Informatics Degrees: Masters, PhD & Online Training & Course Info

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Master's and PhD programs in informatics can lead to careers in academia and private business. Get the truth about the requirements, courses and online options, and find out what you can do with your degree.
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Study Informatics: Degrees at a Glance

Informatics is the application of information technology (IT) to another field. Some of the more popular applications of informatics are in areas of healthcare and business. With a career in informatics, you will find new uses for IT to solve problems in the industry you work in. Because informatics can be applied to many fields, degree programs are typically offered in a specific area. While a master's degree is suitable for a professional career, a doctorate or Ph.D. will prepare you for a career teaching and researching in academia. Since some informatics fields have an accrediting body, you may want to consider programs that are approved.

One career you may consider with a degree in informatics is database administrator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for these professionals were expected to increase 31% from 2010-2020. One of the major factors for the anticipated growth is the increasing use of data collection in businesses. Another possible career is as postsecondary teacher. The BLS reported that this career field will experience a 17% growth in employment from 2010-2020.

Master's PhD
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want to work as information professionals in business, healthcare and other fields Individuals who want to teach or research in informatics at the university-level
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Network and computer systems administrator ($71,000)*
- Database administrator ($75,000)*
(In addition to the positions available to master's degree holders)
- Post secondary teacher ($64,000)*
- Medical scientist ($76,000)*
- Research scientist ($51,000)**
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 3-5 years full-time beyond master's degree
Common Graduation Requirements - Around 30 semester credits of graduate coursework
- Master's thesis or project
- Advanced coursework
- Oral and written exams
- Student teaching
- Doctoral dissertation and defense
Prerequisites - Bachelor's degree
- GRE or GMAT scores
- Bachelor's or master's degree
- GRE or GMAT scores
Online Availability Yes No

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Payscale.com (October 2012 figures, 50th percentile)


Master's Degree Programs

Informatics master's degree programs are typically offered in a specific area and they are often related to healthcare or science. Some of the concentrations may include biomedical, health and nursing. While these are typically offered as Master of Science programs, some Master of Arts programs are available. Different tracks may be available for applied and research informatics. Depending on the type of program you apply to, practical experience through a clinical or practicum may be required.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Programs for specialties are available
  • Applied and research tracks may be offered
  • Some programs incorporate experience
  • Programs that are completely online are offered

Cons

  • Programs in general informatics are rare
  • May have to complete comprehensive exams
  • May need to take prerequisite courses if your undergraduate degree isn't related to science, engineering or technology
  • Some positions may require an undergraduate degree or professional licensure from outside informatics

Coursework and Requirements

Depending on the field that a program specializes in, you may have to complete a practicum or other experience requirement. Some programs will require you to complete a comprehensive exam to demonstrate your knowledge of informatics. Some of the general topics that you may cover include:

  • Computational methods
  • Statistical methods
  • Applied informatics
  • Law and ethics
  • System analysis and design

Online Programs

Distance learning informatics master's programs are available, both entirely online and in hybrid formats. The hybrid format typically requires you to attend several face-to-face sessions for each course. Additionally, some programs may require you to complete a practicum but allow you to find a site that fits your interests and physical location with the help of an advisor. Online programs will require you to complete the program in a specified time period.

How to Get Ahead with This Degree

In addition to your degree, you may look for a professional certification to further validate your expertise. Similar to degree programs, certifications are offered for specific forms of informatics. To obtain certification, you may need to meet experience and education requirements and pass a qualifying exam. You may also want to gain experience with the specific software programs that your prospective career entails. For example, if you work in health informatics, you may need to be familiar with Matrix or HCS applications.


PhD Programs

PhD programs prepare you for an academic career as a researcher or instructor. During the first two years of a program, you'll complete your coursework requirements. In the following years, you'll pursue advanced original research. These programs develop your research abilities in areas like statistical analysis.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Programs for specific areas of informatics are available
  • Prepare you for an academic career in teaching or research
  • Some flexibility is provided within these curricula

Cons

  • May not be necessary for a non-academic career
  • Must complete comprehensive exam and significant research requirements
  • May need to complete prerequisite coursework if your previous degrees are not in certain fields

Coursework and Requirements

In addition to the coursework, PhD programs typically require you to successfully pass at least one qualifying exam. You may also have to meet residency and student teaching requirements. The capstone requirement is the completion and defense of a doctoral dissertation. Some of the topics you may take in a PhD program include:

  • Research methods
  • Computational methods
  • Applied statistics
  • Computer applications

Online Programs

Due to the numerous in-person requirements, PhD programs in informatics are not readily available online. Many PhD programs require student teaching and extensive research, which entail that you to be on-campus. Some programs may also have residency requirements.

How to Get Ahead with This Degree

Similar to master's degree students, you may also consider professional certification. To make yourself marketable, you may want to consider doing research in an area that can be applied to multiple career fields. Since informatics typically involves computers, you may want to take additional courses in computer languages or database systems.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • MS in Information Technology - Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Information Technology Management
      • M.S. in Instructional Technology
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security
      • Master of Science in Cyber Security (Bridge)
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Business Intelligence
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Brenau University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Cybersecurity Management
      • Masters in Business Administration - Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity Policy
      • M.S. in Business Analytics
      • M.S. in Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Information Systems
      • MBA - Computer and Information Security
      • MSTIM - Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Cyber Security, M.S.

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • Master: Information Technology
  • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance

Which subject are you interested in?

Grand Canyon University

  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Instructional Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Business Intelligence

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master - Information Technology Management
  • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Brenau University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership-Cybersecurity Management
  • Masters in Business Administration - Cybersecurity Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • M.S. in Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity Policy
  • M.S. in Business Analytics
  • M.S. in Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management

What is your highest level of education?

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership

What is your highest level of education?