2023-2024 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog
Health Informatics and Bioinformatics
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. Recently a data science and analytics PSM program has been added. The curriculum for each of the four 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 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 Eberhard Center.
The mission of the professional science masters (PSM) program in health informatics and bioinformatics is to educate and train graduates for leadership roles in healthcare and research institutions, pharma- and biotechnology industries and other sectors of the life sciences by providing them with interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and experience to use computer technology in managing and analyzing information in healthcare and the life sciences to create a qualified workforce for the future needs of the regional industry. We also require training in understanding ethical, social, and legal issues. We serve health and bioinformatics professionals and consumers by participating in relevant professional societies and continuing education programs, while maintaining informatics leadership in the community. We seek to attract diverse candidates from all backgrounds and experiences.
To enable students to attain this goal, the faculty have three primary responsibilities. First, we will offer a solid conceptual foundation required for a career in health informatics and bioinformatics. Second, we will provide direct, experiential knowledge of the technology necessary to be a productive user/producer of information technology in healthcare and the life sciences. Third, we will instill attitudes essential to all health informatics and bioinformatics professionals.
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; and
- establish an integrated, supported internship experience for our health informatics and bioinformatics students.
Admission to the Master of Science in Health Informatics and Bioinformatics Program
- U.S. students including international students with an undergraduate degree from a U.S. university 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.
Each of the PSM degree programs share courses common to all five 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 five programs are interdisciplinary, non-thesis, and involve both the university and its industry partners. All five 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.
The following program is available: