PhD & Master's Degree in Health Science Programs
Health Science Graduate Programs: Basics
Health Science Degree Graduate Programs offer students the opportunity to fortify skills in both clinical and non-clinical health and healthcare related majors. As a multidisciplinary field, health science could meld bio-medical, psycho-social and organizational aspects of health, disease and health care.
Interested students could therefore find a health science degree in various university departments such as biomedicine, public health, epidemiology, health administration and policy, integrative health and wellness, environmental health, informatics and more.
Health Science Graduate programs are offered as graduate certificates, masters and doctorate health science degrees. Some programs are oriented towards health and wellness (e.g. nursing or health education), while others focus on leadership and policy (e.g. health administration, human services). Ultimately, whether you are a future health practitioner, manager or researcher, the broad field of health sciences might provide many possible directions.
written by Rana Waxman
What Is Health Science?
Health science graduate programs often explore the applied sciences that make use of science, technology, engineering or mathematics across the disciplines of health, wellness and medicine. In addition, as a broad field of graduate study, health science is concerned with the various ways that the areas could inform and improve (population) health, quality of patient-centered health care, and wellness.
Health Science Courses
Students who pursue a health science degree might learn to use scientific inquiry and available technology to translate medical research into health care and health policy. They might also study how societal factors, finance, organizational structures and processes could affect things like (a) access to health care, (b) quality and cost of health care, (c) health and well-being. There are many options to discover, depending on where your personal interests and professional goals lie.
The types of courses one might take often depend on the program level, and the major that is selected. For instance, some health science graduate programs might be shaped with the intent of helping current health care professionals gain business management and leadership skills, or initiate health marketing campaigns. Students in such programs might therefore study health law and ethics, health economics or health IT management. Other degrees under the umbrella of health science might offer more science coursework in areas such as microbiology, nutrition, or infectious diseases.
Some of the possible course topics health science majors might take could include:
- Medical terminology
- Human anatomy
- Mathematics, statistics
- Patient care
- Occupational health
- Infectious diseases
- Health services management
- Health law and ethics
- Health economics
- Health information management
Popular Schools with Health Sciences Degrees
Masters in Health Science Programs
Masters in Health Science programs could lead to outcomes such as a Master of Health Science (MHS), Master of Science in Health Science (MSHS), Master of Health Administration (MHA), or a Master of Public Health (MPH). Most health science master's programs require applicants to have a bachelor's degree, and there are also program and school specific requirements to look for.
MHS- Master of Health Science: A MHS degree typically follows a flexible course structure. Students are often exposed to core courses that are largely interdisciplinary and choose an area of emphasis. Health science core courses could focus on the following 5 topics.
- Project Management
- Ethics of Health Care Research
- Health Care Systems and Policy
Students could discover many areas of emphasis to help tailor their degree to a specific industry or purpose. For instance, some schools offer a MHS with an intensive biomedical curriculum to help them prepare to apply to medical school. Other concentrations could be found in clinical research administration, health informatics, and regulatory science.
Master of Science in Health Science Degree, or MSHS, is often designed to provide a multi-dimensional view of one topic, and thus could reflect research, substantive, and professional coursework. There is often some overlap with the MHS, although students may not be required to take a health science core. Instead, they might examine current evidence, and focus on how it could be applied into a specific area such as regulatory affairs, health care quality, and clinical research administration.
Master of Health Administration, or MHA degree is a professional master's degree that focuses on business and management practices for the healthcare industry. Coursework often includes a wide range of operations topics that cover how to lead teams, projects and plan strategically.i
- Accounting and Budgeting
- Human Resources Administration
- Strategic Planning
- Law and Ethics
- Health Economics
- Health Information Systems
Master of Public Health, or MPA degree is a professional masters degree that focuses on population and community health practices, policy, and administration. This is often reflected in a series of courses that are required in the following 5 core disciplines:
- Environmental Health
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Health Policy and Health Administration
Doctor of Health Science Programs
Doctor of Health Science programs could lead to terminal degrees such as Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc), Doctor of Health Administration (DHA), Doctor of Public Health and others. Admission requirements are likely to vary; but students may need to have a masters degree in their field and meet other specifics.
