Best Online Bachelor’s in Health Science Programs

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Health sciences is a broad, multidisciplinary field focused on the way food, physical activity, work, family life and other environmental factors affect human health. As an applied science, health sciences also explores the way mathematics, engineering and technology are used in healthcare settings. Subdivisions of health sciences include medicine, pharmacology, exercise science, diet and nutrition, psychology and healthcare management. As an academic major, health sciences is ideal for students who plan to pursue careers in nursing, pharmacy, medical technology, counseling and other professions involving patient treatment and care.

Many health science professionals begin their career as college undergraduates, although an advanced education, work experience and professional certification will be required for certain occupations. The best bachelor’s in health sciences programs not only introduce key concepts to students, but also prepare them for additional career requirements. Practicum (or onsite) courses are commonly included in the curriculum for health science bachelor’s degrees, and internships are also common. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their bachelor’s degree in health sciences online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of postdegree job opportunities. The asynchronous (or self-paced) format of most online health sciences programs is also conducive for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other responsibilities that may interfere with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online bachelor’s degree in health sciences and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE HEALTH SCIENCES BACHELOR’S PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Online bachelor’s in health sciences programs introduce students to medical technology, healthcare administration, nutrition science and other fundamental areas of the field. Students supplement their coursework with hands-on internships and practicum courses, where they receive supervised training from experienced professionals at clinics, labs and other worksites. Those who graduate from an online health sciences bachelor’s program will be well-positioned to either enter the workforce, obtain professional certification or continue with their education with a graduate degree.

WILL AN ONLINE HEALTH SCIENCES BACHELOR’S PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online bachelor’s in health sciences programs are a flexible alternative to traditional, classroom-based education. Students can access course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and contact their professors from the comfort of their home. Current technology also allows them to study away from their personal computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable devices with Wi-Fi capabilities. For added convenience, online students can usually coordinate internships and practicum courses at sites near their current residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY HEALTH SCIENCES BACHELOR’S DEGREE?

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s in health sciences will be qualified for a wide range of career pathways. These options include roles like health educators, dietitians and nutritionists, exercise physiologists, medical and health services managers and research scientists. It’s important to note that state-issued licenses and/or certifications are required for many of these professions in some or all U.S. states. Although the licensure process will vary by state, requirements usually include a comprehensive and postdegree work experience.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE HEALTH SCIENCES BACHELOR’S PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor’s degree in health sciences programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online bachelor’s in health sciences, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific bachelor’s degree requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

University of Missouri – Columbia

 2/569.48%Columbia, MO

campus_University_of_Missouri_Columbia

UM's bachelor of health sciences is a non-clinical degree intended for students who already have some college experience. The program is available entirely online, allowing students to balance professional and personal obligations while furthering their education. After completing coursework, graduates pursue employment in a number of fields, including medical sales and social services.


Graduates who continue into master’s level programs often study audiology, health education, occupational therapy, pharmacy, prosthetics-orthotics or speech-language pathology. The program offers a number of specializations within the degree, including rehabilitation, diagnostic and imaging sciences and health sciences.

Quick Facts

  • The degree consists of 120 credits delivered on the traditional semester schedule (16 weeks for fall and spring, eight weeks for summer courses)
  • Core classes account for approximately 38 credit hours and can be completed in just two years of full time study
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2

Rutgers University – New Brunswick

 3/580.68%New Brunswick, NJ

campus-rutgers-university

Rutgers' health science program is one of the school's most popular online degrees. Aside from core courses, students also have the opportunity to specialize in a particular concentration. Choices include aging, allied dental education, diagnostic imaging technologies, health advocacy, management, education and psychiatric rehabilitation. Students take general education and health science classes before choosing their concentration.


After completing the degree, graduates are qualified for a range of jobs, including dental assistant, diagnostic sonographer, medical secretary and pharmaceutical technician.

Quick Facts

  • Rutgers welcomes transfer students and accepts coursework from accredited schools
  • All courses are available asynchronously online
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3

University of South Dakota

 2/555.52%Vermillion, SD

campus_University_of_South_Dakota

Students in USD’s health sciences program belong to an engaged online learning community, and they regularly participate in exciting discussions with professors and classmates. This interdisciplinary degree offers students a customizable program and the opportunity to tailor their classes to suit their career aspirations. There are many different jobs available in the healthcare industry, and USD provides resources to help direct students to their area of interest.

