School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Biomedical Informatics

 bio informatics collage



“Never in the history of mankind have we had access to so much medical data – electronic health records, medical imaging, “omic” data – the challenge now is turning this data deluge into meaningful insights.  This is where data scientists step in.  The demand for biomedical informatics specialists far exceeds supply.  We are witnessing the largest transformation of healthcare ever – bioinformatics specialists will be the rock stars of tomorrow.”

- Don Aldrige, previous Executive Director of the Centre for Advanced Computing & Senior Advisor of Advanced Computing and Data Analytics

Program Overview

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.

Innovative in design, offered in partnership by the School of Computing and 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.


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.


Degrees offered

Details about the Graduate Diploma

May - August (4 months)


Please visit the Office of Registrar website and check the graduate tuitition fee schedule 

on campus

The diploma consists of 4, 3-credit units courses. The courses are:

  • BMIF-801*  – Programming Skills and Tools for Processing of Biomedical Data
  • BMIF-802* – Biomedical Data Analysis
  • BMIF-803* – Biomedical Data Mining and Applications
  • BMIF - 804* - Medical Imaging Informatics

Details about the Master's Program (MBI)

May - May (12 months)


Please visit the Office of Registrar website and check the graduate tutition fee schedule 

on campus

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 supervision of a School member. The presentation of a seminar to describe the project is required.
  • Two additional 3 credit unit courses from a list of elective courses presented below (total: 6CU).

Elective course options include:

  • CISC-832 Data Base Management Systems
  • CISC-859 Pattern Recognition
  • CISC-873 Data Mining
  • CISC-881 Bioinformatics
  • CISC-886 Cloud Computing
  • BMED-809 Principle of Drug Discovery and Development
  • BMED-810 Protein Structure and Function
  • BMED-811 Advanced Molecular Biology
  • BMED-813 Advances in Neuropharmacology
  • BMED-815 Mechanistic Toxicology
  • BMED-854 Cardiovascular 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

Program Professors and Faculty

DBMS and the School of Computing are partnering in the development of these graduate programs in Biomedical Informatics. These opportunities will fill gaps in training highly qualified personnel with the skill set to apply computer science to multiple biological and medical datasets, including genomics and imaging, to uncover, understand and integrate biological relationships to better understand the biology underlying human diseases or traits such as drug response.

Core faculty from Computing include:

Dr. Qingling Duan (Queen’s National Scholar in Bioinformatics) is jointly appointed to the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and the School of Computing
Randy Ellis (Queen’s Research Chair in Computer-Aided Surgery)
Gabor Fitchtinger (Cancer Care Ontario Research Chair)
Janice Glasgow (Queen’s Research Chair in Biomedical Computing)
Parvin Mousavi (Medical Informatics Lab)
James Stewart (Computer Assisted Mosaic Arthroplasty (CAMA))
Selim Akl (Parallel and Unconventional Computation Group) 
Dorothea Blostein (Biomechanics and Adaptive Tensegrity)
Ting Hu (Machine Intelligence and Biocomputing (MIB) Laboratory
Amber Simpson (Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Computing and Informatics and Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences)

The School of Computing is currently a leader in Biomedical Computing, offering a unique undergraduate program in the field and carrying out world-class research in the areas of bioinformatics, computer-aided surgery, medical imaging, computer-assisted intervention, medical diagnosis, drug discovery, and computational neuroscience. External collaborations include researchers at the National Institute of Health (USA), Harvard University, John Hopkins University, Medialo University of Vienna, University of British Columbia, Western University, Princess Margaret Hospital (Toronto), and others. In addition, the School of Computing has experts in such related areas as big-data analysis (Pat Martin) and data mining (David Skillicorn).


Core faculty from DBMS will include:

Dr. Qingling Duan (Queen’s National Scholar in Bioinformatics) is jointly appointed to the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences and the School of Computing
Michael Adams (Head of the Department)
James Reynolds
Gunnar Blohm(link is external)
Christopher Mueller
Louise Winn
Amber Simpson (Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Computing and Informatics and Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences)

DBMS is a distinguished academic centre engaged in a wide range of research endeavours including anatomical sciences, bacteriology, biochemistry, cancer biology, cardiovascular sciences, cell biology, developmental biology, immunology, molecular biology, genomics, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, reproductive biology, toxicology and virology. The breadth and depth of research has a strong foundation in multi-disciplinary discovery. Prominent in this regard are the educational efforts in the highly regarded Life Sciences and Biochemistry undergraduate programs, in medical education and in stellar graduate program. 

Application Process

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 English Language Proficiency Test scores. More information on the test scores can be found in the School of Graduate Studies website Link "How to Apply". 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 of each year. Final decisions will be communicated March of each year. We will consider applications after February 1 as long as space remains in the program

Grad Maps

View the Grad Maps for this department and all graduate degrees on the Career Services website