Skip to Content
SBMI Horizontal Logo

Frequently Asked


Visit each of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sections below to learn more.

Prospective Students

Prospective Student Inquiries

  • What is the difference between Health Informatics & Biomedical Informatics?

    Biomedical Informatics is the science of collecting, processing, and converting data – ranging from molecules to populations – into actionable information, knowledge, and intelligence. Similarly, health informatics covers related topics, with the exception of genomics.

  • Where can I find more information about the field of Biomedical Informatics?
  • Does the school offer informational sessions to interested applicants?

    McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics holds informational webinars several times a year to discuss the programs offered and the admissions process with prospective students. To see a list of upcoming information sessions, please visit our Prospective Student Information Sessions. You may also register for one of our recorded information sessions if you are not able to attend one of our live sessions.

    Prospective students can also contact the Office of Academic Affairs ( or 713-500-3591) at any time and request a meeting to discuss our graduate programs.

  • Which degrees offer F-1 sponsorship, In-Person attendance, 100% online attendance or a combination?

    Our degrees and programs are designed to be flexible for our students. The below table reflects our course modalities for our degrees and programs.

    Course Modality
    SBMI Programs Online In-Person F1 Eligible
    Certificate Programs
    Applied Biomedical Informatics*    
    Biomedical Informatics*  
    Dental Informatics* Contact the SOD Academic Affairs
    Health Data Science*  
    Pharmacy Informatics*    
    Public Health Informatics*  
    Master of Science Programs    
    Biomedical Informatics - Applied Track*    
    Biomedical Informatics - Research Track*
    Doctoral Programs
    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)  
    Doctorate in Health Informatics (DHI)**    
    Dual Degree Programs ***
    Doctor of Medicine/Master of Science (MD/MS)  
    Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Public Health (PhD/MPH)    
    Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Science (PharmD/MS)  
    Master of Science/Master of Public Health (MS/MPH)  
    * Program can be completed fully online domestically and internationally.
    ** Program can be completed online, but REQUIRES campus visits each semester.
    *** Partner school program course modality based on institution.
  • What is the difference between the applied track and research track of the Master’s degree programs?

    The applied track offers a hands-on approach to informatics and students use different information systems to advance patient care. The applied track curriculum educates students in the correct and safe utilization of information systems to promote better quality of care for patients.

    The research track focuses more on an abstract approach to information systems used in the healthcare field. This can include natural language processing techniques used for building clinical decision support systems or formulating algorithms used for health care datamining.

    In essence, students in the research track pilot processes and innovate new technologies that are then evaluated, implemented and utilized daily by students in the applied track.

  • What is the difference between the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctorate in Health informatics (DHI) program?

    The PhD program mainly focuses on research and investigation to map out procedures for clinical and biomedical problems and develop innovative solutions.

    The DHI program focuses on implementing solutions to put into practice at clinical and healthcare organizations.

    • PHD = Theory based
    • DHI = Application based
  • What is the Undergraduate Accelerated Master’s (4+1) program? Who can apply?

    Undergraduate students have the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Arts/Science and a Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics over the course of five years through the Undergraduate Accelerated Master’s (4+1) program. The program is integrated so that graduate curriculum overlaps into the student's undergraduate work. This provides students with the opportunity to graduate with the bachelor’s degree at the same time as their Graduate Certificate in Biomedical Informatics.

    McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics has collaboration agreements with the following institutions whose students are eligible to participate in this integrated curriculum:

    • Texas A&M International University (TAMIU)
    • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)

    More detailed information regarding our Undergraduate Accelerated Master’s (4+1) program can be found HERE.

  • Does McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics accept transfer credit from outside schools/program?

    Transfer credit for equivalent graduate courses taken elsewhere may be awarded to current McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics students and used to meet degree requirements if their equivalency to a McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics degree program course is approved through a Petition for Equivalency Credit (PEC). The maximum number of transferable semester credit hours is 3 for the certificate program, 12 for the master’s program, 36 for the PhD program, and 21 for the Doctor of Health Informatics (DHI) program.

    The grade earned in the transfer course must be a “B” or higher. Courses for which grades of less than “B” were earned will not be accepted for transfer. Transfer credits are subject to the Five-Year Rule based on the semester and year the original credits were posted to a student’s official transcript.

  • What are the admission requirements and deadlines?

    Admission Deadlines

    Please ensure you review the Admissions Requirements for your particular program of interest as admission requirements vary for each degree/program.

    Certificate July 1 November 1 March 1
    Master's July 1 November 1 March 1
    PhD December 1 July 1 N/A
    DHI March 1 Only one DHI cohort will be admitted annually.

  • How long does it take to complete a program at McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics?

    Students enrolled full-time usually complete the programs in the following time-frames:

    • Certificate in 1 year
    • Master’s in 2 years
    • Doctoral in 4-5 years

    Certificate students have a maximum of 5 years, MS and PhD level students have a maximum of 8 years, and DHI students have maximum of 10 years from the time of entry to complete the required coursework for their degree. Please be aware of the five-year rule.*

  • Where do I send my application documents?

    The application is 100% online through a Centralized Application Service (CAS) via the GradCAS platform. You will submit all required admission documents via GradCAS. All official transcripts, test scores (if applicable) along with Letters of Recommendations can be electronically requested via GradCAS.

    You can contact the GradCAS Applicant Help Center for assistance with your application documents.

  • How do I check the status of my application?

    To monitor your application and the receipt of any outstanding documents, please log in to your GradCAS application. You will be contacted regarding any missing documents, admissions decisions, etc. via e-mail.

    Please allow 4-6 weeks for an admissions decision to be received. Doctoral decisions can take up to 12 weeks as an interview may be requested.

  • If I missed the application deadline for one application cycle, do I have to wait to apply the following year?

    Applicants to the Non-Degree/Certificate and Master level programs are eligible to apply Fall, Spring, and Summer terms.

    Applicants to our doctoral programs who miss the deadline may consider applying to a Non-degree/Certificate program to take coursework applicable to the degree plans. Admissions/application requirements must still be submitted by the deadline.

  • I have completed studies outside of the U.S. and/or am an international applicant. Are there any additional application requirements?

    All applicants with international college transcripts must submit a "course-by-course with GPA calculation" evaluation report by one of two independent organizations; Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES). The evaluation report needs to include the official copy of the transcripts used for the evaluation. WES and ECE are the only two agencies that we will accept for admission to any of our programs. If all education was completed outside the U.S., you must have a U.S. equivalent of a bachelor's degree or higher.

    International applicants are required to report TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) results. The minimum acceptable score for TOEFL is 94. The minimum acceptable score on IELTS is 7. TOEFL/IELTS scores may be waived for applicants completing prior schooling with the mode of instruction in English. For more information, please visit our prospective student page and/or e-mail

  • Is the GRE required for admissions consideration?

    GRE scores are only required for admissions consideration to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program. A GRE waiver may be granted if specified criterion met. Please review the admissions requirement page for more information.

  • How do I send my official TOEFL/IELTS and/or GRE scores?

    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam – Minimum score of 94. Follow these instructions to have official test scores sent to GradCAS. Use code: B886

    International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – Minimum score of 7.0. Follow these instructions to have official test scores sent to GradCAS. A code is not required.

    Unofficial valid GRE scores can be uploaded with your GradCAS application. Official scores should also be sent to UTHealth Houston Office of the Registrar’s. Use code: 6906.

    If official scores need to be sent to out registrar’s office:

    • ETS - TOEFL and GRE scores are sent electronically directly to our Registrar’s Office. Please send your results by using the institutional code 6906; no department code is necessary.
    • IELTS scores must be mailed to our Registrar’s Office:

    UTHealth Houston

    Attn: Office of the Registrar

    7000 Fannin, Ste 2250
    Houston, TX 77030

    A TOEFL/IELTS waiver may granted if specified criterion met. Please review the admissions requirement page for more information.

