Required Courses

The following courses are required to complete the HIS PhD program:

  • Completion of a doctoral-level course offered by FIMS or the Faculty of Health Sciences that demonstrates alignment with program objectives. If no courses are suitable, the student and their primary supervisor will undertake a guided study course, which would fulfill this requirement
  • Completion of one of the Faculty of Health Sciences' PhD-level advanced research methods courses
  • Completion of two elective courses

HIS Course Directory

Please use the filters below to reset the page to display required, elective, and other types of Health Information Science (HIS) courses, on a term-by-term basis.

"All Courses" is a list of the entire HIS course catalogue offered by FIMS. Other courses may be available from the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) .

Not all courses are offered in every term or every year.

PhD Directed Reading in HIS

Additional Courses

Health Information Science students are required to take a research methods course. The intent is to gain additional skills in the type(s) of methodology the student may be planning to use in their thesis research. Possibilities for elective courses are also wide-ranging, as they span multiple programs and faculties.

Research Methods courses from Health Sciences

More details on Faculty of Health Sciences courses are available at:

HS 9602a – Qualitative Research Methods in Health Sciences
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the qualitative paradigm and its current and potential applications in health and rehabilitation sciences. The philosophical assumptions that form an integral part of the qualitative paradigm will be examined, as will the assumptions underlying various qualitative schools of inquiry (e.g., grounded theory, phenomenology, ethnography, action research, narrative). Key considerations in the critical evaluation and design of qualitative studies within several schools of inquiry relevant to health and rehabilitation sciences will be addressed. Students will have opportunities to engage in critical analysis of qualitative research; discuss ethical issues related to the conduct of qualitative research; and engage in the process of proposal development within a group. 0.5 credit course

HS 9707a (formerly HS 9600) – Linear Regression in Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
This course is an introduction to linear regression for health sciences, examining simple regression, multiple regression, the use of categorical independent variables, and the fitting of interaction terms. Although formulas are given and calculations are presented, the principal orientation of the course is conceptual rather than mathematical. 0.5 credit course. 
Please note: HS 9601 is recommended as a precursor to this course

HS 9708 – Advanced Topics in Qualitative Research
This course will give learners the opportunity to learn how to rigorously and systematically analyse qualitative data in the form of interview transcripts from a study on women's experience of aging and osteoporosis. The course will begin with a review of the three key qualitative approaches or research designs used in the health sciences (grounded theory, qualitative case study and phenomenology). Next, we will highlight how the approaches are shaped by specific research paradigms (post-positivism, interpretivism/constructivism or critical theory). A key concept for this course is that by combining a qualitative approach with a paradigm will produce nine sub-approaches, each with its own guidelines on what constitutes an appropriate research questions, how to identify and select data sources and types, determining sample size, analyzing/interpreting data and presenting findings. Learners will be expected to select one qualitative sub-approach as the framework for their work in this course. To assist learners carry out their analysis projects, we will use the Qualitative Decision Points Matrix© to guide the research decisions they make. By the end of the course, learners will have designed and completed a rigorous and systematic secondary data analysis project and present their work orally and in writing. The grading format consists of observable contributions to group learning (15%), two papers (60%) and an oral presentation (25%). HS 9602 is recommended as a precursor to this course

HS 9709b – ANOVA Based Analysis in Health & Rehabilitation Sciences
This course will explore ANOVA based methods of data analysis, including t test, ANOVA, ANCOVA, Split-plot ANOVA, Factorial ANOVA, and MANOVA. 0.5 credit course. Please note: HS 9601 is recommended as a precursor to this course

HS 9730b – Philosophical Foundations of Qualitative Research
This course provides an introduction to philosophical foundations of qualitative research with a particular focus on interpretive and critical paradigms of inquiry. Assumptions about what constitutes knowledge (epistemology), the nature of existence (ontology), and means for gaining knowledge (methodology) within different knowledge paradigms are considered. Students examine philosophical and theoretical perspectives that underpin various schools to qualitative inquiry and identify perspectives relevant to the coherent and rigorous design of research. Within this course, students explore perspectives that relate to their own research interests; expand their familiarity with the specialized terminology adopted in qualitative research; consider approaches to representing, writing and publishing qualitative research; and investigate implications for the design and evaluation of qualitative research in health and social care. This course is highly recommended for doctoral level students completing a qualitative research dissertation, and is open to highly motivated master's level students wishing to deepen their research knowledge.

Research Methods courses from other Faculties

Taking courses outside of FIMS and FHS normally requires special permission. They may also have additional requirements or rules, depending on the home Faculty/Department. This is a list of examples, but is not an exhaustive collection.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Epidemiology 9530B - Health Economics
This course is designed to give students a solid background in health economics and its application in the field of health and medicine. The course objectives are to provide the student with an understanding of the theoretical economic foundation of health economics and methods for the economic evaluation of health interventions. The topics to be covered are: microeconomic tools for health economics, production of health, demand for healthcare and health insurance, market failure in the health sector, measures of costs, measures of health outcomes, discounting, cost-minimization analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis, cost-benefit analysis, uncertainty in economic evaluation, decision-analytic models, Markov models, sensitivity analysis, and Monte Carlo simulation. This course will also provide the student with a hands-on experience in conducting economic evaluation using TreeAge Pro software package. Prerequisites: Some background in Statistics (e.g., E9509a: Principles of Biostatistics) or instructor’s permission.

Epidemiology 9531B - Methods and Issues in Program and Policy Evaluation in Health and Human Services
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the major issues in the fields of health and human services program and policy evaluation. Students will develop an understanding of the theoretical frameworks used for evaluative research, validity issues in evaluative research, and the multi-methods, theory-driven approach to evaluation. Students will also develop an understanding of the relative value of different designs that can be applied to evaluation research. Students will have the opportunity to develop their theoretical, methodological, and interpretive skills through various examples and applications and through the development of a proposal on an evaluation question of interest to them. Half course; one term.

Epidemiology 9547B - Survey Research Methods
This course provides an overview of the procedures involved in designing and executing health surveys. Topics to be covered include sampling techniques (addressed at a conceptual level and with basic sampling statistics), data collection strategies with their advantages and disadvantages, questionnaire construction, survey implementation, sampling and non-sampling errors, and several other practical aspects of conducting health surveys. Prerequisite: introductory statistics course; Epidemiology 9509a. Half course; one term.

Epidemiology 9550B - Population Health Surveillance
This course covers in-depth methods of measuring and analyzing mortality and morbidity at the population level. The material is presented within the contexts of international and community health. Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9551a and one of Epidemiology 9509a or Epidemiology 9510a or equivalents are highly recommended. Half course; one term.

From the Department of Sociology

*4441/9331 Population Research Methods  
This course introduces students to the field of population studies and the tools used by demographers to study the size, structure, and dynamics of human populations. It covers the collection, evaluation, and analysis of demographic data; census and vital registration systems; morbidity, disability, mortality, fertility, and migration; life table construction; and population projections.  We will also discuss how demographic methods can be used to study other topics, such as education, health disparities, disability, and prison populations, in order to provide an understanding of how these methods are applied outside the field of traditional demography. This course is open to students from other disciplines.

*4400/9001 Introduction to Multivariate Statistics
After a review of basic statistics, the course introduces students to popular multivariate techniques such as multiple regression, analysis of variance, path analysis, and logistic regression. The emphasis will be on using these techniques in social science research and on practical applications with the software SPSS.

