Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics
Dual Degree Program
2018-2020 Student Handbook

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

Program Description and Goals

The MD/MS Dual Degree program is for students aiming to be both physicians and informaticians. Through this unique program, students earning a Doctor of Medicine (MD) also study at SBMI and earn a Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics during their four years of medical school.

SBMI collaborates with two different UT System medical schools to offer the dual degree:

  • McGovern Medical School at UTHealth
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) School of Medicine

Dual Degree students will explore the wide range of applications of health and biomedical informatics in the quest to improve patient care. The program examines both electronic health records systems and clinical decision support systems and methods for enhancing those tools. Students learn about data interpretation and knowledge management as they discover how to collect, process, and transform health and biomedical data into health information and knowledge. Dual Degree students will understand core clinical informatics disciplines such as technology assessment, quality and outcome improvement, data analytics and precision medicine.

Students in the dual degree program must satisfy admission requirements and be admitted separately to each program. Students must meet the requirements of each program 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. Admission does not have to be done at the same semester for each school but must be done before reaching the maximum hours set by each School.

Back to Top

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 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 IELTS 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

Back to Top

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 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.

Back to Top

Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics application deadlines:

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

Back to Top

Dual Degree Application Process

The application process for the Doctor of Medicine is determined by the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and the UTRGV School of Medicine, respectively. The application process for the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics is determined by the School of Biomedical Informatics.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is not accepted for students enrolled in the dual degree program due to the amount of shared credit hours between SBMI and the participating institution.

Shared Credit Hours

Courses that are being accepted at SBMI through a dual or joint degree program can only be transferred into the SBMI degree plan 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.

Back to Top

Dual Degree Requirements for the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics

Academic Requirements

Each student follows a degree plan developed with the guidance of SBMI’s Office of Academic Affairs. A total of 39 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 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.

Each course with a 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. Students must earn a grade of “B” or higher in all dual degree program courses, unless the course is graded on a Pass or Fail basis in which a grade of “Pass” must be earned. If a dual degree student earns less than a “B” in any required course, it must be retaken to continue in the program. A grade of “B” or higher must be earned on the second attempt to prevent dismissal from the program. The minimum grade point average (GPA) required for graduation is 3.0 on all BMI 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.

Back to Top

Course of Study for the Dual Degree MD/MS Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics

Traditional Track

The Dual Degree program requires a minimum of 39 semester credit hours to earn the MS, including the completion of a practicum experience in the field of biomedical informatics. Students must complete 27 semester credit hours of SBMI coursework and 12 semester credit hours from the student’s MD program are accepted. The Dual Degree curriculum for the MS degree includes:

  • Five (5) required SBMI courses totaling 15 semester credit hours
    • 3 semester credit hours in basic/introductory biomedical informatics
    • 6 semester credit hours in foundation courses
    • 3 semester credit hours in scientific writing
    • 3 semester credit hours in practicum
  • Four (4) SBMI courses totaling 12 semester credit hours in the student’s unique informatics area of interest
    • Students will work with Office of Academic Affairs staff and SBMI faculty when selecting the courses.
  • Four (4) Medical School modules equaling 12 semester credit hours
    • Unique module lists for each Medical School are below.

McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Modules accepted by SBMI for the Dual Degree Program

Doctoring 1 Module: History and Physical (MS Year 1) – 4 semester credit hours
Doctoring 2 Module: Longitudinal Clinical Experience (MS Year 1) – 4 semester credit hours
Doctoring 3 Module: Longitudinal Clinical Experience (MS Year 2) – 4 semester credit hours
Total – 12 semester credit hours

UTRGV School of Medicine Modules accepted by SBMI for the Dual Degree Program

MEDI 8117: Molecules to Medicine Module (MS Year 1) – 3 semester credit hours
MEDI 8119: Attack & Defense (Evidence Based Medicine) (MS Year 1) – 3 semester credit hours
MEDI 8111-01 & 8111-02: Medicine, Behavior & Society (MS Year 1 & 2) – 3 semester credit hours
MEDI 8511: Mind, Brain and Behavior (MS Year 2) – 3 semester credit hours
Total – 12 semester credit hours

Back to Top

Practicum

Students in the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics 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. Dual Degree students in the MD/MS program 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 an 18 page, 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.

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

Back to Top