OHSU

PhD

Overview | Tracks | Prerequisites | Coursework | Applying

Overview

The major goal of the PhD program is to develop independent researchers, dedicated teachers, and imaginative leaders in health care, academia, and industry. We seek individuals with a variety of backgrounds who desire to obtain a strong technical grounding in biomedical informatics, health and medicine, computer science, and research methods so that they may assume positions that require a thorough understanding of information technology, health, and biomedicine. DMICE's PhD in Biomedical Informatics supplies students with both a core knowledge base of clinical informatics and the skills to carry out advanced research in this area. 

The knowledge base primarily builds from coursework and experiences already in our Master's degree programs, further enhanced with more advanced courses. What distinguishes the doctoral program from the master’s degree programs, however, is that our PhD candidates engage in advanced research at a level that will allow them to make novel contributions to the field through the requirements of a doctoral dissertation. 

An unique aspect of the PhD program is the requirement for advanced training in a cognate area such as Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Science Engineering, Public Health, Nursing, Systems Science, Education, Health Information Management, etc. Graduate courses for the cognate area can be taken from OHSU or at another approved accredited university.

Tracks

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Bioinformatics has become increasingly algorithmic and quantitative, in particular in the area known as computational biology. The primary goal of our program in bioinformatics is to provide students with a rigorous grounding in the tools needed to successfully address current problems in the field. To this end, our bioinformatics track focuses on developing five core strengths. Taken together, these domains make up the knowledge base of bioinformatics:

  • Apply bioinformatics algorithms and statistical methods to research problems.
  • Biology, especially its genetics aspects, to bioinformatics and computational biology problems.
  • Statistical analyses to bioinformatics problems.
  • Computer science principles to problems in health and biomedicine.
  • Advanced scholarship, including the ability to address ethical issues in the field and communicate effectively in oral and written form.

Clinical Informatics
The primary goal of our clinical informatics track is to educate the future developers and managers of health care information systems. Individuals with a variety of backgrounds are provided a strong technical grounding in biomedical informatics, health and medicine, computer science, and research methods so that they may assume positions that require a thorough understanding of both information technology and the health care environment. The core domains that comprise a solid knowledge base in biomedical informatics are:

  • Basic principles of biomedical informatics to problems in different domains of health and biomedicine.
  • Operational knowledge of the human body in health and disease as well as the organization of the health care system.
  • Principles of organizational behavior and management skills to biomedical informatics problems.
  • Statistics and quantitative or qualitative research methods to evaluative research projects.
  • Computer science principles to problems in health and biomedicine.
  • Advanced scholarship, including the ability to address ethical issues in the field and communicate effectively in oral and written form.

Prerequisites

Clinical Informatics
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Anatomy & Physiology
Computer Science
Statistics
Biochemistry
Biology
Computer Science
Genetics
Statistics/Biostatistic


Coursework

Most students will take 18 - 24 months to complete coursework and take qualifying exams (written and oral), and another 12 - 24 months to conduct independent research, prepare a dissertation, and publicly present and orally defend it. Students who already have a Master's or equivalent degree in biomedical informatics may spend less time in the coursework phase. Doctoral students are required to maintain enrollment during the entire period of their training. This requirement is satisfied by coursework during the pre-candidacy period and with dissertation and research enrollment after being admitted to candidacy. There will be a residency requirement of 12 - 15 credits for six consecutive terms in accordance with the by-laws of the School of Medicine Graduate Council. A minimum of 135 credits are required for graduation. Please refer to the table below for distribution specifics.

Required element Notes Total Minimum Credits
Demonstration of Biomedical Informatics Knowledge Students are required to complete all the subject (non-thesis/non-capstone) courses of the master’s degree programs. These include courses in six domains. >Minimum 48 credits of subject courses required. Students with a background in certain areas (e.g., medicine) may substitute other courses but still must complete minimum 48 credits.
Reading and Conference Students will be required to present a key paper or research method in their field of research each term. 10 credits minimum
Advanced Research Methods Design and methods classes can come from computational, social, and/or other sciences. Classes should be relevant to proposed area of research; examples include a three-course sequence in statistics geared toward doctoral students or a comparable sequence in computational analytical techniques. 12 credits minimum; coherent set of courses beyond research methods minimum of master’s program; approved by advisor.
Cognate Area - Distributed (across departments) or Concentrated (within one department) In consultation with the academic advisor, students will select 3-4 courses to complement proposed area of research. These should be graduate level courses and may be taken at other institutions or OHSU departments. 12 credits minimum, cohesive set of courses to demonstrate depth in a cognate area in medical informatics. Sample areas include public health, genetics, computer science, and business administration.
Symposium State of the art literature synthesis in an area of research from which the student will be questioned during a student symposium and graded by 3 faculty members. Student symposia will be scheduled during several weeks of the quarter. 3 credits.
Mentored Teaching Prep and Mentored Teaching Students develop a contract with mentor for teaching experience. Decisions will be made regarding lectures, deadlines, scope and topics to be covered. Prepare lesson plans, course materials with Mentor (syllabus, calendar, lectures). Students then teach a subject area course under the mentorship of a faculty member. 8 credits minimum (2X, 4 credits per sequence)
Research and Dissertation To be taken with advisor. 48 credits.


Applying

Fall 2014 admission - On-campus only.

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Fall 2014
Sept 15, 2013 Dec 1, 2013


Applications received after December 1, 2013 will not be considered for admission.

Application Instructions