Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics Programs
2018-2020 Student Handbook

Program Description and Goals Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics Admission Process Requirements for International Applicants Application Deadlines
Transfer Credit Degree Requirements Course of Study Practicum

Program Description and Goals

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

  1. Understand the scope of the discipline of Biomedical Informatics;
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the literature of Biomedical Informatics;
  3. Develop informatics solutions to biomedical problems based on current research; and,
  4. Utilize Electronic Health Records or other health information technologies effectively

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Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics Admission Process

The applicant should present a completed application and official documentation of the following:

  1. Official transcripts from every post-secondary school attended
  2. A baccalaureate or higher degree
  3. A two page, double spaced Goal Statement
  4. A resume or curriculum vitae (as appropriate)
  5. A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score
  6. Three letters of reference from educators and/or employers
  7. For International Applicants: A minimum TOEFL score of 87 is acceptable on the internet based test. A minimum IELTS score is 7.

Applicant materials will be reviewed 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., www.ece.org and World Education Services, 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 F1 student visa are not eligible to enroll in the the Applied Master’s in Biomedical Informatics track programs. F1 sponsorship is available for students in the Research Master’s program.

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Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics application deadlines:

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

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Transfer Credit

Transfer credit for equivalent graduate courses taken elsewhere may be awarded and used to meet degree requirements if their equivalency to a SBMI degree program course is approved through a Petition for Equivalency Credit (PEC). The maximum number of transferable semester credit hours is 12 for the master’s program. Contact the SBMI Office of Academic Affairs for information.

Courses that are accepted at SBMI through a dual or joint degree program can only be transferred in if the grade earned in the course is a “B” or higher. Courses for which grades of less than “B” were earned will not be accepted for transfer.

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.

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Degree Requirements for the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics

Academic Requirements

Credit hours must total at least 39 semester hours for all courses in the degree plan. Each student follows a degree plan developed with a Faculty Advisor. A total of 39 semester credit hours must be completed prior to graduation. There are two tracks within the Master’s Program. Students should work with the SBMI Office of Academic Affairs and their advisor to assure they are taking courses in their desired focus area.

A student in the MS Program in Biomedical Informatics has up to eight years (24 semesters) from the time of entry to complete the required course work. A student who has not enrolled in two consecutive registration periods (including the summer session) must submit to the SBMI Office of Academic Affairs a Reentry Form and new goal statement signed by the student’s advisor indicating approval for reentry to the program. A student who has not enrolled for three or more consecutive registration periods will be dismissed and must reapply for admission to the program and the School.

Each course with a BMI prefix in the Biomedical Informatics degree plan is a graduate-level course and should be passed with a grade of “B” or better. Students who earn a grade of “C” must retake the course, whether a required or elective course, and earn a grade of “B” or higher to continue on in their academic program. The course must be retaken the next semester the course is offered. The original grade of “C” will remain on the student transcript. All students who earn a grade of “C” will be placed on Academic Probation. Students are not permitted to earn more than two grades of “C”. The third grade of “C” will result in dismissal from the school. The minimum grade point average (GPA) required for graduation is 3.0 on all courses. A maximum of six credit hours of Directed Study can be applied toward the master’s program.

Computer Requirement

Every student is required to have reliable access to a computer that meets the minimum technical requirements. Students are encouraged to purchase a laptop that meets the minimum SBMI 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 the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics

Traditional Track

The curriculum of the traditional track for the Master of Science degree in Biomedical Informatics includes 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 Biomedical Informatics. The courses include instruction in basic informatics, research, advanced informatics and elective courses. The 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 the core and required courses as specified below:

  • 18 semester credit hours in required courses
  • 18 semester credit hours in elective courses (see SBMI website for suggested concentration curriculum)
  • 3 semester credit hours in practicum course

Changes to the degree plan must be approved in advance by the faculty advisor and the signed degree plan must be on file with the Office of Academic Affairs prior to course registration.

Applied Track

The curriculum of the track for the Master of Science degree in Applied Biomedical Informatics includes required didactic courses, a choice of elective 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 Biomedical Informatics. The courses include instruction in basic and applied informatics. The 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 faculty advisor. A signed degree plan will be filed that includes the core and required courses as specified below:

  • 33 semester credit hours in required courses
  • 3 semester credit hours in an elective course
  • 3 semester credit hours in practicum courses

Changes to the degree plan must be approved in advance by the faculty advisor and the signed degree plan must be on file with the Office of Academic Affairs prior to course registration.

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Practicum

Students in the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics 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 to the Practicum Coordinator by week three of the semester of enrollment in the practicum course, 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 BMI 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 a 18 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 the student receives an incomplete for practicum, the student will have the following semester to complete it or receive an “F”. If students have any questions regarding the practicum, they can contact the Practicum Coordinator or the SBMI Office of Academic Affairs.

For further curriculum information, please 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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