9007 Advanced Multivariate Statistics  
In this course we will cover the most common statistical techniques in the practice of sociology - linear regression, logistic regression, and survival analysis (event history analysis). We will discuss the uses of these techniques and the assumptions that we make when using them. Throughout the course, we will discuss how to develop an answerable research question, how to choose the best modeling strategy for that question, and how to interpret the results of quantitative analysis in light of relevant hypotheses. There will also be an applied portion of the class held in the computer lab, where we will talk through basic issues that come up when working with data, such as missing data; saving data, code, and output; and making tables. The last portion of the course will focus on writing about multivariate analysis - communicating questions, methods, and results clearly.

From the Department of Psychology

(Note their rules: Non-Psych grad students must contact course instructors who may wish to know the student's background before allowing enrollment. In addition, non-Psych grad students should indicate their interest in a Psychology course by sending an email message to Val Van Domelen at Only Val or the student's graduate program assistant may officially add the course to the student's academic record, if the course is not full and the instructor permits. *Full=Please do not contact the course instructor.)

Psychology 9545A. Test Construction and Survey Design
This course is intended for psychology graduate students who need to develop test instruments such as questionnaires, short performance scales, observation schedules, interview checklists etc. for their current research or practice. Students should know in advance what variables/factors they are intending to measure (e.g., resiliency, motivation, well-being) and be familiar with the relevant research and assessment issues. Students should also have completed at least a foundational course in psychometrics as well as intermediate statistics and be familiar with statistical packages such as SPSS. It is expected that students will complete the basic scale development and have sufficient data to demonstrate the psychometric integrity and usefulness of the measure. While each project will stand alone, common themes such as item writing, reliability and validity, and norming will be discussed in the larger group, creating a richer and collaborative/supportive learning opportunity. Students interested in applying to this course require the approval of the instructor and should meet with him/her to determine the 'goodness of fit'. Half course (0.5); one term.

Psychology 9040A. Scientific Computing 
The goal of this one-semester graduate seminar is to provide you with skills in scientific computing - tools and techniques that you can use in your own research. We will focus on learning to think about experiments and data in a computational framework, and we will learn to implement specific algorithms using a high-level programming language (mainly Python although we will see some C and R code as well; Matlab is also a possibility if you want to substitute on your own.) Learning how to program will significantly enhance your ability to conduct scientific research today and in the future. Programming skills will provide you with the ability to go beyond what is available in pre-packaged analysis tools, and code your own custom data processing, analysis and visualization pipelines. Half course (0.5); one term.

Additional Electives

NOTE: PhD students are strongly urged to take the MHIS required course "Interdisciplinary Issues in HIS" in their first term of study; this will count as an elective course to give students a sense of key topics and issues in HIS, and also offer the opportunity to interact as a cohort, including with MHIS students.

Electives listed here have been selected by HIS faulty members as potentially relevant to HIS students. However, courses from other programs, or other courses from FIMS and FHS may be equally or more relevant, depending on the student’s research interests. Students should discuss elective options with HIS faculty member(s), and/or the HIS Program Coordinator, and may wish to consult other Graduate Program Calendars for courses. Courses may not be offered every year.

Health Information Management (PATH9110G)
Instructor: Professor Candace Gibson
Present day healthcare relies on the sharing of health information across integrated hospital, health facility, and clinical information systems. We will look at the flow of data and health information across the care continuum, the uses and users of health data and health information, and various information systems in current use and how these systems may be integrated from a technological and management perspective. Various aspects of implementation of complex health information systems will be explored including security and privacy of health information, change management, adoption of innovation and new technologies, organizing effective teams, project management for the implementation of health information systems.

Health Policy Development & Analysis I and II (FHS-Nursing 9685 and 9686)
Instructor: Professor Sandra Regan
These courses focus on understanding policy development and analysis within the context of Canadian health policy. N9685 focuses on understanding the policy process and exploring philosophical, historical, political and social foundations of Canadian health policy including legislation, healthcare financing and contemporary debates. N9686 focuses on application of the knowledge gained in N9685 to critically analyze the interests, ideologies and institutions that influence Canadian health policy development and implementation. Topics may include primary health care reform, Aboriginal health, mental health, homecare, globalization, and equity and social justice in health policy. In both courses, policy frameworks and perspectives grounded in health and knowledge paradigms (post-positivist, interpretive and critical) are utilized.

