UNC Launches Online Master’s in Biomedical and Health Informatics
If you’re a life science professional looking to take the next career step, but can’t afford to quit your day job, you may want to consider the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s new fully online program to earn a Master of Professional Science degree in biomedical and health informatics.
The Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP) has admitted its first cohort of four students and is accepting applications for the spring and fall 2020 semesters. The first of two virtual information sessions was held today, but there’s still time to register for the other on Thursday, November 7, at 3 p.m.
The information session will provide more details about the curriculum, internship requirement, application process and other items. The session is free, but registration is required. The deadline to apply for spring 2020 entry is October 8.
It is the only fully online program of its kind available in North Carolina and taps into educational resources at the university’s five high-ranking health sciences schools, as well as its Department of Computer Science and School of Information and Library Science.
“We wish to broaden the options available to students to receive their training and we are particularly interested in attracting working professionals from health care and IT fields, as they contribute to our program in a powerful way,” said Javed Mostafa, Ph.D., director of CHIP.
This is a highly interdisciplinary program that prepares the next generation of health informatics leaders, said Hannah David, CHIP program manager. It combines rigorous science and technology coursework with courses on business and organizational management. The curriculum culminates in a 400-hour internship, allowing students to apply the knowledge gained through the MPS degree in a professional setting.
Two tracks are available, depending upon a student’s career interests:
- Clinical informatics -- for students interested in working in the information systems division or office of chief information officer in the clinical care setting or physicians pursuing clinical informatics certification. It trains students who wish to pursue clinical informatics board certification.
- Public health informatics -- for students with specific career interest in applications of information systems in population health and public health policy.
For either track, the curriculum is 35 credits and requires about 17 months of study full-time or two-plus years part-time. The entire curriculum is available online. However, students can opt to take one or more classes with the residential program students.
Admissions requirements include a bachelor’s degree, GRE or MCAT scores from the past five years, three letters of recommendation and a strong personal statement that shows “a clear passion for and interest in health informatics.” David said the admissions committee is particularly interested in previous work experiences that show an ability to excel at graduate work in this field.
The CHIP program began almost 10 years ago as a collaboration among UNC’s School of Medicine, Eshelman School of Pharmacy, School of Dentistry, Gillings School of Global Public Health, School of Nursing, Department of Computer Science and School of Information and Library Science.
An undergraduate program, Extensive Network-Accessible Biomedical & Health Informatics Lifelong Learning Environment, aims to raise awareness of and preparedness for BHMI careers among students from populations traditionally underrepresented in the field. It uses a summer “boot camp” to introduce undergraduates to health care data management, data analytics, data visualization and other key areas in health informatics.
A Ph.D. in Health Informatics program emphasizes advanced database management, analytical methods and evaluation and human-computer interaction while providing research training and teaching experience. Candidates complete and defend a dissertation following 55 hours of coursework.
CHIP also offers a summer intensive for high school students, Data Analytics for Teen Advancement: Applications in the Workforce and Academics with Research Experience to immerse them in training in data analytics tools and methods.