The PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics is an interdisciplinary doctoral program offered by UWM through collaboration between several academic units at UWM and the Medical College of Wisconsin. The Program is housed in the UWM Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. It is guided by a Steering Committee consisting of faculty from the academic units participating in the Program.

Biomedical and health informatics is a field that is concerned with the cognitive, information processing, and communication aspects of medicine and healthcare including the information sciences and technology to support these tasks. The field covers the application of information technology in clinical medicine, medical record keeping, medical instrumentation, and healthcare management.

The main goal of the PhD program is to prepare graduates to perform advanced research in the discipline and to assume leadership roles in medical and healthcare industries. The degree is philosophically conceptualized as involving several disciplines in a collaborative learning process with the goal of fostering inter-professional interactions and inquiry. This degree will build upon existing graduate programs and research in the participating units. Qualified students with strong academic records in any of these programs will be considered for admission.

Other participating units:

  • College of Health Sciences
  • College of Nursing
  • Lubar School of Business
  • School of Information Studies
  • Zilber School of Public Health
  • The Medical College of Wisconsin

Requirements

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Admission

An applicant must meet the UWM Graduate School requirements as well as the following to be considered for admission to the program:

Master’s degree in biomedical and health informatics or a related area such as Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Health Sciences, Business Administration, Nursing; or an MD degree. Exceptionally strong candidates with Bachelor’s degree in a related area will also be considered for admission.

  1. At least two letters of recommendation that attest to academic and/or professional qualifications.
  2. Scores from the GRE (general) or GMAT or MCAT (test taken within the last five years.)

For applicants who intend to satisfy the English proficiency requirement by submission of test scores, a score of at least 79 on the computer-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) IBT is required. A score of 6.5 on the international English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) examination will be required in lieu of the TOEFL.

Requests for financial support must also be submitted below:

Co Director
Biomedical and Health Informatics Program
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Areas of Concentration

The PhD program requires a student to follow one of the following six areas of concentration. (At the time of application, each applicant should indicate a preferred area of concentration in their statement of Reasons for Graduate Study.)

Translational Bioinformatics Track

The track in Translational Bioinformatics centers on driving the flow of knowledge from “bench to bedside”, bridging the gap between basic and clinical informatics research. This discipline has applications to drug development, genetics research, and the use of animal models to develop new understandings or treatments, which has implications both to basic science and to commercialization.

Knowledge Based Systems Track

The Knowledge Based Systems track is designed to train students in the development of techniques to support decision-making in medical practice (including both clinical and administrative decision-making) and customized instruction on health and medical topics for patients and health care providers. Technical areas include decision analysis, expected utility theory and cost-effectiveness analysis, computer-based decision support systems, user modeling and user interface design, intelligent tutoring systems, knowledge representation, structured reporting, and data mining and knowledge discovery.

Health Services Management & Policy Track

Health services management and policy research is broad in scope and touches on all of the standard functional business areas (e.g., management, strategy and marketing, finance/economics, management information systems, human resources management) in addition to government health policy/reimbursement/regulation, insurance and other payer mechanisms, dealing with health professionals, and illness/health in individuals and in populations. The track is designed to equip students to deal with both management information and with population health and illness information and research to understand the implications of such information and research, and to transform inferences from that information and research into practical recommendations on the national, state, and local level. By its nature, it is applied to health services settings including hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities, medical group practices, public health agencies, mental health services, managed care organizations, and integrated health networks.

Health Information Systems Track

The track in Health Information Systems is designed to explore the role of administrative and clinical information systems in health care organizations. Attention will be directed at the design, implementation, and maintenance of the broad array of computer applications used in the health care industry. An interdisciplinary approach will be taken drawing on expertise from the health professions, management information systems, and library and information science. Curricular content will range from systems analysis and design, system efficacy and management, to e-commerce.

Medical Imaging and Instrumentation Track

The track in Medical Imaging and Instrumentation is designed to train students in understanding and developing medical imaging systems and medical electronic instrumentation. The aspects emphasized in this track are medical imaging systems, image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, medical instrumentation development and optimization, computer modeling, applications of electric and magnetic fields, and wireless communication.

Public Health Informatics Track

The Public Health Informatics track is designed to train students in the development of techniques, methods and tools to conduct public health research and to provide public health programs and tools for practical use. Graduates of this track will also be able to provide customized instruction on public health and related biomedical topics for public health workers, the public and others such as those in public health policy who will benefit from public health informatics. Technical areas include databases, tools and techniques for acquiring, processing, warehousing, and analyzing public health data. Other areas of expertise include utility theory and cost-effectiveness analysis, computer-based decision support systems, user modeling and user interface design, intelligent tutoring systems, structured reporting, and data mining.

Credits and Courses

Students enrolled in this program must follow all UWM Graduate School requirements and regulations. The minimum requirement for the Ph.D. in Biomedical and Health Informatics will be 58-63 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. Up to 24 credits from a related master’s degree may be applied toward the Ph.D.

