PhD Coursework Requirements & Policies

BHI Program Core Coursework Requirements: All courses listed below are to be numerically graded, with the exception of Research Seminars, and the student must pass all these with individual grades of at least 2.7. Courses count for 3-4 credits (in parentheses), for a total of 30 credits.

  • BIME 530   Introduction to Biomedical & Health Informatics (3)
  • BIME 533   Public Health and Informatics (3)
  • BIME 534   Biology and Informatics (3)
  • BIME 535   Clinical Care and Informatics (3)
  • BIME 537   Informatics Research and Evaluation Methods (4)
  • BIME 550   Knowledge Representation and Applications (3)
  • BIME 554   Biomedical Information Interactions and Design (4)
  • BIME 543   Consumer Health and Informatics (3) *
  • BIOST 517 Applied Biostatistics I (or BIOST 537 Survival Data Analysis in Epidemiology or other equivalent biostatistics graduate course with approval) (4)**

*  effective for Autumn 2015 cohort and later

** effective for Autumn 2014 cohort and later

See the curriculum page for a recommended timeline on completing the above core courses.

Research seminars (12): In addition to the numerically graded courses listed above,  PhD students must complete twelve BHI research seminar credits:  BIME 591 (Biomedical and Health Informatics Research Colloquium) and/or BIME 590 (Selected Topics in Biomedical and Health Informatics). Students who lead a BIME 591 seminar may also register for the course.

Teaching, Learning and Communication in BHI Seminars: In addition, all PhD and MS students must take a series of 1-credit seminars on Teaching, Learning and Communication. Each seminar is 1 credit and should be taken in Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters of their first year.

General Degree Requirements: Cumulative GPA of 3.25 minimum and quarterly GPA of 3.0 minimum. Total of 90 credits minimum, of which 60 must be prior to scheduling the General Examination, and 27 are 800 level Dissertation credits over a period of at least three quarters. 60 credits minimum completed at the University of Washington. Only courses graded 2.7 and above will count toward the degree.

Satisfactory Progress:  All degree requirements above are expected to be completed according to BHI’s Satisfactory Progress Guidelines, including a Quarterly Student Progress Report.


The Qualifying Exam: After completing required BHI program core coursework, students must pass a qualifying exam that covers breadth of knowledge prior to formally creating a PhD supervisory committee and proceeding with dissertation research.  Note that, though BIME 539 is required to be completed as a core course, it does not need to be completed prior to proceeding with the Qualifying Exam. 

Doctoral Supervisory Committee: You will choose a BHI Core faculty member to chair your dissertation supervisory committee.  Throughout the remainder of your academic program, members on this committee will guide you, serve as your mentors, and evaluate your dissertation.  Please see policy details below:

The General Exam: Scheduled at least four months (recommended) after the Qualifying Exam and formation of a doctoral supervisory committee, successful completion of the General Exam results in admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree. Enrollment in Dissertation credits (BIME 800) may begin in the quarter following successful completion of the General Exam.  Related policies are below:

The Final Exam (Dissertation Defense): Candidates for the PhD must present a dissertation demonstrating original and independent investigation and significant achievement in the field of Biomedical and Health Informatics–formatted according to UW Graduate School Requirements. The final oral exam includes a presentation and defense of the dissertation to the Supervisory Committee, Biomedical and Health Informatics faculty and students, and public, in accordance with Graduate School regulations.  Relevant policies are below:

The Doctoral Dissertation: