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Introduction
2012-2014 Student Handbook

Message from the Dean Academic Calendar Administration Mission Statement
About SBMI Application Information Enrollment Status Certificate and General
Admission Process

Message from the Dean

The School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston (SBMI), an academic component of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is the only academic program of biomedical informatics in the State of Texas and the only free-standing school of biomedical informatics in the nation. The mission of SBMI is to educate and train future scientists and professionals in biomedical informatics and health information technology, to conduct informatics research to improve healthcare and advance biomedical discovery, and to develop and use advanced informatics tools to solve practical problems in healthcare. The health informatics field has many job openings and continues to expand with careers ranging from electronic health record implementation to information governance to data analytics and more. The average salary for SBMI alumni is $88,000, with 20% making more than $150,000.

The School’s vision is to become a biomedical informatics innovator serving Texas, leading the nation, and impacting the world. The varied and talented faculty represent expertise both in the theory and practice of informatics applied to biomedical science and health care, and the pursuit of cutting edge research with a focus on translational informatics moving research from the lab to the bedside, to the community, and to the market. Students find the School's performance-based, highly interdisciplinary, team-oriented education and research programs stimulating, challenging and career enhancing.

Both the Master’s and Doctoral degree programs are offered in the unique environment of the Texas Medical Center, the most concentrated area of biomedical and healthcare expertise, knowledge and skills in the world. There are outstanding opportunities for students to be involved in informatics applied to health care and biomedical research in the many UTHealth clinical and research components and the more than fifty other healthcare related entities in the surrounding Texas Medical Center. Students interact with highly qualified and experienced faculty active in research and developing solutions for a wide array of biomedical informatics problems. Through research consortia and centers, such as the National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision-Making in Healthcare, Gulf Coast Regional Extension Center for Health IT, Gulf Coast Consortia for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences, Center for Computational Biomedicine, Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, the Institute for Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases, and NASA/Johnson Space Center, students will interact with the best and brightest on the frontiers of human experience. As a Master’s degree student, the student will learn to apply the most advanced understanding of biomedical informatics and health information technology to improve biomedical discovery and the delivery of healthcare. Doctoral students will work with leading researchers in a broad array of biomedical informatics areas to create new knowledge, advance the discipline, and open up new areas such as translational informatics and big health data analytics for future generations.

Students and faculty in our programs come from numerous health professions, basic sciences, biomedical sciences, computer science, engineering, biomedical engineering, healthcare management, cognitive science, and social sciences. The “transdisciplinary” nature of the School's educational and research programs makes them unique and rewarding, and results in breakthrough discoveries. School faculty and students are involved in making groundbreaking contributions to healthcare delivery and biomedical discovery. This includes inventing and evaluating new ways to capture, store, integrate, access, display, utilize, and evaluate healthcare and biomedical data, information, and knowledge. SBMI is exploring the relationships between genomics and clinical practice, developing big health data analytics for healthcare quality and safety, developing futuristic functions and modules for electronic health records systems, discovering new functions of existing drugs and monitoring and detecting adverse events of new drugs through data mining of electronic health records and medical literature, using health data to improve healthcare management, developing mobile platforms to deliver health information to remote areas, inventing new methods and tools of social interaction to promote health prevention and public health, and. SBMI is also innovative in the use of educational research and technology, revolutionizing how to design and implement online educational and learning environments for both biomedical scientists and healthcare professionals.

If this is the kind of challenge and learning environment you are looking for, then join us and become part of the informatics leaders of tomorrow. Help us invent the future of health care and biomedical discovery.

Jiajie Zhang, PhD
Interim Dean

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Academic Calendar

Fall Semester 2012
Aug 1 - Aug 25, 2012 New Student Orientation
Aug 27 Classes Begin
Dec 7 Classes End
Dec 10 - 13 Final Examinations
Spring Semester 2013
Dec 17 - Jan 4, 2013 New Student Orientation
Jan 14 Classes Begin
Mar 4 - 8 Spring Break
May 10 Classes End
May 13 - 14 Final Examinations
Summer Semester 2013
April 22 - May 20, 2013 New Student Orientation
May 20 Classes Begin
Aug 13 Classes End
Aug 14 - 15 Final Examinations
Fall Semester 2013
Aug 1 - Aug 25, 2013 New Student Orientation
Aug 26 Classes Begin
Dec 13 Classes End
Dec 16 - 17 Final Examinations
Spring Semester 2014
Dec 17, 2013 - Jan 10, 2014 New Student Orientation
Jan 13 Classes Begin
Mar 3 - 7 Spring Break
May 9 Classes End
May 12 - 13 Final Examinations
Summer Semester 2014
Apr 21 - May 16, 2014 New Student Orientation
May 19 Classes Begin
Aug 14 Classes End
Aug 15 - 18 Final Examinations

Note: At the discretion of the Dean, the attendance of certain individuals may be required on a scheduled university holiday and on other than the usual scheduled class dates because of practicum/preceptorship requirements. Holidays will be announced in the class schedule each semester/session.

