A group of health information technicians working in a lab.

Health Informatics (M.S., Certificate)

Graduate
  • Certificate
  • Master's

About this Program

Health informatics is the science of using data, information and knowledge to improve human health and the delivery of healthcare services.

Program Overview

Our health informatics hybrid master’s program will provide you with highly specialized skills related to healthcare information systems and data science. You will be equipped with the knowledge to pursue roles in clinical and administrative settings as well as careers in research and development.

By connecting people, technology and data, health informatics professionals are an essential part of the patient-physician relationship and are instrumental in improving healthcare outcomes and safety. Our 30-credit master’s program is aligned with standards from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Combining coursework in healthcare, computer science, statistics and management, the cross-disciplinary framework of our health informatics program appeals to anyone seeking a career in nursing, clinical health, public health, data science, health education and more. Plus, our admission requirements do not require a previous degree in health science or information technology, making the health informatics program an attractive option if you are looking for a career change.

We also offer a 12-credit health informatics certificate.

Tuition & Fees   Funding Opportunities   View the Health Informatics Brochure

Degrees Offered

  • Certificate
  • MS

Applicants to the health informatics M.S. program must have earned:

  • A bachelor’s degree in any field with a GPA of 3.00 or higher; a 2.75 GPA is acceptable for bachelor’s degrees in IT and life, health or computer sciences; or
  • The health informatics certificate from Hood College (or demonstrating sufficient progress toward the certificate) with a GPA of 3.0 or higher; or  
  • An M.A. or M.S in a health, computer science or information technology-related field with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 
  • Personal Statement of Intent (250 words): How will learning health informatics help you achieve your future goals? 
  • Please respond to one of the following prompts (no more than 600 words) to guide your placement in the appropriate foundational courses: 
    • From your perspective in computer, health or information sciences, what are the main challenges and opportunities for health informatics in the era of big data and artificial intelligence? How can health informatics leverage these technologies to enhance healthcare delivery and innovation? 
    • If your background does not include health, computer science or information technology, describe the education and experiences that have prepared you to study health informatics. 

Transfer credit policy for admitted students

Students may transfer a maximum of 6 graduate credits from an external, accredited institution, or another Hood graduate program prior to the first semester of study in the current program. Please review the full graduate transfer credit policy in the College catalog.

The 30-credit M.S. in health informatics includes a 3-credit capstone project. All of the classes are taught in the evening or online by experts in the field, who interact personally with their students. The degree includes a required “gateway” foundational course that differs according to the student’s background in either biology or computer science.

Foundation Courses

The foundation coursework represents background knowledge and skills necessary for successful completion of degree requirements. The foundation course may be waived by the program director, based upon an analysis of the student’s previous work. A student holding a baccalaureate degree in computer science will normally be granted exemption from, but not receive graduate credit for, the foundation course. Any foundation course required is in addition to the 30 credits required for program completion.

If exemption is not granted, students must complete one of the following foundation courses:

CourseCredits
CSIT 512 Elements of Computer Programming3
BIFX 502 Foundations in Computer Science3

Core Requirements

Students in the health informatics M.S. program must complete the following core requirements:

CourseCredits
HIFX 500 Fundamentals of Health Informatics3
HIFX 501 Health Information System and Data Standards3
HIFX 502 Introduction to U.S. Healthcare Systems and Economics3
BIFX 503 Biostatistics in R3
BIFX 530/IT 530 Applied Database Systems3
BIFX 551 Advanced Programming for Bioinformatics3
HIFX 579 Health Informatics Capstone3
Total Credits21

Electives

Students in the health informatics M.S. program must complete an additional 9 credits of electives:

CourseCredits
BIFX 545 Leading Reproducible Research3
BIFX 546 Machine Learning for Bioinformatics3
BIFX 548 Data Visualization for Bioinformatics3
BIFX 552 Bioinformatics Data Skills3
BMS 542 Ethics in Science3
CS 527/CS 427 Data Science3
CS 528/CS 428 Artificial Intelligence3
CS 543/CS 443 Machine Learning3
HIFX 575 Independent Study1-6
HIFX 597 Curricular Practical Training in HIFX1-6
HIFX 599 Special Topics3

 

Applicants to the health informatics certificate program must have earned: 

  • A bachelor’s degree in any field with a GPA of 3.00 or higher; a 2.75 GPA is acceptable for bachelor’s degrees in IT and life, health or computer sciences; or
  • An M.A. or M.S in a health, computer science or information technology-related field with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 
  • Personal Statement of Intent (250 words): How will learning health informatics help you achieve your future goals? 
  • Please respond to one of the following prompts (no more than 600 words) to guide your placement in the appropriate foundational courses: 
    •  From your perspective in computer, health or information sciences, what are the main challenges and opportunities for health informatics in the era of big data and artificial intelligence? How can health informatics leverage these technologies to enhance healthcare delivery and innovation? 
    • If your background does not include health, computer science or information technology, describe the education and experiences that have prepared you to study health informatics.

