Best Online Master’s in Health Informatics 2021

| TBS Staff

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Healthcare informatics degrees prepare students for careers as data and information professionals in clinical and medical fields.

Health informatics uses information technology and data to improve the quality of healthcare services and patient care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the demand for medical and health services managers will grow 18% between 2018 and 2028.

With a master's degree, health informatics professionals can find work in management positions, including as health economists, bioinformatics specialists, medical technologists, and data analysts. Although salary potential varies by experience and job title, many occupations offer annual salaries above $70,000.

The following ranked list explores the 25 best health informatics degrees online. Other topics in this guide include common courses, admission requirements, concentrations, and career paths.

Top 10 Online Master's in Healthcare Informatics Programs 2021
#1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
#2 Northwestern University Evanston, IL
#3 Brandeis University Waltham, MA
#4 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
#5 DePaul University Chicago, IL
#6 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
#7 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
#8 Dakota State University Madison, SD
#9 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
#10 East Carolina University Greenville, NC

Featured Online Schools

Best Online Master's in Healthcare Informatics Programs 2021

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill View School Profile $$ Chapel Hill, NC 89% 27% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

A public research university, UNC-Chapel Hill enrolled its first class in 1795. Today, the university serves more than 30,000 students each year.

UNC-Chapel Hill's online master of professional science in biomedical and health informatics teaches students to design and evaluate large-scale health information systems. Students also learn to manage and improve data collection and analysis for biomedical research, public health, and medical practices. 

The 35-credit program offers a one-year fast track, an 18-month standard track, or a part-time track lasting up to four years. Students may specialize in clinical health informatics or public health informatics. All students must complete a three-credit (400 contact hour) internship.

Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose. GRE or MCAT scores are not required but will be considered if submitted.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Northwestern University View School Profile Evanston, IL 95% 21% Higher Learning Commission

Northwestern, a private university founded in 1851, serves nearly 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students annually.

The university's online master of science in health informatics emphasizes emerging opportunities in the field guided by industry thought leaders. Specializations include clinical, health technology, and health administration informatics. All students take courses in the American healthcare system, leadership, and legal, ethical, and social issues surrounding the industry. All students must also complete a thesis or a capstone project.

Applicants must hold a U.S. bachelor's degree from an approved institution. They must also submit official transcripts, a statement of purpose, a resume, and two recommendation letters. Standardized tests are not specified as required.

Northwestern University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Brandeis University View School Profile Waltham, MA 88% 42% New England Commission on Higher Education

A private research university in the Boston suburbs, Brandeis welcomed its first class in 1948. A nonsectarian institution sponsored by the local Jewish community, Brandeis was named for the first Jewish U.S. Supreme Court justice. Today, the university serves nearly 6,000 students.

Brandeis offers a fully online master of science in health informatics. The 30-credit part-time program requires seven courses, including project management, legal issues in informatics, and electronic health records. Students also choose three electives in such topics as organizational leadership and decision making.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an approved institution, submit college or university transcripts, one letter of recommendation, a statement of goals, and a resume.

Brandeis University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus View School Profile $$$$ Cincinnati, OH 68% 46% Higher Learning Commission

UC, established in 1870, serves more than 44,000 students each year. The university's identity is heavily tied to its urban location.

UC offers an online masters in health informatics. All students take foundation courses in the public health landscape and information systems and technology. They then move to core courses such as Database Modeling and Design for Healthcare, followed by electives including Leveraging Analytics and Business Intelligence Tools for Healthcare. All students must complete a six-credit practicum in their last semester.

Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA (GRE/GMAT not required). Students with a 2.75-3.0 GPA might still qualify with GRE/GMAT scores on a conditional basis. Other requirements include transcripts, a letter of intent, two letters of recommendation, and a resume.

University of Cincinnati is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

DePaul University View School Profile Chicago, IL 71% 55% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1898 as a private Catholic university, DePaul serves nearly 22,000 students. Though open to all, the university focuses on recruiting students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

DePaul offers a fully online master of science in health informatics. The program requires an introductory course in Statistics and Data Analysis plus foundation courses, including Systems Analysis and Database Design for Information Systems. All students then choose from electives in analytics, database processing, enterprise management, or healthcare innovations. Students may complete an internship or independent study project if desired.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.5 GPA (transcripts required). Optional materials such as letters of recommendation and resumes will be reviewed if submitted.

