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Frequently Asked


Visit each of the FAQ sections below to learn more.

Prospective Students

Prospective Student Inquiries

  • Which degrees are offered at a distance?

    The master's and certificate programs can be completed 100% online with the option of in-person courses offered at our Houston campus. The Certificate and Masters programs in Applied Biomedical Informatics are only available online.

    The Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Informatics is a full-time, in-house program.

    The Doctorate in Health Informatics (for executive-level professionals seeking a terminal, applied degree in the field of health informatics) is a hybrid with more than 50% of the coursework taught online.

  • What mediums are used when taking a course at a distance?
  • Can credits transfer from SBMI program to SBMI program?

    Yes; courses taken in an SBMI certificate program with a grade of a “B” or higher are transferrable into an applicable SBMI masters and doctoral programs. The specific academic programs build upon themselves.

  • How long does it take to complete a program at SBMI?

    Students enrolled full-time usually complete the certificate in two semesters and the master’s in five semesters. Students enrolled part-time must complete the certificate in three years and the master’s in eight years.

    Average time for completion of the Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Informatics program is four to five years.

    Average time for completion of the Doctorate in Health Informatics is four years.

    Note that maximum program lengths vary depending on year and semester of program entry. Please refer to a specific catalog for more details.

  • Does SBMI offer informational sessions to interested applicants?

    SBMI holds informational webinars several times a year to discuss the programs we offer and the admissions process with prospective students. To see a list of upcoming webinar dates, click here: Prospective SBMI Student Webinar Sessions

    Prospective students can contact the SBMI Office of Academic Affairs at anytime and request a meeting to discuss our graduate programs.

  • What is the difference between the applied track and research biomedical informatics track?

    The applied track is more of a hands-on approach 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.

  • Is the Ph.D. program offered part-time?

    There is no part-time Ph.D. program. The master's and certificate programs are all offered part-time.

  • What is the 4+1 program? Who can apply?

    Students enrolled at TAMIU or Texas A&M International University have the opportunity to complete the graduate certificate in biomedical informatics during their fourth year of undergraduate study.

    The 4+1 allows for SBMI graduate courses to satisfy advanced program electives in the majors of biomedical science, applied technology, biology, psychology, mathematics, and computer science.

    Upon graduation from TAMIU, these students have the opportunity to complete the remaining master’s in biomedical informatics program requirements at SBMI in one year.

  • Does SBMI require students to have health insurance coverage?

    Yes, all students must be covered by private health insurance or an insurance policy obtained under the Affordable Care Act. Student who do not have insurance can purchase a policy provided by the UT System by clicking HERE or online at during open enrollment.

  • If I missed the application deadline, am I eligible to take SBMI classes now and wait to apply next year?

    No; you must apply for and be offered admission to the school to be eligible to enroll in SBMI classes

  • Where do I send my application documents?

    The application is 100% online. You will upload all admission requirements to your application. All documents that are uploaded to your application are considered unofficial documents.

    Only if admitted and if you accept our offer of admissions, will official transcripts/test scores be required for submission.

  • 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 self-service center.

    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 87. 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. No substitutions or waivers are allowed.

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

    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

  • 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 School of Biomedical Informatics who are applying to another SBMI program, it is highly recommended that a reference letter from at least one SBMI 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 SBMI 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 SBMI?

    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)


Enrollment and Admissions

Cost and Financial Aid

  • 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 SBMI 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 SBMI 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

Current Students

Current Student Inquiries

  • What is the Five-Year Rule?
    To keep its programs and coursework relevant and current, SBMI 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 SBMI program to another SBMI 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 SBMI doctoral program. Students are encouraged to speak with their academic advisor upon consideration. An application to the new SBMI program of interest is required for admissions (i.e., M.S. to doctoral). Please note: Admissions to any SBMI 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 SBMI 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.