There are two options for the MSHI degree – the project, or non-thesis, option and the thesis option (which requires pre-approval). Both options require a minimum of 36 semester credit hours of graduate coursework. The project option involves additional courseswork as well as a significant project, while the thesis option involves a research component.
The project option is designed for flexibility and is tailored for students who don’t necessarily need a great deal of research training. Non-thesis students will take an additional elective and a project course, but they take six fewer hours of research credit.
The thesis option must be arranged with a supervising professor prior to selecting the thesis option, thus, the option may not always be available. Thesis students will conduct a large research project, which will likely involve two or more semesters of work. These students must write a thesis, which is a large document that is likely to be published. The thesis option is for students who wish to gain experience in conducting intense research, such as students who are going to pursue a Ph. D., or students who will be conducting research.
All students must complete either an Informatics Project or a thesis, which means that ALL students must have a faculty member advise their research or projects. Students are not assigned to a faculty member; instead, the student must take the initiative to contact a faculty member working in their area of interest. The sooner a student finds an advisor/mentor the better!