There’s never been a better time to consider an online health science master’s. The Coronavirus/covid-19 global pandemic of 2020 put health sciences careers in the spotlight, especially healthcare leaders such as those with a Masters of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS). All aspects of healthcare were affected with the crisis, from research laboratories, public health officials, to healthcare administrators, and others, bringing leadership and solutions to the issue.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first, nor the last time that healthcare in the U.S. will be strained. If you’ve considered earning a Master’s in Health Sciences, now is the time.
Best Health Degrees has researched some of the best online MSHS degrees available as a starting point for your school search.
Our Method: Ranking the 15 Best Online Health Science Master’s Degrees for 2020
To rank the 15 Best Online Health Science Master’s Degrees for 2020, Best Degrees editors researched accredited, trusted programs of all kinds. From our initial pool, we ranked programs according to price, accreditation, reputation, and salary potential, using data from IPEDS and Niche, U.S. News and World Report, and other higher education rating publications.
1. University of Central Arkansas
Located in Conway, Arkansas, The University of Central Arkansas is considered one of Niche’s “Top Public Schools.” You can receive an online Master of Science in Health Promotion degree. This 36-credit hour program can be completed in one year (see school’s website for specifics) and offers a thesis and non-thesis option. You’ll need to successfully complete the CHES/MCHES certification exam.You’ll study health subjects in administration, epidemiology, biostatistics, program planning and evaluation, and more. Electives include topics in grant writing, aging, drug education and prevention, curriculum and instruction, etc. Admission is competitive and you’ll need to submit GRE scores and hold an undergraduate degree with a minimum 2.7 GPA. There’s no tuition residency requirement for online students. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Fast Fact: UCA has been offering distance education since 1918
Degree Offered: MS
2. University of Memphis
The Department of Health Studies at the University of Memphis offers an MS in Health Promotion degree through UofM Global. This interdisciplinary, 30-credit hour online health science master’s degree concentrates on health promotion foundations, research, and evidence-based practice. The interdisciplinary nature of this program will prepare you to pursue a career in health promotion as a wellness specialist, public health advocate, or health education. The curriculum also provides a pre-professional concentration for further education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other allied health careers. Coursework includes epidemiology, research methods, disease prevention, health intervention, etc. You’ll also either complete a thesis or an applied project for this degree. Admission requires a baccalaureate degree with evidence of coursework in biological social, and behavioral sciences. This program will prepare you to sit for professional certification exams, such as the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Inc. (NCHEC).
Fast Fact: U.S. News and World Report ranks UM #135 in its “Top Public Schools”
Degree Offered: MS in Health Studies
3. Cleveland State University
If you’re currently working in healthcare and want to advance your career into an administrative and leadership role, you may want to consider the online Master of Science in Health Science program.A 36-credit hour program, the multidisciplinary, robust, online health science master’s is taught by a faculty from medicine, nursing, public health, psychology, and more. You’ll take core courses and select a concentration in the areas of research, education, program development, or assessment. You can choose between a thesis or non-thesis track and combine one of CSU’s certificate programs with the MSHS. Acceptance to this program requires DAT, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, or PCAT scores, a UG degree with a minimum of 2.75 GPA, a CSU application, letters of reference, and academic transcripts.
Fast Fact: Forbes Magazine included CSU in its “Top Public Colleges” 2019 rankings
Degree Offered: MSHS
4. Oregon Institute of Technology
Niche considers Oregon Tech one of its “Best Value Colleges in America” and U.S. News and World Report concurs ranking the school “Best Value Schools” and “Top Public Schools.” This Master of Science in Allied Health degree is offered online and offers three specialty tracks. You can choose from Respiratory Therapy, Dental Hygiene, or Healthcare Leadership tracks. The online health science master’s degree requires 49-credit hours for completion and includes core coursework along with your concentration area. The Allied Health core curriculum covers classes in information technology, leadership teams, finance and economics, evidence-based research, and a capstone project or thesis. You need a background in healthcare, an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA, GRE or MAT scores, academic transcripts, etc., for admission.
Fast Fact: The school offers graduate scholarships for qualified students
Degree Offered: MSAH
5. Lock Haven University
Perhaps a little-known Pennsylvania university, Lock Haven University shouldn’t be overlooked. Ranked as a “Best College for Your Money 2019” by Money Magazine and known as “The Haven,” this school has a 100% online Master of Health Science degree. This online health science master’s program is developed for working healthcare professionals looking for a Healthcare Management specialty. You’ll take 36-credit hours in the core areas of ethics, finance, leadership, and organizational behavior. At the conclusion of the program, you’ll participate in an advanced field experience and choose between a capstone project or a thesis. To be considered for admission, you’ll submit an online application, demonstration of an undergraduate degree, personal mission statement, letters of recommendation, and academic transcripts.
Fast Fact: LHU dates to its founding in 1870
Degree Offered: MSHS
6. University of Saint Francis
The University of Saint Francis, located in Fort Wayne, IN, offers an online Master of Healthcare Administration you can complete in 12 months (full-time) or 24 months (part-time).
This 36-credit hour online health science master’s program includes healthcare studies in economics and finance, strategic management, law and ethics, the U.S. healthcare delivery system, etc. As the school website says, this is a values-based curriculum. Washington Monthly names SFU one of its “2019 Best Bang for the Buck: Midwest.” As an online student, you’ll be assigned a dedicated Support Coach. Additionally, you’ll be able to access the 24/7, Smarthinking Tutoring Service. You’ll also be eligible to participate in the USF mentoring program.
Fast Fact: Tuition assistance available for military service
Degree Offered: MHA
7. University of Nebraska
If you have one or more years of experience in healthcare and have an undergraduate degree, you may want to investigate the online Master of Public Health program at the University of Nebraska.UN offers several concentrations with this program in Health Services Administration, Health Promotion, Environmental and Occupational Health, and more. This program requires 42-credit hours for most of the concentrations.There’s no residency requirement for tuition for the online degree. You’ll need to submit GRE scores, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, online application, etc. to be considered for admission.
Fast Fact: UN is one of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Value Schools”
Degree Offered: MPH
8. Rutgers University
If you’re a health professional with an interest in working with the aging population, the Master of Health Science, through Rutgers’ School of Health Professions (SHP), will help you do that. Offered completely online, you’ll follow the MSHS’s aging track and explore evidence-based research and do a clinical project, applying what you’ve learned to a real-world situation. You’ll complete studies in gerontology, patient advocacy, physical changes in aging, social policy, aging, mental health, etc. Rutgers also offers a graduate certificate which requires 15-credit hours and is for working healthcare professionals. Certificate hours can be applied toward the MS degree, if you choose. You don’t have to take the GRE for this program, but you do need an undergraduate degree with at least a 3.0 GPA. An essay, academic transcripts, resume, and letters of recommendation are also required for admission.
Fast Fact: The School of Health Professions has a limited number of scholarships available for this program
Degree Offered: MPH
9. University of Maryland Global Campus
Looking to advance your management and administrative skills in healthcare? You may want to consider the online MS in Healthcare Administration. This is a 42-credit hour online health science master’s program that focuses on current healthcare trends, enhances your budgetary skills, understands statistical analysis of health information, as well as business planning and state and federal regulations. Some of the classes you’ll take include the U.S. Health Care System, Business of Healthcare, Public Health Administration, and a Health Care Administration Capstone Project. The school recommends that if you’re unfamiliar with certain finance and accounting principles, you take some prerequisite courses offered through UMGC’s online programs. Completion of this degree will prepare you to sit for the Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) certification exam.