Aside from core coursework, students can focus their studies in one of six concentrations: pre-professional studies, healthcare studies, healthcare advancement studies, undergraduate clinical informatics, undergraduate public health or undergraduate research.

USD's engaging faculty have diverse research and academic backgrounds, which ensures that students can find a mentor with shared interests.

Quick Facts

  • Online students have access to tech support, testing services and an online writing center
  • A proctor form for test-taking is available to distance learners required to take supervised exams
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4

Florida Gulf Coast University

 2/549.12%Fort Myers, FL

campus_florida_gulf_coast_university

FGCU's interdisciplinary approach to health science education prepares students for entry-level positions in several subfields upon graduation. The program is structured for students interested in post-baccalaureate programs in physical therapy and occupational therapy.


Students can concentrate in health services administration or health science. Regardless of your specialization, there is no in-person requirement to complete upper division coursework. Students choosing the health services administration concentration must have an associate degree in a health profession practitioner content area. Eligibility for licensure, certification or registration in a health profession is also required.

FGCU's students develop a nuanced understanding of coursework, legal and ethical issues in the field and the role healthcare providers play in the world.

Quick Facts

  • Faculty members have many interests, allowing students to align their aspirations to a mentor within the department
  • Students must earn at least a 2.0 (C) to pass each course
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5

Drury University

 4/562.6%Springfield, MO

campus_drury_university

Drury's health services offering is a degree completion program. It is intended for registered nurses, medical technologists, therapists, EMTs and other healthcare professionals who want to take the next step in their career. Students enrolled in this program build on their knowledge to develop leadership, supervisory and administrative skills, either within their current organization or at a new facility.

Students should already hold licensure within their current field before applying to the program. Relevant clinical experience and in-service training hours are also required.

Quick Facts

  • Core classes include wellness and health promotion, family and domestic violence, medical sociology, biology of behavior and theories and models of leadership
  • The health sciences major requires 33 hours of core coursework and a transfer program consisting of at least 30 hours
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6

Nova Southeastern University

 4/546.11%Fort Lauderdale, FL

NSU's bachelor of health science is a post-professional degree completion program designed for students who already have an associate degree or comparable certificate. Applicants typically work in healthcare and want to use a health science degree to advance in the field.

The program is highly interdisciplinary. Students craft individual degree programs that incorporate general education material with upper-level courses on specific topics related to their area of specialty.


The degree requires you to complete a minimum of 30 hours of core coursework at NSU; the school accepts up to 90 hours of transferrable credit. The curriculum is delivered via a 12-week semester calendar.

Quick Facts

  • You must enroll in at least nine credits per term to qualify for full financial aid
  • Students should expect to spend approximately 8 to 10 hours on course material per week
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7

Northern Kentucky University

 2/536.18%Highland Heights, KY

Medical professionals in NKU's health science program adhere to one of two tracks: a clinical track for students who already have an associate degree and professional credentials, and a non-clinical track for those interested in a career outside of patient care. Students in the program are allowed to enroll part-time or full-time and begin classes during the fall, spring or summer terms.


A third track is available to incoming freshmen or students with no medical experience. The transdisciplinary track requires students to complete all general education requirements in addition to health science courses. Transdisciplinary students also have the opportunity to minor in a concentration of their choice.

Quick Facts

  • Last fall, NKU admitted only 17 online students to the program, ensuring small class sizes and individual student-professor interaction
  • All three tracks award the same degree to students
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8

University of West Florida

 2/551.46%Pensacola, FL

West Florida's health sciences department only admits students who have completed their general education requirements. Designed for undergraduates pursuing a career in healthcare, the program provides foundational skills to entry-level job seekers.

The curriculum has two components: core classes, which everyone takes, and a concentration program. Students must take 42 hours of class in their chosen concentration and can choose to focus in allied health, healthcare administration, the healthcare profession or public health. These concentrations directly prepare students for work in specific subfields of the industry.


Core courses include studies in health science technology, medical terminology, health information systems, business analysis and the legal fundamentals of the healthcare industry.

Quick Facts

  • Depending on your concentration, you need to take between three and eight electives in addition to core and concentration requirements
  • Courses are delivered fully online and follow a traditional semester-based schedule
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9

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

 2/537.79%Natchitoches, LA

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Allied Health at Northwestern State is a popular program for healthcare professionals seeking a bachelor’s degree. Students who already have an associate degree can apply all general education coursework and up to 30 hours of clinical classes to the program, making it possible to graduate within two years.


