Online Master’s Degree in Health Science

Health science is a broad discipline focused on providing health care administrators, practitioners, and educators with the tools they need to shape the management and delivery of health care services at the organizations they serve. A masters degree in health science may also be geared toward cultivating scholar-practitioners who are capable of making informed health care decisions based on current research and data. Students who pursue a masters degree in health science are generally interested in advancing their career potential as well as playing a more influential role in their current workplace.

Since most students in this field are working health professionals, universities have developed accredited online masters degrees in health science that allow working adults to earn a degree on a flexible schedule that makes room for their full-time jobs. An online masters degree in health science generally takes between 1 to two years of full-time work to complete, although program length varies depending on the school and the number of credit hours required. Some health science masters programs are designed to be completed on a part-time basis, and can take longer. Other factors affecting program length include whether the student transfers in relevant graduate credits and whether the student must complete prerequisites before starting the program.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Health Science

The courses students take in an online masters degree program in health science are designed to grow a student’s ability to lead effectively in a health care setting. Course work emphasizes case studies of real-world problems that take place in health care organizations, and students are taught to use critical thinking skills and best practices in health care leadership to solve those problems. Required courses differ greatly depending on the student’s specialization, which could be anything from health administration to community health to sports medicine. Some general courses a student may encounter include:

  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Health care
  • Health care Management Principles
  • Strategies in Health Policy
  • Health care Systems Management
  • Research Methods in Health care

Master’s programs in health science generally conclude with either a master’s thesis or an applied project. A master’s thesis requires students to use established principles of research methods and design to investigate a relevant health science problem and produce a document detailing that research. An applied project entails the student identifying a real-world problem within an existing health care organization and devising a solution to mitigate that problem using the principles learned throughout the program. Many programs will also require fieldwork at various health care sites where students get to apply their leadership skills hands-on.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Health Science

Many graduates of online masters degree programs in health science go on to pursue careers as medical and health services managers. These positions include nursing home administrators, clinical managers, health information managers, and assistant administrators, among others, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While such positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degrees in areas such as health services, public health, business administration, and related areas are also common, the BLS explains. The BLS projects 22% employment growth for medical and health services managers between 2010 and 2020, with growth driven by the aging of the baby boom generation, which is expected to place more of a demand on health care services.


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