Health Science Degree Programs
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Health science is a term that can have broad implications. After all, western medicine and healthcare are firmly based in the scientific method, making it applicable, in some ways, to virtually every medical and clinical profession.
However, in the context of higher education, a health science degree and career have a much narrower scope.
Specifically, undergraduate programs that offer students the opportunity to earn a bachelor of science in health science (BSHS) degree are typically geared towards those already working in an adjacent clinical field who wish to further their studies and be able to pursue new career opportunities. Indeed, many BSHS programs are bachelor’s completion programs, meaning they are tailored to students who have already completed a related associate’s degree. Bachelor’s completion programs can usually be completed in an abbreviated timeline due to transfer credits.
Some of the career paths that may find value in a BSHS program include: medical laboratory technician; phlebotomist; diagnostic medical sonographer; and radiologic technologist.
Graduate-level health science programs are also available at a number of institutions. Again, it is working professionals who typically enroll in master of science in health science (MSHS) and graduate certificate programs in health science. As with most graduate programs, those that focus on health science often offer an opportunity for students to specialize. Graduate students pursuing an MSHS or graduate certificate in health science may choose to study such specialties as: clinical microbiology; immunohematology; molecular diagnostic science; laboratory medicine; and medical laboratory sciences.
On this page, you will find examples of health sciences programs that are designed to allow those working as medical technicians, technologists, clinical researchers and in other health technology-related roles to take their careers to a new level by furthering their education.
Arizona State University
George Washington University
Johns Hopkins University (AAP)
Health Science Professors To Know
Dr. Munk is an assistant professor and director of research in the Department of Health Sciences at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Indiana University. She earned her doctorate in gerontology from the University of Kentucky. Notably, she holds a graduate certificate in applied statistics; a 600-hour certificate in massage therapy; and a bachelor of arts in theater.
Dr. Peters is a professor at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Edgar Berman Chair in International Health, and director of Alliance for a Healthier World. He’s affiliated with the International Health Department at Johns Hopkins, the Center for AIDS research, and the Center for Global Health. He has received Recognition for Teaching Excellence at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 14 times.
Holly Aguila is an instructor at Arizona State University, where she earned her MS in exercise and wellness. Aguila is a specialist in Hispanic populations and brings that expertise with her as she teaches the ASU health sciences course fundamentals of wellness.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Health Science
Please keep in mind that health science is a broad discipline, and the following programs represent a cross-section of the possibilities. Also, some schools may boast additional program-specific accreditations in addition to their institutional approvals, which are detailed below.
Health Sciences Bachelor’s Programs – On-campus
Boston University’s Sargent College offers a 128-credit bachelor of science in health science (BSHS). The degree program takes eight semesters to complete, and coursework is only available on-campus. The curriculum includes instruction in biological sciences, humanities, social sciences, qualitative and quantitative methods, as well as a practicum project and specialization coursework. Students meeting specific GPA and other requirements may be eligible for the accelerated five-year bachelor’s and master’s of public health degree program (BS/MPH). Unlike many BSHS programs, this is not a bachelor’s completion program and rather is ideal for those students who either want to pursue the aforementioned accelerated track or who want to complete the clinical and science prerequisites required for graduate pursuits in medicine, nursing, or other professional fields.
- Location: Boston, MA
- Tuition: $52,816 per year (2018-19, excluding books and other fees)
- Accreditation: Boston University is accredited by The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; Sargent College health science programs have additional discipline-specific accreditations
Health Sciences Bachelor’s Programs – Online/Hybrid
The Indiana University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences offers a bachelor of science in health sciences (BSHS). Students are able to transfer 30 credit hours of core course work to complete the BSHS program faster but core work must be done at another Indiana state institution. This university also offers a 5-year integrated BSHS and MSHI (master of science in health informatics) degree program, as well as a PhD in health & rehabilitation sciences. Courses for the BSHS program may be taken on-campus, online, or as a combination of both. The curriculum includes courses in healthcare systems, health promotion, and disease prevention. Students are also expected to complete a health internship. A minimum of 120 credit hours is required to earn a degree.
