Understanding Master’s Level Health Science and Public Health

Updated on May 3, 2015

“The future of healthcare relies heavily on the advancement and harnessing of its brightest minds. The pursuit of graduate education is integral to that effort,” says Deborah E. Budash, Master of Medical Science and Master of Health Science Program Director at Saint Francis  University.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continually touts the growth and potential of the healthcare field both for innovation and for employment opportunities. Healthcare is seeing growth at all levels, from nursing assistants to healthcare administrators. As healthcare professionals move up in the ranks, they often consider post-graduate education to make advancement possible.

Healthcare professionals or students with a bachelor’s degree are likely to consider two common paths which are often used interchangeably in conversation: the Master of Public Health and the Master of Health Science. While the core of either of these degrees is often similar, the outcomes and outlooks for those interested in pursuing these degrees are different and require some further examination.

Health science revolves around the study and research of various aspects of health and healthcare. Health sciences departments provide curriculum to prepare students for a wide range of careers, such as health services administration, clinical research, and health educator. 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, and statistical methods as applied to health care, administration, and current issues in health science.

Public health is broken into two key graduate-level pursuits: a Master’s in Public Health and Master of Science in Public Health. A Master’s in Public Health trains students to pursue careers as health care practitioners and to work in public policy. Students learn to understand the community context of public health issues and to apply relevant research to solve recurring problems. A Master of Science in Public Health trains students to be researchers in the field of public health. Participants typically focus their studies on a specific concentration, such as biostatistics or environmental health. MSPH programs emphasize quantitative analysis and laboratory research.

What kind of jobs do master of health science graduates pursue?

Health and Wellness Specialist, Healthcare Administrator, Clinical Department Supervisor

What kind of jobs do master of public health graduates pursue?

State or Federal Environmentalist, Legislative Policy Advisor, Health Educator

What kinds of jobs do master of science in public health graduates pursue?

Health Policy Analyst, Healthcare Program Director, Community Healthcare Advocate

The Master of Health Science and Master of Public Health degrees require bachelor’s degrees typically. Students seeking careers within the hospital or clinical setting may seek a Master of Health Science while those interested in public policy and community health are more likely to pursue a Master of Science in Public Health or a Master’s in Public Health.

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