  • What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) you will accept?

    There is no minimum GPA requirement for admissions consideration into our programs. The application is reviewed in a holistic manner. A recommended cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or higher is encouraged.

  • Who should submit a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) on my behalf?

    Academic (professors/advisors) and/or professional (current/previous employers, supervisors, etc.) letters of recommendations are recommended. These individuals should speak on behalf of your character and potential success in our program.

    For current students of the McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics who are applying to another SBMI program, it is highly recommended that a reference letter from at least one McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics faculty member be submitted.

    At the time of submitting an application, you will list and enter contact information for recommenders. The LOR is submitted electronically by the recommender via the application.

  • For Dual-Degree programs, do I submit one or two separate applications?

    You must submit and meet the admission/application requirements for each school you apply to. Admissions to one program does not guarantee admissions to SBMI.

    Please note: You cannot have completed more than 50% of your coursework/credit hours from either school/program to be eligible for the dual program. You must notify each school of your intent to pursue the dual degree program to ensure you follow the correct degree plans. Additionally, at the time of applying to the Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics, you must provide us with a copy of your admissions letter to the corresponding partnering school.

    SBMI has collaboration agreements in the following areas with these respective institutions whose students are eligible to participate in this integrated curriculum:

    Doctor of Medicine/Master of Science (MD/MS)
    McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston
    University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) School of Medicine
    Baylor College of Medicine

    Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Science (PharmD/MS)
    University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy

    Master of Science/Master of Public Health/ (MS/MPH)
    Doctor of Philosophy/Master of Public Health (PhD/MPH)

    UTHealth Houston School of Public Health

  • If I am pursuing a dual degree program, how will advising and degree plans work?

    Once admitted to each individual school/program, you will be assigned individualized advisors for each program and school, separately. It is important that you communicate with each advisor from each school to ensure proper degree plans and forms are on file to fully reflect your account as a dual degree student for both schools.

    As a dual degree student, you are still required to abide by each individual schools’ policies, procedures, and individualized degree plans. You must meet with your academic advisors at each program/school to ensure you are properly complete requirements for each degree.

  • Are McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics degrees/programs considered STEM eligible?

    Currently, all of our degrees and programs are considered STEM eligible.

  • What U.S. college/universities accreditation organizations are accepted by McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics?

    We recognize degrees obtained from universities accredited by:

    • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
    • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) & Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC)
    • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
    • New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)
    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Does McWilliams offer English as a Second Language (ESL) courses?

    Our school does not currently offer English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. We recommend the RICE University - ESL program. Information for the application can be found here.

Cost, Financial Aid and Scholarships

  • How much will the program cost?

    A cost estimate breakdown for the School of Biomedical Informatics can be viewed on the Registrar's website. Depending on if you are a Texas Non-Resident or Texas resident, your amount per credit hour will vary. Fees are assessed every term based on the courses and number of courses you enroll in.

  • Does McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics offer scholarship opportunities?

    Yes; students are encouraged to apply early for the given term in which they are interested in enrolling. New Student Scholarships are considered when the application is being reviewed for an admissions decision.

    We also offer competitive scholarship opportunities to our current students.

    Being awarded a competitive scholarship of $1,000 or more not only entitles you to the financial reward of the actual scholarship, but it also makes you eligible to be assessed tuition at a resident rate for three consecutive semesters.

    In addition, Graduate Assistant (GA), Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) and Student Assistantships (SA) may also make students eligible to resident tuition for the duration of the position.

    You can also visit our Resources under the “Financial Services” section for other opportunities.

  • Is there Financial Aid available for Non-Degree/Certificate students?

