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Online Bachelor’s in Health Sciences Degree Programs

Health science, or the health sciences, serves as a general designation for a multi-disciplinary area of study that integrates theories of human physiological, psychology, and sociological development into a foundational body of knowledge with applications across a broad spectrum of healthcare professions. The health sciences incorporate aspects of biology, chemistry, kinesiology, and epidemiology, as well as less purely scientific proficiencies in areas of public health administration and policy, organizational leadership, interpersonal communication, and bioethics. While there are advanced degrees available in health science, it is commonly offered as a major at the undergraduate level in order to prepare students for entry- and mid-level employment in the health and human services sector, and for further professional training at the graduate level in medicine, dentistry, psychology, public health, social work, healthcare administration, and other specialized fields like physical therapy, nutrition, and chiropractic care.

What Is a Bachelor’s in Health Science Degree Program?

A bachelor’s degree in health science is a four-year Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), or Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree that provides students with a concentration of courses in areas relevant to research and practice in healthcare. Students in these programs complete a range of general education requirements in the arts, sciences, and humanities, including English composition, mathematics, history, and literature. In addition, they take core courses and electives that are incorporated into the health science major. This coursework focuses on familiarizing students with medical and scientific terminology, research methodologies, human anatomy and psychological development, the American healthcare system and the business of healthcare, and global and population health issues and policy. It is common for schools that offer a health science major to include areas of concentration within the major, such as a pre-med or pre-professional studies track for students who intend to pursue graduate studies, and/or a tracks in global health, eldercare, and/or rehabilitation and disabilities studies for students who are aiming to enter the workforce upon completion of the program.

Online Bachelor’s in Health Science Programs

An online bachelor’s in health science program is an undergraduate program that utilizes distance-learning technologies for all or most of its coursework and confers graduates with the equivalent of a four-year college degree. Students in an online bachelor’s program complete their general education requirements and their health science major coursework online by logging on to a school’s learning management system (LMS). An LMS is a platform that facilitates the streaming of video lectures and other interactive course activities, and supports discussion forums and communication with instructors and administrators. Earning a health science bachelor’s degree online provides a more flexible and convenient alternative to enrolling in a traditional, campus-based bachelor’s program. For students who do not want to relocate in order to earn their degree, and for those who would prefer not to commute to a college or university campus, an online bachelor’s program may be a good option.

How Identifies and Classifies Online Bachelor’s in Health Science Programs conducts independent research into online bachelor’s degree programs and identifies BA, BS, and BAS programs that have a designated major in health science/health sciences. These programs offer a curriculum that provides students with interdisciplinary training and instruction in biological, physiological, psychological, and sociological aspects of human health and provide grounding in ethical, legal, business, and policy issues. In order for programs to be included on the site they must be offered by regionally accredited, non-profit colleges and universities and they must provide all or most of their instruction online. Programs that require students to attend more than two campus visits per year are not listed on the site.

What Students Learn in an Online Bachelor’s in Health Science Program

In addition to the undergraduate general education curriculum, which is meant to provide students with a solid foundation of writing, quantitative, and critical analysis skills, online bachelor’s in health sciences programs may offer a broad range of courses in the theories and practices associated with human health. Students in these programs learn how to interpret and discuss health and medical research, and how to apply quantitative reasoning and statistical methods to problem solving and decision making in the health sciences. They are introduced to the healthcare system and its constituent parts, contemporary healthcare policy issues, and socio-economic trends in the health and social service sector. In addition to college-level biology, chemistry, and psychology coursework, they commonly take classes in human anatomy, epidemiology, kinesiology, nutrition, and physiology. Many health science curricula include courses devoted to healthcare technologies and their application, public health administration, and the principles of healthcare business management. Some programs provide specialized coursework in specific areas of the health sciences, including gerontology, global health, informatics, and/or sports and fitness.

Online Bachelor’s in Health Science Program Courses

The specific courses associated with a bachelor’s in health science degree vary by program, as do course names and descriptions. However, there are core subject areas that comprise a bachelor’s in health science curriculum. The table below provides a representative overview of typical health science classes offered at the undergraduate level.

