.
What is unique about online PhD programs in public health is that students can earn it in almost any field. But when combining it with an MPH, the field of study is usually related to public health such as general global health, nutrition, biostatistics, epidemiology, among others.
Bottom Line: Earning an MPH-PhD dual public health degree is a great way for busy working professionals to accomplish their career goals as quickly as possible.
The following graph depicts the average salaries of Health Education Specialists for each percentile in the U.S.
Source: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
SVG Attribution: Wikipedia
We have compiled twenty of the fastest public health doctorate programs in this list. This list is a combination of accelerated programs in online, on-campus, and hybrid formats.
Tuition + fees
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the flagship school of the UNC System. Considered a public ivy, UNC provides an academic experience that is similar to that of an Ivy League University. It offers 74 bachelor’s, 104 master’s, 65 doctorate, and seven professional degree programs.
UNC offers an online executive doctoral program in health leadership for mid-level public health professionals. This terminal degree consists of classes like population perspectives, managing the healthcare workforce, and more. Internships and practicum are not required in the program.
The hybrid learning at UNC combined Blackboard-powered asynchronous classes with campus visits. Each year, online students are required to visit at least three times to allow them to collaborate with peers and network with industry experts.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is great for students who:
Love to meet new and different types of people. Since UNC is such a large school, it’s easy to find different communities in a diverse campus.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill might not be a good fit for students who:
Prefer to study in a smaller university where close-knit ties are easily achieved.
Tuition + fees
University of Illinois Chicago’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Illinois Chicago is a public research university in Chicago, Illinois, and the second campus that was established under the University of Illinois System. The school features 16 academic colleges that offer hundreds of undergraduate and graduate courses.
The UIC online doctor of public health in leadership emphasizes research-based training designed to prepare students for careers as police analysts, city health commissioners, and chief medical officers. Candidates with regionally accredited master’s degrees can transfer up to 32 hours toward program completion.
The University of Illinois Chicago is one of Chicago’s few schools promoting social mobility.
The University of Illinois Chicago is great for students who:
Are wanting to go to grad school in pharmacy, dentistry, or any medical fields.
The University of Illinois Chicago might not be a good fit for students who:
Can’t practice good study habits. UIC education entails lots of work and reading.
Tuition + fees
Arizona State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Arizona State University, located in metropolitan Phoenix, has one of the largest public universities enrollments. ASU has five campuses and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona, offering 350 programs in its 17 colleges and across 170 cross-discipline institutes.
The ASU Online Doctor of Behavioral Health with a clinical concentration is designed to train students in implementing cost-effective and evidence-informed interventions. Students are allowed to personalize their training with electives, self-motivated research, and an applied capstone project.
Arizona State University is globally recognized as one of the country’s most innovative schools where faculty and students work with NASA to develop and lead innovations in space exploration.
Arizona State University is best for students who:
Are looking for bigger class sizes, bigger campuses, more school activities, many options, and can cover tuition or get enough financial aid.
Arizona State University might not be ideal for students who:
Are not ready for a rigorous academic experience.
Tuition + fees
University of South Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of South Florida is a public research university offering 180 undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral programs, including the Doctor of Medicine.
USF operates an accelerated online Ph.D. in public health with a concentration in advanced practice leadership. This program will help students develop the evidence-supported skills and knowledge to work in practical settings like international agencies and health departments.
The University of South Florida offers a distinguished faculty, superb academics, world-class interdisciplinary research, and a diverse student body.
USF is ideal for students who:
Are open to trying new things, because USF offers a wealth of academic and extra-curricular activities
USF might not be a good fit for students who:
Cannot balance their time to study and time to relax. The academic programs are very challenging, and the tempting leisure activities are even more challenging.
A.T. Still University is a private medical school based in Kirksville, Missouri, with a second campus in Arizona, and a third in Santa Maria, California. ATSU currently has 30 graduate and post-professional programs in its schools and colleges. All ATSU programs are post-baccalaureate and focused on health sciences.
ATSU offers a doctor of education in health professions delivered online. This program is designed for practicing clinicians, healthcare educators, and directors who plan on pursuing their passion to teach.
A.T. Still University’s smaller class sizes help foster a well-rounded education.
A.T. Still University is great for students who:
Are wanting a degree in health science. The atmosphere on campus is that of collaboration across all professions and working together for a better patient care.
A.T. Still University might not be a good fit for students who:
Want a bigger school with a bigger student population. ATSU is a very small community.
Tuition + fees
University of Mississippi’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Mississippi is a public research university located adjacent to Oxford Mississippi and has a medical center in Jackson. “Ole Miss” is Mississippi’s oldest public university. Having received the R1: Doctoral Universities-Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, Ole Miss has a long history of producing leaders in academics, public service, and business.
The University of Mississippi’s Medical Center’s School of Health Related Professions offers a complete hybrid Doctor of Health Administration. This PhD program in health policy has very limited admission and only accepts 10-15 students a year.
The school is very serious with its mission of educating and inspiring a diverse and vibrant community on campus where students are able to socially, intellectually, and culturally thrive through transformative experiences in school and beyond.
The University of Mississippi is great for students who:
Are involved, social, outgoing, focused, and interested in Greek life.
The University of Mississippi might not be a good fit for students who:
Can’t keep up with the tough academic demands of the school. Ole Miss is considered the Harvard of the South. It may be easy to get accepted, but staying in is the real challenge.
Tuition + fees
Colorado Technical University is a private university with its main campus headquartered in Colorado Springs. The school offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and concentrations.
CTU’s blended Doctorate in Healthcare Management and Leadership program is an online PhD degree focusing on research and writing and leadership and change management. This program also includes a Doctoral Symposium in Denver which students are required to attend.
Colorado Tech utilizes Intellipath, a computerized adaptive program, to deliver personalized instruction.
Colorado Technical University is great for students who:
Are looking for a school with amazing online technology and a good choice of professors.
Colorado Technical University might not be a good fit for students who:
Cannot commit to full-time distance learning since the demands of the programs at CTU are very tough.
Tuition + fees
Central Michigan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Central Michigan University, located in Mount Pleasant, is classified as an R2 Doctoral University, indiciating its “high-research activity”. CMU offers more than 300 academic programs across seven colleges.
CMU’s Doctor of Health Administration hybrid degree provides students with core courses in topics on organizational theory, analysis, research methods, and leadership. Applicants should have a master’s degree in any related field with letters of recommendation plus professional healthcare experience, for admission.
CMU is noted for its quality education at an affordable tuition fee. This is a perfect choice for international students who plan on studying in the US.
Central Michigan University is great for students who:
Are interested in volunteering and undergraduate research. Students who want to feel like donating some of their time can just go online to the volunteer website and sign up for upcoming events.
Central Michigan University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are looking for a college town with a lot of activity. Mount Pleasant is small town.
Tuition + fees
University of Alabama at Birmingham’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Alabama at Birmingham, internationally renowned as a research institution, is composed of one college, nine schools, and the graduate school. Together, these divisions offer 56 bachelor’s degree programs, 59 master’s degree programs, and 40 doctoral programs.
The Executive Doctor of Science in Healthcare Leadership at UAB is a blended program designed to solidify the management skills of students. This practice-oriented academic program is designed for experienced healthcare executives who presently hold or who are preparing to secure senior leadership positions.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a globally recognized research university with an innovative academic medical center.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is great for students who:
Are interested in sciences like biology or chemistry, or are looking for a lifelong friendship.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham might not be a good fit for students who:
Cannot practice a “work hard, play hard” attitude. Students must know how to keep a positive attitude about everything.
Tuition + fees
Regent University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent University is a private Christian university that offers traditional on-campus programs and distance education. This top military-friendly school offers more than 150 unique areas of study.
Regent University offers an online Doctor of Strategic Leadership degree via its School of Business and Leadership. Students will concentrate on leadership, communication, team building, and organizational structure in public health care from a Christian perspective.
Regent University offers study abroad and mission programs in places such as Ukraine, Russia, Paris, and Uganda.
Regent University is great for students who:
Are looking for a school where they can get involved because the school highly respects students’ input.
Regent University may not be ideal for students who:
Are not Christians because most of the programs are based on a Christian’s perspective.
Tuition + fees
Franklin University is a private university in Columbus, Ohio. Although most of its students take their courses online, the university’s campus also provides on-site programs. The school offers more than 30 bachelor’s programs and five graduate programs.
Franklin University offers an online Doctorate in Healthcare Administration with a four-tier curriculum structure. Students will take core courses in research that involve qualitative and quantitative research methods, statistics, and design.
The academic work at Franklin University is specifically structured for adult learners and working adults.
Franklin University is best for students who:
Want a wide variety of online degree options.
Franklin University might not be a good fit for students who:
Lack of commitment to distance learning.
Tuition + fees
California Intercontinental University is a private for-profit online university based in Irvine, California. The University offers 31 degree programs in a wide range of disciplines through bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and post-graduate certificate programs.
CIU offers a Doctor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management and Leadership with a research and leadership focus designed to help students perform applied research and transform mature learners into leaders.
Admission requirements at CIU’s doctorate program are very simple: a master’s degree, a CV or resumé, and relevant work experience.