    Non-Degree students or students pursuing a Certificate as their only academic program are not eligible for federal financial aid. Non-Degree/Certificate students may be eligible for McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics scholarships if funds are available.

    Only degree-seeking students are eligible to apply for Financial Aid. For students seeking financial assistance, please contact the Office of Student Financial Services.

  • Does UTHealth accept Veteran Educational Benefits?

    Yes; our OPE ID is 00495100. You can find more information here: or contact Winston Matranga, Veteran Affairs Coordinator at 713-500-3351 or

Newly Admitted Students

Current Students


  • What is the Five-Year Rule?
    To keep its programs and coursework relevant and current, McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics allows students to apply previously completed course credits to a certificate, master’s, or doctoral program for no more than five (5) years after the course was successfully completed, with a grade of “B” or better.
  • Can credits transfer from an McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics program to another Informatics program?

    Courses completed in the certificate or non-degree program are transferrable into an applicable master’s or doctoral program if you have received a grade of “B” or higher in your coursework. The same is true of applicable master’s courses that can be applied to an appropriate McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics doctoral program. Students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor upon consideration. An application to the new McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics program of interest is required for admissions (i.e., M.S. to doctoral). Please note: Admissions to any McWilliams School of Biomedical Informatics program is not guaranteed.

  • What are the rules for dropping classes?

    Please contact the Office of Academic Affairs at to discuss your circumstance and create a plan of action that best suits you.

    Students may drop courses through their myUTH account before Census Day (12th day of class) in the fall and spring and prior to the fourth day of class in the summer. After census day, to drop a course, an SBMI Drop/Withdrawal Form must be submitted to

    Withdrawing from all courses requires submission of an SBMI Drop/Withdrawal Form. Please be aware of the refund policy.

  • What are approval/permission codes and how do I get them?

    An approval or permission code is the key that allows you to register and enroll in the courses on myUTH. Please note, approval/permission codes are required for the following courses:

    • Courses that require instructor approval
    • Directed Study
    • Dissertation
    • Fellowship
    • Practicum
    • Preceptorship
    • Research in Biomedical Informatics
    • Research Seminar courses
    • Specialized course
    • Translational Project Writing

    Review the "Note" section of the course in myUTH that you are trying to enroll to confirm if approval is required.

    An email showing prior approval from the instructor must be forwarded to the Office of Academic Affairs ( in order to issue the approval/permission code.




  • What is the graduation check-out process?

    Students in the final semester of an academic program are added to a “Graduation/Certificate Completion” course in Canvas. Within that course, students should upload required documents which must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs prior to the completion of their program. Failure to submit the required documents will result in a delay of the student receiving their certificate or diploma.

  • Additional instructions for M.S. and Doctoral Students

    A final copy of your dissertation, translational project, or practicum capstone report is due to the Office of Academic Affairs via Canvas. The required document (including signed cover page) should be uploaded in the appropriate assignment within that Canvas course.

  • When is commencement held for graduating students?

    Commencement is held once a year every May for Summer, Fall and Spring graduating students. Specific details of the event are shared directly with eligible students.

  • What can I do with a degree in Biomedical Informatics?

    People who have a degree in biomedical informatics have a wide variety of career opportunities. The type of informatics career that an individual can pursue is, to some extent, dependent on his or her background and selected area of study. Biomedical informatics trained professionals may become:

    • Chief medical information officers
    • Chief medical officers
    • Chief information officers
    • Directors of medical informatics
    • Chief nursing information officers
    • Project managers
    • Implementation specialists
    • Project Designers
    • Researchers
    • Programmers
    • Clinical Systems analysts
    • Health information technology educators, trainers and consultants
    • Data scientists
    • Nursing informatics specialists
    • Account representatives

    These professionals often work in hospitals and health systems, community health centers, physician practices and clinics, health care agencies within the federal and state government, and for health information technology system vendors, eHealth and health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions and consulting services.

Visit each of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sections above to learn more.