DePaul University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Michigan Technological University View School Profile $$$ Houghton, MI 68% 56% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1885, Michigan Tech originally trained engineers to work in the local copper mines. Today, it serves as a research university with a student body of more than 7,000.

Michigan Tech offers a fully online master of science in health informatics. The highly flexible 30-credit program allows students to choose courses from areas such as medical image processing, healthcare cybersecurity, electronic health records, and mobile applications in health.

Applicants need a 3.0 minimum GPA, a resume, and three letters of recommendation. GRE scores are not required.

Michigan Technological University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

University of Mary View School Profile Bismarck, ND 55% 59% Higher Learning Commission

A private Benedictine university founded in 1959, Mary serves nearly 4,000 students, making it the largest university in Bismarck.

Mary offers an online master of science in nursing and healthcare informatics. Designed for nurses who hold a BSN, the program focuses on information technology in nursing, preparing students for careers such as coordinator of nursing information systems or project director for nursing information.

The two-year, 38-credit program includes such core courses as Healthcare Across the Population and Resilient Nursing Leadership. Specialty courses include Ethics and Informatics and Professional Domain of Nursing Informatics. All students must complete two seminars and 360 clinical hours, which provide hands-on experience in the field.

Applicants must hold a BSN in nursing with a 2.75 GPA (transcripts required) and a current RN license.

University of Mary is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Dakota State University View School Profile $$$ Madison, SD 47% 46% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1881 as a teachers' school, DSU today serves more than 3,000 students in education and technology fields.

DSU offers an online master of science in health informatics and information management that boasts a 100% placement rate. Full-time students can complete the 33-credit program in just four semesters. Part-time students must finish within five years. All students take the same 11 courses, including Health Information Lifecycle Governance, Research Design in Health Informatics, and an independent research project. Students must pass a final comprehensive exam.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.7 GPA and a minimum 280 GRE composite. Students with a 3.25 GPA, who graduated more than 15 years ago, or have As and Bs in at least nine hours of graduate work do not need to take the GRE. Applicants who do not demonstrate mastery of undergraduate-level statistics, information systems, or healthcare delivery must take additional prerequisite courses.

Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

University of Scranton View School Profile Scranton, PA 82% 65% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

A private Jesuit university founded in 1888, Scranton today serves more than 5,000 students.

Scranton offers a 100% online master of science in health informatics with no prior work experience required. In this two-year, 33-credit program, all students take the same courses in information technology, information policy and governance, and industry trends. Students must also pass a final capstone course.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, three letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal statement, and background check disclosure and authorization forms.

University of Scranton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

East Carolina University View School Profile $$ Greenville, NC 65% 55% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Founded in 1907 as a teacher training school, ECU serves more than 28,000 students across six campuses, including Italy.

ECU's online master of science in health informatics and information management caters to health professionals switching to informatics and informatics professionals looking for career advancement. Topics include electronic records and health data structures. Students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option, but all must pass a comprehensive final exam. The program also includes an internship that prepares students as dynamic leaders and decision-makers. 

Applicants must have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, including grades of at least C in computer programming and statistics. They must also submit GRE or GMAT scores, three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose.

East Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

George Mason University View School Profile $$$ Fairfax, VA 71% 44% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Established in 1957 as a branch of the University of Virginia, Mason became independent in 1972. Today the public research university serves more than 37,000 students.

Mason offers a 100% online master of science in health informatics, with concentrations in health data analytics or health informatics management. The 39-credit program caters to clinicians, administrators, and IT professionals. It also offers a bridge course for students who lack an undergraduate background in computing, math, and informatics.

The health data analytics concentration focuses on the theory and practice of analyzing health data. The health informatics management concentration focuses on managing healthcare systems, including project management and system analysis.

Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or submit a supplemental essay explaining lower grades. The university also recommends that applicants submit two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume.

George Mason University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Regis University View School Profile Denver, CO 69% 47% Higher Learning Commission

A private Jesuit university founded in 1877, Regis serves nearly 7,000 students.

