10 Best Online Doctorates in Public Health Grad Schools

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Updated: November 20, 2023, Reading time: 11 minutes

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Public health professionals who wish to acquire leadership skills that will catapult their careers and influence change within the public health systems may want to consider earning an online doctorate in public health. Public health online programs often deal with the study of health policy, infectious and chronic diseases, and other issues affecting public health.

Most doctoral programs will require doctorate students to conduct their own research projects. The Labor Statistics Department says health education specialists and community workers have a positive job outlook, projected to grow by up to 12% between 2022 and 2032.


A public health online program is designed for public health practitioners and working professionals who want to earn an advanced degree to meet their career goals. The online courses mean flexibility in terms of classes, allowing them to earn their doctorate degree anytime and anywhere. Most online doctorates in public health programs can be completed within three to five years. If you are passionate about acquiring leadership and research skills, this DrPH degree program is just for you.

An online doctorate in Public Health is the terminal degree for the field, equipping public health practitioners with the skills and knowledge to take leadership roles in a number of related health fields. With online programs, working professionals have the opportunity to pursue continuing higher education while juggling their careers.


We’ve gathered reputable and high-quality graduate schools that offer Doctorate in Public Health online programs, selected based on the following characteristics:

Best Online Doctorate in Public Health Programs

Online Doctorate in Public Health

Capella University

Capella University

Doctor of Public Health

A pioneer in online education, Capella University is fully committed to providing exceptional learning outcomes that drive professional growth. The online Doctor of Public Health program offered by Capella University prepares students to design health programs, devise solutions to immediate and long-term health problems, and lead with integrity.

To earn the program, students must complete a total of 60 program credits, 12 of which are for core courses and two for capstone courses. Some of the courses in the comprehensive curriculum include Leadership and Emerging Trends in Public Health, Community Health Behavior and Promotion, and Applied Methods in Epidemiology, among others.

In this program, students are given the opportunity to solve real-world challenges in the healthcare industry through the integrated capstone and practicum.

Walden University

PhD in Public Health

Established in 1970, Walden University seeks to help working professionals find opportunities to advance their careers and acquire quality education through distance learning. One of its current offerings is a PhD in Public Health to help graduate students gain the skills and expertise needed to become effective scholar-practitioners.

Students can expect coursework that examines disease and injury prevention issues, health informatics, and the important role played by communication and marketing in the public health field. A dissertation is required to help students broaden their research skills and contribute to the field.

Those who completed their Master of Public Health or Master of Science in Public Health can earn the PhD in Public Health faster through the accelerated learning track. Students will be able to specialize in three options: Community Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, and Epidemiology.

University of Nebraska

University of Nebraska - Online

Doctor of Public Health – Public Health Practice

The University of Nebraska is a research-extensive institution. Its Doctor of Public Health in Public Health Practice is an advanced degree program that provides rigorous training when it comes to epidemiologic concepts and methodology.

Students will need to complete a total of 54 to 57 credits to earn the program, covering courses such as Applied Epidemiology, Introduction to Health Disparities and Health Equity, Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, and Survey Research Methods. This doctoral degree has accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.

Students who want to earn this advanced program will be required to complete a practice-based dissertation, covering advanced practice that aims to address public health and influence programs and policies.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

Doctor of Public Health

The Bloomberg School of Public Health earned a reputation for being the first and largest school of public health. Its Doctor of Public Health program offered by Johns Hopkins University is a flexible, part-time program offered in a hybrid format.

While many of the courses are available online, this program at Johns Hopkins University requires students to attend intensive, week-long on-site courses in summer and winter. Students are expected to develop foundational competencies with an emphasis on leadership, communication, policy, analytical skills, management, and program design and evaluation.

The Doctor of Public Health program requires the completion of a minimum of 57 credits. There are 11 concentrations and tracks to choose from, including the Health Security track, Health Equity & Social Justice concentration, and Health Policy and Management concentration, among others.

Indiana University

Indiana University

Doctor of Public Health – Global Health Leadership

Founded in 1820, Indiana University is one of the top public research universities globally. Indiana University offers the Doctor of Public Health in Global Health Leadership program designed to address the challenging and complex problems in the field of global health.

This three-year, cohort-based online program features courses such as Leadership in Global Health Law and Ethics, Leadership in Global Health Systems, the Science of Global Health Implementation, and more in its rigorous curriculum. The program is specially designed for senior-level professionals across a wide range of backgrounds, including nonprofit and for-profit healthcare settings.

The program helps students cultivate leadership skills by giving them opportunities to take part in diverse experiences and exposures. Students may choose between completing a dissertation and a field-based, capstone project.  

University of Illinois Chicago

University of Illinois Chicago

Doctor of Public Health – Public Health Leadership

The University of Illinois Chicago offers the Doctor of Public Health program in the University of Illinois Chicago offers a concentration in Public Health Leadership. This online doctoral program focuses on an adaptive leadership approach that can resonate with conditions faced by the public health field. Students are equipped with leadership skills integral to leading leadership development.

