Welcome from the director
The Master of Health Informatics (MHI) online handbook includes important information on our school, faculty and university services, as well as current degree requirements. The online version of the handbook is revised each year. Please read it as soon as possible because it will likely answer many of your questions. Instructors and staff expect you to be familiar with the handbook and refer to it repeatedly as you proceed through the program. Please note that the handbook is an informational supplement for our students, not a replacement for the University of Waterloo Graduate Calendar which dictates the formal policies concerning registration, fees, grading, degree requirements, etc.
Best wishes and enjoy the journey!
John Garcia, PhD
Professor and Associate Director
- Master of Health Informatics home page
- School of Public Health and Health Systems
- Graduate Studies Academic Calendar - Master of Health Informatics
- Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines
- Graduate Student Association (GSA)
- Centre for Extended Learning (CEL)
- Waterloo LEARN
- Quest - Graduate students
- MHI Passport to the Library (guide to library resources and services)
- University of Waterloo Bookstore
- Finance - Student accounts
- Human Resources - Information for graduate students
- Graduate Studies - Awards & funding
- Graduate Studies -Forms
- Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) - Support for graduate students
- International Student Experience
Faculty and school organization
The School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHHS) is one of three academic units within the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (AHS), which is one of six faculties at the University of Waterloo.
SPHHS faculty offices are located in B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH), the Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion (LHI), and the Toby Jenkins Applied Health Research Building (TJB). Appointments can be made through email or in person.
Important information for new students
Email accounts, computer facilities and services
Graduate students are provided with Waterloo email accounts. Official communications will be sent to this account and you're encouraged to use this account to communicate with faculty and staff. Graduate students are entitled to a connect account (hosted on the Exchange server) which offers email, calendaring, contacts and tasks. Your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can access it using the Outlook Web App. Mail sent to email@example.com will be forwarded to the email address listed on WatIAM.
If you are new to Waterloo, a connect account will automatically be created for you. If you were previously a Waterloo undergraduate student, you will need to request a connect account by contacting a member of AHS Computing.
For more information on connect accounts, visit Information Systems & Technology - Staff & Faculty email page. For information on computing resources and services, visit Applied Health Sciences Computing - Information for graduate students.
Learn system requirements
Visit Waterloo Learn Help - System and Software Requirements to verify your machine meets the minimum requirements.
Library access off-campus
"Connect from Home" is a means of making your home (off-campus) computer appear to be on-campus; use it to prove that you are affiliated with UWaterloo. You will then be able to use online library resources (research databases, electronic journals, etc.) from off-campus. You can only use the “Connect from Home” service if you are a current student, faculty, or staff member at UWaterloo and have registered your WatCard with the library.
Go to the Connect from Home page and login using your last name and WatCard barcode number (2118700XXXXXXX). You can also access "Connect from Home" through links on the Library and MHI Passport to the Library websites.
You will know you are connected when you see ".proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca" in your URL, as shown below.
If you use bookmarks or manually enter a URL, you will be disconnected. If you do not see ".proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca" in the URL, you are no longer connected.
Warning: If you sign onto the proxy from a shared or public computer, it is important that you close the web browser after you finish. This will prevent non-legitimate use of these resources or services in your name.
You can find more information on using the “Connect from Home” feature on the Library's Off-campus access page.
Registration and tuition payment procedures
Tuition for regular graduate programs at the University of Waterloo is charged based on enrolment status. There are no ‘per-course’ fees applied in the MHI program.
Full-time students (FT) will generally take three courses per term but may take as few as one course in a term. Full-time students are expected to complete the program on a full-time schedule, generally within one year and four months (four terms). Part-time students (PT) pay part-time tuition and generally complete the MHI program within three years and eight months (11 terms). Part-time students are permitted to take a maximum of one course per term. Those students who wish to take more than one course in a term must make a request to change their enrolment status to full-time and are required to pay full-time tuition.
A student may also request to change their status from full-time to part-time. Students who are completing their practicum (whether FT or PT status) will be permitted to enrol as PT for the practicum term and pay part-time tuition. To change your enrolment status, complete the change of enrolment status/withdrawal form found on the Graduate Studies Forms page under the Enrolment/supervision section. The form must be submitted to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator to acquire the appropriate approval signatures.
If you are receiving funding you must complete a Promissory Note online. You must do this each term you are receiving funding.
Tuition fees and enrolment information
Students are required to visit the WatCard website to upload their photo for the WatCard and complete the instructions on the site. The WatCard is mailed to the online students by the Centre for Extended Learning (CEL).
Remember, you will not receive credit for the courses if you are not officially registered in them by the course-add deadline. This includes the practicum.