- Location: Indianapolis, IN
- Tuition: 2018-19 tuition varies from a flat rate for full-time students to a per credit-hour rate for part-time and online students (rates depend on the courses; books, supplies, and other fees are extra)
- Accreditation: Indiana University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission
The College of Health Solutions at ASU offers an online or on-campus bachelor of applied science (BAS) in health sciences. The degree is designed for students who already have an AAS in their chosen discipline. Graduates of this program are ideally suited to continue in their chosen specialty and pursue managerial positions or to become educators in their field. Coursework includes healthcare systems and legislation, nutrition, and the effects of society on health. Students must complete 120 credit hours to earn their degree.
- Location: Phoenix, AZ
- Tuition: $13,302 per year (2018-19, excluding books and other fees)
- Accreditation: ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges; the health science programs may have additional discipline-specific accreditations
SNHU offers a bachelor of science in health sciences online, which is open to students who have already earned an AAS in an allied health discipline. Coursework is designed to prepare students for management or supervisory positions in disciplines such as cardiovascular technology, radiography, and sonography. Although students will gain further health science expertise, the focus of the program is on teaching critical thinking and communication skills that can set graduates apart. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate.
- Location: Manchester, NH
- Tuition: $320 per credit hour (2018-19, excluding books and other fees)
- Accreditation: Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges
The University of South Dakota offers an online BSHS. If desired, the degree may be completed on-campus, with select courses available at the Sioux Falls and Rapid City campuses. Students may choose from academic pathways that prepare them for careers as clinicians or researchers or to pursue further healthcare studies such as optometry or public health. Some pathways are open only to students who have already earned an AAS in their chosen discipline and want to grow their career opportunities in that area. Students must complete 120 credit hours to earn their degree.
- Location: Vermillion, SD
- Tuition: $340.05 per credit-hour (2018, excluding books and other fees)
- Accreditation: University of South Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Master’s Degree Programs in Health Science
Health Sciences Master’s Programs – On-campus
The Bloomberg School of Public Health offers a master of health science (MHS) degree. Students are required to complete four terms of full-time coursework, a paper, and an oral presentation. Each discipline is taught in the relevant department. For example, students wishing to earn their MHS in biostatistics complete their studies in the biostatistics department. Students have several departments and subfields from which to choose. The MHS specializations include biochemistry and molecular biology, environmental health, cancer epidemiology, clinical investigation, social factors in health, health economics, mental health, and demography, among many others. The school offers online courses, but as of early 2018, the MHS courses are available on-campus only.
- Location: Baltimore, MD
- Tuition: $13,536 per eight-week term (2018-19)
- Accreditation: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health
Boise State offers a master of health science program designed to be completed in two years of full-time attendance. Classes are scheduled for late afternoons and evenings to accommodate part-time students who are working. Students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours. Students choose their academic emphasis from health policy, health promotion, or health services leadership. Each emphasis has an individual curriculum, and online courses are available for several programs, but a majority of health science courses are on-campus. Additionally, the university offers a certificate in health services leadership for those working in a health sciences profession who are uninterested in pursuing a graduate degree but still want to further their knowledge.
- Location: Boise, ID
- Tuition: full-time resident students pay $9,194 per year; non-resident students, $25,276 per year
- Accreditation: Boise State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
Health Sciences Master’s Programs – Online/Hybrid
Rutgers offers a fully online master of science in health sciences with an emphasis on aging. The MSHS program is designed for working health professionals who already hold a bachelor’s degree. Students will take online courses in topics such as managing disease in older adults, aging and psychiatric rehabilitation, and transcultrual issues and healthcare. The master’s program requires 33 credits to graduate while a less comprehensive graduate certificate is available requiring just 15 credits.
- Location: Newark, New Jersey
- Tuition: $963 per course (2018-19)
- Accreditation: Rutgers is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) offers an online master of health sciences that is specifically designed to train future health sciences educators. The program is focused on health science as an academic discipline rather than clinical training and applications. In addition to their online coursework, students are required to attend a one-week intensive on-campus summer residency in Boston. Students are required to complete 36 credit hours to earn a degree. The curriculum includes educator competencies, as well as research and clinical experience.