The online Doctor of Public Health degree features a curriculum aligned with the 20 foundational competencies promulgated by the Council on Education in Public Health or CEPH. It employs a research approach where systems thinking, mixed methods, and applied research designs are emphasized. The program is also competency-driven, which means it follows the recommendations for the Doctor of Public Health degree as mandated by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.

Students in this program may take advantage of a new scholarship in honor of Andre Gilmore Stanley. This scholarship focuses on equity and anti-racism, focal points in public health that Andre believes in.

Samford University

Samford University

Doctor of Public Health

Since its founding in 1841, Samford University remains committed to providing quality education with its academic programs grounded in liberal arts. Its Doctor of Public Health online program helps students develop a better understanding of the different aspects of public health by integrating multiple disciplines.

All of the courses in this doctorate program are offered online, with part-time and full-time options. It features a curriculum designed to equip students with high-level competencies in analytics, innovation, and management. Students are expected to apply scientific findings when it comes to addressing complex problems of public health policy and practice. 

The program has available concentration options for students who want to tailor their learning according to their professional needs and goals. They may choose the Health Management and Policy or the Population Health Analytics and Decision-Making concentration. Each of the concentrations will empower graduates with the confidence to succeed in their chosen specialization.

Pennsylvania State University

Doctor of Public Health

Pennsylvania State University is a land-grant institution fully committed to providing high-quality teaching and expert research. As the terminal professional degree in Public Health, Pennsylvania State University’s Doctor of Public Health is designed to help health professionals acquire advanced public health education and training.

Students can expect to acquire skills and competencies that will help them prepare for evidence-based practice and transnational science leadership. To earn the program, students must complete a minimum of 45 credits allocated for coursework and 15 credits for doctoral research and advanced field experience. The curriculum features course topics that cover public health preparedness, public health intervention, and social marketing and behavior.

The doctoral program requires additional requirements that are beyond coursework. This includes the Advanced Field Experience, which is a bridge between professional academic preparation and advanced public health practice. Students will also need to pass the comprehensive examination and complete integrative doctoral research, culminating in the production of two manuscripts and a doctoral portfolio.  

Nebraska Methodist College

Nebraska Methodist College

Doctor of Education in Public Health Policy

An accredited private nursing and healthcare educational institution, Nebraska Methodist College caters to only 1,100 students. The Doctor of Education in Public Health Policy offered at Nebraska Methodist College aims to develop future leaders who can lead in population and public health initiatives and health policy. The curriculum brings together public health and health policy, focusing on translating research and evidence-based practice in communities.

The program needs students to hold a master’s degree in a healthcare-related field from a regionally accredited institution in order to get admitted. The program requires no dissertation. Instead, students may demonstrate effective application of theories and concepts to address education or practice through the scholarly practice project. This Doctoral Practice Project can greatly help those seeking to become effective community and educational leaders.

The program has a focus on institutional healthcare, which provides expertise that allows students to pursue leadership roles in both academic and health-related settings. While most of the program requirements can be completed online, students still need to participate in two intensive learning sessions for two days on campus.

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda University

Doctor of Public Health in Health Education

Offering a unique learning environment, Loma Linda University has been educating students in healthcare for more than 100 years. Loma Linda University’s Doctor of Public Health in Health Education degree program is designed for individuals who want to advance their health education specialization and develop research and leadership capabilities.

Doctoral students can expect to gain advanced knowledge and competencies in the health education process, including advocacy and communication, critical analysis, and planning and evaluation of health behavior change. The program’s curriculum emphasizes community health education and lifestyle behaviors.

This hybrid program blends synchronous learning, blended courses, online courses, and campus visits during the doctoral research stage. Students will need to visit the campus for defenses of proposals, dissertations, and graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common admission requirements to an online Doctorate in Public Health program?

Generally, prospective students need to have earned a master’s from a regionally accredited university, preferably with a public health, healthcare administration, and other related major. Some schools may require students to meet the minimum GPA requirement, usually of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. At times, GRE scores will be required, along with official transcripts, demonstrated experience in the healthcare field, updated resume, and letters of recommendation.

What are the popular career pathways for graduates of an online Doctorate in Public Health?  

Since this doctorate degree focuses on the practical application of public health concepts and principles, graduates of this program may be able to work in various settings such as health departments, community development, health advocacy, and social services. Many of the career paths for this degree are leadership-oriented, including positions like healthcare administrators, public health educators, health policy analysts, and executive program directors, among others.

What can you learn from the online Doctorate in Public Health degree?

This doctoral degree requires students to learn how to evaluate public health policy and become agents of positive change in the healthcare field. Earning this program can train students to apply evidence-based research to develop advocacy efforts integral to promoting health by utilizing policies and programs. It is also part of the learning process to apply theoretical concepts and models when it comes to the development of effective health interventions.

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