Precision Health FAQs

1. Can you provide a brief overview of the program?

Precision Health Info Session - September 15, 2019

The graduate certificate in Precision Health is a program for all UM graduate students and encompasses a combination of courses and seminars that complement and expand the student’s primary area of study, allowing them to apply their knowledge in order to improve patient and population health.

The 12-credit certificate program will allow students who are currently study different fields related to precision health to gain an introductory knowledge into various competencies that fall under the broad umbrella of precision health. These 12 credits include a minimum of 10 graduate credit hours of coursework and 2 credits of precision health related seminars in your home school or other departments that align with precision health. The key precision health competency areas include:

  1. Ethical, legal, and social implications of precision health
  2. Data science & predictive analytics
  3. Biosocial Determinants of Health/Policy/Economics
  4. Human Genetics in Health & Disease/Molecular Medicine
  5. Bioinformatics/Computational Genomics
  6. Consumer Health Informatics and Healthcare Systems Engineering

2. Who is eligible to participate in the program?

The certificate is open to all PhD, MS, MA, M. Engineering, and masters or doctoral level graduate students enrolled at the University of Michigan. In addition to Rackham graduate students, this includes students who are in graduate or professional degree programs not administered by Rackham such as an MPH, MSW, PharmD, DDS, JD, MBA just to name a few examples. 

3. What is the application deadline to apply? 

August 1 for fall term; December 13 for winter term. 

4. Is there an application fee to apply? 

Rackham students: $10 

Non-Rackham students: $75 

International Studnets $90 

5. Is it possible to complete the program in one academic year?

It is currently possible to complete the program in one academic year. Requirements can be met in 2-4 semesters, depending on when you complete the precision health related seminar/journal clubs in your home school/other departments that align with precision health. 

The seminar can be taken for either 0.5 credit or 1.0 credit each semester.

Below is a breakdown of how students can meet their seminar credit requirements. Breaking it down this way will allow the 2 credit seminar requirement to be met in one academic year if need be. Students attend the end of year symposium one time only.

0.5 credits = attendance at 2 seminars, submission of 2 reflections + end of year symposium

1 credit = attendance at 4 seminars, submission of 4 reflections + end of year symposium

2 credits = attendance at 8 seminars, submission of 8 reflections + end of year symposium

6. When will the Precision Health Seminar be held?

Seminar will be held in tandem with the University of Michigan Precision Health Seminars. The seminars will be listed on the Precision Health website as they become available. Scheduling speakers is currently underway and due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, as speakers are secured, they will be added to the website.

Precision Health students are required to attend 8 seminars. We highly encourage students to attend the Precision Health seminar series, but they can also attend Precision Health related seminars/journal clubs, the LHS Collaboratory, etc. in their home department or other departments with prior approval from the Program Director. In addition, opportunities will arise that we will email to students that will fulfill the seminar requirements. Following each seminar, you will be required to submit a 1-page, double-spaced reflection focused on comparing/contrasting the seminar topic to your interests in Precision Health.

7. Do you have to take courses from each of the competencies?

No, you do not have to take courses from each of the 6 competencies; however, you do need to complete coursework in at least 2 of the 6 and make every effort to include all precision health domains (Discovery, Treatment, and Health) in your course work.

8. What is the policy on double-counting coursework credits towards the certificate?

Double-counting refers to the practice of using a limited number of credit hours to fulfill the requirements of two separate Master's degrees or certificate programs. It is a valuable opportunity that allows students to achieve dual credentials with fewer total credit hours than if each program were pursued independently.

It is crucial to understand the parameters of double-counting within our programs: Double-counting primarily applies to Master's degrees, certificates, and professional doctorates that are credit-hour based. PhD programs, being research-focused, typically do not involve double-counting.

  1. As part of the Rackham Graduate College rules, no more than one-sixth of the credits required for a master’s degree may be double-counted with the Graduate Precision Health Certificate. It cannot exceed half the certificate, and there is no double counting between two certificates.
  2. Double-counting is typically permitted only between two Master's degree programs or between a Master's degree and a certificate program.
  3. Each department or program may establish its own limits on double-counting, ensuring that the integrity of individual degree programs is maintained.
  4. To preserve program integrity, at least half of the minimum required hours for a degree or certificate must be completed exclusively within that program, for precision health certificate, this means you will not be able to double count more than 6 credit hours.

NOTE: Double-counted rules are irrelevant to PhD students who do not seek a master’s degree.

We encourage you to familiarize yourselves with these guidelines and prepare your dual degree form in advance. Should you have any questions or require further clarification regarding double-counting or degree requirements, please don't hesitate to reach out to your academic advisor and/or the program manager.

9. How many credits are needed to complete the certificate?

10 credits course work 

2 credits of precision health related seminars/journal clubs

10. How are courses graded?

Students must meet the grade requirement of B- for the required coursework and must make satisfactory progress toward their degrees and have a minimum Rackham cumulative grade point average (GPA) of B (3.0 on a 4.0 point scale) to maintain satisfactory academic standing. In addition, the LHS 600 seminar course is graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

11. Can I substitute a seminar from my home school or other department to count towards the required 2 credits of precision health seminar?

Yes, with prior approval from the Program Director. You will also be required to submit a 1-page, double-spaced reflection focused on comparing/contrasting the seminar topic to your interests in Precision Health.

12. As a new graduate student at UM, may I apply immediately or do I have to wait until my first semester grades are in?

As a first term graduate student, you are not eligible to apply until your grades are posted indicating a minimum GPA of 3.0.

13. What types of students apply to the certificate program?

Students from a wide variety of programs enroll in the certificate program such as those from Health Informatics, Industrial and Operations Engineering, Learning Health Sciences, Cancer Biology, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Biomedical Engineering and Genetic Counseling. See Current Students section on our website.

14.  What are potential career paths?

A certificate in precision health will put you at the forefront of the scientific and professional workforce because of the experience you will gain in diversity. As the health sciences continue to embrace the team science model, it is become even more important that our next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals have a broad understanding of the different fields associated with precision health. Thus, professionals with multiple skill sets will be needed to move this field forward.

As such, the curriculum for the certificate was chosen to introduce students from disparate fields to new concepts that are beyond their current field of study but are directly related to precision health. This will help to stimulate imaginative thinking among faculty and students as they work in these fields.

That said, potential career paths are vast and encompass a broad, multidisciplinary spectrum of capabilities that range from expertise in the discovery and preclinical stages to clinical development and settings. Careers in biology, immunology, bioinformatics, genetics, cellular and computational biology, clinical laboratory science, data analysis, and business will all be at the forefront of the precision health job market.