Degree Completion Requirements

Students enrolled in this program must follow all UWM Graduate School requirements and regulations. The minimum requirement for the PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics is 61-67 credits beyond the Bachelor’s degree. Up to 24 credits from a related master’s degree may be applied toward the PhD.

Program of Study

Before completing 18 credits, you must submit a completed program of study indicating your preferred track and how you intend to meet the course requirements of the track. Up to 24 credits may be transferred from prior graduate study.

Qualifying Examination

Before 24 credits is completed, you must pass a qualifying examination based on the content material of the core courses.

The examination is a closed-book, written examination. Total time allowed is 4 hours. The examination covers four core areas: medical informatics, databases, pathophysiology and ethics. Multiple questions may cover each of the areas. The examination is offered twice a year – once in January and again in early September.


All questions will be evaluated on a scale of 0 to10. A passing grade is 7 or higher. Students must successfully pass all four areas. Students may repeat a failed examination once. The examination committee will submit their recommendations and scores to Biomedical and Health Informatics Doctoral Program Steering Committee, which will make the final decision.

Doctoral Preliminary Examination

After a student completes all coursework, the student must present a proposal for a doctoral dissertation to a thesis committee and pass a preliminary examination before advancing to dissertator status. The preliminary examination may cover both graduate course material and the dissertation proposal. The preliminary examination must be successfully completed within five years of initial enrollment.


The candidate must complete a dissertation presenting independent original research that adds to the existing body of knowledge in Biomedical and Health Informatics. It should be of such caliber that warrants publication in respected journals.

Dissertation Defense

The final oral examination will be an oral defense of the dissertation but may also cover the general field of the primary area of study. The examination may not be taken until all other degree requirements are satisfied. A majority of the examination committee members must approve the dissertation in order for the student to pass. The Committee shall consist of members from both Health Care and Information Technology fields. The final oral examination must be taken within five years after passing the preliminary examination. Candidates who exceed this time limit may be required to retake the preliminary examination and be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Time Limit

All components of the Ph.D. program must be completed within 10 years of matriculation.


The student must meet Graduate School residence requirements, prior to reaching dissertator status.