Public Health Graduate Certificates

Graduate Certificate in Public Health Programs offer current professionals, joint degree and post-baccalaureate students the opportunity to refine top skills and supplement their education in public health. Program curriculum aims to expand a student's knowledge of health policies, community education, and best practices public health issues, including infectious diseases, occupational hazards, and access to quality healthcare.

Graduate Certificate in Public Health: Program Basics

Prospective applicants to Graduate Certificate in Public Health programs may need a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree depending on the program, as well as have some type of related work experience, letters of recommendation and internship under their belt. In some cases, the credits earned in a graduate certificate in public health program may be transferred to a master’s degree such as the Master of Public Health; this may depend on whether your grad degree and grad certificate are taken in the same university or college. Public Health Certificate Programs may require a total of 15 credits (units); the time it takes to complete a certificate is shorter than a master’s degree but differs between public health graduate schools and whether you attend full or part-time.

Who Might Benefit from a Graduate Certificate in Public Health Program?

Public health graduate certificate programs are often designed for those already working in the healthcare profession, such as nurses, physicians, and veterinarians. However, they also offer students with a bachelor’s degree the opportunity to take a short-term, targeted course load in either a general public health certificate program or a more specific topic within the field.

DID YOU KNOW? 10% of Health and Social Services Managers hold a post-baccalaureate certificate (O'Net[i]

General Public Health Graduate Certificate Programs

A Graduate Certificate in Public Health that is affiliated with a Master of Public Health Program may offer courses in the 5 core discipline areas of public health:[ii]

  • Biostatistics

  • Epidemiology
  • Environmental Health
  • Health Policy and Health Administration
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

Specific Public Health Graduate Certificate Programs

A Graduate Certificate in Public Health that offers in-depth knowledge in a particular area may be one way to refine one’s competencies without committing to the same length of study as a graduate degree. Search for graduate certificates in:

  • Bioethics
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Education & Communication
  • International Health
  • Occupational Health & Safety

Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Public Health or On-Campus?

Online and partially online graduate certificate programs in Public Health may appeal to working professionals as they may offer a flexible and convenient learning option. Campus programs, however, offer the social learning environment and face-to-face interactions that distance-learning may exclude, unless there are in-person requirements. Once you have identified ‘what’ you want to study, search for sponsored ‘online’ or ‘campus’ listings. If you find a program such as Graduate Certificate in School Health Education or Graduate Program in Bioethics interesting, follow the green tabs to request info from the graduate school directly and start to refine your selection process based on the details you glean.


In the United States, the U.S. Department of Education recognizes the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) as the agency which accredits schools of public health and programs of public health.[iii]

“Certified” in Public Health (CPH) Exam

Distinguish in your search ‘certificate’ as opposed to ‘certification’. In terms of certification, CPH is the only public health board certification available for public health professionals.[iv] After passing this examination, a candidate must maintain the certification with 50 CPH recertification credits approved by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE).

Take the Next Step

Public Health is a field that encompasses many different areas; whether you are interested in teaching local or international children about the importance of washing their hands, or are drawn to environmental health or public policy. For students who want to add onto their education, Graduate Certificate in Public Health programs are short, focused programs designed to provide students with advanced skills in a particular subject or area of specialization. Take your next step to find one that aligns with your personal ambitions!

Sources: [i] |[ii] |[iii] |[iv]

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