The curriculum will consist of a common set of core courses for all tracks, required and elective courses for each individual track, and the dissertation. The purpose of the core is to ensure that all graduates of the program share a basic common knowledge in biomedical and health informatics. The purpose of the tracks is to enable the students to develop significant strengths in specific sub-areas within biomedical and health informatics. The courses identified in the curriculum are offered by UWM or MCW and, in some case, by both institutions. Following are descriptions of these components and their corresponding credit requirements.

Core Courses

The core courses provide a comprehensive structure for the foundations needed for all students in biomedical and health informatics irrespective of their special interests. This includes a series of seminars that deal with different aspects of biomedical and health informatics. All students must take the following core courses or must have taken equivalent courses in previous study.

Select one of the following:2
MCW 13200(A,B)
Medical Informatics, 6 quarter cr
Introduction to Health Care Informatics
Select one of the following:3
Human Pathophysiology I
HCA XXX
Physiology and Disease Informatics
Select the following for four 1-credit semesters4
Medical Informatics Seminar (or at MCW)
COMPSCI 557Introduction to Database Systems3
or BUS ADM 749 Data and Information Management
Select one of the following:1-3
Legal, Ethical and Social Issues in Health Care Informatics
MCW 12202
Medical Ethics (1cr)
MCW 10222
Ethics and Integrity in Science (1cr)
Total Credits13-15
Knowledge Based Systems Track
Required
COMPSCI 535Algorithm Design and Analysis3
COMPSCI 710Artificial Intelligence3
or HCA 742 Computational Intelligence in Health Informatics
BUS ADM 741Web Mining and Analytics3
or COMPSCI 425 Introduction to Data Mining
COMPSCI 743Intelligent User Interfaces3
or COMPSCI 747 Principles & Practices of User Interface Design
Required Mathematics & Quantitative Methods
Statistics
Select one of the following:3
Seminar-in-Management:
Doctoral Seminar in Decision Sciences:
Educational Statistical Methods I
Mathematical Statistics I
Probability
ECON 413Statistics for Economists3
or MATH 883 Theory of Probability
Track Electives
Computing and Applications
Select 12-15 credits with approval of advisor and steering committee12-15
Quantitative Analysis
Select up to 6 credits with approval of advisor and steering committee6
Dissertation
Select 12 credits from the following (use course from program of major advisor):12
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Thesis
Doctoral Thesis
Health Care Informatics Research and Thesis
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Dissertation
Research and Dissertation
Total Credits48-51
Health Services Management & Policy Track
Required
BUS ADM 755Health Care Administration and Delivery Systems3
BUS ADM 757Managed Care and Integrated Health Networks3
BUS ADM 744Information Technology Strategy and Management3
BUSMGMT 720Strategic Management in Health Care Organizations3
BUSMGMT 727Health Care Accounting, Law and Ethics3
BUS ADM 990Doctoral Seminar in Strategic Management:3
BUS ADM 996Doctoral Seminar in Organizations:3
Required Mathematics & Quantitative Methods
BUS ADM 918Doctoral Seminar in Behavioral Research Methods in Management3
Select one of the following:3
Multivariate Techniques in Management Research
Introduction to Econometrics
Educational Statistical Methods I
Applied Econometrics
Track Electives
Select 9 credits with approval of advisor and steering committee9
Dissertation
Select 12 credits from the following (use course from program of major advisor):12
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Thesis
Doctoral Thesis
Health Care Informatics Research and Thesis
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Dissertation
Research and Dissertation
Total Credits48
Health Information Systems Track
Required
BUS ADM 744Information Technology Strategy and Management3
BUS ADM 747Service-Oriented Analysis and Design3
BUS ADM 817Connected Systems for Business3
or COMPSCI 759 Data Security
COMPSCI 720Computational Models of Decision Making3
HCA 721Health Information Technology Procurement3
HCA 723Health Care Systems Applications - Administrative and Clinical3
or HCA 760 Biomedical and Healthcare Terminology and Ontology
Research Methods
Select one of the following:3
Engineering Statistical Analysis
Multivariate Techniques in Management Research
Doctoral Seminar in Behavioral Research Methods in Management
MIS Doctoral Seminar II: (Subtitled)
Qualitative Methods in Health Research
Quantitative Methods in Health Research
Track Electives
Select 12 credits with approval of advisor and steering committee12
Dissertation
Select 12 credits from the following (use course from program of major advisor):12
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Thesis
Doctoral Thesis
Health Care Informatics Research and Thesis
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Dissertation
Research and Dissertation
Total Credits45
Medical Imaging & Instrumentation Track
Required
ELECENG 436Introduction to Medical Instrumentation3
ELECENG 437Introduction to Biomedical Imaging3
ELECENG 439Introduction to Biomedical Optics3
ELECENG/COMPSCI 712Image Processing3
or ELECENG 716 Tomography: Imaging and Image Reconstruction
ELECENG 737Medical Imaging Signals and Systems3
or ELECENG 765 Introduction to Fourier Optics and Optical Signal Processing
Track Electives
Select 21 credits with approval of advisor and steering committee21
Dissertation
Select 12 credits from the following (use course from program of major advisor):12
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Thesis
Doctoral Thesis
Health Care Informatics Research and Thesis
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Dissertation
Research and Dissertation
Total Credits48
Public Health Informatics Track
Required
PH 701Public Health Principles and Practice3
PH 704Principles and Methods of Epidemiology3
PH 7093
COMPSCI 535Algorithm Design and Analysis3
Required Statistics & Quantitative Methods
PH 702Introduction to Biostatistics3
PH XXXSeminar in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics1
PH 7133
PH XXXData Management, Visualization, and Advanced Statistical Computing3
Track Electives
Computing and Applications
Select 6 credits with approval of advisor and steering committee6
Quantitative Analysis
Select 6 credits with approval of advisor and steering committee6
Dissertation
Select 12 credits from the following (use course from program of major advisor):12
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Thesis
Doctoral Thesis
Health Care Informatics Research and Thesis
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Dissertation
Research and Dissertation
Total Credits46
Translational Bioinformatics Track
Required
Select one of the following:2-3
Molecular Genetics
MCW 20240
Translational Genetics, 2 cr
Select one of the following:3
PH XXX
Introduction to Bioinformatics, 3 cr
MCW 17201
Bioinformatics I: Introduction to Bioinformatics, 3 cr
MARQ BIIN 6000
Introduction to Bioinformatics. 3 cr
MARQ BIOL 5201
Genomics and Bioinformatics, 3 cr
Select one of the following:2-3
PH XXX
Translational Bioinformatics, 3 cr
Or both of the following:
MCW 20100
Introduction to Clinical and Translational Research, 1 cr
and MCW 20261
Clinical Trial Design, 1 cr
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Data Mining
Introduction to Machine Learning
Web Mining and Analytics
MARQ ENMA 6060
Innovation and Technology, 3cr
Select one of the following:3
Biomedical and Healthcare Terminology and Ontology
Enterprise Knowledge & Semantic Management
Knowledge Representation
InfoSt 714
Metadata, 3cr
Select one of the following:2-3
Health Care Systems Applications - Administrative and Clinical
MCW 14230
Product Development of Medical Devices, 2 cr
Quantitative Methods
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Quantitative Methods in Health Research
Theory of Probability
Introduction to Biostatistics
PH XXX
Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology, 3cr
PH XXX
Applied Quantitative Methods for Studying Population Health and Health Disparities, 3 cr
Select a maximum of one of the following:
MCW 11200
Introduction to Epidemiology, 3 cr
Principles and Methods of Epidemiology
Select a maximum of one of the following:
Intermediate Biostatistics
MCW 04201
Biostatistics II, 3cr
Track Electives
Select 9 credits with approval of advisor and steering committee9
Dissertation
Select 12 credits from the following (use course from program of major advisor):12
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Thesis
Doctoral Thesis
Health Care Informatics Research and Thesis
Doctoral Dissertation
Doctoral Dissertation
Research and Dissertation
Total Credits45-48

