UNE vs USC Online MPH Degree

With job growth in public health ranging from 6-12% in epidemiology, biostatistics and environmental health, many professionals are considering a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree to accelerate their public health career. Jump to 11 best jobs with a MPH degree.

Today there are many solid online MPH programs available, with two of them being the University of New England (UNE) and the University of Southern California (USC) programs.

Students who are considering these programs will want to do a close comparison between the two accredited MPH programs to see how they stack up. Below is more information about each MPH program.

Overview of MPH Programs

UNE Online MPH

The University of New England (UNE) MPH program is a 46-credit program that is accredited by the CEPH, and is 100% online. The degree program can be completed in as few as 18 months, and no GRE exam is required. Jump to Types of MPH degree programs.

The required courses in this MPH program are a total of 15 hours and include these courses:

  • Public Health Policy and Management
  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Introduction to Environmental Health
  • Social and Behavioral Health

The UNE program features a practicum that is completed at a public health site in your local area, under the guidance of your academic advisor.

USC Online MPH

The University of Southern California (USC) MPH program also is accredited by the CEPH, and is 100% online with no campus residency required. The website notes that this is the only online MPH program that is delivered from a top-ranked medical school. It also states that USC is a top-ranked university according to US News and World Report, and the Keck School of Medicine is currently ranked #31. Jump to What is CEPH certification for MPH.

The required courses in the USC MPH program total 20 hours and are:

  • Foundations in Health Education and Promotion
  • Health Services Delivery in the US
  • Principles of Biostatistics
  • Principles of Epidemiology
  • Environmental and Occupational Health

This program includes a practicum that you will complete in your local community, under the supervision of your academic advisor.

Favorite Features

Our favorite features of each program are noted below. Both programs are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, or CEPH, which is a very important feature that is to the credit of both programs. CEPH accreditation tells you and future employers that the program features a rigorous curriculum and teaches everything that modern public health professionals need to know to succeed. Jump to how to choose the best online mph programs for your concentration.

University of New England

GRE scores are not required

It is common for MPH programs to require standardized test scores to be considered for admission to the program. However, recent research suggests that high scores on popular tests, such as the General Record Exam (GRE), are not necessarily reflective of potential success in a public health master’s program. Jump to 10 best MPH programs with No GRE requirement.

The University of New England does not require GRE scores to apply. Instead, the university focuses on the applicant’s GPA, which must be 3.0 or more, work history and academic and professional recommendations.

Affordable tuition 

A major consideration for going to graduate school is what the final cost is going to be. If a student needs to take out a lot of loans to complete the program, it is important to consider what the typical starting and mid-career salary will be for your chosen profession. Generally, taking on less college debt is preferable, although it is possible that a more expensive and better known program could lead to a higher salary.

UNE has a relatively affordable tuition at only $690 per credit hour, with a total tuition cost of approximately $30,000.

University of Southern California

Strong alumni organization

USC has a very strong and large alumni group, with more than 379,000 total and growing every year. A strong and active alumni group at a major, highly rated university can be a very good career and networking resource that should not be underestimated.

Public service loan forgiveness offered

USC offers a program where a student with MPH debt may be able to contract for a certain period of time with various state and local governments in the US and have part of their college debt forgiven. This can help to overcome the relatively high tuition costs at USC.

Least Favorite Features

University of New England

Program is not ranked by US News and World Report

Major national publications such as US News and World Report annually provide rankings of the top graduate school programs in most majors. A program that is highly ranked tends to be viewed in a more favorable light by many employers and the general public.

UNE’s program is not ranked according to US News. It currently is ranked #98 for Best Online Graduate Education Programs, but the public health program is not mentioned. The entire University is ranked #80 in Regional Universities North, according to that publication.

University of Southern California

Cost of tuition is high

USC is a better-known university in both medicine and public health, and consequently, the cost of tuition is much higher than at UNE. The USC website states that tuition costs $1800 per credit hour, for a total cost of $84,600.

This is a fairly high tuition for an MPH degree, but it should be pointed out that earning a degree from a highly respected university such as USC can open the door to better career opportunities, and possibly a higher salary.

GRE scores are required

The admission requirements for USC are more rigorous than UNE, which can actually be a positive; a higher quality program tends to attract better students and professors.

However, GRE scores are required to be considered for admission to the USC MPH program.

The Details

University of New England

General Information

  • Founded in 1996
  • Application deadline: Rolling
  • Application fee: $50
  • School type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester
  • Location: Biddeford, Maine

Tuition Rates

  • MPH – $690 per credit hour

Degrees Offered

  • MPH
  • DPH

Class Profile

  • 7% overall acceptance rate

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 2% overall graduation rate
  • 80% of freshmen return for their second year, which is above average

University of Southern California

General Information

  • Founded in 1880
  • Application deadline: Rolling
  • Application fee: $50
  • School type: Private, for profit
  • Term Schedule: Semester
  • Location: Los Angeles, California; online

Tuition Rates

  • MPH: $1800 per credit hour

Degrees Offered

  • MPH
  • DPH

Class Profile

  • 54,000 students applied for 3,100 places last year for undergraduate admissions
  • 17% of those who applied were accepted, making USC a very selective university
  • Most first year students at USC overall are in the top 10% of their high school class

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 91% overall graduation rate
  • 97% of freshmen return for their second year, which is one of the best rates in the country

Final Verdict

Both the UNE and USC MPH programs are accredited by the CEPH, so the student can be confident that both programs will teach them vital public health skills and knowledge.

USC is a much better known and respected program, and it is reasonable to expect that attending USC could result in good potential networking opportunities to secure an excellent public health position. This is a very selective program, and even being admitted is difficult.

UNE is also a quality program, even though the university is less well known. It is also much more affordable than USC. Students may wish to apply to both and see if they can be accepted at both or either.

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Written by Robert Sanchez
Robert Sanchez is HealthGrad.com's Chief Editorialist. Robert Sanchez has over 10 years experience in the Healthcare field and more recently has become an avid writer advising on career and job topics in this exciting field.

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