Queen's School of Computing

Transforming how health care is approached and delivered through big data is the goal of our two new professional programs: a graduate diploma and a master's in Biomedical Informatics.

Using a ladder approach, students can take the 4 month graduate diploma, with the option to continue on to complete a one-year masters. Skills to be gained in these programs will provide hands-on training in data science that will form the foundation for successful careers in health care and biomedical research. Given the current abundance of data, knowledge and experience in data analytics is in high demand among health care professionals and researchers. Whether you are interested in pursuing careers in genetics, pharmaceuticals, medicine, or biomedical research, understanding how to manipulate and use large datasets is essential for translating data into knowledge that will undoubted transform health care.

Offered in partnership with the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences (DBMS), students will succeed through the hands-on and applied nature of the program. These programs are focused on training future data scientists who have a foundation in biology, life sciences, biochemistry, medical sciences and related disciplines in methods for database design and management, statistical analysis, data mining, and image analysis.

Graduate Diploma in Biomedical Informatics

The diploma consists of 4 courses, each worth 3-credit units:

  • BMIF-801* – Programming Skills and Tools for Processing of Biomedical Data
    AIM: To provide incoming Graduate Diploma in Biomedical Informatics (GDip [BI]) students with hands-on training in fundamental concepts in computer programming, and an introduction to programming languages, software tools and algorithms used in biomedical research. Topics will include an introduction to programming in Python and MATLAB, pre-processing and management of biomedical datasets, introduction to medical imaging processing, identification of outliers, workflow for quality control assessments. Examples of real biomedical datasets will be provided to illustrate the application of programming tools.
  • BMIF-802* – Biomedical Data Analysis
    AIM: To provide students with hands-on training in analysis of biomedical datasets. Topics will include feature extraction and classification, pattern recognition, supervised and unsupervised learning, and basic concepts of biostatistics as applied to the analysis of biomedical data. Examples of real biomedical datasets will be provided to demonstrate various methodologies for data analysis.
  • BMIF-803* – Biomedical Data Mining and Applications
    AIM: To provide students with hands-on training in data mining and its applications in various areas of biomedical research. Examples of various types of biomedical datasets will be provided (e.g., genomics and transcriptomics microarrays, next-generation sequencing) to demonstrate a wide range of methodologies in data mining, analyses, and relevance to biomedical research.
  • BMIF 804* - Medical Imaging Informatics
    AIM: To deliver the foundations, principles, and practices of medical imaging, their acquisition, management, exploration, analysis and interpretation with focus on practical tools and informatics skills. Digital health is transforming the way Canadians access health care, altering clinical workflows while providing unique opportunities for computing sciences to revolutionize health and operational decision making. In particular computing and AI have great potential to assist and augment radiological reading and decision making via automated detection of landmarks and pathologies in images. Skillsets and training for medical image acquisition, understanding, analysis and informatics is a key part of training for skilled workforce preparedness.

Master's in Biomedical Informatics (MBI)

Students in the Diploma program will be permitted to ladder coursework successfully completed within the Diploma program into the Professional Master’s program. The program will consist of:

  • The equivalent of 24 credit unit courses, including those from the Graduate Diploma Program (12CU) as well as advanced courses in computing, biology and health science.
  • CISC 898 Master’s Project (6CU). A biomedical informatics project is undertaken under the co-supervision of a member of the School and a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences. A final research report describing the project is required and will be evaluated as pass/fail by two faculty members, one of whom is not a supervisor.
  • Students are recommended to select one elective course from graduate-level courses offered in the School of Computing and one elective course from graduate-level courses offered in Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences.

Opportunities

Queen’s offers its students a perfect balance of engagement with rigorous academic programs and access to first class practitioners and learning facilities. Both the diploma and M.A. programs are cross-disciplinary -- taught by a combination of instructors from the School of Computing and the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Career paths – employment opportunities

  • Chief Information Officers (CIOs)
  • Chief Medical Information Officers (CMIOs)
  • Chief Medical Officers (CMOs)
  • Chief Nursing Information Officers (CNIOs)
  • Biomedical and clinical research, including the application of genomics and molecular biology
  • Clinical Informaticist
  • Consumer health and Public health
  • Imaging
  • Directors of Medical Informatics
  • Project managers & designers
  • Researchers
  • Programmers & analysts
  • Health information technology (HIT) educators, trainers, consultants
  • Medical / technical writers
  • Nursing informatics specialists
  • Account representatives

The following examples of the workplace environments for our graduates:

  • Academic institutions
  • Community health centers
  • Consultanting agencies
  • eHealth companiesHospitals and health systems
  • Physician practices and clinics
  • Health care agencies within federal and state government
  • Health information technology system vendors
  • Health insurance companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies

How to Apply

To be considered for admission to the Graduate Diploma or the MBI, an applicant must hold a minimum of a BSc (Honours) degree in biology, life sciences, biochemistry, medical sciences, computer science, biostatistics, engineering, and related disciplines, who are interested in designing and implementing quantitative and computational methods that solve challenging problems across the entire spectrum of biology and medicine, and who wish to develop the skills required for a range of exciting careers in medicine, research and development, or industry. The minimum acceptable average for admissions to these programs is B+ in the third and fourth years of the student’s undergraduate program (all courses considered). Students applying from outside of North America whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL scores. Although the program is aimed at recent graduates from undergraduate programs, applicants from professional programs such as medicine and nursing are also welcome.

Important Dates & Deadlines
Deadline to Apply (for both programs): February 1, 2021
First Day of Diploma program: TBA

Apply now on the School of Graduate Studies website.

Testimonials

The BMIF program was the perfect blend of computer and biomedical sciences. As someone with a background in biochemistry, the computer-related skills I learned allowed me to view my previous knowledge in an entirely new light, shaping a broader and more detailed picture of the way research is conducted in the 21st century. I would recommend this program to a friend due to the opportunities it provides; including chances to TA, attend conferences, and learn from a vast array of experts in fields from computer-aided surgery to computational genomics.
-- Emma, MBI 2019

The best part of my experience is the opportunity to conduct an original research project, where I was able to apply the knowledge and skills we learned from the summer diploma program. Also, I find it rewarding that my research could have a potential impact on preventing disease and improving health in children. I would highly recommend this program to someone who has a biological background and is interested in learning more about computing and bioinformatics research.
-- Le, MBI 2019

The Master of Biomedical Informatics program has allowed me to foster technical and analytical skills that are easily applicable to many fields in both research and industry through hands-on courses paired with an independent research project. This program specifically compliments my background in Biochemistry, so I would recommend this program to anyone coming from a science/healthcare related background that would like to translate their degree into something more specialized. I look forward to exploring the many opportunities that will come forth with this degree.
-- Danielle, MBI 2019

The Master of Biomedical Informatics (MBI) program has provided me a unique opportunity to enter an interdisciplinary field on the forefront of both biomedicine and technology. I have acquired invaluable skills in data science, information technology and genetics that will aid in accelerating my biomedical career. I would recommend the MBI program to any student who has a passion for technology, problem-solving and using data to transform healthcare.
-- Katya, MBI 2019

I firstly found BMIF program challenging as I graduated with Life Sciences degree which seems distant from computing. However, this program provided me with numerous opportunities from both DBMS and school of computing, and broadened my thoughts and perspective. I liked how we had summer Diploma program as it allowed us to learn many computing related skills for the following research project. Moreover, the class size was optimal which allowed us to interact with professor more and I really liked how the coordinators and professors are very supportive and always there to give us valuable advices. If the opportunity arose, I would definitely recommend this program to my friends.
-- Sorin, MBI 2019