The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the healthcare industry will add 2.3 million new jobs by 2024--a faster rate of growth than any other field of occupations in the United States. With a demand for highly-trained health professionals, it is an opportune time to pursue a master's degree in health science. This guide will help you determine which of the leading health science master's programs are the best fit for you--whether you are looking to advance your career or are looking for new skills to better serve those in need.
What are the best health science programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of South Florida||Tampa, FL|
|2||Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey||New Brunswick, NJ|
|3||Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale, FL|
|4||The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley||Edinburg, TX|
|5||Touro University Worldwide||Los Alamitos, CA|
|6||Western Carolina University||Cullowhee, NC|
|7||Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences||Boston, MA|
|8||University of Nebraska-Lincoln||Lincoln, NE|
|9||Florida Gulf Coast University||Fort Myers, FL|
|10||Oregon Institute of Technology||Klamath Falls, OR|
2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Health Science Programs
University of South Florida
|Tampa, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
USF awards degrees and provides patient care through the region's only academic medical center. Students may choose from dozens of graduate degrees and certificates offered on campus and online through USF's College of Medicine.
The university offers an online master of science in medical sciences with a concentration in health sciences. The program comprises 32 credits and takes four semesters to complete. The curriculum includes required courses that cover topics like anatomy, microbiology, and health sciences ethics.
USF offers one start date for all new students in the fall semester. Applicants must hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must also submit DAT, GRE, or MCAT scores at or above the 50th percentile
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
|New Brunswick, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
The Rutgers School of Health Professions is the largest school of its kind in the United States, serving more than 1,700 students, including over 600 online learners. The school offers more than 40 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs and boasts a 100% three-month placement rate among graduates.
The university's online master's degree in health sciences features an aging track, emphasizing gerontology studies. The 33-credit curriculum includes core and major coursework, with electives in topics like health promotion, mental health, and complementary and alternative medicine/pharmacology. The program culminates in a graduate project.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. However, students need not submit GRE scores. Some applicants may need to hold current professional licensure in their field.
Nova Southeastern University
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
NSU's College of Health Care Sciences caters to allied health and nursing professionals. The university's students may choose from more than a dozen online and hybrid programs.
NSU's master's in health science program develops broad communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills for health professionals seeking career advancement. Students may complete a generalist curriculum or choose one of six concentrations: sports medicine, higher education, healthcare administration, health law, leadership in healthcare, or healthcare risk management. All concentrations require 37 credits, except for health law, which requires 43 credits.
Applicants must hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.75 GPA. All prospective students must have relevant professional experience. NSU accepts applications on a rolling basis and admits students during the fall, winter, spring, and summer terms.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
|Edinburg, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Among the newest members of the University of Texas System, UTRGV was established in 2013 and opened its School of Medicine in 2016. The university's students may choose from nine online health science degrees and certificates.
UTRGV's online master's degree in health sciences offers concentrations in clinical laboratory sciences, healthcare administration, health professions education and technology, healthcare informatics, and nutrition. Each concentration requires 36 credits and can be completed over 12 months. Required courses include healthcare ethics and legal issues, health computer information systems, and research in health sciences. Each course lasts seven weeks.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in health science, business, or a related field. Additional requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA and prerequisite courses in physiology and anatomy. UTRGV offers multiple start dates and charges all online students a universal, per-credit tuition rate.
Touro University Worldwide
|Los Alamitos, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
A global, Jewish-sponsored higher education system, TUW oversees multiple physical campuses and an online division. The university's students may choose from more than 20 online programs in fields like business, psychology, general studies, and health and human services.
TUW's online master's in health sciences includes a concentration in public health. Students must complete 36 credits (12 courses) that cover topics like health promotion, disease prevention, and healthcare in underserved populations.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.5 GPA. TUW charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all online students, regardless of residency. The university's health sciences curriculum meets standards set by the Council on Education for Public Health.
Western Carolina University
|Cullowhee, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
The westernmost school in the University of North Carolina System, WCU serves more than 12,000 students at its Cullowhee campus and online. The university offers nearly 20 graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs to distance learners.
WCU's online master's in health sciences offers concentrations in emergency medical care, health education, health management, and nutrition. While the curricula vary between concentrations, core coursework emphasizes research, management, and leadership skills for current and aspiring healthcare professionals. The health education concentration prepares students for the national certified health education specialist exam.
Students interested in earning an online master's degree in health sciences can begin taking classes in the fall or spring. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit GRE scores. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher do not need to submit GRE scores.
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
|Boston, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Dedicated to providing comprehensive healthcare programs, MCPHS boasts an 80% retention rate. The college's students can choose from more than 100 graduate and undergraduate programs offered at three campuses and online.
The college's online master's in health sciences emphasizes health education skills for scholarly pursuits in health sciences. Required coursework covers literature reviews and focused research, health professions education in higher education, and evidence-based practice. The program culminates in an independent research project.
The program offers start dates in fall and spring. Students typically earn their degrees in two years. MCPHS charges all students the same tuition, regardless of residency.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
|Lincoln, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
UNL offers dozens of online graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs. The university's online division also delivers blended/hybrid programs, degree completion programs, and college courses for high school students.
UNL offers a master of science in nutrition and health sciences with an online specialization in dietetics. This flexible, asynchronous program requires 36 credits of core and elective courses. Core courses cover topics like statistics, research methods, and current issues and trends. The program culminates in a practicum, final creative component, or thesis.
Applicants must hold current licensure as a registered dietician. Students with prior experience may transfer in up to 15 credits toward this dietetics degree. The program admits new students in the fall and spring semesters.
