Earning a PhD degree in public health can help advance your career and open doors to new leadership opportunities in the healthcare industry. Doctoral public health degrees can also give credibility to graduates, allowing them to make an influential and positive difference in public health in general.
A PhD in public health is a research doctorate degree designed to prepare students for careers in government, academia, or the private sector. This graduate school program emphasizes interdisciplinary training and research for future public health researchers in the environmental health, biomedical, and social sciences.
Doctoral online programs in public health use epidemiological methods to investigate health and disease prevention. The aim is to design and implement interventions to improve population health, and to evaluate the efficiency of the interventions to benefit the healthcare system.Back to Top
Doctorate degrees in public health typically cost graduate students anywhere between $17,000 and $53,000 (or between $385 and $875 per credit) depending on the type of university, the school’s residency rules, program length, and other fees, if any.
It is worthwhile to note that many online doctorate degree programs in public health may charge a higher tuition rate for non-state residents, but there are affordable online doctoral programs that charge a flat tuition rate regardless of graduate student state residency.
Yes, there are a number of affordable online doctoral programs in public health. A growing number of highly reputable universities provide partially or fully online doctoral programs. Time management is one of the biggest challenges facing doctoral students. Balancing coursework, career, and family demands makes online PhD programs especially attractive.
Earning an online doctorate degree as opposed to a traditional on-campus doctorate degree makes it possible to save money on expenses like housing, transportation, and certain campus fees. However some schools may still charge a technology fee whether attending school online or on campus.
Online PhD programs also make it possible to continue working in your field, which means you can complete your degree program while still earning a living. This can ultimately reduce your dependence on student loan debt.
If affordability is a particular concern, and it is making you reluctant to pursue a public health doctoral program, you may be able to take advantage of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans.
For more information on financial aid, check out the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website. Note that to qualify for financial aid, the college or university that you attend must be accredited.
Many schools offering PhD degree programs have assistantship opportunities for their doctoral students. Assistantship may give teaching opportunities in exchange for tuition waivers and a stipend. Each school is different, so you will need to check into the online public health doctorate degree program you are interested in.
If a cheap online doctorate degree is important to you, you have options! Check out our other cheap degree rankings.
Bottom Line: Affordable online doctoral programs are possible when you factor in things like in-state tuition, financial aid, grants, and assitantships.
In most cases, the most affordable online doctoral degree programs in public health will be those offered by universities in your state. Online students who attend public universities enjoy access to in-state tuition rates just like traditional on-campus doctoral candidates.
That’s why we’ve ranked these online doctorate degree programs by placing the highest weight on in-state tuition rates. The tuition price listed below may not reflect the lower rate extended to in-state residents.
We have set a max tuition fee of $20,000.
Click on each school to learn more about in-state tuition discounts. Other factors included in our ranking are Influence—the measure of a school’s excellence based on the real-world impact of its professors, students, and alumni; and the percentage of full-time students enrolled in online degree programs at each institution.
Below is a mix of both public and private universities offering the most affordable online PhD degree programs in public health.
The following graph depicts the average salaries of similar occupations to Nurse Practitioners in the U.S.
Source: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Tuition + fees
East Carolina University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
East Carolina University is located in Greenville, North Carolina. This public research university is the fourth-largest university in North Carolina. The school offers 77 master’s programs, 15 doctoral programs, 50 graduate certificates, and 6 first-professional programs.
ECU’s Doctor of Public Health program has two concentrations: Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) and Health Policy, Administration, & Leadership (HPAL). Students must have a relevant master’s degree before enrollment, otherwise, they will have to take both master’s and doctoral-level courses.
The online programs at East Carolina University as recognized as some of the country’s best, according to the U.S. News & World Report. ECU counts its online DrPH among its esteemed programs. The tuition fee is a very affordable $13,327.
East Carolina is great for students who:
Like to study in a big school but with a small feel. ECU has a small campus and all of its buildings are close together.
East Carolina might not be a good fit for students who:
Cannot separate fun and academics.
Tuition + fees
Indiana University Bloomington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Indiana University Bloomington, the flagship campus of Indiana University, is a public research university offering more than 550 academic programs, many of which are nationally ranked in the Top 10 or higher.
IU-Bloomington offers an online doctorate in public health with a concentration in environmental health. This doctoral program provides a solid foundation in the field of public health, focusing on the effects of environmental factors on human health and disease. The tuition is $12,488.
The school is home to top-ranked business and music schools and holds other interesting distinctions like the world’s first school of philanthropy, the country’s first school of informatics, and the nation’s largest medical school.
Indiana University-Bloomington is great for students who:
Love to socialize, as there are so many clubs and activities that everybody is guaranteed to find something to love.
