3 Bachelor’s Degrees that Get Students Ready for a MSHI

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People often wonder what bachelor’s degrees can prepare them for a Master of Science in Health Informatics. Many of the students in the program have clinical backgrounds or have worked in nursing, pharmacology or other medical-related fields. Others have come from fields like computer science. Clearly, the number and types of undergraduate degrees that can prepare you for a graduate education in health informatics are large and varied. But the following three areas are essential to health informatics, and depending on the area of HI you’d like to go into, each one could set you up for success.

Computer Science
The healthcare industry is becoming more and more reliant on computer technology. The shift to electronic health records has caused the industry to grow at an increasingly rapid pace. Patients and doctors are using mobile apps and computer programs to connect in ways that were impossible only a decade ago. To create and enable this new technology requires an understanding of health systems as they relate to computers and software development. This is why a background in computer science can be valuable if you decide to get a master’s in health informatics.

There are health informatics jobs that weigh heavily on the clinical side of the spectrum as well as those that fall closer to the computer programming side. With a computer science background and an interest in working in the healthcare industry, you can get a master’s degree in health informatics and find one of the many jobs in HI where you act as a liaison between the computer and clinical teams.

Computer science skills are necessary for jobs dealing with the analysis of clinical data and management of healthcare IT departments [1].


A strong background in biology is useful in many different health industry jobs. In the new field of bioinformatics, for instance, biology provides an important base of information for day-to-day work. Bioinformatics is broadly defined as the application of computer technology to the management of biological information [2]. Understanding trends and recognizing key biological issues will come easier to a master’s degree student familiar with the material already.

An undergraduate degree in biology readies you for a number of other health informatics jobs as well. Jobs in informatics involving bioscience, clinical research and genomics are all areas where a background in biology is important.


A student with a background in nursing brings a valuable patient-facing perspective to the study of health care informatics. Nursing is all about patient outcomes, not the least of which is offering the patient a satisfactory experience. With their insight gained from face-to-face communication with patients and their practice in improving clinical practice around the patient experience, candidates with a background in nursing bring valuable experience that can help develop the field of health care informatics.

If you would like to get your master’s degree in health informatics, there are many backgrounds that can propel you to success. Computer science, biology and nursing are just a select few that can give you a leg up when it comes to undergraduate degrees that can really prepare you for the different specialties in the health informatics field.

[1] http://www.computersciencedegreehub.com/faq/role-healthcare-industry-computer-programmers/
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC79037/