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The Graduate School requires that the student have a major professor to advise, supervise and approve the program of study before registering for courses. The Biomedical and Health Informatics Steering Committee will assign the incoming student to a temporary Program Advisor at the time of admission. Prior to the completion of 12 credit (9 credits for a part-time student), the student must select a major professor who will be the student’s dissertation advisor. The student, in consultation with the major professor, develops a program of study which is submitted to the Biomedical and Health Informatics Steering Committee for approval. For subsequent changes, the student must file a revised program of study for approval.

Doctoral Program Committee

The Doctoral Program Committee is proposed by the Major Professor in consultation with the student by the end of the student’s first year of enrollment. The Program Committee, subject to the approval of the Biomedical and Health Informatics Steering Committee, shall consist of the Major Professor and at least four graduate faculty members, including at least one with health care and/or medical background, and one with informatics background.

Residence

The student must meet Graduate School residence requirements.

Qualifying Examination

A qualifying examination must be taken to determine whether the student is qualified to perform advanced doctoral level work in biomedical and health informatics. This examination is administered by the steering committee and must be taken prior to the completion of 21 credits of coursework in the program.

Doctoral Preliminary Examination

The student is also required to take a preliminary examination after all the coursework is completed and prior to the advancement of candidacy to determine the student’s preparation for independent research. Prior to the examination, the student must present a proposal for a doctoral dissertation. The preliminary examination may cover both graduate course material and the dissertation proposal. The preliminary examination must be successfully completed within five years of initial enrollment.

Dissertation

The candidate must complete a dissertation presenting independent original research that adds to the existing body of knowledge in biomedical and health informatics. It should be of such caliber that warrants publication in respected journals.

Dissertation Defense

The final oral examination will be an oral defense of the dissertation but may also cover the general field of the primary area of study. The examination may not be taken until all other degree requirements are satisfied. A majority of the examination committee members must approve the dissertation in order for the student to pass. The final oral examination must be taken within five years after passing the preliminary examination. Candidates who exceed this time limit may be required to retake the preliminary examination and be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Time Limit

All components of the PhD program must be completed within 10 years of matriculation.