Application Requirements 

An information technology or healthcare background is not required but is a plus on admission. Students with a relevant information technology or healthcare background are encouraged to apply and discuss possible course waivers and substitutions with their assigned adviser. 

Students planning to change their careers are encouraged to contact a health informatics adviser to discuss the program and its requirements. For these students, it is also particularly important to describe in the goals statement how they envision themselves in the health informatics field. 

Transfer credit policy for admitted students

Students may transfer a maximum of 6 graduate credits from an external, accredited institution, or another Hood graduate program prior to the first semester of study in the current program. Please review the full graduate transfer credit policy in the College catalog.

Foundation Course

The foundation coursework represents background knowledge and skills necessary for successful completion of degree requirements. The foundation course may be waived by the program director, based upon an analysis of the student’s previous work. A student holding a baccalaureate degree in computer science will normally be granted exemption from but not receive graduate credit for the foundation course. Any foundation course required is in addition to the 12 credits required for program completion.

If exemption is not granted, students must complete one of the following foundation courses:

CourseCredits
CSIT 512 Elements of Computer Programming3
BIFX 502 Foundations in Computer Science3

Core Courses

Students in the health informatics certificate program must complete the following core requirements:

CourseCredits
HIFX 500 Fundamentals of Health Informatics3
HIFX 501 Health Information System and Data Standards 3
HIFX 502 Introduction to U.S. Healthcare Systems and Economics3
ITMG 516 Introduction to Data Analytics and Business Data Mining*3
Total Credits12

*ITMG 516 cannot be applied to the health informatics M.S. program; however, the nine other credits earned in the certificate are applicable toward the M.S.

What is health informatics?

Health informatics is a cross-disciplinary field that utilizes information technology to improve healthcare outcomes and protect patient data. By leveraging technology, health informatics professionals organize and analyze healthcare data to improve communication and management of medical records.

How long will it take to earn my degree?

The 30-credit master’s program typically can be completed within two years, while the 12-credit certificate program typically can be completed in less than a year. Both programs are flexible, and courses can be completed at your own pace.

Do I need a degree in health science or information technology to enroll in this program?

No, a degree in health science or information technology is not required for admission. Both the health informatics master’s and certificate programs are open to bachelor’s degree holders in any field. See the above admission requirements for more detailed information.

How much does the program cost?

Learn more about tuition and fees here.

Are there scholarships or other financial aid opportunities available for this program?

Learn more about funding your education here.

Active duty soldiers stationed at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, are eligible for a full-tuition waiver for this program or any other graduate certificate and master’s program at Hood College. Learn more here.

What career options are available in the field of health informatics?

Health informatics professionals usually work in healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, community health centers and private practices, but there are also opportunities for work in research and development, pharmaceuticals, government agencies and senior living centers. Possible roles include medical or pharmaceutical technician, health information technologist, data architect or scientist, AI and cloud solution specialist, medical registrar, outcome analyst and more.

How fast is the field of health informatics growing?

Health information technology is a rapidly growing field, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 16% job growth by 2032, much faster than the national average.

What is the average salary for health informatics professionals?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for health information technologists is $62,990.

Where can I learn more about health informatics?

Listen to the Current Trends in Health Informatics webinar presented by Tim Coffin, Ph.D., health informatics program director or view The Future of AI in Healthcare webinar.

 

Flexible Enrollment

If you have a bachelor’s degree in any major with a 3.0 GPA or higher, you qualify for our program.

Two Programs

Earn a 30-credit master’s or 12-credit certificate.

Job Growth

16% job growth in health information technology by 2032.

Program Contact

Tim Coffin

Program Director

Phone
301-696-3649
TFC

Director of Graduate Admission

Phone
301-696-3603

Health Informatics Highlight Stories

Tim Coffin

Graduate Faculty Focus | Timothy Coffin

Timothy Coffin, Ph.D. Faculty Graduate School

"I decided to teach at Hood College because I was impressed by the College's vision and commitment to provide quality education in the field of health informatics. Hood is one of the few institutions that recognized the need and potential of this emerging discipline, which combines information technology, healthcare and data science to improve health outcomes and reduce costs."

  • Academics
  • Math & Computer Sciences