Everything You Need to Know About the Master of Health Science (MHS) Degree
Earning your master's degree in health science is becoming an increasingly popular educational route, and for a good reason. People are living longer than ever before, resulting in a larger elderly population. In addition, healthcare technology is evolving rapidly, and new medical treatments are available to help patients and communities that never existed before.
As a result, career paths that require an advanced degree in the health science field are expanding, and career projection looks bright. A Master of Health Science (MHS) degree can offer higher-level career opportunities that are rewarding and allow you to make a big impact in the healthcare field.
This guide will provide you with the key points you need to know about MHS graduate programs. We will cover what the degree entails, how you can get one, potential career opportunities, and everything else you need to know to decide if it’s the right degree for you.
What is a Master of Health Science Degree?
A Master of Health Science (MHS) degree is a graduate degree that covers a broad range of healthcare topics. It is an excellent degree for prospective healthcare professionals whose career pursuits don’t fall squarely into the focus of the other healthcare master’s degrees available. Many students want an alternative health education to degrees such as a Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Master of Health Administration (MHA), or Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management.
MHS programs allow students to focus on the health industry as a whole. They provide a more generalized education to facilitate career advancement, increase wage potential, and improve networking opportunities as healthcare leaders.
Master of Health Science Specialties
There are Master of Health Science programs in various healthcare-related disciplines, most of which take between 18 and 24 months to complete.
The programs expand on foundational knowledge and professional experience that students already have. But, they also allow students to enhance their expertise in other specializations, including:
- Health policy
- Community health
- Environmental health
- Health education
- Health promotion and advocacy
- Administration and leadership
- Health research and methodology
What Can You Do with a Master of Health Science Degree?
Obtaining an MHS degree qualifies you for higher-level administrative jobs and health professions. Here are some of the jobs it can prepare you for.
Master of Health Science Jobs
- Hospital/Clinic Administrator
- Environmental Science/Specialist
- Health Policy Analyst
- Classroom Manager
- Senior Epidemiologist
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- Health Educator
How Much Does It Cost to Earn a Master of Health Science Degree?
The average cost of obtaining this degree will cost between $30,000 and $60,000 per year. But, it also depends on several program characteristics, such as:
- Online program vs. in-person: Online masters programs tend to cost less than traditional in-person programs.
- Private or public school: Private college tuition is more expensive than a public institution.
- Full-time vs. part-time: Tuition often costs less if students can complete their program more quickly by attending full-time.
- In-State vs. out-of-state: In-state school is generally less expensive.
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master of Health Science Program?
The time it takes to complete this degree depends on whether you go full-time or part-time and on the specific program that you choose. Most programs require completion of between 31 and 45 credit hours to graduate.
- Full-time students can complete their programs within 2 years
- Part-time students can complete their programs in around 3 years
How Much Can You Earn With a Master of Health Science Degree?
Graduates with a Master of Health Science degree can work in a wide range of administrative and high-level positions that offer increased earning potential.
Some of the average salaries of Masters in Health Science degree graduates include:
- Healthcare Administrator or Health Service Managers: $104,280
- Occupational Health Specialist - $72,530
- Epidemiologist: $74,560
- Regulatory Affairs Specialist: $71,000
Keep in mind these are the mean averages across the U.S. The top 90% of earners in these positions are earning six-figure salaries!
Career Outlook with a Master of Health Science Degree
The U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% growth for all healthcare professions between 2019 and 2029. There will be an increased need for 2.4 million new healthcare jobs during that time!
As the demand for healthcare services grows, employers will need professionals with advanced healthcare degrees to work in leadership and administrative roles. Here is projected growth for some of those careers between 2019-2029:
- Healthcare Administrator or Service Managers: 32% projected growth and 133,200 additional jobs
- Occupational Health Specialist: 4% projected growth and a need for 4,800 additional jobs
- Epidemiologist: 5% projected growth and a need for 400 additional jobs
- Regulatory Affairs Specialist: 5% projected growth and a need for 27,700 new jobs
Master of Health Science Degree Programs
Some programs offer a more general education with exposure to various areas of healthcare, while others focus on a more specific occupation type. Most programs also allow you to choose additional electives.
Types of Master of Health Science Programs
The curriculum focuses on components of the sports industry, some of which include:
- Physical demands and biomechanics of each sport
- Fundamentals of training principles
- Coaching techniques
- Sports psychology
These programs are for students who want to be administrative professionals and earn higher-level executive positions. The core courses usually include:
- Healthcare management and leadership
- Risk management
Health Care Law
These programs provide students with an introduction to liability and legal aspects of healthcare practice. The curriculum usually includes:
- Legal research
- Patients’ rights
- Accreditation and licensing
- Pharmaceutical law
- Risk management
Students who choose to pursue a generalist program gain a better understanding of ethical and cultural issues in healthcare. Coursework usually includes:
- Basics of scientific writing
- Management and leadership skills
Graduates work as rehabilitation specialists, managers, and administrators. Some of the core courses include:
- Health and rehabilitation leadership
- Musculoskeletal and neuromuscular function
- Health informatics
- Clinical education
- Healthcare policy
What are the Prerequisites for a Master of Health Science Degree?
Though the prerequisites for entry into a master’s of health sciences degree program will vary depending upon the specific program, most will require:
- A bachelor’s degree (in a clinical or non-clinical area)
- GMAT or GRE score
- Undergraduate transcripts - most programs require a 3.0 GPA or higher
- Letters of recommendation
- An entrance essay
- Some programs may require some experience working in a healthcare setting in some capacity
Accreditation is an indicator of an academic program’s legitimacy. Ensuring that your program is accredited also means that you will be eligible for federal financial aid if you need it. Other benefits of choosing an accredited school include:
- Additional financial aid opportunities
- Highest quality educational standards
- Ability to transfer credits easily if you change schools
- Employer recognition
- Certifications exams are only eligible for students from accredited schools
These are the six regional accrediting bodies for higher education in the United States for 2020-2021:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
If you want to find out if a program you are interested in is accredited, you can check out the U.S. Department of Education's national database of accredited universities.
With so many different specializations associated with the Master of Health Science degree, the coursework for each university can vary. But the most common courses include:
- Public Health
- Health Care Policy
- Disease Prevention and Management
- Healthcare Leadership and Management
- Cultural Issues in Health Care
- Health Care Delivery
- Writing for Allied Health Professionals
- Research Methods
- Ethical Issues in Healthcare
There may be several resources available for you to help offset the costs for this education, which include:
- Tuition reimbursement
- Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to employees, especially if they advance their education to take on higher-level roles within the organization.
- Scholarships & grants
- Check with your school's financial aid office to see if scholarships or grants are available.
- Student Loans
- As long as your institution is accredited, you should be eligible for federal student loans.
How to Know if this Degree is Right for You
Pursuing a Master of Health Science degree takes time, determination, and sacrifice, so it’s essential to consider if it is the right choice for you carefully.
Although you do not need healthcare experience to get into a program, you must know your goals upon graduation. Consider working in some capacity within your field of interest before committing to a master’s program.
Other reasons why you might want a Master’s in Health Sciences degree are:
- A desire for a higher level of healthcare knowledge
- A passion for making a positive impact in your community
- Increased earning potential
- Higher administrative and leadership career opportunities
- What can you do with a Master of Health Science degree?
- The education and expertise you receive after graduating with a Master’s in Health Sciences degree will make you eligible for various higher-level healthcare jobs. Some of the opportunities include healthcare administration, allied healthcare, data analysis, and research. You can also work on either the medical or administrative side of the healthcare industry.
- Is a Master of Health Science degree worth it?
- A Master of Health Science degree can offer more employment opportunities, higher career advancement, and significantly higher earning potential in the healthcare field. If your goal is to advance your healthcare career, be a leader in your area, and make more money, then it is a degree you should consider.
- How long does it take to get a Master’s in Health Science degree?
- Students who pursue their Master of Health Science degree on a full-time basis generally complete their program within two years, while those who study on a part-time basis complete their program within three years.
- What is the best master’s degree to get in healthcare?
- The best graduate-level degree to get in healthcare is a personal decision based on your interests, experiences, and career goals. A Master’s in Health Sciences is appropriate for those who want to do research, work in leadership positions, and educate other healthcare workers, patients, and communities.