Indiana University-Bloomington might not be a good fit for students who:
Need lots of one-on-one interaction with the teacher. You cannot get this in many of the lecture hall classes.
Tuition + fees
Kent State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
One of Ohio’s leading public universities, Kent State is located in northeastern Ohio, about 40 miles south of Cleveland. The school has seven regional campuses scattered across the state and offers more than 300 academic programs.
Kent State provides numerous online programs, including its PhD in Public Health specializing in Health Policy and Management with a concentration in Health Policy and Management. The program prepares graduate students for a career in public health research, which calls for interdisciplinary skills to meet community health and global health challenges of the field. The tuition fee is $18,156.
The school is known for its outstanding academics and encourages student involvement on campus. It has more than 370 clubs and organizations, as well as sports teams, and Greek life
Kent State University is great for students who:
Love having open spaces. The campus is very spread out and open with tons of cool places to hang out.
Kent State University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are not comfortable with a large campus.
Tuition + fees
Nebraska Methodist College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health is located in Omaha, Nebraska. This private Methodist college offers popular majors including Radiologic Technician, Nursing, and Sonographer and Ultrasound Technician.
The school’s MSN/MHP to DNP - Public Health Policy is an online program designed to produce nurses who are experts in evidence-based practice, allowing them to serve as consultants, mentors, and researchers. The tuition fee is $20,836, and financial aid is available.
The school offers great support, especially among transitioning students.
Nebraska Methodist College is great for students who:
Prefer to study in a smaller college that still provides outstanding programs.
Nebraska Methodist College might not be a good choice for students who:
Are looking for lots of financial aid because these are only limited.
Tuition + fees
Old Dominion University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Old Dominion University, located in Norfolk, Virginia, is a public research university and is one of the biggest universities in the state. The school offers more than 100 academic programs, and students get to choose from any of the more than 300 clubs and organizations in their spare time.
ODU’s online Ph.D. in Nurse Executive program aims to improve leaders and problem solvers in the nursing industry whose professional services will help advance the health of the population not only in Eastern Virginia, but also nationally and internationally. The tuition is $15,213.
The school is Virginia’s forward-focused public doctoral research university that offers intensive academics in an energetic residential community.
Old Dominion University is great for students who:
Love to receive a good education in a comfortable urban atmosphere.
Old Dominion University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are looking for a big campus. The school is generally small.
Pennsylvania State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Penn State World Campus is the Pennsylvania State University’s online campus. It offers more than 175 online ungraduated and graduate degree and certificate programs in partnership with Penn State academic units, with more programs being added to the curriculum on a continuing basis.
This online school’s Doctor of Public Health is designed to provide students with the necessary advanced public health education and training. Graduates are prepared for evidence-based practice and translational science leadership. The tuition fee is $18,194.
The quality of the education this online school provides has been constantly advancing since 1998—many consider them to be the pioneer of online learning.
Penn State World Campus is great for students who:
Are looking for a distance learning school that provides a solid learning foundation.
Penn State World Campus is not a good option for students who:
Want to go to a school that helps acquire jobs or internships.
Tuition + fees
University of Illinois Chicago’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Illinois at Chicago, a public research university, has 15 campuses and an online school. It offers 94 masters and 62 doctoral degree programs, including the online Doctor of Public Health Leadership.
UIC’s online Ph.D. in Public Health Leadership is designed for mid-career public health professionals who wish to broaden their knowledge and practice of public health and improve their leadership capacities to address complex challenges. The tuition fee is $11,884.
The school is deeply embedded in the educational, technological, and cultural fabric of the city. It is recognized for its diverse student body.
The University of Illinois-Chicago is great for students who:
Want a rigorous academic experience.
The University of Illinois-Chicago might not be a good fit for students who:
Are not comfortable studying on a large campus.
Tuition + fees
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Public research school University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the flagship campus of the University of North Carolina system. Considered a Public Ivy, it is a public institution that offers an academic experience similar to that of an Ivy League university.
The Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership at UNC-Chapel Hill is suitable for mid-to senior-level professionals who want to seek the skills needed to assume top-level roles in public health practice in their private or public sector settings at the local, national, and international levels. The tuition fee is $11,110.
Global health leadership is UNC-Chapel Hill’s aim, leading the way through groundbreaking research and innovative teaching.
UNC-Chapel Hill is great for students who:
Love meeting new and different types of people since the school is very large.
UNC-Chapel Hill might not be the best fit for students who:
Are looking for on-campus job opportunities.
Tuition + fees
University of South Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of South Florida in Tampa, is a public research university that is one of the 12 schools in the State University System of Florida and offers more than 180 academic programs through both traditional and online formats.
