The BS degree in medical informatics is one of only a few majors in the United States that responds to the increasing use of computers in every aspect of health care, biomedical research, and education. Developed by the college’s departments of computer science and information technology in partnership with the College of Science, the major provides training in the medical sciences, computer science, and information technology, with an emphasis on clinical applications. Students learn to develop computer applications for the solution of clinical problems and to provide computing support to medical practice, medical research, and education.
Students consult with faculty advisers to tailor their academic programs to individual career goals. Upper-level electives prepare graduates for specialized employment opportunities within medical informatics, for graduate school in the sciences or computer science/information technology, or for postgraduate professional school.
A minimum of two semesters of cooperative education are required after the completion of the second year of study. Co-op allows students to gain relevant, hands-on work experience in the medical informatics field, provides the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in real-life situations, and offers networking opportunities with professionals in the field. These experiences enhance students’ education and make them more valuable to prospective employers.
Optional premedical track
Medical informatics also offers a premedical track. Students interested in applying to medical, dental, or veterinary school should consult the program director and/or an academic adviser on the selection of courses to enhance their academic credentials for medical school.
Medical informatics, BS degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Computer Problem Solving: Information Domain I
A first course in using the object-oriented approach to solve problems in the information domain. Students will learn to design software solutions using the object-oriented approach, to visually model systems using UML, to implement software solutions using a contemporary programming language, and to test these software solutions. Additional topics include thinking in object-oriented terms, and problem definition. Programming projects will be required.
Foundation of Modern Information Processing
Computer-based information processing is a foundation of contemporary society. As such, the protection of digital information, and the protection of systems that process this information has become a strategic priority for both the public and private sectors. This course provides an overview of information assurance and security concepts, practices, and trends. Topics include computing and networking infrastructures, risk, threats and vulnerabilities, legal and industry requirements for protecting information, access control models, encryption, critical national infrastructure, industrial espionage, enterprise backup, recovery, and business continuity, personal system security, and current trends and futures.
LAS Perspective 7A: Discrete Mathematics
This course is an introduction to the topics of discrete mathematics, including number systems, sets and logic, relations, combinatorial methods, graph theory, regular sets, vectors, and matrices.
LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar†
LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing
LAS Perspective 2, 3
Computer Problem Solving: Information Domain II
A second course in using the object-oriented approach to solving problems in the information domain. Students will learn: basic design principles and guidelines for developing graphical user interfaces, and use of the Event Model to implement graphical interfaces; algorithms for processing data structures; multithreading concepts and use of the Multithreading Model to design and implement advanced processing methods. Additional topics include the relational model of information organization, and the Client-Server model. Individual implementation projects are required. A team implementation exercise is used to provide students an opportunity to apply basic software development and project management practices in the context of a medium-scale project.
LAS Perspective 7B: Applied Calculus
This course is an introduction to the study of differential and integral calculus, including the study of functions and graphs, limits, continuity, the derivative, derivative formulas, applications of derivatives, the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, basic techniques of integral approximation, exponential and logarithmic functions, basic techniques of integration, an introduction to differential equations, and geometric series. Applications in business, management sciences, and life sciences will be included with an emphasis on manipulative skills.
Introduction to Database and Data Modeling
A presentation of the fundamental concepts and theories used in organizing and structuring data. Coverage includes the data modeling process, basic relational model, normalization theory, relational algebra, and mapping a data model into a database schema. Structured Query Language is used to illustrate the translation of a data model to physical data organization. Modeling and programming assignments will be required. Note: students should have one course in object-oriented programming.
Web I, II
Designing the User Experience
The user experience is an important design element in the development of interactive systems. This course presents the foundations of user-centered design principles within the context of human-computer interaction (HCI). Students will explore and practice HCI methods that span the development lifecycle from requirements analysis and creating the product/service vision through system prototyping and usability testing. Leading edge interface technologies are examined. Group-based exercises and design projects are required.
Introduction to Statistics I
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used.
LAS Perspective 4, 6
Data Exploration and Knowledge Discovery
Rapidly expanding volumes of data from all areas of society are becoming available in digital form. High value information and knowledge is embedded in many of these data volumes. Unlocking this information can provide many benefits, and may also raise ethical questions in certain circumstances. This course provides students with a gentle, hands-on introduction to how interactive data exploration and data mining software can be used for data-driven knowledge discovery. Students will use statistical, visual, and data/text mining software systems to explore data collections from several different domains such as business, environmental management, healthcare, finance, and transportation.
