Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Master of Biomedical Informatics

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Certificate in Biomedical Informatics

For students seeking training in biomedical informatics but not at a degree level, we offer a Certificate in Biomedical Informatics that consists of the same core informatics courses required of all Masters-level students. The four-course sequence designed to foster informatics literacy among the Penn community.

All certificate students are required to complete the courses listed below, as well as the online HIPAA and CITI training modules required of all PSOM students. Click on the arrow for details about each course.

BMIN 501:Introduction to Biomedical Informatics

Offered during the fall semester, Mondays, 3:30-6:30pm (1 CU)

Course director: Fuchiang (Rich) Tsui, PhD

This course is designed to provide a survey of the major topics areas in medical informatics, especially as they apply to clinical research.  Through a series of lectures and demonstrations, students will learn about topics such as databases, natural language, clinical information systems, networks, artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, decision support, imaging and graphics, and the use of computers in education. (This course has been offered in the past as EPID 632.)


BMIN 502: Databases in Biomedical Research

Offered during the spring semester, Tuesdays, 1:45-4:45pm (1 CU)

Course director: John H. Holmes, PhD

This course is offered during the spring semester and is intended to provide in-depth, practical exposure to the design, implementation, and use of databases in biomedical research. This course is intended to provide students with the skills needed to design and conduct a research project using primary and secondary data. Topics to be covered include: database architectures, data modeling approaches, data normalization, database implementation, client-server databases, concurrency, validation, Structured-Query Language (SQL) programming, reporting, maintenance, and security. All examples will use problems or data from biomedical domains. MySQL will be used as the database platform for the course, although the principles apply generally to biomedical research and other relational databases.  (This course has been offered in the past as EPID 635.)


BMIN 503: Data Science

Offered during the fall semester, Thursdays, 10:15am-1:15pm (1 CU)

Course director: Blanca Himes, PhD

This course will use R and other freely available software to learn fundamental data science applied to a range of biomedical informatics topics, including those making use of health and genomic data. After completing this course, students will be able to retrieve and clean data, perform exploratory analyses, build models to answer scientific questions, and present visually appealing results to accompany data analyses; be familiar with various biomedical data types and resources related to them; and know how to create reproducible and easily shareable results with R and github.  (This course has been offered in the past as EPID 600.)


BMIN 504: Special Topics in Biomedical Research

Offered during the spring semester, Mondays, 3:30-6:30pm (1 CU)

Course director: Jason Moore, PhD

This course is designed to provide an in-depth look at four topics that are of essential importance in biomedical informatics. Each topic will be allotted four consecutive weeks in the class schedule, as four modules, with the intention that each module becomes its own “mini-course”. The topics for each module may rotate from semester to semester, based on these criteria:

  • Historical importance to the current field of biomedical informatics research and/or practice
  • Cutting-edge developments in biomedical informatics
  • Topics not covered in depth in BMIN 501
  • Consensus of the program leadership and teaching faculty

Possible modules include:

  • Deep learning methods for mining biomedical data
  • Visualization analytics for clinical research
  • Methods for integration of observational and ecological data for public health surveillance
  • Informatics implications for distributed research networks
  • Human computer interaction and patient safety
  • Nature-inspired analytics for biomedical informatics
  • Network science applications in biomedical informatics
  • Intersections of clinical research, clinical and clinical research informatics, and clinical decision making

* Prerequisites: BMIN 501: Introduction to Biomedical and Health Informatics, or permission of the instructor


Eligibility Criteria

Our target students are clinical professionals or biomedical researchers working in a clinical-adjascent field who are looking for basic training in biomedical informatics. At present, only Penn and CHOP affiliates are eligible to apply to the certificate program. Students who wish to apply should do so via CollegeNet. Detailed instructions for this process are given in the next section. There is an application fee of $75.

Certificate students who wish to expand their biomedical informatics skills in a degree program may apply to transfer into the MBMI program and, if accepted, transfer credit from the certificate program to meet the requirements of the Master's program. Contact Meg Tanjutco for details about this process.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees per course unit are the same as for the MBMI degree.

Application Process

Prospective students should apply via CollegeNet. Detailed instructions are in the next section. There is a $75 application fee. Applicants are required to submit:

  1. Unofficial transcripts from all past degrees (official, sealed, transcripts will be required for all matriculating students).  *International applicants: All transcripts of academic work completed at institutions outside of the U.S. must be accompanied by a certified translation / evaluation by Certifile or WES (World Education Service).  Include a course-by-course list with number of credits and marks received.
  2. CV or resume
  3. Personal statement: a one page description of your career goals that includes a description of how the certificate program meets your educational objectives

Applications are accepted on a rolling admissions basis, and are due by December 15th for a Spring Semester Admission or August 1st for a Fall Semester admission.  Please contact Meg Tanjutco as soon as application is completed.

CollegeNet Application Instructions

  1. Create a CollegeNet account. After logging into CollegeNet, select "Online Application".
  2. Enter your Personal Information.  Save and continue to Program Information. 
  3. Choose Perelman School of Medicine Masters Programs.
  4. Select Biomedical Informatics, Certificate from the drop-down list.
  5. Select the desired term of entry.
  6. You can enter information in stages, at your own pace, and access the application any number of times until submission.

After the application deadline passes, the MBMI Admissions Committee will review the applications and determine who will receive an offer of admission. In some cases the committee may contact the applicant for additional information. Notification of admission will be sent out via CollegeNet to the email address provided by the applicant.