The Masters of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) is intended to produce master’s-prepared health informatics professionals for executive-level and enterprise-wide administrative, research, and/or applied health informatics positions. Graduates of the program are expected to play a key role in the design, development and management of health information systems in healthcare-related facilities, agencies and organizations. The program is intended to attract students with a variety of educational backgrounds and disciplines: individuals with prior coursework at an undergraduate level in HIM and individuals with undergraduate or advanced degrees in information technology or business management.
MSHI Program Goals
Graduates of the program will have the skills needed to manage information technology applications in the healthcare industry (storage, retrieval, and interpretation of patient care information) and to provide administrative support for the implementation and management of the complex information systems used in the health care industry. Examples of occupations in the IT healthcare industry include chief information officer, corporate health information manager, data analytics/data mining specialist, health information application developer, and health information management specialist.
The MSHI program will prepare individuals who will:
- Apply and integrate the fundamental concepts of information technology in a clinical setting.
- Facilitate communication between healthcare providers and IT professionals implementing healthcare information technology (HIT).
- Demonstrate a theoretical and practical understanding of the use of healthcare information.
- Provide leadership in developing, implementing, maintaining, and managing information resources and systems in healthcare organizations.
- Apply fundamental research concepts to support the use of health information in research projects.
MSHI Program Delivery
Courses in the MSHI program are offered using a variety of instructional delivery methods:
- Face-to-face on site in Madison, SD in a traditional classroom setting;
- Using interactive video-conferencing via the Dakota Digital Network offered at multiple sites in South Dakota (sites arranged to meet student need);
- At a distance via Internet, using a combination of live and/or encoded streaming videos of classes, interactive course web boards, course web sites, and e-mail.
All courses are web-enhanced.
The program can be completed on a full or part-time basis, with classes offered in three academic terms, fall, spring, and summer. Time to complete really depends upon the number of credit hours taken per semester and the number of knowledge requirements needed. Full-time students (9 credit hours per semester) can complete the program in four semesters (assuming two knowledge support courses are required). Students must complete the program within 5 years of the semester of your admission.
Admission Requirements Specific to MSHI
The Dakota State University Masters of Science in Health Informatics program seeks qualified individuals in the information systems and healthcare professions to further prepare them to be successful graduates in the health informatics field. Admission to the program is based upon a combination of the following requirements:
- Entering students will be required to have a B.S. or B.A. degree from institutions with full regional accreditation for that degree. International students must have an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree that is the equivalent to a four-year under graduate degree in the U.S.
- Minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale.
- A satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The test must have been taken within the last five years. The test can be waived if one of the following conditions is met:
- a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale for a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.;
- official admission into and demonstrated success in a regionally accredited graduate program in the U.S. Demonstrated success is defined as grades of A or B in at least 9 hours of graduate work;
- graduation from a regionally accredited college/university in the U.S. at least 15 years ago or more.
- Essential knowledge of information systems fundamentals. The knowledge requirement can be met in a variety of ways, including: related undergraduate degree in MIS; specific undergraduate or graduate coursework that covers required knowledge; appropriate, verifiable IS/IT experience. Students using experience to meet the knowledge requirements may be required to demonstrate competency in the subject. Students who have not had appropriate coursework or acceptable experience to meet the knowledge requirements may be admitted to the program if they meet the other minimum requirements.
However, these students will be required to meet the knowledge requirement by satisfactory completion of specified knowledge support courses as part of their program of study. These courses are:
- Essential knowledge of healthcare delivery fundamentals. The knowledge requirement can be met in a variety of ways, including: related undergraduate degree in health information management or healthcare field; specific undergraduate or graduate coursework that covers required knowledge; appropriate, verifiable healthcare experience. Students using experience to meet the knowledge requirements may be required to demonstrate competency in the subject. Students who have not had appropriate coursework or acceptable experience to meet the knowledge requirements may be admitted to the program if they meet the other minimum requirements. However, these students will be required to meet the knowledge requirement by satisfactory completion of specified knowledge support courses as part of their program of study. This course is:
MSHI Knowledge Requirements
All entering students must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge in information systems and healthcare delivery fundamentals. Students who do not meet knowledge requirements in the healthcare or information technology areas may be required to take additional knowledge support courses. These courses may also be recommended for students wishing to refresh their knowledge or reinforce what they have gained through experience. The DSU knowledge courses are included in the individual’s program of study if they are required of the student. Individuals who use relevant experience in information systems or healthcare to meet the knowledge requirements may be asked to demonstrate that their experience is applicable by taking a test prepared by the course instructor.