Fast Fact: The University of Maryland Global Campus is an online state university and part of the University System of Maryland
Degree Offered: MSHA
10. Medical University of South Carolina
Dating to 1824, the Medical University of South Carolina is one of the oldest, continually operating medical schools in the country. Today, MUSC has kept pace with healthcare and education innovation, and offers a hybrid MS in Health Informatics. This Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredited program can be completed in 36-credit hours. You’ll be qualified to serve as a healthcare data analyst, CIO, or implementation specialist in the industry. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics in applied health informatics, healthcare management/operations, management of databases, and foundational health informatics. You have a choice between a thesis or capstone project. While you’ll complete didactic courses online, you will be required to attend on-campus sessions once per semester. These campus sessions occur in August, May, and January in Charleston, SC. Admission requirements are typical for graduate programs and the university offers a rolling application process. Prospective students can participate in a webinar detailing the informatics program.
Fast Fact: The university boasts a 98.4% graduation rate
Degree Offered: MS
11. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Here’s an online, part-time degree in Master of Health Sciences which is ideal if you want to be a health sciences educator. As a part-time program, it will take two years for completion. The curriculum offers topics in Curriculum and Course Design, Assessment and Evaluation of Teaching and Learning, Principles and Theories of Teaching and Learning, Educator Competencies, and others for a total of 30-credit hours. You’ll obtain skills in health policy, global health, as well as health communication. The school’s admission process requires an undergraduate degree (preferably with a 3.0 GPA)and current experience or interest in healthcare.
Fast Fact: MCPHS has been named #1 “Most Transformative College in the U.S.” by Money Magazine in 2018
Degree Offered: MSHS
12. University of Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island may be small, but the University of Rhode Island is big in its recognition, ranking as a top public college/school by Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and Money Magazine. You can earn an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredited MS in Healthcare Management. This degree is offered, through URI Online, can be completed in two years, and includes stackable certificates in “Health Leadership and Administration” and/or “Quality Improvement, Process Measurement, and Information Systems Management.” According to the school website, you can complete both certificate programs, an elective, and final practicum and earn the MS in Healthcare Management. Enrolling in the degree program, you’ll complete 30-credit hours (including certificates) and cover topics in leadership, healthcare quality, data analytics, economics and finance, marketing, as well as a practicum experience. There are no prerequisites for this program, so you can enroll in any semester. Admission is straightforward, requiring a bachelor’s degree, GRE or MAT scores, application, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. If you’re a Rhode Island resident, you may qualify for a tuition waiver.
Fast Fact: URI Online is a new initiative started in February, 2020
Degree Offered: MSHM
13. Canisius College
This private, Jesuit college was established in Buffalo, NY in 1870, Canisius College is proud of its “Best Value School” and “Best Colleges for Veterans” rankings by U.S. News and World Report. The School of Education and Human Services has a hybrid Masters in Health and Human Performance degree. You can choose from three concentrations in strength and conditioning, cardiac rehabilitation, or health promotion. The program is a good foundation for an advanced degree if you want to pursue a medical degree or become a licensed physical therapist. This 35-credit hour curriculum includes core coursework in nutrition, epidemiology, research methods, data, statistical analysis, etc. Depending on your specialty, you’ll take concentration-specific courses such as Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, or Fitness Psychology. All students will complete either a Master’s Project or Internship (depending on specialty.)You’ll need to provide an official transcript for your bachelor’s degree, have prerequisite studies in nutrition, exercise physiology, anatomy and pathophysiology, and kinesiology. Additionally, you’ll need letters of recommendation and a current resume.
Fast Fact: Canisius College is one of 28 Jesuit Catholic Colleges in the U.S.
Degree Offered: MS
14. East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University’s College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, has an online Masters of Science in Allied Health. If you’re currently working as a healthcare allied health professional and want to take your career to the next level, this program may be for you. Dental hygienists, radiologic technologists, etc. will benefit from this program’s 36-credit hour curriculum. Core courses required include information technology, legal and ethical issues, research methods, leadership theory, and more. You’ll then choose electives that best meet your career goals. The degree offers a thesis or non-thesis option. The Princeton Review named ETSU a “Best Southeastern School” and Niche considers it one of the “Top Pubic Universities in America.”
