The Best Health Science
Bachelor’s Degrees Online

Explore the top online health science bachelor’s degrees and take your first steps toward a successful career in medical and health.

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Written By
Edumed Staff

last updated

Last Updated: 09/21/2021
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Finding the right online bachelor’s in health science begins with a clear understanding of your academic and career goals, and then putting in the time to find the program that best meets them. Helping you in that search is what this page is all about. Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and from the schools themselves, we’ve identified the top online health science bachelor’s degrees for 2021. See which programs have the best combinations of online learning, academic quality, affordability, and career prep.

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About the ranking

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Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Best Online Programs

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

Affordability

  • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Arizona State University-TempeTempe, AZ Public $$$ 2

From its Tempe campus, Arizona State University provides this fully online bachelor’s degree in health sciences. Designed to address cutting-edge issues in the discipline, students look forward to taking classes in historical and contemporary health issues, fundamentals of wellness, health issues in later life, and complementary health care.

Applicants must have already completed an associate of applied science at a regionally approved institution. Graduates go on to positions as medical and health services managers, community health workers, and educators. Classes last just 7.5 weeks each, meaning motivated students can graduate more quickly.

Program Highlights:

Online Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Sciences

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $21,420 (resident); $31,944 (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
86%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
2 Indiana University-EastRichmond, IN Public $$ 1

Indiana University-East (IUE) offers this online BS in applied health science to learners who already have completed at least 30 credits of approved coursework – either at IUE or elsewhere. In addition to standard academic requirements, the department offers concentrations in community health and health administration; both require 18 credits. Core coursework touches on studies in health sciences research, epidemiology and biostatistics in population health, and healthcare delivery and leadership. Learners also complete a 75-hour internship.

Applicants must provide official transcripts showing 30 existing credits and letters of recommendation. Graduates work as wellness coordinators, health specialty teachers, community health workers, and health educators.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Science

  • Credits: 90
  • Length: 3 years
  • Cost: $239/credit (resident); $347 (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
48%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
3 University of South DakotaVermillion, SD Public $$ 1

Offering an interdisciplinary approach, the fully online bachelor’s in health sciences provided by the University of South Dakota delivers six pathways: pre-professional studies, health care studies, health care advancement studies, clinical informatics, public health, and research. Students should carefully consider which option best aligns with career aspirations.

Regardless of the chosen path, this program consists of 120 credits with core requirements covering topics such as introduction to public health, health literacy and culture care, patient safety and quality improvement, and leading change. The program accepts both first-time and transfer students with approved credits. The health care advancement studies pathway specifically supports those who already have an associate degree.

Program Highlights:

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $259/credit (resident); $314/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
4 Indiana University-BloomingtonBloomington, IN Public $$$ 2

The Indiana University (IU) Bloomington campus provides a 100% online bachelor’s in health sciences for busy students balancing professional and personal responsibilities outside the classroom. Required classes include health promotion and disease prevention, human nutrition through the lifespan, program evaluation methods, and administration and supervision in health sciences. In addition to core studies, IU offers concentrations in gerontology, global health and rehabilitation studies, and rehabilitation and disability studies.

While some students move straight into the workforce, others may pursue graduate programs. Application requirements include high school/college transcripts, a completed application, and letters of recommendation.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $296/credit (resident); $1,031/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
58%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
5 University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia, MO Public $$ 1

The University of Missouri Columbia (UMC) created this online bachelor’s in health sciences to support students who want to work in healthcare but prefer non-clinical settings. The curriculum includes 120 credits but allows learners to transfer up to 64 approved credits. Students explore topics such as introduction to health professions, contemporary health issues, healthcare in the United States, and introduction to research. Learners also participate in hands-on experiential learning before receiving their diploma.

UMC's program includes both semester-based and self-paced courses, providing maximum flexibility to busy learners. Common career titles for graduates include health educator, healthcare IT consultant, and patient representative.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Health Science in Health Science

  • Credits: 120 credits
  • Length: 4 years
  • Cost: $306/credit (resident); $391/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
6 Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk, VA Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
70%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
7 Northern Kentucky UniversityHighland Heights, KY Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
61%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
8 West Virginia State UniversityInstitute, WV Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
52%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
9 Ohio State University-Main CampusColumbus, OH Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
70%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
10 Capella UniversityMinneapolis, MN Private, For-Profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
50%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
11 George Washington UniversityWashington, DC Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 7 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
75%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
12 Southern New Hampshire UniversityManchester, NH Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
39%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
13 Quinnipiac UniversityHamden, CT Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
95%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
14 Pacific UniversityForest Grove, OR Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
15 Purdue University-GlobalS Portland, ME Private, For-Profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission

Accreditation for Online Health Science Bachelor’s Degrees

The purpose of accreditation is to ensure students that institutions of higher education and the programs they offer meet accepted standards of quality. It’s also a requirement for eligibility in federal student aid programs. In other words, accreditation is your way of knowing that your degree program is worth all of the time and money you put into it.