Regis offers a fully online master of science in health informatics. The 36-credit program offers an optional concentration in data science. All students take core topics such as Information Systems Concepts, Healthcare Performance Evaluation, and IT Research Methods. 

General track students then choose from electives including Nursing and Clinical Informatics and Business Intelligence. Data science students take courses such as Data Analytics and Data Visualization. All students must complete two practicum experiences.

Applicants need official transcripts, a minimum 3.0 GPA, a resume, and a personal essay.

Regis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The University of Findlay View School Profile Findlay, OH 61% 51% Higher Learning Commission

A private Christian university founded in 1882 by the Churches of God, Findlay serves more than 4,700 students.

Findlay offers a hybrid or 100% online master of science in health informatics. All students in the 33-credit program take the same 12 courses, including Database Systems for Healthcare, Healthcare Delivery Outcomes, and a professional practice experience. In their final semester, students must present a capstone research project based on their professional practice experience.

Applicants must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (transcripts required). Students with a 2.5 GPA may be provisionally admitted but must achieve a 3.0 GPA in the program's first nine hours. Applicants must also demonstrate competency in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, introduction to computers, and database applications.

The University of Findlay is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Drexel University View School Profile Philadelphia, PA 74% 50% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

A private research university founded as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Technology in 1891, Drexel took its modern name in 1970. The university serves more than 24,000 students.

Drexel Online offers a fully virtual master of science in health informatics. All students take 11 required courses, including Perspectives on Information Systems, Information Assurance, and a capstone project. Students also choose three approved electives in social network analytics or data mining and one elective.

Applicants need a 3.0 GPA and scores in the 50th percentile or higher on the GRE (waived for students with a 3.2 GPA). Applicants must also submit transcripts, at least one letter of recommendation (two are preferred), a resume, and a statement of purpose.

Drexel University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Logan University View School Profile Chesterfield, MO 60% Higher Learning Commission

Logan, a private university with a student body of just over 1,600, specializes in chiropractic education and the health sciences. It trains graduates to take a holistic approach to health and wellness, including less-invasive, lower-cost treatments.

Logan offers an online master of science in health informatics. All students take 24 credits of core courses in Business and Financial Skills for Informatics Professionals, Systems Analysis and Design, and Project Management. They then choose one of three tracks: applied informatics, data analysis, or healthcare leadership. Finally, all students must pass a final capstone experience.

Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 2.5, along with at least six hours of successful coursework in business, management, math, statistics, accounting, computer science, or healthcare.

Logan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Best Online Programs

Online Master's in Healthcare Informatics Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:

The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.

To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):

1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]

  • Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
  • Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
  • Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
  • Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
  • Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
  • Considers range of electives within that discipline
  • Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline

2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]

  • Considers education background of the faculty
  • Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
  • Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
  • Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
  • Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources

3. Reputation [weight = 20%]

  • Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
    • Faculty
    • Curriculum
    • “Freshness” of academic knowledge
    • Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
    • Suitability of graduates for the workplace

4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]

  • Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
  • Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants

5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]

  • Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
  • Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business

6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]

  • Considers the following of the online classes:
    • Types of online technology used to deliver content
    • Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
    • Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
    • Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
  • Considers the following of instructors:
    • Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
    • Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
    • Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
    • Ratio to number of students in a class
  • Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees

Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.

To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:

  • Accreditation
  • Public or private status
  • Acceptance rate
  • Retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • ACT/SAT requirements
  • Cost in-state / out of state
  • Undergrad, grad, or both offered
  • Region
  • State
  • City

Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!

If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.

Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!

What Is an Online Master's in Healthcare Informatics Degree?

Health informatics graduate programs typically use an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating fundamental components of health informatics, health sciences, and information technology alongside business and management principles.

Programs typically include courses in medical information systems security, data architecture and modeling, healthcare information systems, legal issues in health medical informatics, and health data and electronic health records. Some programs also offer specializations, such as clinical informatics or health administration informatics.

Choosing an Online Program

Before enrolling in an online master's in health informatics, consider factors like cost, curriculum, and formatting. Visit the link below for more program selection tips.

What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Healthcare Informatics Program?

A health informatics online degree develops competencies in electronic data technologies, risk assessment and telehealth, systems analysis and design, and healthcare software. Students also explore epidemiology, law and ethics, and project design. Many programs also require a final research project capstone.

