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2018-2019 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Master of Science in Health Informatics and Bioinformatics - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing section in this catalog.


The Master of Science degree in health informatics and bioinformatics was developed in parallel with two other closely related M.S. programs, one in biostatistics and another in biotechnology. The curriculum for each of the three new programs is interdisciplinary, shares a common core, has a similar curriculum design, has a mandatory business/industry internship component, and can be characterized as a "professional science master's degree."

The professional science master's (PSM) degree is an innovative graduate degree to allow students to pursue advanced training in science and technology, while simultaneously developing workplace skills valued by employers. PSM programs consist of two years of academic training in an emerging interdisciplinary area, closely tied to the scientific workforce needs of business/industry, with an intensive internship experience. The health informatics and bioinformatics Master's of Science degree consists of 12 varied-credit courses (totaling 36 credit hours). Classes are in downtown Grand Rapids (Pew Grand Rapids Campus) at the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences.

Curriculum Design

Each of the PSM degree programs share courses common to all three programs, specific courses for critical content in each discipline, laboratory experiences essential for the development of requisite skill and knowledge sets, a common seminar series, a Capstone course, and internships to provide essential hands-on learning in the field. All three programs are interdisciplinary, non-thesis, and involve both the university and its industry partners. All three programs emphasize teamwork, problem solving, communication, and scientific knowledge and technical skills. Each program is designed to integrate university coursework with business and industrial internships to better prepare students for the variety of career pathways associated with the life science and health science industries.


A minimum of four credits of internship is a required component of the health informatics and bioinformatics program.

School of CIS Mission

The mission of the School of Computing and Information Systems is to provide the GVSU student community with the intellectual foundations and experiences necessary to use information technology effectively in their chosen careers.

To enable students to attain this goal, the CIS faculty have two primary responsibilities. First, we will offer a solid conceptual foundation required for a career in information technology. Second, we will provide direct, experiential knowledge of technology necessary to be a productive user/producer of information technology.

To achieve these goals, we

  • work continuously to keep our curriculum relevant to our mission;
  • ensure that work-relevant experience is part of every class;
  • establish and nurture industrial contacts;
  • establish an integrated, supported co-op experience for CIS majors; and
  • provide all students, regardless of their major interests, fundamental knowledge of computers and information processing.

Admission to the Master's of Science in Health Informatics and Bioinformatics Program

  • U.S. students must have an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale or a satisfactory score on the GRE or GMAT test. All international students must have a satisfactory score on the GRE or GMAT test, regardless of their undergraduate GPA.
  • Submit a resume detailing work experiences and accomplishments.
  • Submit a personal statement of career goals and background experiences, including an explanation of how this program will help achieve educational and professional objectives.
  • Submit written recommendations from at least two individuals who are in positions to attest to the applicant's potential for successful completion of the program.
  • Applicants must have a base of underlying knowledge relevant to graduate study in the health informatics or bioinformatics fields. This can be demonstrated by previous academic study or work experience. Consultation with a program faculty advisor is necessary to verify appropriateness of work experience as a substitute for academic preparation. Candidates without sufficient relevant background experience may satisfy any deficiency with appropriate graduate or undergraduate courses, as recommended by a faculty advisor in the program and approved by the health informatics and bioinformatics admissions committee and the program director.

A health informatics and bioinformatics program Admissions Committee will determine admission to the program. Admission to the M.S. in health informatics and bioinformatics status may be full or conditional; conditional admission may be granted to applicants with deficiencies in their background. When identified deficiencies are satisfactorily met, the applicant will be granted full admission to the program. Applications for admission will be reviewed as they are submitted. All applications submitted by February 1 prior to the fall semester in which the applicant wishes to start the program will receive full consideration for one of the graduate assistantships.

The following program is available:

Master of Science in Health Informatics and Bioinformatics

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