New degrees in health informatics, toxicology available in fall 2014

May 20, 2014

The UNC Graduate School has announced two new degree programs affiliated with the Gillings School of Global Public Health that will be available to students beginning this fall – the Master of Professional Science in Biomedical and Health Informatics and the Professional Science Master’s program in toxicology.

The interdisciplinary health informatics master’s program builds on the combined strengths of several top-ranked UNC professional schools, including the School of Information and Library Science (SILS), Gillings School of Global Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Medicine, Eshelman School of Pharmacy and School of Dentistry.

“The intellectual home of this highly interdisciplinary degree is the Carolina Health Informatics Program, which was launched about three years ago with strong support from the faculty of the School of Information and Library Science and the health affairs partner schools,” said Javed Mostafa, PhD, SILS professor and director of the Carolina Health Informatics Program. “Also, it could not have been possible to develop this degree without the backing from the Office of the Provost and the Graduate School.”

While the graduate program is intended to be completed in three semesters of full-time study, it is also open to part-time students. The program requires 35 credits to graduate and has two tracks – Clinical Informatics and Public Health Informatics. Students begin their study by completing core courses in informatics, then continuing in professional skills and biomedical and health informatics foundation courses to move into one track or the other.

Finally, all students complete a practicum consisting of an internship in a health-care, public health, health research or health information technology organization that includes a project which synthesizes knowledge gleaned from the entire program curriculum.

The Master of Professional Science in Biomedical and Health Informatics is the first Professional Science Master’s to be offered by UNC-Chapel Hill. The Graduate School will provide general administration of Professional Science Master’s programs, and the curriculum will be supported and managed by the partner schools.

A second Professional Science Master’s program in Toxicology is also now accepting students for this fall. The program will combine advanced coursework in toxicology with a breadth of business fundamentals to produce graduates who are prepared for leadership roles at their workplace.

The program is open to full- and part-time students and is intended to be completed in three semesters of full-time study.

“We are very excited about this new degree program,” said Dr. Ilona Jaspers, professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the Gillings School and director of the Curriculum in Toxicology. “This will nicely complement our existing training opportunities in toxicology, which are more focused on research.”

The program requires completion of graduate courses, seminars and experiential activities that will prepare students for a non-academic career in applied toxicology. In addition to coursework, students will apply their skills in the workplace during an intensive internship outside UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Master of Professional Science in Toxicology builds on the combined strengths of several top-ranked professional schools on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, including the School of Medicine, Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The Professional Science Master’s is distinct from other master’s degrees. According to the Council of Graduate Schools, the Professional Science Master’s degree is a unique professional degree grounded in science and/or mathematics and designed to prepare students for a variety of career options in business, government, or nonprofit organizations. The degree combines advanced coursework in science and/or math with an appropriate array of professional skill-development activities to produce graduates highly valued by employers and fully prepared to progress toward leadership roles.

“The science industry understands the need for master’s programs that provide training in scientific knowledge and skills as well as business fundamentals,” said Dr. Heidi Harkins, director of the Professional Science Master’s Programs in UNC’s Graduate School. “We are pleased to respond to this need and offer these first two Professional Science Master’s programs at The Graduate School at UNC-Chapel Hill.”

The deadline to apply for fall admission to either program is June 10.

Learn more about the health informatics degree.
Learn more about the toxicology degree
Apply through University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate application system.


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Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.