Students using experience to meet the knowledge requirements may be required to demonstrate competency in the subject; students who have not had appropriate coursework or acceptable experience to meet the knowledge requirements will be admitted to the program if they meet the other minimum requirements. However, these students will be required to meet the knowledge requirement by satisfactory completion of specified knowledge support courses as part of their program of study.
Specific Application Information
- Application Deadline: All application materials must be received by June 15th for fall, November 15th for spring, and April 15th for summer.
- Entry Semester: The MSHI program admits students in the fall, spring, and summer. Applications will be reviewed on a regularly scheduled basis as they arrive. Due to the restrictions of the size of some classes, particularly distance classes, and potential space limitations, applications should be sent as early as possible.
Dorine Bennett, Patti Brooks, Amit V. Deokar, Omar El-Gayar, Joyce Havlik, Linda Parks, Surendra Sarnikar, Ronghua Shan
MSHI Program Requirements
The program requires 33 hours beyond the baccalaureate. All students must take the following:
Accordingly, the curriculum includes courses that provide a core body of knowledge and then a variety of electives that will prepare students to work in their preferred area (healthcare IT versus research), plus a capstone experience. Specifically, the proposed curriculum contains:
- Core courses (21 credits): These courses build background and skills that should be common to all masters-level health informatics professionals.
- Electives (9 credits): These courses can be chosen to match the student’s interests and career goals.
- Capstone experience (3 credits). This capstone experience can take the form of a project, an internship, or a capstone, project-based course.
Students who are currently employed in the healthcare industry will probably choose the project. Those without experience in the healthcare field may prefer an internship or an additional, project-based course. Students who do not meet knowledge requirements in the healthcare or information technology areas will be required to take additional knowledge support courses. See the knowledge requirement section for more information.
It is possible to complete the program in four to five semesters of full-time study depending upon how the basic knowledge requirements are met. On a part-time basis, the time to complete will depend upon the number of credit hours taken per semester.
Courses Supporting the MSHI program
Knowledge Support Courses
These courses may be required of students who do not meet the knowledge requirements in information systems and healthcare delivery fundamentals. They are also recommended for students wishing to refresh their knowledge or reinforce what they have gained through experience.
Required courses are to be taken by everyone admitted to the program, they include seven core courses (21 credit hours), three elective courses (9 credit hours), and a three credit hour capstone course (project, internship, capstone course). Core courses build upon the knowledge support courses or appropriate experience.
A total of 9 credit hours of electives are required in the MSHI program. Electives may be chosen to match the student’s interests and career goals. Although specializations are not defined within the MSHI degree program, students may select a series of electives in a specific topic area, depending on their career goals. Examples include network administration (INFS 752 , INFS 754 , INFS 756 ) or database management (INFS 762 , INFS 764 , INFS 766 ). Additional electives in health informatics will be added as new faculty are hired and their areas of expertise are identified. Examples include additional courses in clinical decision support, clinical knowledge management, and enterprise-wide health information systems.
The capstone experience can take the form of a project, an internship, or a capstone, project-based course. The capstone experience needs to be worth 3 credit hours. Students who are currently employed in the healthcare industry will probably choose the project. Those without experience in the healthcare field may prefer an internship or an additional, project-based course.
Final Assessment Exam
All candidates for graduation must participate in an assessment activity. Candidates for graduation will complete a comprehensive exam within the appropriate time and dates given to the students. Candidates for graduation who do not pass the exam will be allowed two retests. The exam must be successfully passed prior to graduating.
Course grades are used as an indirect measure of student attainment of specific program goals and objectives. The program’s goals, objectives, and student outcomes have been mapped to specific program courses. DSU Policy requires students to maintain a 3.0 student GPA in the program, receive no grades below a C, and have no more than 2 grades of a C. If students do not maintain the required “B” average students will be placed on academic probation and given the opportunity to raise their GPA to 3.0 within the next nine credit hours. If students do not raise their GPA to 3.0 they will be suspended from the program. If they receive more than 6 credits of “C” or any grade lower than a “C” students are suspended from the program. Students may appeal the suspension. If students have questions regarding grading, they should review the Satisfactory Progression Policy (DSU Policy 05-34-00) or speak with their advisor.
MSHI Course Summary
Summary subject to change.
Knowledge Support Courses (3-9 Credits)
Required only of students who do not meet specific admission knowledge requirements.
Health Informatics Core Classes (21 Credits)
(Required of all students)
Capstone Experience (3 Credits)
(Project, Internship, Capstone Course)
Electives: Select three courses (9 Credits)
(Required of all students)
* Course offered at USD.
MSHI Course Rotation
The MSHI Course Rotation can be found on the website.