USF’s online Doctor of Public Health program prepares students for leadership roles in health departments, nonprofit organizations, international agencies, and community-based organizations. The tuition is $11,766.
The school is world-renowned for its cutting-edge research in science, medicine, engineering, and technology.
USF is great for students who:
Like huge universities and enjoy sporting events and extracurricular activities.
USF might not be a good fit for students who:
Prefer to study on a small campus.
Tuition + fees
University of Montana’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Montana is a public research university in Missoula, Montana, and is the flagship institution of the Montana University System. Students at UM can choose from any of its nearly 400 areas of study, with internship opportunities and career potentials that can take them anywhere in the world, with little to no student loan debt.
UM offers its PhD in public health, designed to prepare the next generation of public health research team scientists who will work across various disciplines to produce new knowledge. Applicants must hold a Master of Public Health (or equivalent) degree before enrollment. The tuition fee is an astoundingly affordable $4,716 for residents.
UM is known for its world-class learning and undergraduate research opportunities and facilities.
The University of Montana is great for students who:
Want a very laid-back and comfortable atmosphere.
The University of Montana might not be a good fit for students who:
Cannot balance academic life and leisure. There are so many tempting activities to do like fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities.
Tuition + fees
Central Michigan University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Public research institution Central Michigan University is home to more than 300 academic programs across seven colleges in its Mount Pleasant campus.
The school offers the Doctor of Health Administration program designed to prepare students to become more effective healthcare leaders with a deeper knowledge in many key areas. The tuition is $850 per credit hour.
CMU is one of the biggest public institutions in Michigan, with an essential liberal arts foundation. It’s also known for having the lowest tuition increase in the last decade among all public colleges in the state.
CMU is great for students who:
Are interested in volunteering and undergraduate research.
CMU might not be a good fit for students who:
Are not comfortable with large universities.
Tuition + fees
MCPHS University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences is a private university that primarily offers medical and health-related science degree programs. This Boston-based college provides conventional and accelerated programs in the health sciences and health education discipline.
MCPHS offers an online Doctor of Health Sciences degree. This program is designed to prepare educators, clinicians, and leaders to meet the future challenges of health professions and education through evidence-based practice. The tuition is $1,325 per credit hour.
MCPHS’s three campuses sit in medical hubs across New England.
MCPHS is great for students who:
Are willing to study and work hard to reach their professional career goals. The professors are known for providing students excellent mentorship. Similarly, the school offers numerous activities for student growth.
MCPHS might not be a good fit for students who:
Cannot keep up with a rigorous program and cannot meet the standards of professionalism. This is a high-quality school, after all, with a very rigorous program.
Tuition + fees
University of Alabama at Birmingham’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public research university in Birmingham, Alabama. It offers 140 programs of study in 12 academic divisions leading to bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees in various fields.
UAB offers its comprehensive online doctorate in public health that takes seven years to complete. It has four concentrations: biostatistics, health policy and organization, maternal and child health policy, and outcomes research. The tuition fee is $11,040, in-state, and $26,520 out-of-state.
The school is committed to revolutionary research and diversity among its staff and students.
UAB is great for students who:
Want a big campus but with a small campus feel.
UAB might not be a good fit for students who are:
Easily tempted with partying, as there are lots in the school. Greek life, after all, is very prevalent.
Tuition + fees
Capella University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Capella University is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This private for-profit online university is owned by the publicly traded Strategic Education, Inc, and has 52 programs and nearly 2,000 online courses!
Capella University’s online Doctor of Public Health teaches students to apply research to design public health programs, create solutions to address long-term and immediate health issues, identify emerging trends, and lead with integrity. The tuition fee is $14,365.
Capella University is a pioneering online university dedicated to exceptional learning outcomes that drive professional growth.
Capella University is great for students who:
Are working professionals, thanks to the school’s flexible online schedule.
Capella University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are very particular about enrollment screening. The school accepts anybody.
Tuition + fees
Walden University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:
Walden University is a private online for-profit university located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs and over 260 concentrations and specializations.
Walden University’s online Ph.D. in Public Health program is number one in the US. Students can build upon their skills and expertise to become more effective scholar-practitioners and make significant contributions to advancing wellness among diverse populations. The tuition fee is $610 per credit hour.
Walden University is the pioneer in high-quality, distance education. Its higher education programs power the success of working professionals across the US and all over the world.
Walden University is great for students who:
Are looking for an actual professional degree.
Walden University might not be a good fit for students who:
Are not willing to do the work, change and challenge themselves, or meet professional-level expectations.