Each student is expected to follow their MHI course sequence or consult with the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator regarding course selection each term.
Familiarize yourself with the regulations in the current online graduate calendar and check anything you are unsure of with the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator. By registering and paying fees, students assume responsibility for knowing the regulations and pertinent procedures as set forth in this handbook and the University of Waterloo Graduate Calendar. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have met coursework and other requirements to complete your degree. The Associate Director of Professional Graduate Programs, the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator and the Professional Graduate Programs Assistant are all there to assist you in this process.
Notes: Students are normally expected to maintain continuous registration, where they must register for at least one course per term, and at the same capacity (either full- or part-time) as initially registered. Failure to register and pay fees each term will mean you will have to apply for readmission. Special permission is required from the AHS Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and the University’s Dean of Graduate Studies to change your registration status from full-time to part-time (or vice versa) or to go inactive. To change your enrolment status, complete the change of enrolment status/withdrawal form found on the Graduate Studies Forms page under the Enrolment/supervision section. The form must be submitted to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator to acquire the appropriate approval signatures. Requests for inactive status will not always be approved.
University policies regarding courses
Course drop/add dates
Students may drop or add courses until the dates specified in the Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines using the online system Quest. Beginning in week seven of the term, the approval of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies is required and the Course drop/add form, available on the Graduate Studies Forms page under the Enrolment/supervision section, must be submitted the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator. Courses cannot be dropped or added nor status changed after the government reporting date indicated in the Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines.
Change of enrolment status/voluntary withdrawal
To change your enrolment status or voluntarily withdraw from the program, complete the change of enrolment status/withdrawal form found on the Graduate Studies Forms page under the Enrolment/supervision section. The form can be forwarded to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator if you are unable to visit campus to obtain approval signatures yourself. All completed enrolment status change forms must be submitted to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator by open course enrolment for the term.
Students are required to make fee arrangements based on their expected enrolment status as of the fee payment due date for each academic term.
A change in enrolment status to part-time or inactive will require repayment of certain scholarships. Repayment amounts are calculated based on the University of Waterloo tuition refund policy.
A grade of incomplete ("INC" on your transcript) indicates that a student has not completed the requirements of a particular course. University policy stipulates that an incomplete (INC) may remain on a student's transcript for at most two terms of registration, following the term in which the course was taken. Thereafter, INC's may only be extended on a term-by-term basis through a request from the School and the course instructor. If a grade has not been submitted by the end of the second term, the INC will automatically convert to FTC (Failure to Complete). This FTC grade may not be removed from the transcript except on appeal to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Such appeals would be granted only in exceptional circumstances, such as where failure to complete was the fault of the instructor and not the student. If a student is required to withdraw due to incomplete program requirements, “May Not Proceed” will be noted on their grade report. A failing grade in any course will necessitate a review of the candidate's status by the School, and may result in the requirement to withdraw from the program.
When an “NMR” (no mark reported) appears on your transcript, it means that no mark was submitted for you and it is your responsibility to check with the professor in order to have it changed to a grade through submission of a grade revision form. Interim grades are not assigned for two reasons. First, different assignments (extra credit for extra coursework) for some students in the class may be perceived as unfair. Secondly, INC’s are used to denote inability to complete the course assignments by the end of the term.
At present, you are not able to add an AUDIT course to your Quest record. You must obtain permission from the course instructor and approval from the Associate Director of Professional Graduate Programs (listed as the Graduate Officer on the form) via the Course drop/add form, available on the Graduate Studies Forms page under the Enrolment/supervision section. In addition to regular attendance in the course, the instructor has the discretion to require class participation, preparation, and sometimes completion, of assignments and/or examinations. If you find yourself in difficulty while auditing a course, you should arrange to drop the course from your schedule before the exam period. An NMR or DNW (did not write exam) cannot be given for an Audit course. Should you fail to receive an “AUD”, the course will automatically be deleted from your transcript.
Taking courses at other Ontario universities
The Ontario Visiting Graduate Student (OVGS) plan allows you to take a limited number of graduate courses at another Ontario University (Host University) while remaining registered at Waterloo. The plan allows you to bypass the usual application for admission procedures and resultant transfer of credit difficulties. You pay fees to Waterloo and are classed as a "visiting graduate student" at the Host University, where you pay no fees. The application form is available on the Graduate Studies Forms page, under the Enrolment/supervision section.
Once you have completed the printed form it is your responsibility to bring it or email a scanned copy to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator. Attach a description (e.g., calendar description, syllabus) of the course you intend to register in to your OVGS application.
The course selected must be at the graduate level and part of the student's degree requirements. You are allowed to take a course from a Host University only if Waterloo is not offering the course and you cannot audit such a course. The OVGS is not to be used for the purposes of convenience or taking courses which do not pertain to your specific graduate program.
