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What is a Master of Health Science?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 December 2016
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A master of health science (MHS) degree is a graduate degree that opens the door to a wide variety of health care positions. Many prominent universities offer a master of health science degree, as do some correspondence and distance learning programs. People with a master of health science degree are able to find jobs in hospital and clinic administration, public health, and research.

The program to achieve a master of health science degree is a graduate level course of study and will likely have some prerequisites. Candidates must usually posses a bachelor's degree, though not necessarily in a related subject. Those without bachelor's degrees may still be able to join a graduate program, but can only receive a certification of completion and not a master's degree. Other admission requirements may include entrance exams, personal statements or essays, letters of recommendation, and information about personal history and prior school attendance.

Candidates for a master of health science degree have to take both core classes and electives in a wide variety of health science related subjects. Common courses include public health policy, environmental health, statistical methods as applied to health care, administration, and current issues in health science. Beyond core classes, the electives chosen by a student will help guide his or her education toward a future career. Many colleges offer the option to specialize in a particular area, such as environmental health or health care administration, by taking a set course of electives.

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A master of health science program can last two or three years, depending on the college, course load, and specialization. Candidates for graduation may be required to pass exit exams, complete practical classwork such as clinic hours or research, and produce an extensive final thesis paper or project. These requirements vary by program and should be carefully investigated before choosing to accept a spot in a program.

Once a master of health science degree is attained, the job possibilities are likely to be extensive. According to business experts, health care is one of the fastest expanding professions throughout the world, leading to a wide variety of opportunities for interesting work. There may be both private and public sector positions, jobs in hospital or clinic management and administration, public and environmental health research, and clinical research. Some jobs may be right in a hometown or nearby city, while others may require worldwide travel.

Some programs may offer a similar degree called a master of public health or MPH. This degree is meant for candidates who plan to pursue a career in the public health sector, but provides a similar education to an MHS degree. Deciding which degree to pursue is a matter of personal preference and career plan, as many of the classes and career opportunities are identical.

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