Critical and Transdisciplinary Studies in Health Professional Education (FHS9711) OR
Interprofessional Education (Nursing 9670) (FHS-Nursing /Health Professional Education)

This course (FHS9711) provides a critical examination of issues and research affecting the education of health professionals across the disciplines. The interdisciplinary and client-centred focus generates thought about pedagogical and curricular issues embedded within topics such as illness and marginality, the politics of health care policy, transcultural health care, disability culture, gender and the politics of care. The course will interest graduate students in health science and education programs who are interested in the health professions.

Health Professional Education Current Topics, Perspectives, Research (HHS 9610)
Course Manager & Instructor: Dr. Doreen Bartlett
This seminar course investigates current topics in health professional education and is reading intensive, interactive, and dialogic. Faculty members and students from across the field join the course to facilitate discussions on special topics and current research in the field. Topics may include but are not limited to: principles of adult and lifelong learning, clinical reasoning, critical thinking, reflective practice, client/family centred practice, communities of practice, applied ethics, evidence-based practice, relational learning and mentorship, collaboration and teamwork, interprofessional education, critical perspectives in professional education, humanities in health professional education, leadership, and learning organizations. 0.5 credit course

Analyzing Media Messages (FIMS-LIS9865)
Instructor: Professor Jacqueline Burkell
Media messages are powerful and ubiquitous, both shaping and framing our understanding of the world. Media messages are also becoming increasingly important in health communication: not only are public health messages disseminated through  the media, and consumers learn a great deal about health promotion, health care, and treatment of illness and disease through the news and entertainment media, In this course, we will examine and implement qualitative and quantitative methods to systematically explore how health issues are presented in the media, focusing on issues such as organ donation, infectious disease (e.g., SARS, H1N1), and sexual health behaviour. In this project-based course, we will explore qualitative and quantitative approaches to analyzing media messages, including traditional content analysis and qualitative media analysis. Students will learn how to implement quantitative and qualitative content analyses of media messages included in written materials (e.g., news articles, print ads), audio/visual media (e.g., movies, TV programs, commercials, photographs), or interactive media (e.g., games, online applications). Examples of the various approaches to media analysis will be reviewed and discussed. Each student will then identify a specific content analysis problem and design and carry out a content analysis to explore the problem, producing a paper based on their project that is suitable for journal submission as their final assignment for the class.

Intellectual Property, Licensing, and the Regulatory Environment of Health (Law 5863D)
Instructor: Professor Margaret Ann Wilkinson
Primary Faculty & Program: Law, Intellectual Property, Information and Technology Law; JD, LLM, MLS
The course will discuss the health sector from the business perspective: who are the players in the emerging Canadian economy of health? what role do the public and private sectors play and what determines those roles? what role does intellectual property play in the delivery of health services? How does a player in the health sector maintain the necessary "freedom to operate" in light of patent, licencing. research and personal data protection imperatives? is is possible to reconcile provincial and federal initiatives affecting health? what controls do patients have in the health sector? This course does not cover negligence or tort in the context of health care.

Health and Health Care in Rural and Remote Settings in Canada (FHS-Nursing N639a)
Instructor: Professor Beverly D. Leipert
Using a determinants of health perspective, this course examines health and health care challenges, strengths, and solutions in rural and remote Canada, and implications for rural and remote health care theory, practice, education, and research. Course content emphasizes geographical, gender, historical, sociocultural, economic, and political variables that affect health and health care in rural and remote Canada. Multidisciplinary and international content, and research and nursing practice experience of the professor in rural and remote settings, including the innovative photovoice methodology, will enrich course content. 0.25 credit course

Consumer Health Information Sources and Services (FIMS LIS9320)
This course covers the concepts of health and medicine and the organization of biomedical research and consumer health literature; information seeking by people with health concerns, issues in health communication; specialized vocabulary and forms of medical literature, organization of information services for health consumers and methods for evaluating them.  HIS students should meet with the course manager regarding prerequisites for this course.

