Practicum Image

The School of Biomedical Informatics students in the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics must select an area of interest in which to apply the knowledge and skill gained during the didactic courses while participating in the required practicum course.

This practicum requirement will provide hands-on field experience that gives students the opportunity to work in a professional environment under the supervision of a professional with biomedical informatics or related experience, and with the guidance of a SBMI faculty member.

Capstone Requirements for Graduation

Overview of Capstone Paper

  • The capstone paper is the culmination of the successful completion of the Practicum Course (BMI 6000) that is completed over the course of one to three semesters.
  • Students will not be approved for graduation until the capstone paper is submitted and signed by the Practicum Faculty Advisor.
  • Due to the depth of the capstone paper and the number of potential draft submissions, not all students are advised to enroll in the Practicum Course (BMI 6000) in the last semester of the M.S. program. This is unique for each student and students should seek advice from their Practicum Faculty Advisor.
  • This project is a comprehensive, integrative practice and/or research experience that reflects synthesis of program course work and mastery of expert practice knowledge in the translation of current research to improve biomedical informatics practice focusing on healthcare outcomes for patients, families, populations or systems.
  • Each student collaborates with an agency and/or SBMI Practicum Faculty Advisor to address a real-world health problem or issue. The capstone allows the student to demonstrate expertise in biomedical informatics and competencies in applied and/or research areas of study.
  • The student must successfully complete the capstone in order to complete the requirements for the practicum course and ultimately earn a master’s degree. Students who successfully complete the capstone paper have achieved the following:

    • Regular meetings, at least two times per month, with their Practicum Faculty Advisor (in-person or via GoToMeeting).
    • Met with onsite preceptor (if applicable) to identify the clinical problem with three weeks of project start date.
    • Practicum/Capstone Proposal completed and approved by both the onsite preceptor (if applicable) and Practicum Faculty Advisor within three weeks of project start date.
    • Weekly logs to track project progress.
    • Student-produced outline of Capstone Paper content, which the Practicum Faculty Advisor approves within four weeks of project start date. 
    • The final Capstone Paper will include, at a minimum;

      • Most papers are at a minimum, 18 pages. This does not include references or appendices. 
      • Cover page (using appropriate APA, SBMI formatted template)
      • Summary/Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Evidence-Based Practice Review
      • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes
      • Methods
      • Results
      • Discussion
      • Conclusion
      • References (APA formatted)
      • Acknowledgements

> Practicum Eligibility Requirements

  • Students should complete at least 24 credit hours in their respective SBMI master’s program before participating in a practicum. Students seeking to complete a practicum earlier must consult with the Assistant or Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • Students must work a certain number of supervised clock hours under the direction of their Practicum Preceptor in order to earn the required number of credit hours for the practicum course. Required clock hours and credit hours are listed below:

  • BMI 6000 (for Applied Students in the 36 credit hour program) BMI 6000 (for Traditional Students in the 42 credit hour program)
    135 Clock Hours 270 Clock Hours
    1-3 credit hours (Total of 3 hours required) 1-6 credit hours (Total of 6 hours required)

  • Students can complete all required practicum credit hours during one semester or the course can be taken over multiple semesters, repeated as needed, for a maximum of 3 or 6 semester credit hours (for BMI 6000) to meet degree requirements.
  • Please note that there is a $510/SCH fee charged to all students enrolled in practicum credit hours.
  • Students should complete at least 24 credit hours in their respective SBMI master’s program before participating in a practicum. Students seeking to complete a practicum earlier must consult with the Assistant or Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • Students must work a certain number of supervised clock hours under the direction of their Practicum Preceptor in order to earn the required number of credit hours for the practicum course. Required clock hours and credit hours are listed below:

  • BMI 6000
    135 Clock Hours
    1-3 credit hours (Total of 3 hours required)

  • Students can complete all required practicum credit hours during one semester or the course can be repeated over multiple semesters for a maximum of 3 semester credit hours (for BMI 6000) to meet degree requirements.
  • Please note that there is a $510/SCH fee charged to all students enrolled in practicum credit hours.

> Practicum Checklist

MATERIALS THAT MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE SBMI

  • Students will work with the SBMI Practicum Coordinator for any necessary program agreements with the practicum site if agreements are not already in place (Exception: If you are doing your practicum at UTHealth, no program agreement is needed).
  • A practicum proposal must be submitted by week three of the semester of enrollment to the SBMI Practicum Coordinator and it will be approved, in writing, by your Faculty Practicum Advisor. A sample practicum proposal can be found below. The proposal should include:

    • The practicum site and the location(s).
    • Name and title of Practicum Preceptor and a phone number and email address.
    • A list of organizational requirements (and potential preferred requirements) for the practicum site.
    • A list of Behavioral Learning Objectives for the practicum. Refer to the Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Learning Objectives in the sample practicum proposal below for reference.
    • A description of what duties the student will complete.
    • A list of the outcomes that the student expects to achieve.
    • A list of the proposed deliverables.
    • A specific timeline for when the practicum will start and be completed.
    • A job description for the practicum position.
  • Students must obtain IRB Approval, if required.
  • Students must obtain approval from the Office of Academic Affairs for practicum registration during the semester(s) in which they enroll in the course.

MATERIALS THAT MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE PRACTICUM PRECEPTOR

  • Please note that the student’s Practicum Preceptor should have a Graduate degree, or a Bachelor’s degree plus a minimum of five years of work experience in biomedical informatics or related fields at the practicum site. She or he should have decision-making authority at the practicum site and be in a position or role that facilitates optimal learning opportunities for the student. It is also imperative that the Practicum Preceptor can allocate sufficient time to supervise the student and provide mentoring in the field of biomedical informatics.
  • Students must submit a letter of introduction and a resume or curriculum vitae (see below).
  • Students are advised that some sites may require a health screen, a background check, drug test(s), personal liability insurance, or other site specific requirements. Please note that you may need to accomplish these tasks through a specific contractor at your own expense.
  • Students should request assistance from the SBMI Practicum Coordinator in determining what documentation is required by the practicum site and how to handle the submission of said documentation.
  • Students will create weekly logs of the key activities they participate in during their practicum. The log should be sent via email to the SBMI Practicum Coordinator every Friday (Chelsea.E.Overstreet@uth.tmc.edu). These logs may be shared with the student’s Faculty Practicum Advisor as well. A sample weekly log can be found below. The weekly logs can be created in a software program similar to Excel or Numbers & each weekly log should include the following:

    • Dates for each day worked during that week
    • The number of hours worked each day
    • Description of all activities or duties performed each day
    • A general note discussing reflections & linkages your week's activities had to coursework or theories you have learning about your biomedical informatics studies
  • Students must communicate regularly with their Practicum Preceptors regarding weekly or daily schedules, duties required of them, deadlines for projects, and how to properly handle submission of any projects (if necessary).
  • Students should remain vigilant of any opportunities to contribute in activities or tasks at their practicum site and students should take the initiative to complete duties and tasks proactively.
  • Students are expected to be present and on time each day of their practicum. Excessive absences or tardiness can adversely impact a student’s pass or fail grade.
  • Students should maintain professional appearance while at the practicum site or conducting duties germane to the practicum. Students should generally plan to wear business casual attire and should adhere to the site’s dress code.
  • Students should contact their Faculty Practicum Advisor and the Practicum Coordinator immediately if any problems or concerns arise during the practicum.
  • A collection of timesheets completed by your Practicum Preceptor to validate your hours on site must be submitted to the SBMI Practicum Coordinator.
  • A report of the practicum site regarding the student's experience will be presented to your Faculty Practicum Advisor.
  • Your Practicum Preceptor will be asked to complete a specific evaluation of your performance during the practicum.
  • Students should submit a typed or handwritten, personalized Thank You letter or card to the Practicum Preceptor.
  • Any Projects Assigned at Practicum Site: you must complete and document at least one major project or several smaller projects at your practicum site. A major project is one that will require the majority of your time to complete while performing other assignments. Smaller projects can include other assigned duties/activities, attendance at meetings, etc.
  • Students in the Applied (36 credit hour) program, who were admitted before Fall 2014, must create the capstone report detailed above. This report, along with other deliverables, will be submitted in completion of the practicum.
  • Students in the Traditional (42 credit hour) program, who were admitted before Fall 2014, must create the state-of-the-science paper. This report, along with other deliverables, will be submitted in completion of the practicum.
  • Students in either the Applied or Traditional (39 credit hour) program, who were admitted in Fall 2014 or beyond, must create the capstone report detailed above. This report, along with other deliverables, will be submitted in completion of the practicum.

    • Advisors are allowed 10 working days to review and comment on each draft.
    • Advisors have to approve the final draft by signing the cover page which is due to the Office of Academic Affairs by the last class day of the semester.
    • The state-of-the-science paper (including the cover page and an electronic copy of the paper with an abstract) must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by the last class day of the semester in which the student plans to graduate.
    • Students graduating in the spring semester must submit their titles to the Office of Academic Affairs ten business days prior to the last day of classes, so that they can be included in the graduation program. For specific dates, please refer to the SBMI calendar.
    • The advisor approved final version of the state-of-the-science must be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and the student must provide documentation of the paper’s submission. However, there is no mandate that the state-of-the-science be published.