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Administration

Administration
Jiajie Zhang, PhD Professor and Interim Dean
  Associate Dean for Management
Hongbin Wang, PhD Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Carolyn Elliot Assistant Director of Admissions

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Mission of the University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston

The mission of the UT School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston is to improve healthcare and biomedical research by developing, refining and advancing the field of Biomedical Informatics through research, curriculum development, service, and by training professionals in areas of the discipline including bioinformatics, clinical informatics, computational biomedicine, and public health informatics. This mission is consistent with UTHealth's mission as a comprehensive health science university that educates health science professionals, discovers and translates advances in the biomedical and social sciences, and models best practices in clinical care and public health.

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About SBMI

The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston (SBMI), formerly known as the School of Health Information Sciences (SHIS), was founded in 1972 as the School of Allied Health Sciences. The school is the newest of the six UTHealth schools. UTHealth is located in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center (TMC), one of the largest medical centers in the world.

In 1992, UTHealth determined it would focus on graduate education in the health sciences. At that time, the school began to shift from traditional allied health baccalaureate programs toward the development of graduate programs to join the other professional and graduate schools in the university. In 1997, the school created the Department of Health Informatics and began to offer a Master of Science in health informatics. In 2001, the school name was changed to the School of Health Information Sciences (SHIS), which also subsumed all faculty and students in the department. The school offered a Master of Science in health informatics, a Doctor of Philosophy in health informatics and a certificate program in Health Informatics for non-degree seeking students. In 2010, the school underwent another name change. SHIS became the School of Biomedical Informatics. SBMI currently offers certificate programs in health informatics, a Master of Science in Health Informatics with two tracks: a traditional research track and an applied health informatics track, a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Informatics and dual-degree programs with the School of Public Health.

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Application Information

Applications to the programs in the School of Biomedical Informatics may be submitted online.

Additional information is available by contacting the Office of the Registrar at:
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)
Office of the Registrar
7000 Fannin, Suite 2250
Houston, TX 77030
Telephone: (713) 500-3388
Email address: registrar@uth.tmc.edu

Specific requirements for admission to the certificate and degree programs are provided in the program section of this catalog. Subject to approval of the Dean, each program’s faculty is responsible for selecting applicants for admission.

An International Student is a student who is not a citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. All international students must contact and must be cleared by the UTHealth Office of International Affairs prior to registration. An international applicant seeking admission to SBMI must submit the following:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score. Brochures and application material for the TOEFL may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar (applicants should use an institution code of 6906 or 6907). The scores for the TOEFL test must be submitted directly to the UTHealth Office of the Registrar from the TOEFL test centers. The minimum acceptable score is 550 on the paper test, and on the internet based test a score of writing 26, speaking 23, reading 21, listening 17 and a total score of 87. Upon recommendation of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and approval by the Dean, requirements for the TOEFL may be waived for applicants whose native language is English or if applicant has graduated from a high school or university in the United States. See http://www.toefl.org for test sites and testing information. Testing is at the applicant’s expense.
  • International applicants must submit official transcripts and a professional course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts from all universities outside the United States. The application forms (Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., http://www.ece.org and World Education Services, www.wes.org) for such an evaluation may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. The results of the evaluation must be submitted directly to the UTHealth Office of the Registrar by the agency. The applicant must pay for the evaluation report.
  • The I-20 form, required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is prepared by UTHealth and issued to qualified non-immigrant applicants who have been admitted and who have demonstrated financial ability to support their education. Upon acceptance, the non-immigrant student will be asked to provide financial and visa information so that the I- 20 form may be completed. The student must submit the completed form to the American Embassy in his/her country of origin in order to receive a student visa or must otherwise be eligible for F-1 status in the U.S. Please contact the UTHealth Office of International Affairs for information.
  • Official transcripts of all previous academic credit must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Courses with grades of "C" or lower are not transferable for admission or graduation credit.

Waiver or alteration of any course or credit-hour requirements, other than those mandated by statute, for admission to the School or of courses offered by the School, must be based upon a review of the circumstances, a justification and review by the faculty, and final written approval by the Dean. Requirements mandated by statute will not be waived or altered.

In order to register, a student must have on file in the Office of the Registrar official transcripts and documents of all previous academic work, and meet all admission requirements.

A student who knowingly falsifies or is a party to the falsification of any official University record (including transcripts and/or application for admission) will be subject to the offer of admission being withdrawn, or disciplinary action, which may include dismissal from the University.

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Enrollment Status

A student is considered officially enrolled if tuition and fees are paid by the twentieth class day of the fall and spring semesters and by the fourth class day of a summer session. Students who matriculate in the School of Biomedical Informatics fall into one of the following categories.

  • Program Student: a student admitted to an academic program who is following a set curriculum and pursuing a degree without an interruption of more than two semesters in enrollment.
  • Full-time Student: a graduate student enrolled in at least nine semester credit hours (SCH) each during the fall and spring semester, or six semester credit hours in the 12-week summer session. Only those credit hours for UTHealth courses taken for credit are counted in the calculation of credits designating a full-time student.
  • Part-time Student: a graduate student enrolled in a program for fewer than nine semester credit hours in the fall or spring semester, or fewer than six semester credit hours in the 12-week summer session
  • Certificate student: a student admitted to the certificate program seeking a certificate of completion of fifteen semester credit hours.
  • Non-degree Student: a student who is admitted to the School for one or more courses but not admitted to a degree or certificate program. Enrollment as a non-degree student does not entitle a student to admission to a program. A non-degree student is not eligible to receive a degree. Non-degree students will not be allowed to register for practicum/doctoral courses. Non-degree students can complete a maximum of 12 semester credit hours and must maintain a 3.0/4.0 grade point average.
  • Transfer Student: a student who has graduate level credits from another institution and who applies for admission to a degree program at the School. This student must be in good standing at the institution last attended.
  • Concurrent/Inter-institutional Student: Concurrent and inter-institutional students can complete a maximum of 12 semester credit hours and must maintain a 3.0/4.0 grade point average.
  • Any student enrolled at UTHealth who is not admitted to a degree program or certificate program in the School of Biomedical Informatics can complete a maximum of 12 semester credit hours and must maintain a 3.0/4.0 grade point average. If a student takes more than 12 semester credit hours, only 12 semester credit hours can be counted toward any degree in the School of Biomedical Informatics.

Student Enrollment

Students enroll each semester by using myUTH on the web. There is no on-site enrollment. Enrollment dates are announced in the online Schedule of Classes.

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Certificate and General Admission Process

Certificate Admission Process

Completed applications are reviewed by the Certificate Program Coordinator(s). Recommendations for or against admission are made to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Certificate Program Coordinator(s) advise all certificate students.

General Admission Process for Degree Programs

The School admissions committee reviews completed applications to the research-focused master’s and doctoral programs. Applicants to the Applied Master’s Program are reviewed by the program coordinator and faculty of the Applied Master’s Program who make admissions recommendations to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

The admission criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • Prior academic preparation (depth, breadth, and performance): application, college transcripts, and letters of recommendation;
  • Relevant work experience (particularly practice in the field of study): application, goal statement, curriculum vitae (CV) or resume, and letters of recommendation;
  • Career goals: application, goal statement, and letters of recommendation;
  • Motivation: goal statement, letters of recommendation, and college transcripts;
  • Integrity: goal statement, and letters of recommendation;
  • Standardized tests: scores on GRE or MAT and TOEFL (if required);
  • Thesis, publications and other scholarly works: supplemental documents provided by applicant;
  • Success in overcoming social, economic or educational disadvantages.

Qualified applicants will be invited to interview with faculty members at the discretion of the committee. The Office of Academic Affairs will schedule personal interviews. In addition to the listed criteria, the applicant’s communication skills and understanding of the program may be evaluated based on the personal interview. Admissions decisions will be made after all interviews are completed. Completed applications with all supporting documentation must be received July 1 for fall admission, March 15 for summer admissions, and November 1 for spring admissions to the certificate and master’s program and December 1 for fall admissions to the doctoral program.

Certificate of Health Informatics Application Deadlines
Fall admissions July 1
Spring admissions November 1
Summer admissions March 15
Master of Science in Health Informatics and Master of Science in Applied Health Informatics Application Deadlines
Fall admissions July 1
Spring admissions November 1
Summer admissions March 15
Doctor of Philosophy in Health Informatics Application Deadlines
Fall admissions December 1

Address application inquiries and personal interview inquiries to:

Office of Academic Affairs
UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston
7000 Fannin, Suite 800
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 500-3591
SBMIAcademics@uth.tmc.edu

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