Department of Biomedical Informatics

Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Studies

Absolutely. We have not scheduled an information session as of yet for this fall semester, but interested students should feel free to contact Academic Success Coordinator, Laura Kaufman at to schedule a visit.

BMI does not have a program fee. Tuition depends on several variables. Please visit ASU Cost and Finances for more information about financing graduate school.

A PhD student can petition to transfer a blanket of thirty credit hours from an earned master’s degree from any accredited institution or a maximum of twelve credit hours from any MS program from an accredited institution. An MS student may petition to transfer a maximum of twelve graduate credit hours from any accredited institution.

It is expected that all BMI students remain in full time status (nine credit hours per semester). We give top priority for admission to students who are able to be dedicated to their studies at BMI. We discourage students from working while pursuing a degree as it can detract from completion of important coursework and involvement in projects that permit other degree requirements to be fulfilled. Students who work are not eligible for financial aid.

It is variable. Students typically finish their master’s degree in two to two and a half years. PhD students are expected to finish the course work and research to obtain their PhD degree in four to six years.

Who you invite to write a letter is up to you, keeping in mind that a great letter from a more recent relationship will hold more weight than one than not as recent.

No. We do not pre-evaluate student credentials. Students are encouraged to talk with our faculty to discuss their research interests and education/professional background and then apply for admission. The Biomedical Informatics Graduate Admissions committee will evaluate each application file and determine if they are eligible for the program or not. The Office of Graduate Education makes the final determination on acceptance.

No. The Office of Graduate Education will only accept OFFICIAL documents. Please do not send anything unofficial as it may delay your application.

No. Student funding is available for PhD students. However, sometimes there is funding for MS students as well. Sources vary depending on department, grants, and other research projects/funds for individual faculty or centers, ect.  The BMI faculty evaluate each applicant and determine who gets paid research assistantships that carry a requirement of 20 hours per week of work. Students are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty members early in the application process concerning research assistantships.

Yes. Depending on seat availability and student’s background, a non-BMI student may apply to be a non-degree seeking student and register for a BMI course. Once admitted as non-degree seeking student at ASU, a student must request an override through the instructor teaching the course.

No, we only offer Fall admissions.

The preferred GPA for MS program is 3.25 and 3.5 for those applying to PhD.

If you are from a country whose native language is not English, you must provide evidence of English proficiency as indicated by acceptable scores on the TOEFL; 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT) per the minimum guidelines set through Graduate Education. BMI prefers applicant TOEFL scores higher than 100 as the program is language intensive and such a score is indicative of success in the program. Applicants who have met one of the conditions at a regionally accredited college/university in the United States do not need to submit evidence of English proficiency:

TOEFL scores need to be reported electronically through ETS. 4007 is the institution code for ASU.

All students must submit either the general GRE test score (taken within 5 years) or another relevant graduate level entry exam score, such as the MCAT.
GREs provide a standardized measure of some aspects of the math, verbal and writing skills of applicants. In making our admission decisions we do consider GRE scores along with all of the other information we receive about our applicants. The GRE writing exam tests your ability to frame and communicate written arguments and analysis, and we require that students take this exam. Writing skills are very important in graduate school (and in virtually any job you will want to have after graduate school) and we believe that this test will indicate some of the skills necessary to succeed in this activity. A perfect application is excellent in all aspects discussed above, including strong GRE scores for the quantitative, verbal and written parts of the exam. Few applications are perfect. Lower performance in one aspect (e.g., GREs) can, and often is, compensated for by better performance in other aspects (such as strong grades and outstanding recommendations).

There are no 'cut-off' scores for the GRE, which is evaluated in the context of your entire application. Target GRE scores are 159 for Verbal and 162 for Quantitative.

Official scores must be sent to directly to the Graduate College Admissions. Test scores must be received directly from the agency administering the test. Photocopies and faxes are not acceptable. GRE scores are good for 5 years. 4007 is the institution code for ASU.

Admission is offered for the fall semester only. Our priority deadline is January 15th of each year, however, we will continue to review applications throughout the spring semester.

All students admitted to the program must have basic competencies in general biology, statistics and computer programming. We recommend that prospective students lacking skills in computer programming enroll in ASU’s CSE 110, “Introduction to JAVA”. Those students who are considered to have a biology deficiency should take BIO 181, “General Biology II”. Students who lack a basic course in statistics are recommended to take STP 226, “Elements of Statistics”. We encourage students to take these courses prior to the start of their studies. Exceptionally well-qualified applicants who lack basic competencies in general biology, statistics, or computer programming and who are not able to complete the courses described prior to the start of their BMI studies may be permitted to take a deficiency courses during their first year in the program.