What is CEPH accreditation?

Published on: Aug 18, 2023

The Council for Education for Public Health (CEPH)1 is an independent organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education that accredits public health schools and programs. The goal of accreditation is to ensure quality across public health programs leading to excellent graduates and practitioners. 

CEPH was formed in 1974 by the American Public Health Association, who previously served as the accreditor of graduate public health programs, and the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPPH) which represents faculty and students of accredited schools of public health. 

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes CEPH to accredit schools of public health and public health programs, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including online MPH programs. Accreditation signals that a school or program is of high quality and is committed to excellence. Accreditation also helps foster continuous improvement as programs work to maintain the high standards set. 

Students who graduate from an accredited program can be assured they have the essential skills needed for their profession. This is important because some employment opportunities such as the US Public Health Service and some state and local government agencies require MPH-level jobs be filled by graduates of CPH-accredited schools and programs. Students of CEPH-accredited schools are also eligible to sit for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credentialing exam by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. 

Chart detailing benefits of accreditation

Criteria for an online program to CEPH accredited

Applicants for accreditation means a program has completed an initial review process to become eligible to undergo the full CEPH review. It is not a guarantee that the school or program will be accredited, and it takes about three years to go from applicant to being fully accredited. probationary accreditation means that while the school or program is accredited, the Council has identified issues that need to be resolved by a certain date. If the problems are resolved, the program can return to normal accreditation, however if it does not, accreditation will be revoked.

The specific accreditation criteria and procedures are available on the CEPH website under the “Criteria & Procedures” tab to ensure transparency.

Online MPH programs

Online Master of Public Health programs allow students to earn an MPH either partially or completely online, meaning they do not need to travel to campus to attend in-person classes. Some online MPH programs are one option from a School of Public Health with several degrees to choose from. Other times, a university will exclusively offer an online degree. Some students may decide to pursue their MPH online for the convenience of taking class anywhere in the world, often with more flexibility to work around other personal or professional commitments. Students who complete degrees online should have good time management skills, be self-starters, and comfortable with technology to complete assignments, participate in classes, and connect with peers and professors. 

Where to find them

The CEPH website has a tool to allow prospective students to search for a degree program. To access the search tool, navigate to “Who We Accredit” and click on “Search for An Accredited Degree.” From there, you can search to see if a specific university or program you are interested in is CEPH-accredited, or you can search by concentration or state. There are checkboxes to indicate if you are interested in online or international programs only. 

MPH Making an Impact

Summary of 20 CEPH Accredited Online MPH Programs

Even among accredited online programs, there is tremendous variety in the MPH experiences available to students. Some programs can be completed partially in-person or have required in-person orientations or immersions while others are entirely online. Programs can also differ in their flexibility, with some offering asynchronous classes and up to seven years to complete a degree while other programs have strict schedules and required live interaction. The concentrations, certificates, and courses offered also vary widely by institution and program and students should read information about the curriculum carefully to make sure it is a fit for them. We have highlighted ten accredited online MPH programs to give a taste of the kinds of programs that are searchable on the CEPH website.

Students should reach out to each school individually for more information or if they have any questions.

Frequently asked questions

A regional accreditation applies to a university as a whole and focuses on factors that impact the entire school. It doesn’t evaluate specific curricula. CEPH accreditation is a type of specialized accreditation that focuses on training in a particular field, in this case public health. Students should make sure their university is accredited both regionally and by CEPH. 

Yes. CEPH accredits some programs and schools located out of the United States. They are required to meet the same standards as universities in the US. 

Yes, there are many online CEPH-accredited schools and programs of public health. Students can search the CEPH website to find accredited online programs, or to verify the online MPH they are interested in is CEPH accredited. 

About the Authors

Written by:

Editorial Contributor

Reviewed by:

Katherine Paul, MPH

Katherine Paul, MPH is a senior project manager at a leading medical communications and publications organization. She supports multidisciplinary teams handling large-scale accounts, the deliverables of which improve health outcomes and patient well-being. Ms. Paul holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Promotion from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and passed the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) shortly after graduation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Dickinson College.

Ms. Paul previously worked at a public health non-profit where she managed all aspects of diverse health-related projects, including the implementation of a randomized controlled clinical trial on sexual health for teens with developmental disabilities, as well as the evaluation of a statewide tobacco cessation program with more than 20,000 annual cases. She has developed and delivered posters and presentations at national conferences including the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting. 

Opinions and information published by the author here on MastersPublicHealth.com are of my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of my employer or other organizations for my designated roles.

Katherine Paul

Katherine Paul, MPH

Editorial Lead

Education: Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

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