Course TitleCourse Description
Healthcare Delivery SystemsAn overview of the nature, organization, and function of the continuum of health services found in the US, with a focus on the interrelation of cultural, economic, political, and social aspects of healthcare delivery at the federal, state, and local levels.
Medical Terminology for Health ProfessionsTerminology and abbreviations pertaining to anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnostic processes/procedures, and medical/surgical interventions.
The Science of MedicineAn analysis of the concepts of health and healing coupled with an examination of historical developments that have impacted the practice of medicine.
Health Promotion & Disease PreventionAn introduction to the fundamental concepts and theories of healthcare, including preventative care, wellness programs, and the causes of disease.
Critical Phases in LifeAn overview of human development from conception to death, and factors critical to health in various phases of life.
Ethical Decision Making in HealthcareEthical theories, bioethical principles, and personal ethics applied in the allied health professions.
Contemporary Topics in HeathAn exploration of current issues and cultural, social, political, and economic factors that are influencing and shaping health systems and policy.
Nutrition Through the LifespanThe study of the nutrients required by the human body, the foods from which they are derived, and their importance for the maintenance of optimal health throughout the lifespan.
Healthcare EconomicsThe standard economic principles and tools that healthcare administrators rely on for effective decision making within the healthcare industry.
Evaluation of Health Science ResearchAn investigation of methods of inquiry in health science and techniques for critiquing and interpreting research within the context of evidence-based practice.
Introduction to PathophysiologyFundamental concepts of pathophysiology, including etiology, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and complications of major body system disorders.
Kinesiology & Body MovementThe dynamics of human movement in an active setting and its implication for overall health and wellness.

Admissions to Online Bachelor’s in Health Science Programs

Online bachelor’s in health science programs are typically set up to admit students from a variety of academic backgrounds, including applicants who have completed some undergraduate coursework in an associate degree program. The baseline eligibility requirement for admissions to an online bachelor’s program is a high school diploma or the equivalent. Applicants may be asked to furnish standardized test scores, two or more letters of recommendation, and written answers to one or more essay questions. Additionally, programs may have a minimum required or preferred GPA of 2.5, 3.0, or higher, and some programs take into account candidate’s professional experience in an allied health field. Potential applicants should examine a program’s admissions criteria and transfer credit policies carefully to determine specific requirements.

Online Bachelor’s in Health Science Program Formats

There are several important structural and formatting variations that may be important to consider when choosing an online bachelor’s in health science program. These variations can impact the relative convenience and flexibility of a program. They include: the method of online instruction (synchronous vs. asynchronous instruction); part-time vs. full-time enrollment options; and whether or not the program requires students to attend on-campus instructional and orientation sessions.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Instruction: These are the two primary modes for delivering online course materials. If a program utilizes synchronous instruction it means that some course lectures and other instructional activities are conducted in real time. Synchronous instruction is analogous to traditional classroom instruction in this regard: synchronous class meetings take place at set times during which students must to be logged on to a program’s LMS. In contrast, asynchronous instruction does not have a real-time component. Asynchronous instruction utilizes class lectures that are accessible on-demand through a program’s LMS, and it is up to each student to find time to complete assignments each week. While asynchronous instruction typically affords more flexibility, it requires more self-discipline to keep up with lectures and graded assignments.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time Enrollment: Students in an online bachelor’s program complete the same number of credits and take most of the same courses as students in a four-year, campus-based bachelor’s program. In order to graduate in four years from these programs, students typically have to take four or five courses per semester, which comprises a full-time course load. Students who are able to attend classes year round, and students who are able to transfer prior college credits into an online program can generally expect to graduate in less than four years, provided they enroll on a full-time basis. Many online bachelor’s programs have part-time enrollment options that allow students to take less than four courses per semester. This may be advantageous for students who intend to work while earning their degree. However, students who enroll part-time in an online program may take up to five or six years to graduate.

Campus Visits: Most online bachelor’s programs are offered 100% online and do not require students to attend campus-based sessions. However, campus visits are an integral component of some online programs. These sessions may last for just a few days or for up to ten days, depending on the program and purpose of the campus visit. On-campus sessions are generally used for orientations, seminars, workshops, and other instructional activities. Potential applicants should be aware that campus visits may be required by some programs and should research programs carefully to determine whether or not the program is 100% online. Programs that require more than two campus visits per year are not currently included on this site.