Master’s in Medical Science vs. Health Science: What’s the Difference?
From administrative and technical managers to patient-care practitioners, there are hundreds of different career paths to pursue in medicine. Healthcare is a multi-faceted industry, demanding a wide array professional expertise, education and training.
The educational landscape encompasses numerous degree and certification programs, providing aspiring healthcare professionals with a multitude of options. It can sometimes be challenging to determine which program best suits your goals. To someone just beginning the process of choosing a healthcare degree program, the difference between two programs might not be immediately obvious. Even program names can be confusing.
The Master in Medical Science (MMS) and Master of Health Science (MHSc) degrees illustrate this matter. These programs might sound similar but they have vastly different purposes and provide entirely different skills. They both offer valuable opportunities for clinical experience and professional development, but that’s largely where the similarities between health science and medical science end.
What is a Master’s in Medical Science Degree?
The master’s in medical science degree is a highly specialized program; its primary goal is to prepare students for application to medical school. As students vie for a spot in competitive medical school programs, they often seek any advantage over their peers. The MMS can help them gain a valuable credential and fill in gaps in their academic record and experience.
To this end, MMS program coursework helps students build research skills and medical knowledge. Many programs also include a hands-on, clinical experience component to help aspiring med students practice skills and enhance their application materials. MMS programs often require students to have completed either pre-med courses or the MCAT; others may offer MCAT prep as part of the curriculum. Typically, these programs take one to two years to complete and appeal to students who’ve just completed their undergraduate degree.
Due to the design and purpose of the program, jobs tied to medical science degrees are rare. The MMS isn’t a career-focused academic program, and career opportunities for medical science graduates are fairly limited if students only complete an MMS. If going to medical school is not part of your academic plan, the MMS may not be the right choice for you.
What is a Master’s in Health Science Degree?
By contrast, the Master of Health Science is completely career-focused and an excellent fit for anyone looking to support the administrative and technical elements of healthcare or pursue a leadership position. The credential isn’t tied to medical school, and can immediately enhance professional prospects in the healthcare field. It has no connection to the MCAT. No MCAT score is required for admission and MCAT preparation is not part of the curriculum. In some cases, the GRE may also not be required for admission into an MHSc program.
The MHSc provides the same focus on research and practical experience as the MMS does, but typically caters specifically to nurses, administrators, technicians, educators, public health professionals, and others who provide critical assistance to medical organizations. An MHSc curriculum might also include professionally oriented courses in communication and policy that can provide helpful tools and techniques for aspiring managers. The online MHSc available at Saint Francis University even offers specialty tracks to help students develop specialized, marketable skills and knowledge.
Both credentials can be a powerful launching point for the healthcare career that you want. Which program suits you best depends on your goals. Whatever academic course you choose, skilled, well-trained professionals will always have a place in the healthcare industry.
Click here to learn more about the Master of Medical Science Program at Saint Francis University.