Best Master’s in Health Science Programs 2021

By TMHC Staff

Last Updated: February 1, 2021

A master's degree in health science (MHS) opens doors to a broad range of career opportunities in health and healthcare. Health science professionals earn average annual salaries of $76,065 in positions as varied as audiologist, biomedical engineer, community health organizer, health educator, and pharmacist. Graduates may choose to focus on specific patient population areas, such as mental health, oncology, and pediatrics, or in a subfield like biostatistics, genetics, and infectious diseases.

MHS degree programs offer opportunities for specialization or concentrated studies in such areas as global health, health administration, health education, human performance, and public health. Most health science master's programs take 2-3 years to complete, but the timeframe depends on full- or part-time enrollment status, prior education, and focus area. Tuition costs vary widely, ranging from $300 to more than $1,000 per credit. Some schools bill different tuition rates for in-state and online learners than they do for out-of-state students.

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Top 10 Master's in Health Sciences Degrees
Rank School
1 University of Nebraska-Lincoln
2 Oregon Institute of Technology
3 Touro University Worldwide
4 Saint Francis University
5 Otterbein University
6 Lock Haven University
7 Western Carolina University
8 Rutgers University-New Brunswick
9 Northern Kentucky University
10 University of South Florida-Main Campus

Best Master's in Health Sciences Degrees

1. University of Nebraska Lincoln

Offered through the department of nutrition and health sciences, UNL provides several concentrations for those seeking a master of health science. With a focus on nutrition, UNL offers on-campus concentrations in biochemical and molecular nutrition, community nutrition and health promotion, and an online MS degree in dietetics. In examining how diet and exercise affect human health, graduates pursue careers in academia and healthcare.

Coursework includes topics such as advanced medical nutrition therapy, nutrition and physical activity in aging, and obesity across the lifespan. Health sciences enrollees tackle different subjects, depending on their specific concentration, with available non-thesis tracks in dietetics and community nutrition. The biochemical and molecular nutrition concentration is only available as a thesis option.

Each applicant must submit three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement, which the school regards as the most critical element of the application. The department encourages prospective students to contact faculty before applying to secure advisors.

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2. Oregon Institute of Technology

Looking beyond the traditional clinical competency underscoring many health-focused degrees, Oregon Tech recognizes the growing need for research, business, and leadership skills to offer its allied health master's online. This 100% online master's degree follows the National Center for Healthcare Leadership model, which concentrates on 28 core leadership competencies, including professional and social responsibility and information technology management.

Oregon Tech's allied health core curriculum explores an introduction to information technology for healthcare leaders, scientific writing and healthcare leadership literature review, and leadership theory for healthcare leaders. Along with core coursework, degree-seekers choose from concentrations in administrative/healthcare leadership, dental hygiene, or respiratory care.

The department requires each prospective student to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a background in health services. Each candidate must submit a current background check, official transcripts, and standardized test scores, along with three letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

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3. Touro University Worldwide

TUW offers a health science master's program online and on campus. With a stated mission of educating and developing competent leaders in the health sciences field to reduce health disparities in underserved populations, this MS in health sciences offers concentrations in public health and health education.

The 30-credit public health track takes place entirely online, with a curriculum covering health through the lifespan, cultural and cross-cultural perspective in health, and policy issues in public health.

Offered as a hybrid degree, the health education track covers additional topics such as perspectives in community health education, mental health and society, and principles of epidemiology. Both tracks require learners to complete degree-culminating integrative capstone projects.

Each applicant must hold an undergraduate degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 from an accredited institution. In keeping with the school's mission of catering to underserved learners, prospective students pay no application fees.

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4. Saint Francis University

USF offers a 30-credit health science master's program online. This degree provides a flexible graduate education for working students and offers concentrations in health leadership and health education. An enrollee can complete this terminal degree, one of the first online health sciences master's programs, in just 18 months.

Grounded in an interdisciplinary approach, USF degree-seekers engage with a core curriculum covering diversity in healthcare, strategies in health policy, and ethical issues in practice. Along with nine credits of concentration coursework, each graduate student must complete a master's capstone project focusing on expanding care to a traditionally underserved community.

Those interested in applying must complete an online application and provide a statement of purpose, two professional letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. For unconditional admission, an applicant must hold an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75. Prospective students not meeting this criteria may receive admission on a provisional basis.

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5. Otterbein University

Otterbein offers an MS in allied health for working professionals in the healthcare field to advance their careers. This broad hybrid degree gives students the academic freedom to tailor coursework to their scholastic and professional needs. Leaning on foundational skills like critical thinking, data analysis, and the utilization of information technology, this health master's program focuses on honing skills and advancing career opportunities.

Core coursework includes topics such as allied healthcare administration, leadership and ethics, and program planning and evaluation. Degree-seekers choose from concentrations in exercise and health science or healthcare administration. All students must also complete thesis projects or advanced clinical practicums before graduation.

Each prospective student must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. A candidate must submit two professional letters of recommendation, provide a personal essay, and demonstrate professional experience in the field.

