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Master's Dual Degree Program
2009-2011 Student Handbook

Program Description and Goals Interview Sample Curriculum

Program Description and Goals

The MS/MPH dual degree program combines the M.P.H. from The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston with the M.S. degree from The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston. The training and curriculum in the dual degree program will provide students and future leaders in public health the necessary skills to be leaders in the field of Public Health Informatics. The dual degree program provides an integrated curriculum that includes a number of shared courses as well as a practicum experience and/or the thesis topic in the area of public health informatics. The selection of specific academic programs, and scheduling of specific courses, fieldwork, and practica for individual students is guided by an Advising Committee satisfy admission requirements of and that includes faculty from both institutions.

Students in the dual degree program must be admitted separately to each institution. Students must meet the requirements of each institution for its respective degree. Admission to one program does not assure admission to the other. Students in the dual degree program will receive a diploma from each degree program after meeting the individual requirements of each program.

For Public Health Information, contact:
Keith Burau, Ph.D.
1200 Herman Pressler Dr., RAS-W1042
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 500-9472
[email protected]
Ed Hsu, Ph.D.
7000 Fannin, Ste 865
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 500-3969
[email protected]

Public Health Informatics Competencies:

The curriculum is designed to deliver training and improve skills in the following informatics competency domains.

  • The ability to determine and operationalize the existence, structure, and utility of the public health and health data standards, databases and networks within a specific domain area.
  • The ability to determine, translate and operationalize the functions and operations of information technologies that have significant application to public health practice (such as graphical information systems and the web-based information dissemination) in daily public health practice.
  • The ability to specify the requirements for the development and adaptation of information systems to address informational needs and requirements of a real world public health setting.
  • The ability to plan, analyze, evaluate and manage implementation of public health information system projects in their organization within a specific domain area, within the core competency areas of public health practice and in accordance with national, academic, and industrial frameworks and standards governing the design, implementation and evaluation of public health information systems and health data definitions and standards
  • The ability and skill in information technology planning and procurement related to public health information systems.

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 personal statement detailing his or her interest in the program
  3. A resume or curriculum vitae (as appropriate)
  4. a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Millers Analogy Test (MAT) score
  5. Grade Point Average (GPA) in previous degrees
  6. 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
  7. 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 or MAT score GPA in previous degree
  • Success in overcoming social, economic or educational disadvantages, race and ethnicity.

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The second component for admission is a personal interview. Applicants who have been recommended by the admissions committee will interview with two faculty members. Faculty members are either requested by the applicant or assigned by the admissions committee. If offered admission, these faculty members will become the students’ advising committee. 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.

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Sample Curriculum: Full-Time MPH/MS Student

Basic courses

  • Foundations of Health Information Science I
  • Principles of Public Health Informatics
  • Social and Behavioral Aspects of Community Health

Research courses

  • Introduction to Biostatistics
  • Cognitive Engineering I

Advanced courses

  • Health Data Display
  • Datamining in Bioinformatics
  • Health Services Delivery and Performance
  • Support courses
  • Introduction to Epidemiology
  • Introduction to Population and Environment Assessment
  • Combined Practicum in Health Informatics and Public Health

Requirements for MPH/MS

Shared courses 
6 hours must be in basic HI courses
3 hours must be in research HI courses
9 hours must be in advanced HI courses
MPH courses 27 hours
MS 42 hours
MPH 45 hours
Total 87 hours
  - 18 shared hours

Grand Total 67 hours for the combined degrees

Practicum must produce a paper to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication. 15 hours must satisfy the core courses in the Public Health Discipline. Public Health core courses must be a letter grade. Specified HI courses may be substituted with other HI courses with the approval of their advising committee.

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