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MS Degree Students

Students in this program are required to take a minimum of 30 formal course credit hours and complete a master’s thesis. MS degree students are required to take our five core courses, two selectives (or must have taken the equivalent prior to entrance in the program), two courses in each of two competency areas, and take one additional elective.


The handbook provides information on policies and procedures. Please review the policies here: BMIF-Student-Handbook-2022-2023_revised-10012022

PhD Degree Students

PhD students are required to take a minimum of 72 credits (including research credits). Additionally, PhD students must complete a teaching practicum, pass a qualifying examination, and successfully propose and defend a dissertation. PhD students take our five core courses, three selectives, two graduate courses in each competency areas, and three additional electives.

Competency Areas

Degree candidates are expected to demonstrate advanced knowledge of identified topics in three competency areas: Computer Science/ Informatics, Biological and Health Sciences, and Research Methods. MS degree students take two courses in each of two competency areas and PhD students take two courses in each of three competency areas. Some or all of these courses may have been taken prior to beginning this program – see below for details.

The Competency Areas are as follows:

  • Computer Science/Informatics: compilers and formal languages, complexity, computability, computer organization, databases, data structures, design and analysis of algorithms, networks, operating systems, programming languages, software engineering.
  • Biological and Health Sciences: principles of cell, organism, and population biology; anatomy, physiology, and mechanisms of disease; nosology, diagnostics, and therapeutics; genetics and molecular medicine.
  • Research Methods: mathematics for computer science (discrete mathematics, probability theory); mathematical statistics, applied statistics, biostatistics, and mathematics for statistics (linear algebra, sampling theory, statistical inference theory, probability); qualitative and quantitative research designs, epidemiology, and methods of systems evaluation.


Students in the MS degree program are required to take one elective course relevant to their educational goals and research focus. Students in the PhD degree program are required to take three elective courses. Options for elective courses include courses in Biomedical Informatics that would not otherwise be required of the student, independent study with faculty members, and courses from the competency fields. Other elective courses may be selected if approved by the faculty mentor/research adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies.

DBMI Seminar Series

All students must attend and participate in the DBMI Seminar Series during their course of study. Participation is logged and students are expected to attend 75% of offered seminars. CME for clinicians is available. All students must also participate in the journal club and the ethical conduct of research.