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6. Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania

The 36-credit master of health science at LHU offers a concentration in healthcare management. Full-time students complete the program in as few as three semesters. Designed with the flexibility to accommodate working professionals, this online master's focuses on leadership, ethics, and organizational behavior within the healthcare field.

In addition to the five core courses, learners tackle an additional 15 credits of healthcare management classes. Coursework includes contemporary issues in health and healthcare, applied leadership in healthcare, and ethical trends in healthcare. Before graduation, each degree-seeker completes a capstone project with either a thesis or advanced field experience.

A prospective student must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Along with a completed application, each applicant submits academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal mission statement. Before admission, all candidates participate in an interview with the admissions committee.

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7. Western Carolina University

WCU offers its health science master's program as a 100% online terminal degree. Learners choose from concentrations in emergency medical care, health education, nutrition, and health management. Each academic track allows students to tailor elective coursework to their unique professional needs.

Core coursework for this MS in health sciences covers topics such as systems and policy in healthcare, research methodology in the health sciences, and theoretical foundations of public health. In addition to required classes, graduate students complete research or master's thesis projects before graduation.

Each applicant must hold a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, submit GRE scores, and provide three professional or academic letters of recommendation. Due to state laws, residents of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon cannot apply to WCU's online program.

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8. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers offers a 100% online master of health sciences degree with an emphasis in gerontology and elderly care. This 33-credit track roots itself in evidence-based research and provides students with the flexibility to structure electives that meet academic and professional needs.

Through an interdisciplinary approach, degree-seekers engage with major concepts and theories of the aging process while gaining the practical know-how to better serve older adults.

Required coursework explores social and healthcare policy for the older adult, managing disease in older adults, and aging and psychiatric rehabilitation. Students augment the curriculum with electives such as transcultural issues and legal aspects in healthcare administration. Learners complete research or clinical graduate projects to culminate their degrees.

Each applicant must possess a bachelor's degree with an overall GPA of at least 3.0. The school requires a prospective student to submit two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and a resume. Standardized test scores are not mandatory for admission.

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9. Northern Kentucky University

Through its master's degree in health science, NKU offers a fully online degree to prepare learners for careers in education, management, and healthcare leadership. This interdisciplinary online program takes as few as 24 months. The program challenges students to gain competency in research methods and healthcare theories while developing the leadership skills necessary for career advancement.

Core courses for this MS in health science include current trends and cultural issues in healthcare, healthcare policy and economics, and instructional design and media development for healthcare professionals. Each degree-seeker completes both an internship and degree-culminating capstone project.

Each applicant needs to submit official transcripts for all undergraduate work demonstrating a minimum 2.5 GPA. A prospective student must also include a professional resume, letter of intent, and have completed an undergraduate course in statistics. NKU waives application fees for alumni and active-duty/veteran military personnel.

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10. University of South Florida

USF offers an online MS in medical sciences with a concentration in health sciences. This rigorous online MS program implements modern distance learning methods that bolster academic skills essential to professional development.

The 32-credit program's interdisciplinary core curriculum covers basic medical biochemistry, human structure and function, and basic medical pharmacology. USF conducts all courses through its online platform.

The course format includes weekly quizzes, midterm exams, and comprehensive final exams. Students must participate in asynchronous discussions throughout each semester, and degree-seekers typically complete this program in four semesters.

Each applicant needs to possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution. A prospective student must submit standardized test scores, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation.

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11. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

UTRGV offers five online concentrations within its master of health science degree: clinical laboratory science, healthcare administration, education and technology, healthcare informatics, and nutrition. These 100% online options provide the professional and academic freedom to structure electives to best fit student needs.

Core curriculum for the five concentrations includes classes such as research in health sciences, legal and ethical issues in healthcare, and professional proposal writing. The core health sciences curriculum covers half of the 36 credits of required coursework, while the remaining 18 credits focus on the degree-seeker's area of concentration.

A prospective student must hold a bachelor's degree in clinical or medical laboratory sciences with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. In addition to submitting official academic transcripts, each applicant provides two letters of reference, along with a letter of intent.

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12. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Designed as a part-time program and offered completely online, MCPHS provides a master's degree in health science that learners complete in two years. Students delve into an interdisciplinary curriculum that investigates health sciences in the context of teaching and learning, health professions, and higher education. Graduates develop skills and expertise in health policy, global health, and health communication.

Degree-seekers tackle 30 credits of coursework in qualities and characteristics of leadership; health professions education across the higher education spectrum, and principles and theories of teaching and learning. As the degree concludes, each learner completes an independent research project that acts as a degree-culminating capstone.

Those interested in applying must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Along with a preferred undergraduate GPA of 3.0, prospective students should possess experience or current employment in the healthcare field.

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13. Nova Southeastern University

NSU offers an online master's in health science for health professionals from many different backgrounds. The department designed this program specifically for distance learning and implemented an asynchronous learning environment to ensure students can maintain their personal and professional obligations.

Degree-seekers must complete 37 credits of coursework in topics such as current trends and cultural issues in healthcare, writing for allied health professionals, and ethical issues in healthcare. Each learner also enrolls in a five-credit intensive course focusing on U.S. health policy, along with a degree-culminating practicum under the supervision of their academic advisor.

NSU takes a holistic approach to the admissions process, considering the overall qualities of each applicant. Academic record, letters of evaluation, personal motivation, and prior healthcare experience all receive consideration when making admissions decisions.

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14. Florida Gulf Coast University

FGCU offers a master's degree in health science to prepare graduates to serve as healthcare leaders within a growing and dynamic field. Through training focusing on the implementation of theoretical knowledge, learners expand their skills and build expertise in innovating healthcare services. Throughout this 45-credit master's program, students prepare for professional growth through a dynamic curriculum.

Required courses include managerial epidemiology, statistical analysis, healthcare financial management, and strategic leadership. Degree-seekers evaluate legal and ethical issues in healthcare, analyze statistical information in the field, and function as competent healthcare professionals.

Each prospective student must submit a general graduate application, a supplemental application, and a portfolio to the department of health sciences. They must also supply official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution and provide GRE/GMAT scores.

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15. Bellarmine University

Louisville's Bellarmine offers a master of health science for practicing healthcare professionals looking to advance their career opportunities in education, promotion, or advocacy. This online master's program allows degree-seekers to continue working while completing a flexible two-year program.

With a focus on leadership training and evidence-based practice, Bellarmine students choose between a healthcare leadership track or a concentration in health promotion and social change.

Half of this 30-credit degree's curriculum covers core coursework, while the other half focuses on the learner's concentration. Core classes include communication and technology in health, current trends and issues in healthcare, and bioethics. Each health science track requires learners to complete degree-culminating capstone experiences.

Each applicant must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution. Prospective students must also meet undergraduate prerequisite requirements. The department may also require an interview with a member of the graduate faculty.

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16. Excelsior College

Offering a fully online master's degree in health sciences, Excelsior helps degree-seekers build the leadership, research, and analytical skills needed to effectively address challenges facing healthcare professionals.

Excelsior graduates receive the academic and professional tools needed to competently manage medical personnel and navigate the politics of healthcare reform to work within local, state, and federal health regulations.

Core courses for this 36-credit master's program cover graduate research and writing, ethics and healthcare, and healthcare delivery systems. Graduate students can choose a general course of study or specialize in public health. Public health track enrollees select from additional coursework in epidemiology, behavioral health, and social environments. Learners choosing no specialization fill their remaining academic credits with approved health science electives.

Each prospective student must complete an online application, hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, and submit all official transcripts. Standardized test scores are not required.

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17. Cleveland State University

CSU offers a master of health science to working health professionals from many different backgrounds. This online program builds a sturdy foundation in research, cultural awareness, and general healthcare topics, leaving room for degree-seekers to build a unique curriculum through elective options. The interdisciplinary program incorporates 36 credits and typically requires two years of study.

Core coursework required for all students includes leadership roles in health sciences, a seminar in health sciences professions, and culture and healthcare. Elective topics touch on subjects such as LGBT health disparities and palliative care. Degree-seekers can choose to complete culminating research projects or master's theses.

Each applicant must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA and submit all undergraduate transcripts. A prospective student must also submit a personal statement, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

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Applying to a Master's in Health Science Program

The typical admission requirements for master of health science programs include a bachelor's degree, academic transcripts, a 2.5-3.0 GPA, 2-3 letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and a resume. Some schools may require a bachelor's degree in a health-related field; specific prerequisites like statistics and science courses; GRE or MAT scores; admissions interviews; or relevant paid or volunteer work experience.

Because of the wide variety of career options for MHS degree-holders, many of them require a state license or certification. But even if credentials are not mandatory, employers may prefer applicants who hold them. Professionals like audiologists, biomedical engineers, and pharmacists need state licenses. Examples of available certifications include Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, Community Health Worker, Certified Health Education Specialist, and Registered Health Coach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some different specialties that fall within the field of health science?

Viewed broadly, health science encompasses professions, including physician assistants, nurses, dental assistants, and pharmacists. It also includes technicians in the areas of biology, medicine, radiology, and toxicology, and other healthcare specialties like social workers, exercise physiologists, chiropractors, and therapists. Laboratory and research positions also fall under the health science umbrella.

What is accreditation and why is it important?

At the institutional level, accreditation comes from national or regional organizations, signifying regular review of the curriculum to ensure it maintains high academic and/or training standards. The largest programmatic accrediting body in health science is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which ensures effective professional preparation.

How long does it take to earn an MHS?

Most MHS degree programs take 2-3 years to finish with full-time study. Students with significant transfer credits, particularly at the graduate level or those in accelerated programs, can finish in one year. Part-time learners and enrollees in some specializations may be looking at four years or more until graduation.

What is the difference between an MHS and an MPH?

Master of public health (MPH) programs train students in general public health and focus areas that include biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, and public health policy. MPH degrees can be considered a concentration area within an MHS program, which covers a range of applied community health issues, education, research, and practice.

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