Once approval has been granted, the Home University will credit work done at the Host University toward the student's degree program, assuming that the student obtains a suitable standing/grade. Time spent as an Ontario Visiting Graduate Student is credited to the residency requirement at Waterloo, subject to University regulations. If you wish to withdraw from a course in which you are registered as an Ontario Visiting Graduate Student, you must complete the OVGS notification of withdrawal form, on the Graduate Studies Forms page, under the >Enrolment/supervision section. It is your responsibility to notify the Graduate Studies Office at the University of Waterloo as soon as possible should you wish to withdraw; otherwise you may be assigned a failing grade for the course.
The maximum number of transferable credits shall be one-half of the course credits required for the degree. In most cases a maximum of two 0.5 credit weight courses are considered for transfer and are considered for elective credit only.
Proposed courses for transfer credit will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Students are responsible for supplying all required documentation for assessment. Transfer credits must be "unused" credits, i.e., they must not have been credited towards an earlier acquired degree. Transfer credits may be requested for senior undergraduate courses that are cross-listed as graduate level courses. Transfer credits must be specified in writing at the time of the School’s recommendation for admission. A minimum of 75% (UW converted grade) is required for transfer credit.
Documents required for transfer credit include: letter requesting the unused credit transfer with courses listed, course syllabus and transcript that shows the grade received.
Verification of illness
If you are ill or have personal problems that prevent you from submitting assignments or completing an exam you must notify your instructor and provide documentation from a physician. If you do not obtain the proper documentation you may not be permitted to write a makeup exam or hand an assignment in late. If you are ill, make sure you use the Verification of Illness form.
This form needs to be printed off the University's Health Services webpage above and filled out by your physician. If you visit any clinic other than Health Services, you must bring this form to your physician; regular doctor’s notes may not be accepted! Even if you miss an exam due to illness and have the proper supporting documentation, make sure you let the instructor know within 48 hours of missing the exam. There are very few circumstances that would exempt a student from this.
Other important policies and regulations
Degree time limits and extensions
All requirements for the MHI degree must normally be completed within the following time periods (beginning with the term of initial registration), as stipulated by the University Senate:
- Master's - Full-time: Four terms (one year and four months); Part-time: 11 terms (three years and eight months).
- Transitional students - time limits depend on their particular program requirements.
You will receive notification if you are nearing your time limit and must complete a Petition for extension of program time, available on the Graduate Studies Forms page, under the >Enrolment/supervision section, indicating your plan of completion. This form must be signed by you, the Associate Director of Professional Graduate Programs, and in some cases the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, AHS. You have until the registration deadline to complete this form. Students who register, but fail to have their extensions approved may be asked to withdraw. Students who have been granted an extension of time limit are considered to be on probation, and can be asked to withdraw from the program if progress is not deemed to be satisfactory.
- Count each active term of registration as one (both full-time and part-time students). Do not be confused by 0.5 on the registration record for part-time students.
- If a student changes status to FT from PT at any time in their graduate program they will be counted as a FT graduate students with the FT time limit.
Student advising and monitoring of progress
There are a number of people in the School of Public Health and Health Systems that are happy to assist you with any questions you may have throughout the program.
If you are seeking advice regarding career possibilities, or your practicum placements, the Associate Director of Professional Graduate Programs is available.
If you are seeking advice on program trajectories, course schedules, or program policies, you can direct your questions to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator, who you can contact by in person, over the phone or by email.
Annual progress reports
According to AHS graduate policy, the progress of graduate students is to be monitored and evaluated annually during the Spring term. The mechanism for this is an annual progress report in which you will summarize your progress to date and state your plans for your remaining milestones. The annual progress report presents an opportunity for you to meet (virtually or otherwise) with the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator to review your progress and develop a plan with projected timelines for the realistic completion of all degree requirements, including discussion of practicum queries. Feedback from the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator and the program leader is intended to assist you in completing your degree as efficiently and realistically as possible.
Early in the Spring term, you will receive an email from the MHI program requesting that your annual progress report be submitted via the drop box in the MHI Orientation and Program information site in Learn.
Integrity in research and scholarship
The school is committed to the highest standards of integrity in research and scholarship by faculty, students, and staff. Please refer to the University Policy on Intellectual Property Rights, Policy #73, for more information on ownership of scholarly work.