Doctor of Health Sciences, or DHSc degree, is a terminal practice doctorate in health science. The program explores how to effectively manage and evaluate solutions to the challenges of healthcare access, cost, and quality.
Coursework could have several elements designed to enhance leadership, communication, and applied research skills. Below are some examples of possible doctoral level courses.
- Population Health & Patient Centered Care
- Health Administration Law and Ethics
- Healthcare Delivery Systems
- Risk Management
- Health Information Systems
Doctor of Health Administration or DHA degree is a terminal degree in health management that is practice-based. It might be of interest to future healthcare administrators, educators, clinicians, health care scholars, or researchers.
DHA coursework might explore more advanced concepts and practices than the MHA. Students may also further refine their skills with an area of emphasis. Healthcare leadership, healthcare quality analytics, as well as health policy and advocacy are some examples. Some possible core courses might include the following examples:
- Strategic Financial Management
- Innovative Business Practices in Health Care
- Healthcare Leadership
- Evaluation and Interpretation of Data
Accreditation is awarded to institutions and programs from outside agencies who measure quality and standards. These agencies vary in that they can be program-specific, regional, or national. For instance, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is the nationally recognized accrediting body for both schools of public health and public health programs. Graduate healthcare administration programs may be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).
Campus or Online Health Science Degree?
Health Science Graduate Programs could be available, sometimes from the same school, in multiple delivery formats. Campus (traditional), online, and hybrid (blended) are the typical program formats available. Whatever your preference, refine your search with the format in mind.
- Campus health science programs mean you take classes in real time with your peers in a classroom setting. This might give you a chance to widen your networks, participate in university activities, and make use of the school's facilities and services. If this format interests you, use the filters to search for grad schools by city, state or country.
- Online health science programs are web-based and, thus, students will use the internet, chat rooms, emails, and virtual classrooms. This might enable busy at-work professionals to more conveniently study, and, possibly, choose their own pace.
- Hybrid health science programs are a blend of these formats; flexible study through distance-learning plus low residency intensives on site to pick up the topics that do not translate well into online learning.
Health Science Careers
Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that healthcare occupations are projected to grow at a much faster rate than other areas, with a 19% growth in employment rate projected from 2014 to 2024.ii Whether you aspire to contribute to healthcare through clinical research or public health preparedness and policy, a Health Science Graduate Degree may open the door to a variety of potential career paths in healthcare. That said, a degree is not a guarantee of employment.
According to payscale.com the average salary for a Masters in Health Sciences degree is 77K per year. Some common jobs in Health Sciences include:
- Climate Change Analystiii
- Health Information Manageriv
- Community Health Promoterv
- Researcher or Educator
- Physical Therapist or Occupational Therapist
- Healthcare Consultant
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA||$90,840||2,420|
|Lansing-East Lansing, MI||$75,910||130|
|Urban Honolulu, HI||$75,410||240|
Top 24 Graduate Schools with Health Science Graduate Programs
Johns Hopkins UniversityMaster of Science in Individualized Genomics and Health
Lasell CollegeMaster of Science in Communication: Health Communication
Capella UniversityDHA - Health Care Quality and Analytics DHA - Health Care Leadership
William James CollegeHealth and Behavioral Medicine Emphasis, Clinical Mental Health Counseling MA
Sacred Heart UniversityMaster of Public Health (MPH)
National University Of Health SciencesMaster of Science in Acupuncture
Duke University Medical CenterPathologists Assistant Program
Brunel UniversityHealth Studies
Leeds Metropolitan UniversityHealth Sciences Health Care Sciences Health Care Studies
James Madison UniversityHealth Sciences
Emory UniversityGenetic Counseling Training Program
University of Southern CaliforniaHealth Behavior Research
University of Illinois at ChicagoSpecialist in Blood Bank Technology
Syracuse UniversityHealth Services Management
University of PittsburghRadiation Health Program Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a focus in Rehabilitation Science and Technology
SOURCES: [i] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm | [iii] onetonline.org/link/summary/19-2041.01 | [iv] onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9111.00 | [v] onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1094.00