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Master of Science in Health Informatics Programs
2007-2009 Student Handbook

Program Description and Goals Master of Science in Health Informatics Admission Process
Degree Requirements for the Master of Science in Health Informatics Course of Study for the Master of Science
Sample Curriculum  

Program Description and Goals

Formal study of informatics at the master’s level is designed as a multi-disciplinary approach to accomplish these major goals:

  1. Understand the scope of the discipline of health informatics;
  2. Demonstrate skills in knowledge engineering and knowledge structuring;
  3. Apply the acquired skills set in a selected domain of health professions practice;
  4. Develop health informatics solutions to clinical health problems based on
    current research; and,
  5. Understand opportunities and limitations of current technologies used in health

To accomplish the trans-disciplinary and integrative structure and to allow students to select
courses appropriate to their backgrounds and professional goals, the Health Informatics curriculum
has been conceptualized as a matrix. Each cell of the matrix represents a learning experience in
each of three areas: basic informatics, research, and advanced informatics. Within the curriculum,
each student, in cooperation with the student’s Advisory Committee, will select the combination of
courses and experiences that most directly meet the student’s educational needs. Because Health
Informatics is a developing discipline, students will work together in teams to identify problems and
opportunities that exist. While all students may not share the same combination of courses, they
will continue to work together in project teams throughout their program to ensure that they have
a comprehensive understanding of the field of health informatics, as well as the skills that they
individually desire for their own future work.

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Master of Science in Health Informatics Admission Process

Presentation of Qualifications
The applicant should present to the Registrar’s Office for fall, July 1, spring, November 1, and summer, March 15, a completed application and official documentation of the following:

  1. a baccalaureate or higher degree in an appropriate area, e.g., science, medicine, dentistry, MIS, engineering, or computer science
  2. a statement of Informatics related work experience
  3. a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score over 1140 or Millers Analogy Test (MAT) score over 432
  4. Grade Point Average (GPA) in previous degrees of 3.5 or greater
  5. A minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper test, a score of 87, writing 26, speaking 23, reading 21, listening 17 on the internet based test, or a minimum score of 213 on the computer test is required for international students
  6. Satisfy a criminal background check if offered admission

Applicants are to submit relevant materials in a portfolio manner. The portfolios are then forwarded to an admission subcommittee, which will then review the materials. Applicants are required to take either the GRE exam or the MAT exam for admission. The admission subcommittee will consider: such areas as

  • Health, MIS, Computer, or Engineering related degree
  • Health-care work experience
  • Database work experience
  • Informatics work experience
  • Demonstrated expertise in programming
  • GRE over 1140/MAT over 432
  • GRE 1040-1139/MAT432
  • GPA in previous degree > 3.7
  • GPA in previous degree 3.5 - 3.69

Success in overcoming social, economic or educational disadvantages, race and ethnicity.

Master of Science in Health Informatics application deadlines:

Fall admission - July 1
Summer admission - March 15
Spring admission - November 1


The second component for admission is a personal interview. Applicants who have been recommended by the admissions subcommittee will interview with a two-member admissions committee: a faculty member in Health Informatics and a representative from the health field of the applicant and/or the applicant’s prospective work, e.g., nursing, medicine, telehealth, public heath, dentistry, genomics, digital imaging. Separate interviews may be conducted due to scheduling. The interview is expected to focus on the applicant’s goals and how they can be achieved in the master’s program, communication skills, and understanding of the program.

Applicants who are presenting course work from universities or colleges outside the United States to meet admission or graduation requirements are referred to the section on International Applicants in this catalog for a listing of additional requirements.

Students who wish to transfer must meet all admission requirements. A maximum of six semester credit hours can be accepted toward a master’s degree. However, the student’s Advisory Committee may have the flexibility to determine whether comparable courses have been taken at other institutions. If equivalent courses have been taken at other institutions, the student will not be required to repeat the equivalent course in the SHIS program. If semester credit hours are transferred from another institution, they will not normally count toward the degree. However, if the student has more than six semester credit hours that parallel courses in this program, six semester credit hours may be counted toward the degree. Other courses may be taken as equivalent courses but they will not affect the total number of semester credit hours that must be taken for the completion of a degree. The selection of any courses must be with the approval of the student’s Advisory Committee.

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Master of Science in Health Informatics Core Competencies

Health Informatics has three areas of competencies. They are biomedicine, computer science, and mathematics. Proficiency in each of these areas is required to successfully work in health informatics. If skill sets from one or two of these competencies are missing, courses are available to help meet each competency. If any of the three, careful consideration should be given that your background knowledge might not help to succeed in informatics.

Communication skills are very important to the field of informatics. If your verbal GRE score is below 640, you must take HI 5000 Technical Writing in Healthcare. If your MAT score is below 432, you must take a technical writing course.

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Degree Requirements for the Master of Science in Health Informatics

Academic Requirements

Credit hours must total at least 42 semester hours for all courses in the degree plan. Six of those semester credit hours will be in support courses, which might not be offered by the school. Support courses could include areas such as cognitive sciences from Texas A&M University, computer science from Rice University, mathematics from the University of Houston, measurement courses from The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston or courses studying healthcare outcomes from The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston. Each student follows a degree plan developed with an Advising Committee. A total of 42 semester credit hours listed in the sample curriculum matrix in this catalog for Health Informatics must be completed prior to graduation.

A full-time student in the Program in Health Informatics has up to four years (12 semesters) from the time of entry to complete the required course work. A part-time student has up to eight years (24 semesters) from the time of entry to complete the required course work. Continued enrollment is required unless approval from the advising committee is obtained. A maximum of one year of approved leave will allow for continuance in the program. If more than one year of leave occurs, the student must be readmitted to the program.

Each course with a HI prefix in the Health Informatics degree plan is a graduate level professional course and must be passed with a grade of “B” or better. The minimum grade point average (GPA) required for graduation is 3.0 on all HI courses.

If a student in the Health Informatics program fails a course in the curriculum, the student may enroll in that particular course one more time (a total of two enrollments for the same course). If the student makes lower than a B in that particular course the second time, the student cannot continue in the program. If a student fails two academic courses in one semester or three or more courses during enrollment in the degree program, the student will be dismissed from the program for academic reasons

Other Requirements

In Residence Requirement- the term “in residence” refers to a total of 30 semester credit hours, which must be taken at UTHSC-H. A student must fulfill his or her in residence requirement in order to receive any academic degree from the School.

Computer Requirement

Each student is required to have access to a computer. The computer minimum requirements will be updated each academic year. The student should verify the requirements prior to registration. See for current specifications. A portable computer that is easily used at clinical sites and in student work groups is recommended.

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The Professional Course of Study Master of Science in Health Informatics

The curriculum of the Master of Science degree in Health Informatics includes required didactic and practicum courses. Didactic courses (lecture/discussion, demonstration and student laboratories) are presented to provide facts, concepts, and theories related to the techniques and procedures of health informatics. The courses include instruction in basic informatics, research, advanced informatics and support courses. Practicum courses are designed to give the students the opportunity to apply theory and techniques in the hospital, research or private laboratory setting. A full-time student in the Program in Health Informatics has up to four years (12 semesters) from the time of entry to complete the required course work.

Each student will develop a curriculum with approval of an advisory committee. A degree plan will be filed that includes a minimum of nine semester credit hours in basic informatics, six semester credit hours in research, 15 semester credit hours in advanced courses, six semester credit hours in support courses and six semester credit hours in practicum courses. Changes to the degree plan must have the written approval of the advisory committee.