Maternity, adoption and parental leave
Graduate students who wish to take maternity, adoption or parental leave may register for an inactive status (full leave – three terms inactive) or a part-time status (partial leave). An inactive status must be approved by the Associate Director of Professional Graduate Programs and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. The choice of registration status depends primarily on the amount of time you expect to be able to devote to your academic program during the leave, and must be made in consultation with the Associate Director. Where external agencies are involved (as with visa students or those holding external scholarships) you should consult these agencies before applying for part-time or inactive registration. If you are approved to register “inactive”, you pay no tuition fees; if you register part-time, you pay part-time tuition fees. During an inactive term your degree time limits are extended appropriately.
Full-time graduate students are eligible to receive a bursary during a full or partial maternity, adoption or parental leave provided that they have been registered as full-time graduate students at Waterloo for at least two academic terms prior to the start of the leave. Part-time graduate students are eligible to receive a bursary during a full four-month maternity, adoption or parental leave provided that they have been registered as full- or part-time graduate students at Waterloo for at least two academic terms prior to the leave, and are receiving financial support (teaching assistantship, preceptorship, scholarship, or bursary) during the academic term preceding the leave.
Guidelines can be found in the Birth and parental leave bursary form on the Graduate Studies Forms page, under the Awards/bursaries section. For additional bursary details see the University of Waterloo Graduate Student Birth & Parental Leave Bursary page. Students are advised to consult the Assistant Director Graduate Financial Aid & Awards at an early stage in planning for a maternity, adoption or parental leave. Refer to the Graduate Studies - Our people page for current contact information.
Policies on student grievance and academic disciplines
A student who has a question or complaint is advised to follow normal administrative channels:
- Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator
- Associate Director of Professional Graduate Programs
Do not go directly to the School Director, AHS Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and/or University's Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. The Associate Director will consult these individuals as required, using the school graduate affairs committee for advice as needed. Student appeal procedures are set out in Policy 70- Student Petitions and Grievances.
If you have a grievance or question about an academic decision, you are strongly encouraged to first speak informally with the course instructor and/or Associate Director. Policy 71 - Student Discipline should also be referred to. Policy Guidelines of Graduate Student Support and other policy excerpts are listed in the document regarding University of Waterloo policies, procedures and committees which was included in the offer of admission package sent to you. Please refer to the Secretariat and Office of General Counsel website for University of Waterloo policies, procedures and guidelines.
Financial policies and assistance
All students should refer to the funding and awards for professional graduate programs webpage.
All full-time graduate students are encouraged to apply for the Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS); any students enrolled in a graduate program at an Ontario university are eligible. Students should apply for this scholarship in the early Fall (September and October deadlines) for the following academic year (new applicants will automatically be reviewed for the OGS scholarship). The President's Graduate Scholarship (PGS) is available for all OGS recipients. Students awarded an OGS should be prepared to accept a teaching assistant (TA) or research assistant (RA) position within the school in order to receive their departmental PGS top-up.
MHI students who are interested in preceptor positions should inform the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator of their interest. Preceptor positions represent online teaching assistant (TA) positions for SPHHS professional graduate program courses. Students who wish to become preceptors are required to undergo training, which occurs during the Spring term. Training is online and lasts five weeks. The workload is approximately two to three hours per week. Students who complete the training are expected to be available to precept for at least one course in future terms. To be a preceptor, students must have previously taken the course in question or have sufficient relevant knowledge and experience. In awarding preceptor positions, the first priority must be to award a student who can function effectively within a particular course. The questions of student need and overall excellence are secondary to the departmental teaching requirement. There is no guarantee that students will receive preceptor positions.
The rate of pay is the same for all preceptor positions. For preceptor positions, an average of ten hours per week of work are expected. For students classified as full-time the maximum you can work, according to Provincial Government Policy, is ten hours per week on average. Please refer to Waterloo's guidelines on graduate student support and policies, procedures and guidelines.
Procedures for getting paid
If you are receiving a preceptor assistantship, you must complete a number of forms through Human Resources - Information for graduate students (e.g., income tax, direct deposit) before you will be paid. If you complete this process before the cut-off date, you will be eligible to receive pay for the first pay period at the end of September. Your pay will be deposited directly into your bank account on the last Friday of each month. Please contact Human Resources if you have questions concerning these forms.
Note: There have been major revisions to the policies regarding international students and working on-campus. Please review the Changes to the International Student Program from the Government of Canada and visit the International Students Experience - Work Permit page.
Other sources of financial support
Bursaries are available for students in financial need through the Graduate Studies Office. Additional details and applications are available on the Graduate Studies Forms page, under the Awards/bursary section, including bursaries for maternity, adoption and parental bursaries, as well as day care. Some bursaries are restricted to full-time students who are Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) provides various types of assistance based on financial need to eligible students. Applied Health Sciences also has an Emergency Loan Fund for graduate students experiencing short-term financial difficulties. Other Waterloo awards and External awards are also available to graduate students in AHS.