When applying, healthcare professionals with an associate degree must demonstrate proof of licensure, registration or certification to practice in a health discipline. Leadership is an important part of Northwestern State's program: upon graduation, students are prepared to work within interdisciplinary teams, synthesize communication strategies and integrate leadership skills to solve job-related problems.

Quick Facts

  • Coursework is delivered fully online and asynchronously
  • This degree program is only available to students who have completed an associate-level degree before applying
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10

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

 4/571.05%Boston, MA

MCPHS offers a BS in health sciences exclusively to students who have earned an associate degree in an allied health discipline. All applicants must also hold current registration, certification or licensure. The curriculum is delivered fully online and students can take classes either part-time or full-time. Lecture and work is completed asynchronously, allowing students to take classes on their own schedules.

Prospective applicants should note that this program is not designed for students interested in dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies or veterinary science. To study those subjects, students should consider MCPHS's BS in Premedical and Health Studies.
Once enrolled in the pharmacy and health sciences program, students may focus in general health sciences, management or education.

Quick Facts

  • Completion of the degree requires 30 hours of core and concentration courses and 34-43 hours of general education credits
  • Students considering post-baccalaureate studies should note that this program does not provide the upper-level sciences required as prerequisites in most physician assistant or physical therapy programs
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11

Texas Woman’s University

 2/543.94%Denton, TX

TWU offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Professions to students who have already completed an associate program. Students supplement the work they have completed in their previous curriculum with 21 hours of health studies courses and 15 hours of business classes.


Graduates of this program often work in health education programs, directing initiatives and evaluating their effectiveness while promoting wellness for the general population. They also find employment at medical care facilities, schools, public health departments, nonprofit organizations and private businesses.

Quick Facts

  • A cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better is required for admission into the program
  • The department has two scholarships available to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in health studies
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12

University of the Incarnate Word

 4/542.73%San Antonio, TX

UIW's health sciences program appeals to incoming freshman and associate degree holders. Aside from general education and core degree requirements, the program also offers several concentrations that allow students to prepare for specific positions in the field. Those concentrations include administration, cardiac rhythm analysis technician, certified billing and coding specialist, certified electronic health record specialist, certified medical administrative assistant, general studies and nutrition.

The program requires up to 120 hours of study and the school accepts up to 60 hours of transfer credit. The degree is available entirely online.

Quick Facts

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13

University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

 2/547.35%Colorado Springs, CO

Health professionals with an associate degree or equivalent certification are eligible to apply to UCCS’s Allied Health online degree completion program. This bachelor’s level program helps professionals in the field obtain the training and credentials they need to advance in their careers. UCCS accepts up to 40 transfer credits from previous schools.


Upon graduation, students from UCCS’s program find employment as health service managers, physician assistants, physical therapists, medical laboratory scientists, radiation therapists and respiratory therapists. The program is specifically designed to accommodate professional learners; all courses are taught asynchronously and students are encouraged to sign up for as many or as few credits as they can manage comfortably.
transfer credit. The degree is available entirely online.

Quick Facts

  • Students review current scientific research within the field while studying leadership, education and advocacy
  • Each student works with an academic advisor to create an individualized program
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Timeline
4 to 5 years
Program Costs
$10,000 to $30,000 in annual tuition
Related Areas of Study
Nursing, Medical Technology, Healthcare Administration, Medical Assistant, Pharmacology/Pharmacy, Diet and Nutrition, Exercise Science, Counseling, Physical Therapy
Accreditation
There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study at the undergraduate level. Students should defer to the regional/national accreditation of their four-year college or university.

Job Placement

Employment experts project a strong outlook for all health-related professions in the years to come. This demand is largely due to an increased number of people receiving medical care in the United States; more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans now receive medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and an aging baby boomer population has also added to the need for qualified healthcare workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in healthcare (including roles in health sciences) are expected to grow 19% between 2014 and 2024; comparatively, the projected growth rate for all occupations during this timeframe is roughly 7%.

A recent survey by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) explored unemployment rates among college graduates with different majors between the ages of 25 and 29. Using data from this survey, the following table compares unemployment rates for ‘general medical and health services’ majors against those who pursue degrees in other science-related fields.