Basic Courses

  • Introduction to Health Informatics
  • Information Systems in the Delivery of Health Care
  • Decision Making in Health Care
  • Cognitive Science in Health Informatics
  • Advanced Database Concepts in Health Informatics
  • Legal Ethical Aspects of Health Informatics
  • Health Information Systems Security
  • Systems Analysis for Health Informatics
  • Introduction to Object-Oriented Systems Development in Health Informatics
  • Introduction to Computational Biomedicine
  • Introduction to Learning Environment in the Health Sciences
  • Biomedical Signal Processing
  • Image Processing
  • Information Technology for Biomedicine
  • Introduction to Clinical Healthcare
  • Foundations of Health Information Science I
  • Foundations of Health Information Science II

Research courses

  • Evaluation of Health Care Systems
  • Research Design and Evaluation in Health Informatics
  • Statistical Methods in Health Informatics
  • Health Informatics Data Analysis
  • Cognitive Engineering in Health Informatics I
  • Triangulation Methods in HI Research
  • Learning Environment Development in the Health Sciences
  • Methods in Computational Biomedicine

Advanced courses

  • Advanced Health Information Systems
  • Health Data Display
  • Introduction to Telehealth
  • Consultation in Health Informatics
  • Social Dynamics and Health Information
  • Comparative Taxonomy
  • Cognitive Engineering in Health Informatics II
  • Consumer Informatics
  • Knowledge Modeling and Engineering in Health Informatics I
  • Healthcare Interface Design
  • Knowledge Modeling II
  • Advanced Decision Analysis I
  • Introduction to Computational Aspects of Bioinformatics
  • Project Management in Healthcare
  • Applied Computational Biomedicine
  • Advanced Topics in Computational Medicine
  • Datamining in Bioinformatics
  • Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Computational Structural Biology
  • Scientific Writing for Healthcare

Support courses may include:

  • Cognitive Science
  • Mathematics
  • Measurement
  • Computer science
  • Healthcare outcomes
  • Public Health

The Advisory Committee must approve support courses before being taken unless they are transferred in at the time of admission. Approval of the transferred courses must be completed at the time of transfer to the program. Only six semester credit hours of support courses will be accepted toward the degree requirements.

As part of the practicum, students will be expected to prepare a ‘state of the science’ paper based on research in the student’s area of interest. The ‘state of the science’ paper will be submitted to a refereed journal for publication. The ‘state of the science’ paper will be developed in cooperation with the student’s Advisory Committee. Students will have the experience of disseminating the knowledge they have gained by sharing it with the larger community. It will not be a requirement that the paper actually be published due to the inability to predict journal-publishing times. However, the paper must be of sufficient quality to be accepted for publication in the selected journal. The Advising Committee will be responsible for monitoring the quality of this paper, as well as the practicum. The ‘state of the science’ paper approach has been chosen because it gives more flexibility to conduct different kinds of research such as concept analysis, discussion of implementation issues or investigation of new data in Health Informatics. All research papers, theses, and dissertations authored by degree candidates are available to interested members of the general public upon request.

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Sample Curriculum

Course No. Course Title Semester Credits
Fall Semester  
HI 5310 Foundations of Health Information Sciences I 3
HI 5352 Statistical Methods in Health Informatics 3
HI 5354 Cognitive Engineering in Health Informatics 3
Total 9
Spring Semester  
HI 5351 Research Design and Evaluation in Health Informatics 3
HI 5304 Advanced Database Concepts 3
HI 5307 Systems Analysis 3
Total 9
Summer Semester  
HI 5308 Introduction to Object-Oriented Systems Development in Health Informatics 3
HI 6307 Cognitive Engineering in Health Informatics II 3
Total 6
Fall Semester  
HI 6301 Health Data Display 3
HI 6308 Consumer Informatics 3
Support Course 1 3
Total 9
Spring Semester  
HI 6000 Practicum in Health Informatics 6
Support Course 2 3
Total 9
Grand Total 42

For further curriculum information, please contact:
Todd R. Johnson, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
7000 Fannin, Ste 600
Houston, Texas 77030
Telephone: (713) 500-3921
email: [email protected]

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