There are two basic types of postsecondary accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation refers to accreditation of the college or university as a whole. Institutional accreditation for U.S. schools is handled by several U.S. Department of Education-recognized regional and national accrediting agencies. Programmatic accreditation refers to accreditation of individual degree programs in a given major or field of study. However, there are currently no agencies in the U.S. that specifically accredit health science bachelor degree programs, online or otherwise. Therefore, it’s especially important that you consider only those degree programs offered by properly-accredited colleges and universities, and it’s up to you to confirm that accreditation before signing on. In most cases, you’ll find current accreditation information on each program’s webpage. You can also check accreditation status by going directly to accrediting agency websites or by using the DOE’s Database of Accredited Institutions and Programs (DAPIP) search engine.

Inside the Online Bachelor’s in Health Science

Success as a bachelor in health science student is much easier if you’ve chosen the right degree program to begin with, and that’s going to take a bit of digging into the details of what each individual program has to offer. With that in mind, here are a few important questions and answers to consider during your program search.

What will you learn in an online health science bachelor’s degree program?

Every degree program you consider will be different, each with its own take on what health science is and what its students need to learn. So, be sure to take a good look at the specific courses offered. They’ll vary somewhat from program to program, but you can expect all programs to offer health science courses similar to the following:

Ethics in Healthcare

This course provides an examination of bioethics issues and decision-making in healthcare with an emphasis on patient care rights and the responsibilities of providers. Specific issues discussed include bioethical theories, ethical reasoning and analytical methods, the ethical application of laws and regulations, health disparities, and ethical issues relating to society and the environment.

Health Sciences Research Methods

Conducting research and the effective application of research findings play an important role in professional health science practice. This course provides students with an introduction to healthcare research theory and methods. Topics covered include: basic qualitative and quantitative research techniques; the use of healthcare data through data querying, mining, and extraction; and the analysis of evidence-based research findings.

Healthcare Leadership

In the course of their careers, health science degree holders can expect to be called upon to take administrative positions and other leadership roles in their organizations. This course provides students with a solid foundational footing in leadership theory and its application in practice. Topics include critical thinking, effective teamwork methods, and leadership in diverse work environments.

Healthcare Systems in the United States

This course provides a survey of the contemporary practice of health care services in the U.S. and common systems employed by healthcare organizations and facilities. Subjects examined include: healthcare issues, policies, and politics; healthcare system structures, financing, and outcomes; and effective outreach to the general public and specific populations within the community.

Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of the determinants and distribution of health-related events, such as communicable diseases. This course offers an introduction to the concepts and methods of population-based epidemiology. Specific topics include: behavior of diseases within populations; disease risk factors and outcomes; and epidemiologic study design and the application of biostatistics.


In addition to gaining a firm academic foundation in healthcare theories and principals, health science bachelor’s degree students develop a range of practical in-demand and job-ready skills that they will be able to apply immediately on their first day of employment and throughout their careers. Specific skills gained include:

  • Effective evaluation of healthcare systems, trends, policies, and environments.
  • Effective application of professional and ethical principals as they apply to healthcare practice.
  • The demonstrated ability to explain key concepts of epidemiology, and identify risk factors associated with the signs, symptoms, and treatment of specific diseases.
  • The ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, on a range of relevant healthcare topics.
  • The ability to access information and data systems in the course of job duties to meet organizational goals and improve patient outcomes.

What are the main concentrations in health science bachelor’s programs?

Colleges and universities offering health science bachelor’s degrees are keenly aware that students are not only interested in earning a degree in the major, but that many are additionally interested in gaining specialized knowledge and skills in a particular area within the health sciences field. In response, some schools allow students to tailor their studies to emphasize a specialized area of practice through their elective course choices. A few programs offer students the option of choosing a specific concentration or curriculum track that reflects their area of interest. Here are three common concentrations that your program may offer:

Health Administration

The health administration concentration is designed to provide students with a foundational understanding of theoretical and philosophical principles of administration and management as they apply to health care services. Included are courses in strategic planning, finance and budgeting, organizational supervision, and human resource management. Students choosing this concentration typically plan to continue their studies to earn a graduate degree in healthcare administration.

