The Top 10 Public Health Schools in the US

For those who desire to work in the health sector of America, having the college credentials to back you up is vital for landing an excellent job.

Public health colleges offer a wide array of majors for students who desire health-related careers in this space, including environmental science and engineering, nutrition, epidemiology, management of health care systems, and more.

Public health college is not the place to become a doctor – that is for medical school. Rather, it is for those who seek a career in one of the above described majors.

Attending college for public health is one of the biggest decisions you can make in your career.

However, that decision pays off; the job satisfaction rate for people who graduate from these schools is consistently among the highest of any major.

For this ranking, we created a “meta-analysis” ranking where we reviewed several other lists of top public health schools, then assigned a weighted score to each school on the list. Sources are at the bottom of the article.

Here are the 10 best public health schools in the US.

10. University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

University of Florida
Public domain photo by Porsche997SBS via Wikimedia Commons

Located in the impressive J. Hillis Miller Health Science Center at the University of Florida, the College of Public health starts our top 10 list.

The Health Center itself is one of the most productive research institutions worldwide. In 2018 alone, the center was awarded $410 million in research awards. This funding goes towards advancing knowledge and technologies inside many of the Public Health college’s programs, including Clinical Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and much more.

Numerous studies in health are produced at the University of Florida. One recently published study includes an analysis of the “teach-back” technique. In this study, researchers found that when patients teach-back their health diagnosis and instructions, they are less likely to return to the hospital.

Degrees in Public Health at the University of Florida are available at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral levels.

9. Emory University Rollins School of Public Health (Atlanta, GA)

Emory University
Ottawa80, Emory Campus Aerial Image, CC BY-SA 3.0

Less than 30 years old, the Rollins School of Public Health enrolls 1200 students at the Master’s and Doctoral levels.

The faculty at Emory are among the most renowned experts worldwide and are frequently featured in television, magazines, and other media. Faculty have included Alan Hinman, who was previously the Head of Immunization at the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Other faculty include emeritus professor William Foege, who is credited for the elimination of smallpox worldwide.

The school is named for entrepreneur O. Wayne Rollins, whose posthumous foundation donated $50m to the school in 2007. The donation allowed the school to expand by 160,000 square feet.

HONORABLE MENTION: St. Louis University (St. Louis, MO)

Saint Louis University
LittleT889, Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice, CC BY-SA 4.0

St. Louis University is the only accredited Catholic, Jesuit school of public health in the nation. It’s a school that is therefore dedicated to social justice and the Jesuit mission.

St. Louis University was established in 1818 and has some impressive faculty in its College for Public Health and Social Justice.

Among the decorated faculty is Dr. Cara Wallace, one of five researches awarded seed grants by The Gary and Mary West Foundation to advance palliative care research; social worker Dr. Shannon Cooper Sadlo; Dr. Sarah Coffin, an urban planning and real estate development professional; and Dr. Monica Matthieu, a specialist in social work and volunteering.

St. Louis University’s public health college offers programs in global health, biostatistics, health management and policy, maternal and child health, and public health practice, among other focus areas.

And as part of its curriculum, all students in the school will complete an internship with a public health organization either domestically or internationally to get a first-hand feel for the industry.

8. University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston, TX)

AndrewJohns87, University Center Tower 2, CC BY-SA 4.0

Located inside the Texas Medical Center, acknowledged as the largest medical center in the entire world, the UT School of Public Health began 50 years ago in the fall of 1969 with its first admitted class of students.

The success of the program became so phenomenal, regional campuses were built throughout the entire state of Texas. They include campuses in San Antonio, El Paso, Dallas, and Austin.

One of the most attractive elements of the UT program is actually the value of the education. Residents of Texas pay a tuition nearly 8x less than the top Ivy League Public Health schools in the US, making it one of the most attractive destinations for the aspiring young professional.

Additionally, according to the Healthcare Management Degree Guide, the student-faculty ratio is an amazing 5:1. Such a small ratio provides a significant 1-on-1 learning environment for students in the program.

7. Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (New York, NY)

Columbia University
Public domain photo by Infratec via Wikimedia Commons

Perennially ranked among the top 10 public colleges in the country, Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health is graduate institution comprised of mostly Master’s and Doctoral degree students.

Columbia’s Mailman School is noted for helping students achieve financial success relatively soon upon graduation. The average salary for a student finding work within six months of graduation is a comfortable $77,000. The jobs students obtain after graduation here include work in consulting, hospitals, pharmacy, software, university, and more.

One of the research themes at Columbia is life and longevity. In 1990, physician Robert Butler, at the time a Professor of Geriatrics, created the International Longevity Center to better understand and further research in life extension as well as productivity in older age.

Perhaps the most famous alum of the school is Chelsea Clinton, daughter of President Bill Clinton. Other alumni include talk-show host Brian Lehrer, famous biostatistician Joseph Fleiss, and epidemiologist Thomas Frieden, the CEO of Resolve to Save Lives whose mission is to eradicate epidemics as well as cardiovascular disease.

6. Colorado School of Public Health (Various Cities)

A joint-initiative among the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health enrolls 600 students and has over 200 full-time faculty members in its several campuses. It is the only collaborative school of public health in its region.

The post-graduate statistics of alumni are nothing short of impressive. In the Spring of 2018, 100% of the graduated PhD students found employment. 91% of MPH (Master’s of Public Health) students found work upon graduation, and another 6% continued their education and studies.

The core of this school’s focus lies in its 10 impressive research centers. The school has dedicated research centers for Global Health, Public Health Practice, Food Safety, and more.

One of the facilities representing the program is the Anschutz Medical Center, located at the University of Colorado, Denver. It is the only public university medical center in the entire state of Colorado.

HONORABLE MENTION: Drexel University Institute of Public Health (Philadelphia, PA)

Sebastian Weigand, South Drexel Campus 2, CC BY-SA 3.0

Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health was the winner of the 2017 Harrison Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Drexel’s Dornsife school, located in the heart of Philadelphia, is focused on improving the health of populations through creating healthier cities, reducing health disparities, and promoting health in all policies.

The school’s faculty is loaded with accomplished researchers such as Dr. Ana V. Diez Roux, the school’s dean and distinguished university professor of epidemiology; Dr. Joseph Amon, clinical professor and director of the Office of Global Health Community Health and Prevention; and Dr. Marla Gold, professor and dean emerita focused on health management and policy.

Drexel University’s Institute of Public Health brings its learning and research from the classroom into the real world, with researchers and students receiving grants to study topics such as improving firefighter safety to researching California’s decision to legalize marijuana and its effects on young adults.

5. University of Michigan School of Public Health (Ann Arbor, MI)

University of Michigan
Dwight Burdette, Henry F. Vaugan School of Public Health University of Michigan Ann Arbor Michigan, CC BY 3.0

The University of Michigan Henry F. Vaugan School of Public Health says it’s dedicated to helping students serve people they may never meet.

That focus on the greater good of society and people can be seen throughout the program.

The University of Michigan school does this by blending hard science and social science, so that the impact it has can be felt worldwide.

The college has partners worldwide, which allows its students to get hands-on, real-world experience in places such as Ethiopia to work on environmental health and in Kenya, where it has had a long-standing relationship.

The University of Michigan School of Public Health has a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, is rated, according to US News, the #1 public university in the U.S., is rated the #4 U.S. school of public health, has a graduate career placement of rate 94%, and offers more than 30 student organizations.

4. Harvard School of Public Health (Cambridge, MA) 

Harvard Square – Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has been an independent, degree-granting body of the prestigious university since 1946.

One of its biggest strengths is that it has dedicated experts from various disciplines in the world of public health who help educate and prepare the next group of leaders in the field.

This particular Harvard school has a distinguished list of alumni and faculty, include Gro Harlem Brundtland, who served as prime minister of Norway; and Thomas Davis, who twice served as prime minister of the Cook Islands.

The T.H. Chan School is also home to five graduates who have served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and two scientists affiliated with the school have been awarded the Nobel Prize – Thomas Weller in 1954 and Amartya Sen in 1998.

At its core, the Harvard School of Public Health believes that, “health is a fundamental right of every human being,” and that value can be seen through the entire program.

3. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (Baltimore, MD)

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health was founded in 1916 by two famous Americans – William H. Welch and John D. Rockefeller. Since that time, it has fostered positive change in health across the globe through its almost 24,000 alumni.

It current has 2,347 students who come from 79 nations across the globe.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has an impressive resume. It was the first institution of its kind worldwide; it’s the largest school of public health in the world; it receives almost one-quarter of all grants and contracts awarded to the 58 accredited U.S. schools of public health.

This program has been ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report since 1994.

That’s pretty impressive credentials.

Students can go to Johns Hopkins and major in fields such as epidemiology, international health, mental health, health policy and management, and biostatistics, among its 26 graduate degree programs, seven master’s programs and three doctoral programs.

HONORABLE MENTION: Boston University School of Public Health (Boston, MA)

Talbot Building at BU, which houses the School of Public Health – Public domain photo by Cmcnicoll via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most impressive public health schools on our list is the Boston University School of Public Health. The school prides itself on conducting research across a range of disciplines that focuses on “developing solutions to complex health challenges.”

They do this through their faculty’s work and its students’ studies both locally and across the globe.

Boston University also has a school-wide center called the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights.

Its internationally-renowned faculty in this program address real-world problems as they are members of state, national and international committees and task forces.

This brings the classroom research into a whole other level to address current, real-world issues and challenges.

The Boston University College of Public Health is ranked #10 by U.S. News & World Report in its list of best graduate schools, has 333 faculty compared to 225 students, and has 8,939 alumni living in 117 different countries.

The impressive credentials and people of this school, combined with its location in one of the most important global cities, make this program a must-apply for anyone interested in pursuing Public Health.

2. UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health (Chapel Hill, NC)

University of North Carolina
Shadle, UNC School of Public Health, CC BY-SA 3.0

UNC – Chapel Hill’s Gillings School is consistently noted as one of the great Public Health Colleges in our country.

One of the main features of UNC – Chapel Hill’s public health program is it integrates public health on both a hyperlocal and international level.

The Gillings School works hand-in-hand with all 100 counties in North Carolina as well as more than 60 countries. The school uses all these partnerships to make a difference throughout the world, from both inside and outside the classroom.

The Gillings School for Global Public Health just recently named Dr. Penny Gordon-Larsen as its associate dean for research.

Gordon-Larsen, who has been on the school’s staff since 2000, is an internationally recognized obesity researcher who also served on 11 National Institutes of Health grants that totaled almost $30 million.

1. University of Washington School of Public Health (Seattle, WA)

The only public health program in the entire Pacific Northwest, the University of Washington School of Public Health is ranked as the top public health college in the country on our list. Consistently ranked in among the best programs in the country, U Washington additionally made it to #6 on the US News list.

Recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation bestowed upon the school a significant donation. This donation allows the School of Public Health and the related Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to work together in the same facility, creating greater collaboration opportunity between both programs.

Outside of this new facility, there are many other research centers at the school uniquely crafted to tackle health challenges of the 21st century. They include facilities in AIDS research, Clean Air, Agricultural Safety, and more.

The school is also among the best in the country for sending students into employment opportunities. According to a survey recently conducted by the school, 95% of students find gainful employment within one year of graduation.

Inside the School of Public Health are a number of departments. One such department is the Biostatistics program, which was recently ranked #1 by US News. College Choice, an online publication, recently ranked U Washington in the top 10 for Public Health Schools.

Based in Seattle, students at the school gain the dual benefit of enrolling into not only one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country, but also one of the most exciting cities worldwide.

The following sources were used to create a meta-analysis ranking.


US News

College Choice

Health Care Management Degree Guide

Master’s Public Health

College Magazine

These rankings were sourced on July 30th to create the list on this website.