Florida Gulf Coast University
|Fort Myers, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Established in 1991, FGCU's enrollment has quintupled over its relatively short history. The university now offers nearly 20 online programs and boasts an 84% one-year employment rate among its graduates.
FGCU's online master's in health science requires 36 credits and includes electives related to health education and health administration. Required coursework covers healthcare policy, information systems, and financial management. All learners also complete a health services administration internship and a health policy capstone seminar.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and submit GMAT, GRE, or MAT scores. Prospective students with a regionally accredited master's degree do not need to submit test scores. The program admits new students in the fall and spring.
Oregon Institute of Technology
|Klamath Falls, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
At Oregon Tech, students may choose from more than 20 online programs in areas like healthcare, business, engineering, and technology.
The institute's online master's in allied health program emphasizes career skills in healthcare leadership. Students choose to enroll in one of three tracks: administrative/healthcare leadership, dental hygiene, or respiratory care. Core allied health courses explore topics like evidence-based medicine, population health issues, and research methods for allied health leaders. The 49-quarter-credit program culminates in a master's capstone presentation or thesis.
Applicants must hold a regionally accredited bachelor's degree earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students must also have professional experience in health services and submit GRE or MAT scores. Oregon Tech charges all online learners the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Health Science Program?
The emphasis of master's programs in health science can vary depending on the school and program, but many programs have similar core requirements. This section provides an overview of what you can expect from a typical master's in health science.
Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Health Science
The coursework required to earn a master's degree in health science is specific to each program, but the courses below outline what students can expect from the average health science curriculum.
- Research Methods: Health professionals must be able to read and critically evaluate published research. Coursework in research methodologies is integral to initial training and professional development opportunities.
- Health Policy: Aspiring and current health professionals must understand how policy is made at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as how these policies affect the daily delivery of care in real-world settings.
- Healthcare Ethics: The healthcare industry contains a variety of ethical dilemmas, including questions of informed consent, parental notification, and efficient resource allocation. It's important for students to have the knowledge to address these concerns.
- Healthcare Communications: Effective communication is an essential skills for all healthcare professionals. They must have the ability to disseminate the latest findings of a study, work with community stakeholders on new health initiatives, and convey information to patients or clients.
- Leadership/Management: Students seeking leadership positions need an understanding of personnel and organizational management, supervisory tools and methods, and other fundamentals of human resources.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Master's in Health Science?
Earning your master of health science or master of science in health education typically takes between 18 and 24 months, and some programs allow students up to 5 years to complete required coursework. Generally, master's degrees in health science consist of 30 credits, but students interested in further specialization, like health informatics, may need to complete additional foundational and elective courses.
Some schools may require students to join learning cohorts, in which they progress through their coursework on a regular schedule with a group of peers. Other schools offer more flexible, independent learning formats, which allow learners to complete coursework on their schedule. Cohort programs tend to require more time to complete.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Health Science Degrees
Accreditation means that a school meets minimum standards and that graduates are adequately prepared for jobs in their field.
The most common forms of accreditation are national and regional; regional accreditation is considered more prestigious. Regional accreditation is earned from one of seven agencies across the country that serve the majority of nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States. National accreditation is earned from one of ten agencies that are authorized by the Department of Education (ED). The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a private, nongovernmental organization that represents 3,000 colleges and universities around the world, recognizes six national accrediting agencies.
Students should make sure that their online program is accredited by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions or by agencies affiliated with the ED and the CHEA, all of which have online databases of accredited school and programs.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Health Science Graduates
A master's in health science prepares students for many careers. Graduates of health science programs are prepared for careers as health educators, public health advocates, school nurses, hospital administrators, health service managers, medical assistants, and occupational health and safety specialists. The healthcare field is experiencing tremendous growth, and this means that job opportunities will continue to increase. Below, are five popular master's in health science jobs.
- Health Educators and Community Health Workers
Health educators teach people, organizations, and communities about behaviors and practices that improve health and promote wellness. They may also collect data and conduct research on health and wellness issues.
- Medical and Health Services Managers
Medical and health care administrators work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. They plan, direct, and coordinate health services.
- Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Environmental scientists promote public health by cleaning up polluted areas, working with policymakers and corporations to reduce waste, and monitoring environmental conditions to determine if a threat to health exists.
- Dietitians and Nutritionists
Dietitians and nutritionists promote health and help manage disease through food. They work in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and government facilities. With more research showing the connections between food, health, and illness, steady job growth is predicted.
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
Occupational health and safety specialists inspect work environments to ensure that health and safety regulations are met. These specialists work in diverse environments, including offices, factories, farms, and mines.
Master's in Health Science Salary
Median Salary by Experience Level
|Occupation||Entry Level||Mid-Level||Late Career|
|Community Health Worker||$32,000||$37,000||$40,000|
|Medical and Health Services Manager||$50,000||$63,000||$68,000|
As the table above demonstrates, there are professional growth opportunities for graduates working in the healthcare industry. While the table tracks salary increases based on years of experience, many employers allow the substitution of education for on-the-job experience for hiring and promotions.
Financing Your Online Master's in Health Science Program
In looking for ways to pay for your online master's in health science, your first step should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing the FAFSA allows eligible students to access Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. Federal grants, work-study programs, and private scholarships, which do not require repayment, are the most preferable options. Federal loans typically offer lower interest rates than private student loans, which should be your final choice. Given the demand for healthcare professionals, many states and organizations are willing to pay for school in exchange for a promise of work.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.