Master's in Healthcare Informatics Curriculum

Healthcare Statistics

Students in this course explore the practical applications of descriptive and inferential statistics as they are used in healthcare settings. Learners analyze data to formulate a data procurement plan. Students also learn how to distribute published health research data and apply new knowledge within the industry.

Infectious Disease Epidemiology

In this course, students learn about infectious diseases and epidemiology's scope and practice. Topics include epidemiological history and vocabulary, disease surveillance strategies, laboratory diagnosis, molecular epidemiology, and assessment of vaccine field effectiveness.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Health Information

This course emphasizes privacy, data security, and the confidentiality of health information. Students focus on information technology and management, including topics like information security, risk management, and data integrity and validity.

Healthcare Informatics Certifications and Licenses

Professionals with a master's degree in health informatics may earn the registered health informatics administrator (RHIA) certification. Offered by the American Health Information Management Association, this certification provides health informatics professionals with a recognized stamp of excellence, which can help in pursuing or advancing their careers.

Healthcare Informatics Careers

An online master's in health informatics prepares graduates for advanced careers in the healthcare field. They may find work in clinical settings or as healthcare administrators or information research scientists. Graduates can also find work at government agencies, nonprofits, and private insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

Medical and Health Services Managers
Median Salary (2019): $100,980 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 18%

Medical and health services managers, also known as healthcare administrators, help plan, direct, and coordinate health services. Administrators may oversee an entire medical facility or a specific clinical department. Tasks include developing goals and objectives, recruiting and training staff, managing finances, and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations. At minimum, a bachelor's degree is required to enter this field, although master's degrees are common. Employers often prefer candidates with prior work experience in a healthcare facility.

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Median Salary (2019): $40,350 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 11%

Medical records and health information technicians organize and manage electronic and hardcopy health information data, ensuring accuracy, accessibility, and security. Tasks include reviewing patient records, using classification software to assign clinical codes, and maintaining data for clinical databases.

Entry-level health information technicians need a postsecondary certificate or associate degree. Employers may require additional certification, such as a registered health information technician credential. With a bachelor's or master's degree in health informatics, technicians may advance to managerial positions.

Computer and Information Research Scientists
Median Salary (2019): $122,840 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 16%

Computer and information research scientists invent, design, and implement innovative uses for computing technology, solving complex problems in science and medicine. Tasks include developing theories to address fundamental issues; creating new computing languages, tools, and methods; and executing experiments to test new software systems.

These professionals typically hold a master's degree in computer science or a related field. A health informatics master's degree prepares graduates to tackle the specialized technology challenges found in the healthcare field.

Healthcare Informatics Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are a great way for health informatics professionals to network with each other, read the latest research, access career opportunities, and take continuing education courses.

Founded in 1928, AHIMA serves approximately 103,000 health information professionals. The organization offers professional certifications, courses, webinars, conferences, and a virtual lab for experiential learning. Student members can get help planning their education and their job searches. With the goal of improving the health informatics field through practice, education, and science, AMIA works in five domains: translational bioinformatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics. Members have access to an online community, webinars, events, and a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Made up of more than 3,000 nurses and other health informatics professionals, ANIA integrates nursing practice with information science. Members can access an annual conference, regular educational webinars, the Journal of Informatics Nursing, and review courses for certification exams.

Frequently Asked Questions

true How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in Healthcare Informatics Program?

Completing a health informatics degree online typically takes around 30 months. Accelerated programs may offer completion times as brief as 18 months.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Healthcare Informatics?

Graduates can find work as informatics analysts, specialists, consultants, and managers in clinical settings, public health agencies, and insurance companies.

What Are Examples of Health Informatics?

Health informatics involves the acquisition, storage, and use of healthcare information to improve service quality. Examples include electronic medical records systems and clinical decision support systems.

What Do Health Informatics Professionals Do?

Health informatics professionals use technology to track patient information, linking patient care with the latest databasing technology. They manage, store, and analyze data to help facilitate healthcare decisions and ensure patients are receiving proper care.

Is Health Informatics Hard?

Health informatics is an evolving, interdisciplinary field. Successful professionals must be skilled and knowledgeable in data management, information technology, and healthcare terminology.

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