Best Graduate Degrees in Healthcare

May 23, 2019

There are several options for students seeking a graduate education in healthcare. Students can study public health, nursing, health systems administration, or healthcare management.

There are master's degrees, post-master's certificates, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in the healthcare field. Each program offers differing amounts of coursework and requirements. Consider the admission requirements for these programs before applying.

Graduate Degrees in Healthcare

Master of Science in Health Systems Administration

Students in this type of program can gain management and leadership skills, which can be used to improve patient care and streamline healthcare data collection and analysis. Some programs take only a year to complete, while others may take longer with 39-45 credits in the curriculum. Most schools offer on-campus courses, and some of the topics covered could include healthcare management, healthcare policy, and health economics. An off-campus internship could also be a requirement.

Master of Science in Health Informatics

Information technology and healthcare professionals can increase their knowledge of electronic health record systems by enrolling in a program like this. It usually takes students two years or less to complete the roughly 33 to 45 credits. Most schools offer online classes, with the option for on-campus networking. Some courses covered in this program could include health informatics, data analytics, database management, epidemiology, and information security.

Master of Science in Public Health - Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

Upon completion of this kind of program, students will be able to predict and assess workplace conditions. They should be able to detect elements that affect worker health and safety. Students generally complete 46 to 77 credits in a master's program in this area, as well as a final project and internship. Some of the topics covered in this program include foundations of public health, toxicology, occupational safety, air sampling, ventilation, and hazard control.

Post-Master's Certificate in Healthcare Administration

This program takes about one year to complete as there could be 16 to 21 credits required. It is designed for those who already hold a master's but want to specialize in healthcare administration. Some of the topics covered could include healthcare administration, informatics, healthcare business, healthcare policy, and project management. Most schools offer online classes. These programs usually do not require a final project or thesis.

PhD in Healthcare Management/Policy

This type of program could require 90 credits and is typically finished in three to five years. Students must complete about two years of coursework, conduct research for a dissertation, pass preliminary exams, and defend their dissertation to earn the doctorate degree. Some courses include quantitative research methods, microeconomics, healthcare systems, and statistics. PhD graduates are usually prepared to become independent researchers or professors on the subject.

Program Admission Requirements

There are different requirements for these programs. Those looking to pursue a master's degree may need a high undergraduate GPA, while those looking to earn a post-master's certificate should have a graduate degree. Applicants to the PhD programs can enter with a bachelor's degree, but may need to take more courses than those entering with a master's in an area like public health. PhD candidates will also need to submit GRE and GMAT scores. All of these programs will request some combination of the following with an application: letters of recommendation that attest to the student's ability to complete the graduate program, transcripts, and a statement of purpose or essay.

Graduate programs in healthcare are available at the master's, post-master's, and doctoral levels. Students will become experts in their field of choice and have more opportunities in the healthcare industry and academia.

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