There’s a reason that most schools use the GRE or other entrance exams to screen applicants—it helps keep the quality up. So you have to be pretty careful when you are selecting schools without that requirement to ensure you are getting only the best.
We’ve done that by using a combination of expert editorial review combined with a few core criteria to ensure that zero entrance exams doesn’t mean zero quality. By combing through school catalogs, websites, press releases, and other public sources of information, we narrow down the choices until we’re satisfied that we’re offering you only the best.
Accreditation Ensures Academic Rigor
Accreditation from CEPH—the Council on Education for Public Health—is an absolute must-have credential for any public health master’s degree program.
CEPH is a specialty accreditor recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the only organization qualified to set standards in public health education, and verify that those standards are being met and maintained over time. While basic regional accreditation is offered to the entire university, CEPH-accreditation is specific to just the public health programs themselves, drilling down to the elements unique to an education in the field. The agency evaluates the faculty, curriculum, resources, and administrative procedures of the online MPH offerings to ensure that they all meet the high standards of the public health community.
Working through a multi-year, multi-stage process, the agency uses document review, on-site visits, and follow-ups to validate the public health credentials of the program to ensure that graduates are equal to the task of filling demanding public health positions in the field today.
With zero entrance exam requirements, looking at specialty accreditation ensures that no scholastic corners are being cut.
Online Means Entirely Online
Some online programs waffle a bit by putting a few course materials on a website somewhere but still requiring you to show up on campus a few times a quarter. Not these! If a program claims to be online, we ensure that it means entirely online. If you are signing up for the flexibility and ease of access of online learning, it’s probably because you just don’t have any easy option for attending a traditional program. So half-measures aren’t good enough; all of these programs are entirely online for your convenience, requiring, at most, a very occasional on-campus appearance for intensives and group projects.
Online Doesn’t Mean Sacrificing Resources or Opportunities
On the other side of that coin is making sure that you have the same quality of education and opportunities to excel as students who attend traditional on-campus courses. We look for schools that put their digital libraries entirely online for remote students, who offer dedicated support teams, and deliver superb communication platforms (learning management systems, or LMS) to connect you to both your instructors and to other students along the way.
Research Funding and Resources
It could be said that public health is a field that evolves at the pace of microbial development… which is to say, pretty fast. If you don’t graduate with the most cutting edge information, you’re already behind the curve. It’s important that schools maintain well-respected, well-funded research programs to help fuel the knowledge base of both the field in general and your education in particular.
Instructors With Real-World Experience
Similarly, a professor who has been sitting in a dusty office in the back of the department wing for a decade probably isn’t the right person to impart to you the bleeding-edge outreach and surveying techniques being practiced in the field today. We look for schools that have a broad mix of instructors with relevant, recent, real-world experience to pass along.
Relevant and Exciting Practicum Opportunities
And speaking of the real world, it’s absolutely vital for your career and your education that you get the right opportunities for field experience during your master’s program. We sought out schools that offer the same opportunities to online students as to their traditional students. That means partnerships with organizations in every state the program is offered to ensure every student has reasonable access to the hands on learning and immersive experiences they need. It also means a broad range of partnerships when it comes to the types of field experience placements available to ensure you can find the right one to match your specialization and interests.
The Right Concentrations
Because public health is such a broad field, almost all students will specialize to some extent during the course of their master’s degree program, and in the course of their education – whether that means a policy focus, epidemiological concentration, or even focus areas that deal with certain types of diseases found in only certain regions of the world. The concentrations a school offers can be make or break for you depending on your career goals.
It can be difficult to find an online program that matches on-campus programs when it comes to concentration availability. Our goal is to find online programs that offer concentrations that are every bit the equal of their on-campus counterparts.