Health Education

The health education concentration is for students interested in careers involving the creation, implementation, and evaluation of health services education programs and activities. This concentration is not a teacher certification program, however, and does not prepare students for teacher credentialing, but it does prepare students to sit for the exam to obtain the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification.

Public Health

Students seeking careers involving public and global health practices and advocacy should consider this concentration. Courses in the concentration take on issues related to healthcare access, disease prevention, sustainability, global health, epidemiology, and the promotion of health services in the community and among underserved and at-risk populations.

How long does it take to complete an online health science bachelor’s degree?

Most online students will spend four years of full-time study to complete their health science bachelor’s degree. However, schools offering online degree programs understand that many students who pursue their degrees through distance learning do so while maintaining full-time employment and need the study flexibility built into those programs to succeed. Therefore, students should look for a number of online program features that allow for longer (or shorter) degree completion times, including:

Part-time study

Most online programs feature part-time study options that allow an additional two, three, or more years to complete all degree requirements.

Asynchronous formats

Programs often feature courses presented in an asynchronous format, meaning that students can access and complete coursework at any time convenient to their schedules. This format allows students to take more or less time than normal to complete their courses.

Liberal credit transfer policies

Online degree programs often allow students to transfer in a substantial number of previously-earned college credits that can shorten the overall time needed to earn their degrees.

These and other program features mean that some students may be able to complete all degree requirements in as little as two-and-a-half years or less of full-time study, or as much as six years or more of part-time study.

How much will an online bachelor’s in health science cost?

The total amount you end up spending to earn your health science bachelor’s degree can vary substantially depending on the particular program you choose. For example, the tuition rates and fees charged by private colleges tend to be significantly higher than those charged by public colleges. Also, some schools charge higher tuition rates to students residing outside the school’s home state. Other factors that can impact your costs include how long you take to complete your degree program, how many previously-earned credits you can transfer in, and how much, if any, of your costs will be covered by scholarships or grants.

Below are the current (as of fall 2020) tuition costs for three online health science bachelor’s programs. Keep in mind, though, that your total costs will be higher due to additional fees and the cost of books and supplies.

University of
Missouri


Total Credits: 120

$299.00/credit (Missouri residents); $387.40/credit (non-residents)

Southern New
Hampshire University


Total Credits: 120

$320.00/credit

Bellevue
University


Total Credits: 127

$425/credit

Paying for Your Health Science Bachelor’s

As you can see from the figures above, pursuing a postsecondary degree these days is an expensive proposition. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to help ease the financial burden, including scholarships, loans, and more. Most students today will employ a combination of the following financial aid options to pay for their academic studies:

1

Student Loans

The most common form of student financial aid is the student loan. Student loans are not free money and must be paid back with interest according to a payback schedule that is a part of the loan agreement. In most cases, students must begin paying back their loans immediately upon graduation. The bulk of student loans are made through the Federal Student Aid program. To apply for a federal student loan, you must fill out and submit the FAFSA application. State governments and private lenders are also common student loan sources.

2

Grants

Grants are money awards to students that, in most cases, are not paid back. A big source of grant money is the federal government, with most federal grants awarded based on the student’s financial need. As with federal student loans, you apply for federal grants by submitting the FAFSA application. Other major grant sources are state governments, private and nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities themselves.

3

Scholarships

Like student grants, scholarships awards are not paid back. The main difference between grants and scholarships is that most scholarships are awarded based on merit or by meeting other qualifications, such as athletic or artistic talent, participation in voluntary activities, or belonging to a certain minority group. Financial need is also considered in some cases. Common scholarship sources are the same as those for grants.

4

Work-Study

Work-study refers to part-time jobs available to students with demonstrated financial need. Work-study jobs are most often on a college campus, and therefore are typically filled by students enrolled in on-campus degree programs. Not all work-study jobs are on-campus, however, and online students may be eligible for jobs through private or non-profit employers. The only way to be sure if work-study is an option for you is to contact the financial aid office at each of the schools you’re considering.

5

Other Options

Some employers sponsor tuition reimbursement or other employer education contribution programs for their employees. Be sure to check if such a program is available where your work. Also, the GI Bill provides financial support programs for eligible veterans with an honorable discharge.

To learn more about your financial aid options, check out our Pay Less for Education guide. You can also get help locating scholarship opportunities with our guide to the 50 Top Scholarships for Medical & Health Students.

Post-Graduation: After the Health Science Bachelor’s Online

You don’t have to know exactly where your career will go before starting a heath science bachelor’s degree program, but it’s important to gain a foundational understanding of the healthcare industry and a good feel for the possible paths your career might take within it. Here are the answers to several important questions to ask before signing on to your degree program:

Do you need specific certification or licensure to work in health science?

