Informatics, Master of Science
Common types of informatics applications include the analysis of massive data sets (Big Data), ecological processes modeling and quantification, genetic and genomic analyses, epidemiology and population health, and remote sensing with satellite and drone imaging.
Informaticists are employed by industry and government research labs, as research scientists in academia, or as entrepreneurs in cutting-edge informatics application areas.
Individual and team-based assignments will enable students to build mastery of important informatics skills and their practical applications in areas that include population health, bioinformatics, remote sensing, ecological modeling, wearable computing, and machine learning and data science.
The non-thesis option of this program allows students to complete their degree through coursework and project-based learning, while the thesis option is focused on engagement with research projects under the mentorship of a faculty member and culminating in the preparation and defense of a thesis.
The program is strengthened through broad collaborations and partnerships, including the Center for Bioengineering Innovation, Pathogen and Microbiome Institute, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research, Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, and School of Forestry. Regional research collaborators include the Translational Genomics Research Institute, Northern Arizona Healthcare and Flagstaff Medical Center, North Country HealthCare, U.S. Geological Survey, and Northern Arizona Planetary Science Alliance.
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Career opportunities that might be pursued:
- Data analyst
- Research scientist
With further education, one of these paths is possible:
- University professor
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To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
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In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
|Minimum Units for Completion||30|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.|
|Thesis||Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Comprehensive Exam||Comprehensive Exam may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Oral Defense||Oral Defense may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Research||Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
This M.S. in Informatics will prepare you to either enter the informatics workforce or continue on to a doctoral program of study, building core skills that are widely applicable to many areas of science.
Core coursework provides learning opportunities in the foundations of informatics, programming and computer science, structuring large-scale data sets, machine learning, and statistical data analysis. Elective coursework allows students to customize their program of study so that it is maximally aligned with their professional or research interests, with coursework available in many areas of informatics, including epidemiology, bioinformatics, ecological modeling, and remote sensing. Thesis option students will have additional opportunities to engage in informatics research and scholarship under the mentorship of an informatics faculty member as prepare a thesis on their specific research.
This program is designed for students with strong preparation in an area of science, such as biology or ecology, and experience in computer programming and data analysis gained through successful completion of a relevant undergraduate program or other professional experience. The non-thesis option of the program is designed for students seeking professional preparation, while the thesis option is particularly appropriate for students for considering further graduate study in a doctoral program.
As a graduate, you will be prepared to contribute in a wide variety of informatics areas, including population health, bioinformatics, remote sensing, ecological modeling, wearable computing, and machine learning and data science.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Graduates of this program will demonstrate the following competencies and program learning outcomes:
- Identify, explain, and synthesize fundamental concepts of informatics, including population health, bioinformatics, remote sensing, ecological modeling, wearable computing, and machine learning and data science
- Analyze and critically distill scientific literature to identify informatics theories and development and research methods appropriate to relevant science problems and research areas
- Apply informatics theories and development and research methods to formulate, develop, and assess informatics solutions to relevant science problems and research areas
- Compose and engage in highly effective written and oral communication in informatics areas that demonstrates clear argumentation and logical cohesion
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Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- GRE® revised General Test
- Expertise in key informatics areas, such as computer science, biology, or ecology.
- Personal statement outlining the prospective student’s professional goals in informatics and an indication of interest in either the thesis or non-thesis option.
- Two letters of recommendation from recommenders who are familiar with the prospective student’s informatics qualifications.
Take the following 30 units:
- Informatics foundations: INF 501, INF 502, INF 503, INF 504 (12 units)
- Statistical methods: INF 511, INF 512 (6 units)
- Thesis option requirements (12 units):
- Non-thesis option requirements (12 units):
- Informatics electives: Complete any INF prefixed 600-level courses.
- Thesis option students are responsible for selecting a research advisor who will act as their thesis committee chair as well as other members of their thesis committee before completing 9 units of coursework in the degree program.
- Thesis option students must successfully complete a thesis and thesis final defense and are responsible for following all applicable NAU Requirements for Theses and Dissertations (policy number 100806).
- Students are responsible for ensuring that they meet all course prerequisites.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.