Computers in Medicine
Introduction to Medical Informatics
An introduction to informatics as applied to the medical field. A study of the nature of medical information and its use in clinical practice, medical research, and medical education. The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and its impact on health care delivery. The Internet and mobile computing as sources of medical information. The Health Care Information Systems, their development, selection and implementation. The importance of the computing or informatics specialists in medicine and the various roles they can play. Privacy, confidentiality and information security including health care regulatory and accreditation issues and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Cooperative Education (summer)
This course provides in-depth work in server-side programming. Students will develop dynamic, data centric web pages and systems, and server-side information services that will be available to clients implemented in a variety of software technologies. Topics include XML parsing, generation, and consumption; web configuration and security; design patterns; web service structures, and application security. Programming projects are required.
Information Requirements Modeling
Students will survey and apply contemporary techniques used in analyzing and modeling information requirements. Requirements will be elicited in a variety of domains and abstracted at conceptual, logical, and physical levels of detail. Process, data, and state modeling will be applied in projects that follow a systems development lifecycle. Object-oriented modeling will be explored and contrasted with data and process oriented modeling. Individual and team modeling assignments will be required.
This course will explore the analysis, design, development, and implementation of client-side programming in the context of Internet technologies, mobile devices, Web-based client systems and desktop applications. Students will learn to design and build usable and effective interactive systems, clients, and interfaces. Key features addressed will include browser and platform compatibility, object reusability, bandwidth and communications issues, development environments, privacy and security, and related technologies and APIs. Programming is required.
Anatomy and Physiology I
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, integumentary, muscular and skeletal systems. Laboratory exercises include histological examination, actual and simulated anatomical dissections, and physiology experiments with human subjects.
Software Design Principles and Patterns
Quality software designs and architectures reflect software engineering principles that represent best contemporary practice. This course focuses on explicating these fundamental principles, examining a set of design and architecture patterns that embody the principles, and applying patterns appropriate to a design problem in a given context. Restricted to IST majors only.
Ethics in Computing (WI)
Computing and the Internet are now integral parts of our lives. In this course, we consider and discuss how ethical theories and principles can inform and provide guidance about interactions and uses of computing technologies. Topics include the development interpretation, and application of ethical theory, moral values, personal responsibility, codes of conduct, ethics in the real and virtual worlds, intellectual property, and information security. This is a Writing Intensive (WI) course. Students are provided with guidance and opportunities for improving informal and formal writing skills. Grades received on writing assignments will constitute a significant component of the final course grade.
LAS Perspective 1
The Electronic Health Record
This course provides an introduction and hands-on practice in both the use and development of electronic health records. Students address issues related to the acquisition, storage, and use of information in computer-based health records including the various types of information used in clinical care: text, structured data, images, audio, video, etc. Other topics covered include: clinical vocabularies (existing schemes and their limitations); how clinical information is generated and utilized; methods of information storage and retrieval; and the legal, social and regulatory problems associated with electronic health records such as security and confidentiality. Programming assignments will be required.
ISTE Concentration Course
LAS Immersion 1
Cooperative Education (summer)
Senior Development Project I (WI)
The first course in a two-course, senior level, system development capstone project. Students form project teams and work with sponsors to define system requirements. Teams then create architectures and designs, and depending on the project, also may begin software development. Requirements elicitation and development practices introduced in prior coursework are reviewed, and additional methods and processes are introduced. Student teams are given considerable latitude in how they organize and conduct project work.
ISTE Concentration Courses
LAS Immersion 2, 3
LAS Perspective 5‡
Senior Development Project II
The second course in a two-course, senior level, system development capstone project. Student teams complete development of their system project and package the software and documentation for deployment. Usability testing practices introduced in prior course work are reviewed, and additional methods and processes are introduced. Teams present their developed system and discuss lessons learned at the completion of the course.
Total Semester Credit Hours
Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.
(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.
* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.
† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2014-15 academic year.
‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by selecting one of the following four credit options: General Biology (BIOL-101) and General Biology Lab (BIOL-103); General and Analytical Chemistry (CHMG-141) and General and Analytical Chemistry (CHMG-145); or College Physics (PHYS-111).