Bachelor’s Degree Field of Study Unemployment Rate for 25- to 29-Year-Old College Graduates
General Medical and Health Services 3.6%
Nursing 3.2%
Biology 4.1%
Physical Fitness, Parks, Recreation and Leisure 4.1%
Physical Sciences 4.4%
Psychology 5.8%

Source: Employment Outcomes of Bachelor’s Degree Recipients’ by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

As the table indicates, ‘general medical and health services’ degree recipients face the second-lowest unemployment rate among all fields listed. By comparison, the average unemployment rate for all bachelor’s degree-holders 25 to 29 was 4.8%, while the national unemployment rate for all occupations currently sits at 4.9%.

Earning a Living

In addition to employment prospects, bachelor’s degree field of study can also impact earning potential for college graduates. According to the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, those who earn a degree in health sciences earn a median annual salary of $38,300 during their first five years of employment and $62,600 after 10 years on the job. The table below looks at salary expectations for health sciences majors and six other related areas of study.

Bachelor’s Degree Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Health Sciences $38,300 $62,600
Medical Laboratory Technology $48,500 $64,000
Health Information Management $41,700 $63,800
Business and Healthcare Management $40,000 $62,500
Public Health $38,300 $60,500
Health Care Administration $39,400 $59,900
Nutrition and Dietetics $44,000 $59,100

Source: The 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

Of the seven majors listed, health sciences tied for the lowest entry-level salary but ranked third in terms of mid-career salary. Additionally, health sciences majors experience the highest rate of salary growth between the two phases: an increase of 63.4%.

However, salary expectations for health science professionals will also depend on specific job title. Other key factors include company/organization size and city/state of employment. The next table looks at career salary growth for five of the most common occupations in the health sciences.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Medical and Health Services Manager $51,000 $69,000 $70,000 $77,000
Health Educator $40,327 $46,293 $51,392 $58,957
Community Health Worker $33,865 $38,192 $40,000 $38,000
Registered Dietitian $48,676 $53,604 $58,482 $58,875
Exercise Physiologist $40,668 $42,340 $44,607 $69,767

Source: PayScale

Of the five careers listed, exercise physiologists experience the highest rate of career salary growth: a 71.6% increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Medical and health services managers placed second; these professionals saw their earnings ride 51% after 20 years in the workforce.

Salaries of Major Health Science Occupations

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s in health sciences will be qualified for dozens of entry-level and managerial positions ― although individual eligibility and additional requirements (such as certification) will vary by specific occupation. Four common career pathways in health sciences are outlined below.

Dietitians and Nutritionists: These professionals use their knowledge of food and dietary science to promote healthy eating and drinking habits. Most states require dietitians and nutritionists to receive official certification; requirements for certification vary by state, but most include a bachelor’s degree and successful completion of a comprehensive exam.

Health Educators and Community Health Workers: These professionals teach courses, develop outreach programs and promote healthy lifestyle choices to a wide range of target audiences. They also strive to connect community members, healthcare providers and other professionals (such as counselors and social workers).

Medical and Health Services Managers: Also known as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, these managers oversee the administrative divisions of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities. They typically manage teams of personnel, and work to develop and coordinate various services at their workplace.

Exercise Physiologists: These medical professionals assist patients who suffer from chronic pain and help them explore options for maintaining fitness and health. Currently, Louisiana is the only U.S. state that requires exercise physiologists to earn certification; however, measures for this requirement are pending in several other states.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Dietitians and Nutritionists $57,910 16% (+11,000 jobs)
Health Educators and Community Health Workers $43,840 13% (+15,600 jobs)
Medical and Health Services Managers $94,500 17% (+56,300 jobs)
Exercise Physiologists $47,010 11% (+1,500 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to health sciences is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for health science professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • American Public Health Association: Founded in 1872, the APHA is a nonprofit organization that strives to provide professional development opportunities for health professionals and develop meaningful public health policy. Members receive complimentary journal and periodical subscriptions, invitations to networking events and discounts on continuing education courses and other services.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Founded in 1917, the AND is an advocacy-driven organization that today represents more than 100,000 dietitians, technicians and other professionals in the field of nutrition and dietetics. The website features a wealth of health-related resources aimed at specific demographics like women, children and the elderly.
  • National Health and Exercise Science Association: Listed as a ‘proactive health community’, the NHESA is an organization that strives to promote healthy habits and lifestyles throughout the country. The NHESA Health Promotion in Action 2020 initiative is part of the Obama administration’s Healthy People 2020 initiative. Membership in the organization is free for students.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.