Generally speaking, most non-clinical health science related jobs will not require obtaining a state license or professional certification. However, a state may require licensing or certification as a precondition for employment in a particular health science occupation within the state. For example, some positions may require a registered nurse or social worker license. Also, employers may require or prefer employees to hold certain professional certifications. Examples of possible certifications include Certified Professional in Health Informatics (CPHI), Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT), Physician Assistant – Certified (PA-C), and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES).

In most cases, bachelor of health science degree programs do not prepare students to obtain such licensure or certification, at least not without choosing a relevant concentration offered as part of that program. Students may also have to complete a post-undergrad certificate or full graduate degree program to be eligible for licensure or certification.

What can you do with a bachelor’s in health science?

A bachelor’s degree in health science prepares graduates for direct entry into a range of well-paying non-clinical positions. Here are just a few examples:

Health Educator

Health educators work with individual clients and groups to promote healthier life choices and behaviors. Some positions require employees to hold the CHES certification.

Medical or Health Service Manager

Medical and health service managers carry out executive and administrative duties at hospitals, clinics, medical practices, and physicians groups.

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers counsel patients about their illnesses and injuries, and help them to make changes to their lifestyles and behaviors to improve their health and get better.

Health Claims Reviewer

Health claims reviewers work for medical and health insurance carriers reviewing and assessing the legitimacy and reasonableness of claims, authorizing payments, denying claims, and refereeing questionable claims for further investigation.

A health science bachelor’s degree is also an excellent choice for individuals intending to continue their studies into graduate programs to prepare for professional careers in occupations such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, physician assistants, audiologists, postsecondary teachers, and more. It may also be the first postsecondary educational stepping-stone leading to medical or dental school.

The chart below offers an example of some of the more common education and career paths you might follow as a health science bachelor’s degree graduate. Bear in mind, though, that the chart is not exclusive, and there are many other potential paths you can take with your health science bachelor’s degree.

How much can you earn with a health science bachelor’s?

One big question everyone has about a career in health science is, “How much does it pay?” The quick answer is that salaries in the healthcare field, including those for health science graduates, tend to run substantially higher than those for occupations in the economy as a whole. Of course, actual earnings depend on the particular job, which in turn depends most heavily on two specific components: education level and work experience. The table below lists a few job titles that represent the spectrum of salaries available to health science bachelor’s degree holders:

Career Employment Entry-Level Early Career Mid-Career Experienced Late Career
Medical and Health Services Managers 372,670 $58,680 $76,050 $99,730 $130,820 $182,600
Health Teachers, Postsecondary 255,190 $42,580 $59,690 $89,440 $143,460
Healthcare Social Workers 168,190 $34,210 $43,530 $56,200 $70,280 $84,870
Health Educators 58,780 $32,030 $39,800 $54,220 $74,660 $98,530
Community Health Workers 56,130 $26,070 $32,280 $39,540 $51,650 $65,890

Related Degrees & Continuing Education in Health Science

You’ve determined that your career interests lie in the health science field, but you’re not quite sure whether a health science bachelor’s degree will provide the proper academic footing to get you to exactly where you want to be. Or maybe a health science bachelor’s program seems like the right choice for your immediate career goals, but you’re not sure if you’ll need to extend your academic pursuits in order to reach your ultimate goals. That’s why it’s important now – at the beginning of your degree search – that you consider both alternate majors and future graduate degree options. Here are a few suggestions:

Related Degrees

Healthcare Management

A degree in healthcare management prepares graduates for supervisorial positions with duties and responsibilities both within and outside the organization itself, including staffing, financing, public relations and community outreach. If your goal is to establish a career in general organizational leadership in healthcare services, then you’ll want to consider the healthcare management major.

Healthcare Administration

Another possible alternative to the health science degree path is healthcare administration. The differences between healthcare management and healthcare administration are subtle and their duties often interchangeable. However, if you’re interests lie in taking on front office administrative-specific duties and responsibilities – like human resources and staff supervision, and interdepartmental structure and budgeting – then the healthcare administration degree path is likely your best choice.

Continuing Education

Online Master’s in Health Science

Career advancement and job mobility are the main purposes to earning a health science master’s degree. Master’s graduates are prepared to move immediately into mid-level management positions with healthcare organizations and facilities. Possible degree concentration options include Health Leadership, Health Education, and Public Health. And, of course, many master’s graduates continue on in their academic studies to earn a healthcare-related doctorate.