Informatics is a broad academic field that involves concepts of computer science, information technology and the social sciences. Interested students can pursue a master's degree in either public health informatics or biomedical informatics. These programs emphasize data gathering, organization and analysis techniques. Students are expected to complete an internship and submit a thesis or dissertation prior to graduation. In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit GRE scores and an admissions essay.
Public health informatics master's programs usually last three to five years and may be offered online. They cover public policy and business impact data, geographic information systems and database design. Students who already have a professional degree in healthcare may choose from a technology or a management track.
In two-year biomedical informatics master's degree programs, students learn about statistics, ethics and computer science. They also learn how to design computational methods and algorithms for tackling issues in biology, chemistry and general health.
Master's in Public Health Informatics
Typical public health informatics master's courses discuss:
- Public health data mining applications
- Behavioral sciences
- Public health concepts
- Web-based information systems
- Public health management
Master's in Biomedical Informatics
Biomedical informatics master's curriculum is multi-discipline, including mathematics, decision sciences and political science. Common course topics in biomedical informatics programs include:
- Probabilistic modeling
- Clinical information systems
- Machine learning and experimental design
- Computational structures in biology
Popular Career Options
Graduates are qualified for positions in government agencies and healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. Example careers include:
- Medical researcher
- Information technology consultant
- Lab director
- Corporate executive
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for operations research analysts was $78,630 in May 2015. Employment was expected to grow by 30 percent between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. For epidemiologists, the median annual salary was $69,450 in 2015, with an expected growth rate of 6 percent between 2014 and 2024.
In conclusion, students who are interested in informatics have several graduate degree options. Interdisciplinary studies in the field prepare graduates for a variety of careers.