Master of Health Informatics graduate program and degree requirements
The MHI program, offered by the School of Public Health and Health Systems, provides advanced training in core competencies for public health informatics professionals. The program builds on the School’s unique strengths in the areas of health behaviour, population health promotion, and environmental health sciences. The course-based curriculum is designed to enable health informaticians to manage emerging issues in public health, health care systems, and clinical health services. The program is ideal for both recent Bachelor’s degree graduates and those established in the field who wish to upgrade their training. The goal of the program is to prepare a new generation of public health informaticians, who are skilled in improving the integration and efficiency of health services and systems to better protect health, prevent illness, and help people to achieve a healthier life for themselves and their communities in Canada and around the world.
The MHI program offers students the choice of either a full-time or part-time program of studies. Full-time students must complete their degree within four terms. Part-time students must complete their degree within 11 terms. Courses are offered in all three terms of each academic year. For all students, continuous registration for each term of the program is required. Students are permitted to transfer from part-time to full-time studies and vice versa with approval from the Associate Director of Professional Graduate Programs and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.
This graduate degree program will be delivered entirely in a self-directed, online education format, with course materials distributed over the internet.
Access to reliable high-speed internet service is highly recommended in order to have the best experience with our online courses.
Note: The University of Waterloo's MHI program is an applied professional degree program that is course-work and practicum based. This is not a research degree that would necessarily prepare students for doctoral studies.
The University of Waterloo's MHI program comprises mainly a course-based curriculum, which includes seven required core lecture/seminar courses (12 weeks each), plus two elective courses. In addition, students must complete a supervised 12 week (420 hour) Professional Experience Practicum. Workplace sites may include hospitals, government agencies, community-based organizations, integrated delivery systems. There is no research/thesis option.
Note: Full-time students must complete Health Studies (HLTH) 611, HLTH 612, HLTH 613, HLTH 615, HLTH 616 and HLTH 637 prior to the start of the practicum, HLTH 640. Part-time students will most likely complete all courses except for HLTH 616 and HLTH 637 before beginning their practicum.
While in the program students should expect to spend 12-15 hours per week on each course. In general, full-time students will take three courses per term while part-time students will take one course per term. For full-time students that means they will spend up to 45 hours per week on coursework.
The online delivery format will provide opportunities for the students to interact with the content, with faculty members, and with each other. Courses will incorporate small group discussions, as well as opportunities for larger discussions. In addition, online course features may include reflective activities, animated content delivery, and self-evaluating quizzes.
The minimum course requirements are nine one-term (0.5 unit weight) graduate courses (seven core courses and two electives), and a practicum (1.5 unit weight).
A passing grade for individual Master of Health Informatics courses is 70% or higher. The MHI program also requires students to maintain a cumulative average of 75% in the MHI program required courses (in fulfillment of degree requirements). A failing grade in any course will necessitate a review of the candidate's status by the department, and may result in a candidate being required to withdraw from the program.
For a listing of required courses, elective options and program sequence, refer to the Master of Health Informatics - Curriculum page.
Thoroughly review course descriptions in the graduate studies academic calendar before selecting courses.
- For HLTH course descriptions, visit the Health Studies graduate course calendar
- For CS course descriptions, visit the Computer Science graduate course calendar.
- For STAT course descriptions, visit the Statistics graduate course calendar.
In addition, students should check the term availability before selecting courses. For course availability, please check the Schedule of Classes for Graduate Studies.
Course sequences are available for viewing. These sequences are subject to change but can be used as reference for planning your future terms. Full-time and part-time students can find their course sequence on the Master of Health Informatics - Curriculum page.
Other elective courses
Students may take other graduate courses offered within the SPHHS, visit the Health Studies and Gerontology graduate course calendar for course descriptions, although these courses are not offered via online education. With permission, students may choose from course offerings in Statistics and/or Computer Science. Visit the Computer Science graduate course calendar and Statistics graduate course calendar for course descriptions. Alternatively, students may take other graduate elective courses (and from other universities) subject to approval. In such cases, students must provide a course description and other required information about the course. Students should not enrol in courses listed as undergraduate courses, except in special cases and with approval from the Program Leader. Suitability of an elective course for credit toward the MHI degree requirements is determined by the Associate Director of Professional Graduate Programs.
Students must also complete an Intention to graduate/program completion form, available on the Graduate Studies Forms page, under the Convocation/thesis submission section, and send it to the Professional Program Coordinator during the final term of the program.Professional experience practicum
Description and objectives
The MHI program provides opportunities for students to gain relevant practical experience by completing a 12 week (420 hour) supervised practicum, working within settings such as hospitals, government agencies, community-based organizations and integrated delivery systems. Students with prior health informatics experience may choose to complete their workplace opportunity in an area less familiar to them, which will broaden their scope of practice. Students who have significant professional experience in health informatics will have the option of replacing the standard professional experience practicum with a research practicum (either with a faculty member or an external agency).