Fast Fact: ETSU was established in Johnson City, Tennessee as a teacher’s college in 1911
Degree Offered: MSAH
15. Excelsior College
With the completely online Master of Science in Health Sciences program, you’ll prepare to lead teams, understand the ever-changing healthcare regulations and policies, develop conflict resolution skills, and more. The program requires 36-credit hours and the college allows up to 18-transfer credit hours. You may be able to receive credit for currently held healthcare licenses or certifications. You’ll learn health assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, workplace safety, etc. The program offers a Public Health concentration, or the option to not have a concentration. The Public Health specialty will include studies in epidemiology, behavioral health, program planning, at-risk populations, etc. Both specialty/non-specialty options require a capstone project.
Fast Fact: Excelsior College is considered “Military Friendly” and “Best for Vets College”
Degree Offered: MSHS
Why Should I Get My Health Sciences Master’s Online?
There are a variety of reasons to earn your MSHS online.
The first is convenience. Colleges and universities have been offering accredited, online degree programs for decades and have perfected the delivery. Taking courses online allows you to receive your advanced degree without interrupting your work and home schedules. You can study on your timeline and at your pace. You’ll also be taught by the same faculty who teach on-campus and your degree won’t indicate you received the degree online.
The second reason is cost. You may not pay less tuition, but you frequently won’t be expected to pay out-of-state tuition, regardless of where you live. You’ll still be expected to pay certain fees in addition to tuition, however, but you won’t have the added expenses of travel, parking, textbooks, etc.
Third, you may be able to enroll in an accelerated degree program which will not only reduce the amount of time to earn your degree, but will also save you tuition.
As colleges and universities closed due to the 2020 pandemic, it may be that even more classes will be offered online in the future.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Get with a Master’s in Health Sciences?
Health Sciences is a multidisciplinary study and encompasses several healthcare areas; and, because the field is broad, so are the career options. A health science career can be clinical or non-clinical in nature. Additionally, MSHS degrees are considered pre-professional degrees for students wanting to enter M.D., D.D.S, or PharmD programs.
Some of the clinical professions you can pursue with an MSHS degree include epidemiology, immunology, microbiology, clinical management, and research, etc. An MSHS degree will also help advance your career in the fields of dental hygiene, occupational and rehabilitation therapy, nutrition sciences, various hospital technician positions, and more.
In the non-clinical area, perhaps the most prevalent MSHS positions are in healthcare administration, education, and informatics.
For instance, in the realm of public health, the advanced Master of Science in Public Health is the educational gold standard. MPH-prepared health agency employees have the training and skills to analyze data, track trends, and educate the population on health concerns, such as we’ve seen with the 2020 pandemic.
Healthcare is increasingly complex with regulations and advanced technologies. A Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MSHA) is required to manage and lead in ever-changing environments. Healthcare economics and finance, ethics, law, organizational behavior, etc. are the subject matters of an MSHA degree.
Healthcare Informatics is a critical field inpatient care. An MSHS with a healthcare informatics concentration is needed to seamlessly blend medical care with technology. IT professionals develop programs to organize, analyze, and utilize data to improve patient care and healthcare delivery.
There are more advantages to an MSHS than listed here, but hopefully, it gives you an idea of the wide opportunities available.
How Much Can I Make with a Master’s in Health Sciences?
As with most healthcare careers, how much you earn will depend on your career.
In general, though, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates those with a master’s degree earn approximately $40,000 more a year than those with a bachelor or associate degree.
Some salary examples, according to the Bureaus of Labor Statistics, may give you a rough idea of your earning potential.
MPH careers may see a salary range from $61,790-$98,800 a year. MSHA positions may see a salary between $84,260-$110,460 annually. A Healthcare Information specialist could earn $82,660-$128,570. Of course, these are estimates only.
On the clinical side, master’s prepared medical researchers could earn between $61,270-$115,450 a year and clinical managers may see a salary of $84,260-$110,460.
Salaries tell only part of the story. You also need to consider other compensation such as sign-on bonuses, 401k participation, paid leave, health insurance, tuition assistance, etc.