California Intercontinental University is great for students who:
Want a research-based school with a real-life business strategy.
California International University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are not self-motivated and don’t have the discipline to go through an online program.
Tuition + fees
Capella University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota offers at least 1,900 online courses and 52 degree programs.
Capella University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences offers a Doctor of Health Administration (DHA) with a health policy and advocacy concentration. This program is for healthcare leaders who want to improve patient care through effective administration and focuses on ethics, collaboration, communication, and problem-solving.
With Capella Tuition Cap, students won’t pay more than $48,000 in tuition costs, regardless of the degree.
Capella University is great for students who:
Are looking for a school that will still allow them to work full time while earning their degrees.
Capella University might not be ideal for students who:
Can only commit a little time and effort to their online program.
Trident University International is a private for-profit online university based in Cypress, California, and part of the larger American Intercontinental University. The school offers 8 degrees in 42 concentrations.
The online PhD in Health Sciences at Trident University is designed to prepare professionals from health and sciences-related fields to fill the roles of educators, leaders, executives, researchers, scholars, and consultants so they can help improve society as competent and caring professionals.
Trident university ranks number 847 out of the 1,660 Hardest Colleges to Get Into In America. This means that the academic quality and rigor of the school are very tough.
Trident University is great for students who:
Are after a school where the faculty and staff are very interested in every student’s success.
Trident University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are not committed to online education, considering the school is one tough school to get into.
Tuition + fees
University of Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Florida in Gainesville has more than 16 colleges offering undergraduate and graduate programs.
UF offers a PhD in Public Health with a concentration in Environment Health degree, which focuses on independent scientific investigation and leads to leadership roles in relevant sectors.
The tuition and fees at the University of Florida are the lowest among public universities that are members of the prestigious American Association of Universities.
The University of Florida is great for students who:
Want to continue to graduate or professional schools because the academics at UF are among the best in the state.
The University of Florida might not be a good fit for students who:
Cannot keep up with the high academic standards of the school.
Tuition + fees
Tulane University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Tulane University is officially known as the Tulane University of Louisiana, located in New Orleans. By completing any of the school’s over 75 majors and minors, students are exposed to academic foundations in a foreign language, writing, scientific inquiry, and cultural knowledge.
Tulane University offers a PhD degree in the Environmental Health Sciences. This program prepares students to employ community and laboratory approaches in addressing adverse environmental health impacts.
Tulane University is a very selective institution that’s home to the Amistad Research Center, which specializes in African American and ethnic minorities’ history.
Tulane University is great for students who are:
Laid back, studios, fun, and quirky. Tulane is not full of stressed-out kids competing with one other.
Tulane University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are looking for affordable schools. Tulane is a private university, and it is really very expensive.
Tuition + fees
The Boston-based Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers conventional and accelerated degree programs, primarily focusing on professional education in the health sciences and pharmacy.
The online Doctor of Health Science degree at MCPHS is designed for current health professionals and may be taken part-time. The health systems administration focus provides concentration coursework in Health Policy and Reform, and Transformative Leadership.
MCPHS has deep-rooted relationships with prestigious research and medical institutions in Boston’s Longwood Medical area to allow students to gain the most effective clinical and non-clinical experiences.
MCPHS is great for students who:
See themselves working in the health care field and are serious about knowledge and education.
MCPHS might not be a good fit for students who:
Are unwilling to put in the work in the school’s tough academic rigors.
Tuition + fees
Johns Hopkins University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University is the first US university based on the European research institution model. It offers more than 400 programs in various fields.
Johns Hopkins offers its hybrid PhD in Health Policy and Management from the school’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. The program is perfect for those currently employed in a range of healthcare organizations.
The best part of John Hopkins University is the community. While the atmosphere is very challenging, the people are always willing to help.
John Hopkins University is great for students who:
Are independent and self-motivated and already know how to apply themselves.
John Hopkins University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are not comfortable studying in a school where Greek life is a huge part of student life on campus.
Tuition + fees
East Carolina University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
East Carolina University is a public research university in Greenville, North Carolina, and the fourth-largest university in the state. It offers 77 master’s programs, 15 doctoral programs, 50 graduate certificates, and 6 first-professional programs.
The Doctor of Public Health with Health Policy Administration and Leadership (HPAL) concentration at East Carolina University is practice and evidence-based. It focuses on underserved, rural, and varied cultural communities.
ECU features study abroad programs focusing on service to underprivileged areas like Nicaragua or Guatemala.
East Carolina University is great for students who:
Want to study in an affordable and beautiful school with down-to-earth people.
East Carolina University might not be a good fit for students who:
Do not commit to studying hard and cannot balance social and academic life.