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Master’s Dual Degree Program
2016-2018 Student Handbook

Program Description and Goals Master of Science in Health Informatics Admission Process Requirements for International Applicants
Application Deadlines Transfer Credit Public Health Informatics Core Competencies
Degree Requirements for the Master of Science in Health Informatics Course of Study for the Master of Science in Health Informatics Practicum

(Effective January 1, 2017 all SBMI educational program names will change from Health Informatics to Biomedical Informatics.)

Program Description and Goals

The Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics/Master of Public Health dual degree program combines the MS degree from The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston with the MPH from the University of Texas School of Public Health 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 to satisfy admission requirements. The advising committee includes faculty from both UTHealth schools.

Students in the dual degree program must be admitted separately to each UTHealth school. Students must meet the requirements of each UTHealth school for its respective degree. Admission to one program does not ensure 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.

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Master of Science in Health Informatics Admission Process

The applicant should present to the Registrar’s Office the following:

  1. Official transcripts from every post-secondary school attended
  2. A baccalaureate or higher degree
  3. A personal statement detailing the applicant’s interest in the program
  4. A resume or curriculum vitae (as appropriate)
  5. A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score
  6. Grade Point Average (GPA) in previous (degrees) coursework
  7. A minimum TOEFL score of 87 is acceptable on the internet based test. A minimum ILETS score is 7.
  8. Three letters of reference from educators and/or employers

Applicant materials will be organized into a portfolio for review by the SBMI Admissions, Progression and Graduation (APG) committee. The committee will consider such areas as:

  • Health, MIS, Computer, or Engineering related degree
  • Healthcare work experience
  • Database work experience
  • Informatics work experience
  • Demonstrated expertise in programming
  • GRE score
  • GPA in previous degree
  • Success in overcoming social, economic or educational disadvantages, race and ethnicity.

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Requirements for International Applicants:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)/IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score. The official score for the TOEFL test must be submitted directly to the UTHealth Office of the Registrar from the TOEFL test centers using institutional codes 6906; no department code is required. The minimum acceptable score is an 87 on the internet-based test. The official scores for the IELTS Academic test must be submitted directly to the UTHealth Office of the Registrar from the IELTS test centers. The minimum acceptable score is a 7. Testing is at the applicant’s expense.
  • International applicants who have received a diploma from a university at which English is the language of instruction are not required to submit an English Language exam. If this school is outside of an English-speaking country, evidence that indicates the language of instruction will need to be provided with your application such as a letter from the University on official letterhead.
  • International applicants must submit official transcripts and a course-by-course education evaluation of all transcripts from all universities attended outside the United States. The application forms for such an evaluation may be obtained online from the service providers; Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc., https://www.ece.org/ and World Education Services, https://www.wes.org/. Only evaluations from ECE or WES will be accepted. The results of the evaluation must be submitted directly to the UTHealth Office of the Registrar by the agency. The evaluation report is at the applicant’s expense.
  • Students on an F-1 student visa are not eligible to enroll in the Master’s in Health Informatics programs. F-1 sponsorship is available for students in the Research Master’s programs.

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Master of Science in Health Informatics application deadlines:

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

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Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is not accepted for students enrolled in the dual degree program

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Public Health Informatics Core 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, analyzes, 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.

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Degree Requirements for the Master of Science in Health Informatics

Academic Requirements

Each student follows a degree plan developed with the Dual Degree Program Coordinator. A total of 40 semester credit hours must be completed prior to graduation.

A full-time student in the dual degree program has up to five years (15 semesters) from the time of entry to complete the required course work. A part-time student has up to ten years (30 semesters) from the time of entry to complete the required course work. Continuous enrollment is required unless approval from the advising committee is obtained. A maximum of one year of an approved leave of absence will be allowed for continuance in the program. If more than one year of leave occurs, the student must apply for readmission to the program.

Only one course grade of “C” is allowed. Each course with a HI/BMI prefix in the Biomedical 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.

Computer Requirement

Every student is required to have reliable access to a computer that meets the minimum requirements. Students are encouraged to purchase a laptop that meets the minimum UTHealth requirements.

Computer requirements are listed on the website (https://sbmi.uth.edu/current-students/student-handbook/computer-requirements.htm) and are subject to change.

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Course of Study for Public Health Informatics

The curriculum for the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics and the Master of Public Health include required didactic courses and a practicum. Didactic courses (lecture/discussion, demonstration and student laboratories) are presented to provide facts, concepts, and theories related to the techniques and procedures of public health courses, and support courses. The public health informatics practicum is designed to give the students the opportunity to apply theory and techniques in the hospital, research, or private laboratory setting

Each student will develop a degree plan with written approval of their advising committee. A degree plan will be filed that includes a minimum of:

  • 6 semester credit hours in foundation courses
  • 6 semester credit hours in basic informatics
  • 13 semester credit hours in research (includes 2 shared courses with SPH)
  • 3 semester credit hours in advanced courses
  • 9 semester credit hours in support courses (includes 3 shared courses with SPH)
  • 3 semester credit hours in practicum courses.

Changes to the degree plan must have the written approval of the advising committee.

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Practicum

Students in the dual degree program 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. Students must complete at least 24 credit hours in their master’s program before participating in the practicum requirement. Students should work with the Practicum Coordinator for any necessary affiliation or program agreements with the practicum site, if agreements are not already in place. A practicum proposal must be submitted by week three of the semester of enrollment to the Practicum Coordinator and it must be approved, in writing, by the student’s Faculty Practicum Advisor. Students can complete all required practicum credit hours during one semester or the course can be repeated for a maximum of 3 semester credit hours (for HI 6000) to meet degree requirements. During the course of the semester(s), student must create weekly logs to chronicle their hours, tasks, and reflections on how the duties of the practicum relate to Biomedical Informatics courses taken. Once the student has logged all 135 clock hours and concluded all practicum projects, she or he must create in a 10 page APA format double spaced capstone report that details the major project they completed during their practicum. This report, along with other deliverables, will be submitted in completion of the practicum. If students have any questions regarding the practicum, they can contact the Practicum Coordinator or the Office of Academic Affairs.

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Program Required Semester Credit Hours
Master's in Biomedical Informatics (MS) 40
Master's in Public Health (MPH) 45
Total Semester Credits 85
Shared Courses -24
GRAND TOTAL FOR COMBINED DEGREES 61

For Dual Degree Program Information, contact:

UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics Office of Academic Affairs
7000 Fannin Street Suite 650
Houston, Texas 77030
Telephone: (713) 500-3591
Email: SBMIAcademics@uth.tmc.edu

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