The practicum is a mandatory component of the MHI degree program. Students must complete the prerequisite courses (i.e., all core/required courses with the exception of HLTH 616 and/or electives depending on full-time or part-time status of the student) before starting their practicum. Students work closely with the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator and a field supervisor from the practicum site to set up specific arrangements. Students may take one elective course (if necessary) while completing the practicum term. The practicum is generally completed on a full-time basis (35 hours per week) over a minimum of 12 weeks. In addition, students must have at least one hour per week of face-to-face interaction with their supervisor(s). Part-time practicum placements may be arranged over two terms (Fall and Winter terms); however, students must log a minimum of 420 hours of work over the two terms. It is possible for part-time students to complete their practicum within their current place of employment. Specific arrangements need to be discussed with the Practicum Advisor/Instructor before proceeding with this type of arrangement. Tele-work for part of a practicum placement may be considered in exceptional circumstances.
The supervised health informatics practicum is intended to provide the student with an opportunity to apply course learning in a public health or health system setting. The placement may involve identifying, designing, and managing informatics solutions. The practicum should allow the student to continue to improve public health informatics competencies in information management, information technology, health services and health systems, management processes, communication, and analysis and evaluation. In addition, the practicum experience will provide an understanding of the practical realities of public health informatics and expose students to other investigations and collaborative working relationships.
A Practicum Learning Contract stipulating practicum objectives, and work to be completed and evaluated to meet these objectives, must be jointly approved by the student, the student's field supervisor and the practicum course instructor/advisor. Students may also need to complete an MHI Practicum Agreement form. A written report by the student (for the host site), together with a letter (interim and final evaluation) from the field supervisor, are used by the practicum instructor to evaluate student performance. This course is graded on a Credit/Non-credit basis.
Practicum placements are to be arranged by the individual students. Students can access a list of previous practicum placements on the MHI Orientation and Program information site in Learn. They will also receive on-going information from the School throughout their studies regarding potential employers seeking students. The practicum is subject to approval by the Practicum Instructor. The practicum will have its own course site in LEARN where students can communicate with each other about their practicum experiences and share insights.
Responsibilities (student, course instructor, practicum field supervisor)
Students need to actively engage in finding and negotiating an appropriate practicum to meet their learning and career development needs. The MHI program will assist by identifying practicum opportunities, but it is up to students to secure a placement. This means taking the initiative to contact potential supervisors, as well as working throughout the program to make sure your oral and written communications skills are adequate to succeed in the application process.
The student is expected to:
- Work with the practicum course instructor, as necessary, to clarify personal and professional learning needs.
- Choose/develop a practicum of interest and make contact with the practicum supervisor.
- Work with the practicum supervisor to establish a Learning Contract prior to the start of practicum.
- Seek ethics approval, if required, for any of the practicum-related projects.
- Once agreed to by the practicum supervisor, provide the Learning Contract to the practicum instructor for review and approval. The practicum instructor should have an opportunity to see and comment on the draft Learning Contract before the practicum supervisor signs it – principally to avoid extra steps for the student. Submit the signed Learning Contract on the HLTH 640 practicum course site in LEARN.
- Conduct activities to meet learning objectives, service expectations and other deliverables of the Learning Contract. Identify, if applicable, where practicum is not meeting learning needs.
- Meet professional standards of conduct, including respect for the confidentiality of health or other information on individuals that they may encounter as part of their practicum experience, as well as respect for the confidentiality of agency information. Responsible behaviour regarding attendance and interest in agency activities is expected.
- Participate in a mid-placement interview and complete the Interim Evaluation Form with your practicum supervisor. Submit the completed and signed form to the drop box in the HLTH 640 practicum course site in LEARN.
- Participate in a final evaluation interview and complete the Final Evaluation Form with your practicum supervisor. Submit the completed and signed form to your practicum instructor via the drop box in the HLTH 640 practicum course site in LEARN.
- Complete the Student Evaluation of the Practicum form and submit it to the to the drop box in the HLTH 640 practicum course site in LEARN.
All the forms can be found in the MHI Orientation and Program Information community site in LEARN. Students must enrol in the HLTH 640 course via Quest. Access to the course will be available at the beginning of the registered term and will remain open until the end of the spring term (if the student enrols in the course in the fall the course will stay open for the winter and spring term). All the forms are also available on the MHI Orientation and Program information site in Learn.
The practicum course instructor has responsibility for overseeing the academic aspects of the student’s practicum to ensure that it will meet the learning needs of the student and the academic requirements of the University of Waterloo MHI program. Your course instructor is available to help you in identifying your professional and career objectives, clarifying your learning objectives and narrowing your choices among potential practicum sites (you will first make the initiate contact with potential supervisors, so this won’t be needed in every case).
The instructor is expected to:
- Assist the student, as needed, to clarify and identify realistic goals and specific learning objectives for the practicum and may assist with the identification of potential practica.
- Advise on the development of a Learning Contract.
- Review and approve the Learning Contract before the start of the practicum to ensure that it meets academic and quality expectations (to avoid spending two weeks of a fairly short practicum working on your Learning Contract!).
- Be available to address any concerns or difficulties experienced during the practicum. (May attend the interim and/or final evaluation at the request of the student or practicum supervisor).
- Review, evaluate and provide feedback on any project that is part of the evaluation of the student.
- Review your mid-term evaluation and provide advice if there are areas where you need to improve.
- Inform the Associate Director, Professional Graduate Programs if there are warning signs that you might not pass practicum (so that we can work together to develop a plan to help you).
- Review your practicum supervisor’s evaluation and your practicum deliverable(s) on completion of practicum and sign off, indicating that you should receive academic credit for your work.
- Review and sign off on the student’s evaluation of the practicum experience via the PHS 641 practicum course site in LEARN.
The practicum field supervisor ensures the necessary practice and learning environment for the student and provides ongoing guidance, support and supervision.
The practicum supervisor is expected to:
- Identify potential projects and/or learning experiences in the host organization.
- Negotiate with the student the details of the Learning Contract (e.g., assist the student in identifying reachable, appropriate and meaningful learning objectives and outcomes). Ideally, this should be done in person with the student. This would provide an opportunity to discuss the educational and practice needs of the student, expectations and needs of the host organization, expected activities and responsibilities, project deliverables, any relevant policies or procedures related to the practicum site, and stipend‐related issues.
- Review and sign off on the Learning Contract prepared by the student (which normally would have been developed in collaboration with the practicum instructor).
- Make necessary arrangements to provide for space, computer, phone, supplies, etc.
- Provide orientation to the workplace, organizational structure and functions.
- Provide access to information, individuals and work teams, and support opportunities for exposure to ongoing activities (e.g., board and other relevant meetings, field visits, investigations, seminars), as well as identifying additional opportunities for public health practice.
- Meet with the student regularly (suggested minimum supervisory time is one hour weekly) to review progress and provide feedback and direction. Ideally this would be in person, but interaction by phone or other electronic means can be used on occasion when it is not feasible to meet in person.
- Suggest supplementary readings or projects to enhance the experience.
- Discuss student needs with the practicum instructor as necessary.
- Provide a mid‐placement evaluation of the student’s progress and discuss it with the student.
- Provide a final evaluation of the student’s progress and discuss it with the student.
For some practicum placements, the host sites pay students a salary or stipend. Students who are not receiving income from their host site or employer are eligible for the MHI Practicum Award. A limited number of awards will be available each year. To apply for the award, students must complete the Practicum Award form (available on the MHI Orientation and Program Information LEARN website) and submit it to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator by the first day of the academic term in which the practicum will take place, unless otherwise specified. Earlier submissions are strongly encouraged because of the limited availability of awards. The award cannot be submitted until a Learning Contract has been initiated with the host site.
Students must also complete the Work/Education Placement Agreement if participating in an unpaid practicum placement. The form must be submitted to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator before beginning the placement. This form ensures you have insurance coverage in case of an accident. The forms are available on MHI Orientation and Program Information LEARN website.
Additional information about the University of Waterloo
Student representation on committees
At the start of each school year and/or when there is an opening, MHI students will be invited to join the following committees:
- MHI Program Committee – one student
- MHI Evaluation Advisory Committee – one student
- SPHHS School meetings – one student and one alternate
Nature of commitment varies across the positions. On-campus attendance is required.
Graduate Student Association and the Graduate House
All graduate students are automatically members of the Graduate Student Association. The Graduate House is situated in the centre of campus and serves lunches and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at moderate prices.
There are a number of libraries on campus. The Dana Porter Library (LIB), located in the centre of the campus, is the main library.This location offers resources for the arts, humanities and social sciences, and houses government publications, Special Collections & Archives and the Geospatial Centre. The Davis Centre (DC) Library, located on the east side of campus, offers resources for engineering, mathematics and science. Additional library locations can be found on the Library - Locations page.
Parking on campus
You have two options for parking on campus:
- park in any of the visitor parking lots and pay each time you enter
- pay by the term in selected lots (depending on the availability of space)
For additional details on each option and more, see the Parking Services website.
Living accommodations for graduate students
As with most university cities, housing is at a premium. Although not necessary, if you choose to stay near campus, the earlier you can arrange accommodation, the closer you will be to the University and the cheaper the rate. Off-campus housing, located in the Student Life Centre (SLC), provides lists of apartments and rooms to rent in the area. You should consult this source as soon as possible. Another good source of information are current graduate students who, based on experience, may be familiar with upcoming vacancies. Graduate and family housing is available on-campus in Columbia Lake Village - North (CLN).
Centre for Career Action
The Centre for Career Action provides assistance to students graduating with advanced degrees who are seeking employment. Types of employment and the organizations and agencies compatible with individual students' needs and abilities are discussed during personal interviews with career advisors. Group workshops are held on topics such as job-hunting techniques, resume writing and successful interviewing. Each year, several hundred employers are invited to conduct on-campus interviews for all graduating students. Post-graduate students may participate in interviews during the Fall and Winter terms. Offices are located on the first floor of the William M. Tatham Centre for Co-operative Education & Career Action (TC).
The University of Waterloo bookstore is located in South Campus Hall (SCH). It stocks required textbooks and reference materials; more than 30,000 titles of non-required books; engineering, art and optometry supplies; stationery and crested merchandise.
Normal bookstore hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with extended hours at the beginning of each term, which are posted to its website. Online purchases can be made and delivery arranged.
Student Success Office
The mandate of the Student Success Office (SSO) is to provide and facilitate strategic student support for academic and personal success. The SSO offers many helpful resources, such as the writing centre, which is part of a community of Writing Centres and writing-focused organizations that can assist you with your written skills. In addition, the SSO also offers a wide variety of online resources that can help you improve your academic performance, improve study skills, manage stress, prepare for your future and much more.
International Student Experience
The International Student Experience aids international students through its special programs and by providing information on many aspects of living in Canada, such as immigration regulations, community services, personal problems, legal problems, cultural adjustment and orientation to university. Programs include host families, English conversation circles, English tutors, temporary housing, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) preparation courses and United States visa service.
Registered students can receive medical care, nursing care and counseling services at Health Services. A roster of family doctors attends Health Services daily and physician is on 24-hour call seven days a week for students.
MHI students do not pay the health insurance premiums that are shown in the tuition fee schedules. MHI students do not have health coverage through the University of Waterloo.
International students are eligible to enrol in the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). This plan can cover either the student alone, one dependent or more than one dependent at different costs. To apply for dependent coverage the student must apply for coverage within 30 days of arriving in Canada. After this time the student must seek coverage from another private insurer or be responsible for his or her own medical costs. The Graduate Studies Office cautions that medical costs are very high, for example, one day in a Canadian hospital can cost as much as $2,000.00. Information regarding this plan can be obtained from the Graduate Studies Office.
Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE)
The Centre for Teaching Excellence provides workshops and other sessions that help prepare graduate students for the teaching aspect of an academic career. For more information visit the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) - Support for graduate students.
Please visit the Professional graduate programs - About to graduate to review relevant information about program completion, convocation and receiving your diploma. You must complete an Intention to graduate/program completion form, available on the Graduate Studies Forms page, under the Convocation/thesis submission section. In order to prepare for Spring or Fall convocation, this form must be submitted before the government reporting date indicated in the Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines to avoid paying tuition fees for that term.
Upcoming term tuition fees for graduating students
Submission of the Intention to graduate/program completion form (available on the Graduate Studies Forms page, under the Convocation/thesis submission section) impacts tuition refunds and/or cancellation of your Finance account. The School processes your intention to graduate form shortly after you submit it and you will be contacted if there are any issues that might stand in the way of your graduation. The Graduate Studies Office then processes intention to graduate requests in the beginning of September (for Fall convocation). Until the Graduate Studies Office processes your graduation information, your Quest account might ask that you pay tuition fees for the upcoming Fall term. If you have submitted your intention to graduate form by the August 31 deadline, please ignore the tuition fees request for the upcoming term - they will disappear as soon as the Graduate Studies Office processes your graduation request.
Important dates and deadlines
For a detailed and up-to-date list of academic term deadlines, holidays and University closures, please refer to the Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines.
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
- The SPHHS Graduate Coordinator or Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator will send out an email concerning this scholarship at the beginning of September.
- The departmental deadline for completed applications is mid-October.
These dates are subject to change. For additional information, refer to the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) page.
Annual progress report
The Annual Progress Report (APR) is mandatory; it is required by the University of Waterloo. The form is available on the MHI Orientation and Program information site in Learn. Students will submit the completed report to the Drop Box in Learn. The School deadline for completed reports is May/June.