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The PhD in Health Informatics program at UNC Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) prepares graduate students to contribute to the field of biomedical and health informatics studies through research, teaching and exposure to practical biomedical and health informatics challenges. The Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP) PhD trains scholars for careers in research and instruction as well as leadership roles in the industry.  CHIP provides students with research experience, familiarity with biomedical and health informatics concepts, theories and methods.  In addition, the program supports an active research community at UNC-CH and strong connections to the thriving biomedical and health informatics industry in the Research Triangle Park, NC area.


Program Details

Credit Hours

Total: 55 credits

  • Pillars: 21 credits
  • Electives: 12 credits
  • Research credit (994): 6 credits at a minimum
  • Transfer: up to 18 credits
    • Note: Coursework can be transferred in from previous degrees.  CHIP limits transfer credit to 18 for the PhD.  The recommendation to grant transfer credit will be made on an individual basis and will require the approval of the graduate school.

Learning Environment

The PhD in Health Informatics degree is a 100% residential doctoral degree program.

For more information about residency credit requirements at UNC - Chapel Hill, please follow this link to the UNC Graduate School student handbook.


Enrolled Student Demographics

  • Total Enrolled - 20 doctoral students
  • Female 35%; Male 65%
  • International 50%

Who Should Apply?

Individuals seeking advanced health informatics training for a broad range of research and leadership roles in academic, corporate, non-profit, and governmental settings.

Applicants with research exposure and the following educational backgrounds tend to have the most success in our programs:

  • Computer Science
  • Information Science
  • Public Health
  • Life Sciences
  • Statistics


Follow this link for UNC Graduate School general application guidelines.

See Admission Requirements section below for CHIP doctoral admission information.


Program Structure

The program is structured to support interdisciplinary research training, gaining teaching experience, and administrative knowledge acquisition. It includes rigorous coursework prior to dissertation research and is designed to adapt to the diverse needs of program students. Full-time students typically complete the BMHI PhD program is within 5 years, while part-time students typically complete the program within 8 years. For more information about PhD program, view the CHIP PhD Handbook and CHIP PhD Timeline.

The coursework portion of the program is based upon five content pillars:

  • Core and frontier topics in health informatics (foundational concepts of informatics)
  • Tools and infrastructure (advanced techniques for manipulating health data)
  • Research methods and execution of research
  • Project management and academic leadership skills
  • Implementation science and translation.

Click Here to view sample Pillar course offerings.

The coursework is followed by comprehensive examinations, consisting of a written portion and an oral defense.  After successful completion of comprehensive examinations, the student will prepare and defend a dissertation proposal before engaging in the dissertation research project, followed by a public dissertation defense. Additionally, students are expected to actively participate in scholarly writing and dissemination of research through presentations at regional and national conferences, as well as publications in high impact scholarly journals.


Program Cost & Funding

Tuition & Fees

Information about tuition and fees can be found at UNC Cashier Office website.  For more information on tuition, please see the Tuition Estimator.

Funding Opportunities


Admission Requirements

Bachelors Degree & GPA

  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution
  • GPA of 3.0 or greater



Unofficial copies of transcripts from all post-secondary education.


Letters of Recommendation

3 strong letters of recommendation from advisors, previous instructors, employers, or mentors.

Standardized Test Scores

  • GRE test scores are NOT required but highly encouraged for all applicants.
  • Applicants who are already holders of research or professional doctoral degrees do not need to submit GRE scores.
  • For international applicants: A TOEFL score above 90 or an IELTS score above 7.


Statement of Purpose

  • Description of previous research and professional experience (required)
  • Motivation for seeking PhD in Health Informatics, research interests and what type of
    research applicant hopes to pursue while in the program, as well as post-graduation
    career goals (required)
  • Additional information that would be helpful for application reviewers (optional)


Please Note: Program applicants are expected to clearly demonstrate an interest in the area of health informatics, as well as articulate plans for research to pursue as part of PhD studies and post-graduate career goals.


Interested in Applying?

If you are interested in the PhD Program and would like to speak to a program representative, please fill out the following inquiry form. If you would like to apply, please first visit the grad school page, which outlines the requirements for applying.