PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics

Admission Requirements

Applications are considered on an individual basis. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

  • Prior Degrees Master's degree in health informatics or related field is preferred. Transfer of graduate credits from another institution will be handled on a course-by-course basis. The complete prior credits transfer process is described on the Graduate College web page. Exceptional applicants who have completed a Bachelor of Science degree in health informatics or a related field, and wish to pursue a PhD will be considered for “Direct PhD Admission.” Such students will pursue the PhD degree without the requirement of first completing a master's degree. Direct PhD Admission is competitive. For fullest consideration, any student seeking admission should adhere to the early deadlines listed on the Graduate College website.

  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study and for all graduate degrees. In addition to the previous requirements, the cumulative GPA for any graduate-level course work must be at least 3.00/4.00.
  • Tests Required GRE General Test with a minimum score of 152 (56th percentile) on the verbal and 151 (56th percentile) on the quantitative sections. The GRE General Test is recommended for all applicants and required for financial aid applicants including those seeking assistantships, fellowships, and all BHIS stipends and tuition waivers; applicants with no prior master's degree; applicants holding a master's degree with a cumulative GPA less than 3.50/4.00; and applicants with degrees awarded outside of the United States and Canada.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score All international students are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or PTE-Academic scores.
    • TOEFL If the applicant has taken the paper-based TOEFL, minimum scores in the range of 585–600 will be considered; in addition, the applicant must take the Test of Written English and submit scores in the range of 5–6. Applicants taking the iBT Internet-based TOEFL must have a minimum score of 95, with subscores of Reading 24, Listening 22, Speaking 24, and Writing 24, OR,
    • IELTS 7.0, with subscores of 6.5 for all four subscores, OR,
    • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required, must be on letterhead. Recommenders should explain the context in which they have worked with and know the person about whom they are writing a recommendation. Recommenders should explore the student’s scholarly abilities, professionalism, organizational skills, and provide any other insights into the applicant’s qualities that demonstrate the applicant’s suitability for work at the doctorate level.
  • Personal Statement Required. The statement should address the applicant’s goals for graduate study, career development, teaching, and research experience.
  • Current Curriculum Vitae Required. Include scholarly activities and publications to date.
  • Other Requirements Successful completion, before enrollment, of required courses equivalent to a course in basic computer programming (process-oriented advanced languages, such as C, Pascal, BASIC, Cobol, FORTRAN, Ada, Lisp, Smalltalk, Prolog, etc.; and/or object-oriented advanced languages, such as C++, C#, and Java; and/or web-based scripting languages, such as Perl, JavaScript, Python, PHP, and Ruby). The computer programming prerequisite may also be fulfilled, with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, through completion of a nationally recognized MOOC (with proof through a signed letter). This prerequisite may be waived for those with comparable experience.
    Prerequisites courses HIM 486 and BHIS 406 (waived for those with clinical experience or for those who pass proficiency exams). These prerequisite courses are available online and are taught each semester including summer session. The proficiency exam is in current use and is available through the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Deadlines Application deadlines for this program are listed on the Graduate College website at

Degree Requirements

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 beyond the baccalaureate.
  • Course Work Students entering with an MS in Health Informatics earned at UIC may be allowed a maximum of 32 credit hours toward the PhD, depending on the electives taken. These students will develop an academic course plan, with approval of their primary advisor, that ensures their completion of any remaining core courses required, as well as additional elective course work in one or both tracks to fulfill the remaining course credit hours required for the PhD.
Required Core Courses (36 hours)
Biostatistics I
Information Sources in Biomedical & Health Information Sciences
Methods in Biomedical and Health Informatics I
Methods in Biomedical and Health Informatics II
Communication Skills in Health Informatics
Ethics and Legal Issues in Health Informatics
Literature Reviews and Evidence Synthesis in Health Informatics
Health Care Information Systems
Health Information Technology and Informatics in Interprofessional Collaborative Practice
Research Rotations in Biomedical and Health Informatics (2 hours required for the PhD)
Colloquium in Biomedical and Health Informatics (2 hours required for the PhD)
Seminar in Biomedical and Health Information Sciences (2 hours required for PhD)
Scientific Integrity and Responsible Research
Electives (12–20 hours)
Select 12 to 20 hours in one of the following elective tracks:
Track 1: Systems Science in BHI
Biostatistics II (Required)
Informatics for the Clinical Investigator
Health Care Information Security
Health Information Systems Analysis and Design
Knowledge Management in Healthcare Organizations
Transforming Healthcare using Business Intelligence and Predictive Analytics
Health Informatics Business Intelligence Tools and Application
Health Care Systems and Personalized Medicine
Natural Language Processing
Visualization and Visual Analytics
Health Economics I
Health Economics II
Models in Applied Mathematics
Track 2: Social and Organizational Sciences in BHI
Methods in Qualitative Inquiry
Health Information Technology Evaluation
Q Research Methodology ? Qualitative Research
Process Innovation with Health Information Technology
Social and Organizational Issues in Health Informatics
Health Information Technology and Patient Safety
Organizational Dynamics and Health Informatics
Health Care Project Management
Human Factors and Cognition in Health Information Technology
Conflict and Communication
Strategic Planning and Budgeting
Heath Care Finance I
Ergonomics and Human Factors
  • Examinations 
    • Preliminary Examination: Required. A written and oral test of core competencies is required to evaluate the student's knowledge of the broad area of biomedical and health informatics and his or her specific content area. All students must take an examination prepared individually by the examination committee following the completion of all course work.
    • Dissertation Proposal Examination: Required. Upon completion of the comprehensive preliminary exam, the dissertation proposal must be defended before the student's dissertation committee (committee approved by the Graduate College).
    • Dissertation Defense: Required. A written dissertation with oral defense at a public session before the dissertation committee and other members of the academic community is required.
  • Dissertation Required. Students must earn 40 to 48 semester hours in BHIS 599. Each student will be required to present two research seminars prior to graduation (mid-thesis and public PhD thesis presentation). Students must be registered during the semester of intended graduation.