Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics

Thesis and Capstone Options

Students in the Master of Science Bioinformatics degree program who complete the degree without an emphasis, or with a Clinical Research or Computational emphasis may choose to develop either a Master’s Thesis or a Capstone Project. Both options require students to conduct original research under the guidance of a coordinating committee, produce a final report of their project, and give an oral, public presentation defending their methodology and findings.

Students completing the degree with a Genomics emphasis are required to develop a Master’s thesis.

Developing the Master’s Thesis

The UMKC School of Graduate Studies governs the format of the Master’s Thesis. In order to complete the thesis requirement for graduation, students must meet the SGS specific requirements. Click here to read about format and submission guidelines.

After completing required and elective coursework for the Master of Science in Bioinformatics degree program, students who plan to complete a Master’s Thesis will enroll in 6 credit hours of MEDB 5599, Research and Thesis. These hours may be taken in one semester or split between two (or more), and will be guided by decisions made in the Agreement Between Research Advisor and DBHI Graduate Student form. Click here to read through the agreement template.

The Thesis research project should apply informatics concepts in a practical (real-world) scenario. In consultation with their research advisor, and after a comprehensive review of the available literature, students will formulate a research question or hypothesis that will guide their project.

Developing a Master’s Capstone Project

The Master’s Capstone Project allows students to demonstrate their mastery of core competencies without completing a traditional, long-form thesis. Students will enroll in three credit hours of MEDB 5595, Capstone Experience, and work with a supervisory committee to determine a unique research project with various final products based on emphasis area and interest. For clinical research questions, the student will prepare a literature review addressing the content area, assist in the collection or analysis of data which may answer the question and provide a report with recommendations. The report should have a writing component, but may be the form of a poster presentation. For informatics questions, the student may be asked to follow a similar strategy or may be asked to develop and/or apply computer solutions to the problem. Students completing the Capstone Project will need to enroll in an three additional credit hours of coursework.


Evaluation of the final Thesis or Capstone Project will be based on how well students demonstrate their ability to:

  1. perform statistical analysis
  2. generate a research hypothesis
  3. propose, conduct, and report research.
  4. apply knowledge and skills in biomedical informatics.
  5. communicate scientific information in writing and through oral presentation.

Students completing a Master’s Thesis or Master’s Capstone Project will receive guidance and evaluation from a Master’s Thesis or Capstone Committee. Students are responsible for the creation of their own committees, which must include a chair (that will serve as the student’s research advisor) and two other faculty members. The committee chair must be a member of the UMKC Graduate Faculty. Full-time students should pick a thesis chair and propose a topic by the end of their first year. Often the student’s faculty advisor is a natural choice for their committee chair, but that is not required. Students should communicate with their faculty advisor about their options for committee chair as soon as possible.

Committee members will use the following forms for final evaluations: