School of Nursing & Health Professions
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Review the frequently asked questions below for more information about the Master of Science in Health Informatics program. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any additional questions.
Biomedical and Health Informatics (BMHI) is an interdisciplinary field that applies modern data analytics and computer science to healthcare. This involves the effective use of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving, and decision making, motivated by efforts to improve human health.
A graduate of the MSHI program will be able to:
The program consists for 36 units. Students in the program are able to take a minimum of 4 units (one class) per semester. The recommended maximum number of units per semester is 12 (three classes). Full-time students, who take 12 units per semester, are able to complete the program in as few as three semesters (Fall-Spring-Summer). Students with work or family responsibilities may spread their program over 2 to 3 years.
The program is delivered on-campus. Students take part in classes that meet once a week. Flexible time options will be provided to accommodate schedules.
We have a very diverse body of students – with backgrounds that include from nursing, pharmacy, medicine, physical therapy, biology, business, computer science and others. All have an interest in healthcare and the desire to learn and use computer technology to improve healthcare.
No, we seek health care professionals or those with a commitment to healthcare, from a variety of backgrounds. Health Informatics requires quantitative skills, thus appropriate programming and statistical content is introduced in the curriculum. Students should be enthusiastic about learning computational skills, but are not expected to have previous background in computer science before entering. Basic statistical background, undergraduate math, and previous programming are helpful, as is clinical or healthcare experience. This program is ideally suited to high-achieving students planning to apply to medical school or graduate programs in other clinical fields, as well as biomedical science. Our graduates have successfully gone on to MD/PhD, PhD, and Postdoctoral positions.
No, you do not need to have previous programming experience; we will teach you all that you need to know. You should be excited about learning new programming skills. Health Informatics is a rapidly advancing field that is built on the computer and information science. Our students learn data science skills, including some programming (R and/or Python), which is needed for working with clinical and research data. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with basic R programming concepts through one of many online tutorials. The (free) R tutorials at www.datacamp.com are very good.
Yes. Clinical Informatics is a board-certified sub-speciality in the US now. Those who complete a master's degree in health informatics will be well prepared to sit for this exam. Since few physicians have any formal training in this specialty, you will stand out and put yourself in a strong position with graduate training in health informatics. A recent USF MSHI graduate was admitted into a prestigious MD/PhD program with full 7-year scholarship and 1 year credit based on the MS in health informatics degree.
Yes, we have several new physicians in our program with each admissions cycle. Our graduate physicians have strong clinical skills upon entering, and gain equally strong data analytics skills in our program. They are generally able to secure exciting, challenging positions with healthcare systems. Some have continued in PhD programs in Health and Biomedical Informatics. Our students have also included those with advanced degrees in various biomedical sciences, many nurses at all levels, pharmacists, physical therapists, dental surgeons, and hospital executives. This training can be valuable for physicians and premedical students, since Clinical Informatics is now a board-certified sub-speciality in the US.
Students should expect at least 2 hours of preparation and outside research per week for each unit of credit.
Yes, the MSHI program requires its students to complete projects. The master’s project will be at a level appropriate for a master’s thesis. The others will be substantial projects that will be worked out together with the faculty advisor.
The MSHI program accepts applications in the fall semester. The priority application deadline is July 1st (deadline extended) for the fall. You may apply online by visiting the following site: http://usfca.edu/admission/graduate/apply/
In order to excel in this rigorous graduate program, regardless of previous major or experience, applicants should have some of the following abilities:
No, applicants to the MSHI program are not required to take the GRE. However, students who feel that strong GRE scores may provide evidence of academic ability that is not reflected in grades are encouraged to submit GRE or MCAT scores. Students entire record of achievements, in and outside of the classroom, will be considered.
We are striving to reduce the decision turnaround time to two to three weeks.
Yes, we will find practicum opportunities for all students and will attempt to match the student’s interests to the opportunity. Some are paid, some are not. This is completely up to the particular internship host.
Excellent. Our graduates are working in many prestigious medical centers and companies, including Genentech, UCSF Medical Center, Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, and many others. Some students have gone directly to doctoral level programs, including MD/PhD programs in which our graduates were given full credit toward the PhD for their MSHI degree from USF.
You should explore the American Medical Informatics Association web site (www.amia.org), which is rich in information about health and biomedical informatics. The application of “artificial intelligence” to medicine is decades old and has been around much longer than the current analytics craze. With the large-scale adoption of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), the application of computational methods to clinical decision support, evidence based practice, drug trials, and, especially, bioinformatics in genomics and personalized medicine are certain to continue growing rapidly.
25 new students during Fall.
No, your background makes you a strong candidate for leadership positions in health and biomedical informatics after you receive deep training in the field. We designed our program to give solid background in healthcare, informatics, appropriate computer science and specific specialty fields so that people with backgrounds like yours will be well-suited for positions in health informatics. You will also work with clinicians - nurses, physicians, psychologists, for example - learning from their experience while sharing your experiences with them.
Students pursuing an Executive Certificate in Clinical Informatics will likely fall into one of several groups:
Yes, the MSHI program has many partnering organizations. These include many local health organizations, companies, and non-profits. A sampling of organizations where our graduates have worked as data analyst or informaticists include:
The MSHI program is also actively involved with several societies. These include:
The program costs $1,480 per credit for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Yes, USF offers substantial financial aid. US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for $20,500 in federal loans per academic year. You can apply for Graduate PLUS loans to make up the reminder of the cost.
Yes, USF’s Health Informatics program is fully accredited by WASC, the Western Association of Schools & Colleges.