- Location: Boston, MA
- Tuition: $960 per credit-hour (2017-18, excluding books and other fees)
- Accreditation: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Additional Online Programs in Health Science
The Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Healthcare Sciences offers four degree programs in health science: a bachelor of health science (BHSc); a master of health science (MHSc); a doctor of health science (DHSc); and a doctor of philosophy in health science (PhD). All coursework is completed online, with the exception of the DHSc and PhD programs. DHSc students must complete an internship and attend two one-week sessions on campus, and PhD students must complete a research practicum, a comprehensive examination, a dissertation with oral defense, and attend two one-week on-campus sessions. Students may choose an accelerated MHSc/DHSc dual degree program. Coursework is completed online, but students must serve an internship and attend two one-week sessions on campus. The curriculum for each program builds on the earlier programs.
- Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Credit-Hours/Tuition: BHSc program (120 credit hours, $350 per credit hour); MHSc program (37 credit hours, $425 per credit hour); DHSc program (61 credit hours, $642 per credit hour)
- Accreditation: Nova Southeastern University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
The Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions offers an online associate of science in health sciences (ASHS). Students can customize their degrees with six different tracks: general, dental hygiene, medical laboratory sciences, nursing, radiologic sciences, or respiratory sciences. Students who complete their medical laboratory sciences associate’s degree can also earn a bachelor of science (BS) online. Bachelor’s options in the other tracks are hybrid programs. Online or on-campus, students must complete 40-68 credit hours to earn an associate’s degree, depending on their chosen track. The BS degree requires completion of 120 credit hours.
- Location: Ogden, UT
- Tuition: $270 per credit hour
- Accreditation: Weber State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; the health science programs have additional discipline-specific accreditations
The University of Indianapolis offers an online doctor of health science (DHSc) degree. While all coursework is available online, students are required to attend an on-campus orientation and two on-campus curricular sessions. The program is designed for students to complete 60 credit-hours over two years. Upon completion of coursework, students must do a doctoral project, which requires an additional one or two years of work. A dual DHSc degree can be earned by adding the graduate certificate in healthcare professions education or a certificate in gerontology. The certificates require 15 credit-hours and 18 credit-hours, respectively. These certificate programs are available online and may be taken separately. Students may also earn a master of science degree in healthcare management online with two concentrations offered: long-term care management and home and community-based care. The curriculum requires approximately 30 credit-hours to complete, depending on the concentration chosen.
- Location: Indianapolis, IN
- Tuition: $522 per credit hour
- Accreditation: The University of Indianapolis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
Admissions Requirements for Health Science Degree Programs
Each health science degree program has different standards for admission depending on level of degree, discipline, and format of program. Because of the wide range of health science degree programs available, prospective students should make sure to understand individual institutions’ requirements. The following are common requirements for admissions into health science degree programs:
- Transcripts from previous institutions
- Scores from standardized tests (e.g., GRE)
- Competitive GPA (at least 3.0)
- Curriculum vitae
- Letters of recommendation
- Statement of interest/goals in health sciences
- Proof of proficiency in the English language (i.e., TOEFL scores for non-native speakers of English)
Accreditation is the process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of the curriculum, instructors, facilities, or other aspects. Certain standards must be met before accreditation is granted.
Each health sciences program listed here is offered by an institution that has earned regional accreditation for the sum of all of its programs. However, there are no accrediting agencies that offer accreditation specific to health sciences programs. When a health sciences program is under the umbrella of a medical school, such as in the case of George Washington University, that school may be accredited by the Liason Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Similarly, at Johns Hopkins the health sciences programs are part of the school of public health and therefore are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
Because there is no specific accrediting body for health sciences programs, many reputable programs have no programmatic accreditation at all and instead rely solely on institutional accreditation.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)
As a final note, State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) are voluntary agreements among states that establish “comparable national standards for interstate offering of post-secondary distance-education courses and programs.” The intent is to make it easier for students to enroll in online programs when living in a different state than their intended institution. The SARA website lists participating states and institutions.