Information Policy (FIMS LIS9130)
The course introduces information policy concepts and issues with which library, archival, and information science practitioners need to be familiar. The course will consider information policy; the policy process and players; individual policies which influence information creation and access in Canada; and the role of librarians in policy development. HIS students should meet with the HIS Coordinator or FIMS-HIS Liaison regarding prerequisites for this course.

Information Equity (FIMS LIS9133)
This course focuses on issues and critical perspectives surrounding equitable access to information, the relationships between information and social change, and social equity and justice in the information professions. Libraries and information services are framed within larger social, political, cultural, and economic contexts and power structures. Course topics include issues such as the digital divide and information poverty within both North American and global contexts. HIS students should meet with the HIS Coordinator or FIMS-HIS Liaison regarding prerequisites for this course.

Information Visualization (FIMS-LIS9721)
Instructor: Professor Kamran Sedig
Computer-based information visualization systems provide an interface between the human mind and information. This course introduces key theoretical and practical concepts involved in this interaction i.e., communication between people and computers, so that students should be able to design and evaluate visually-based information systems and pursue further research in this discipline. Prerequisites: Knowledge of database software and basic HTML coding.

Technological Society: Inequality, Power, and Social Networks (FIMS-LIS9862)
Instructor: Professor Anabel Quan-Haase
Technology has become such an intrinsic part of our everyday lives in the West that we need to carefully consider its social, economic, and political implications. The aim of this class is to examine the intersection of technology and society by systematically analyzing technology design, implementation, and use. The course provides a solid understanding of the role of technology in society (historically and theoretically) and gives students the tools they need to embark on a critical and in-depth inquiry of our technological society. Key topics include privacy, social networks, inequality, digital skills, and digital creativity.

Health and Medical Journalism - Analysis and Practice (FIMS-JOUR9740)
Course Manager: Professor Meredith Levine
This course combines media criticism, discussion of a broad range of health and medical issues, and journalism practice. It will explore the role of Big Pharma in agenda-setting, some of the key debates in health and medical research, and ethical and other professional challenges inherent in reporting these stories. HIS students should meet with the Course Manager or FIMS-HIS Liaison regarding prerequisites for this course.

The Context of Health Care (FHS Nursing N9619)
Economic, political and social factors at provincial, national and international levels influence health care systems and health professions within it. This interdisciplinary course explores the critical leadership challenges thereby created and cultivates skills for meeting these challenges through seminar and group work. HIS students should meet with the HIS Coordinator or FHS-HIS Liaison regarding prerequisites for this course.

Demography of Aging (HS 9640)
Course Manager & Instructor: Dr. Marita Kloseck
This course examines critical issues related to global aging, including demographic and population trends, global burden of disease, evolving models of care, the complexities of aging, and contextual factors such as the environment, health system design, and health system capacity. The course is designed to facilitate critical thinking regarding health policy considerations driven by an aging population. 0.5 credit course HIS students should meet with the HIS Coordinator or FHS-HIS Liaison regarding prerequisites for this course.

Epistemologies of Practice in Professional Education (HS 9710)
Course Manager & Instructor: Dr. Anne Kinsella
Reflective practice is perhaps the most popular theory influencing professional education in the last 20 years. This course critically examines the historical and contemporary discourses surrounding the theory of reflective practice and the implications for professional education. The course also considers the ways in which reflection, critical reflection, reflective practice, and dialogue shape the cultivation of professional knowledge in health and human service professions. Reflection in this course is examined along a continuum that includes narrative and aesthetic modes of reflection, intentional cognitive reflection, embodied or tacit reflection, critical reflection and critical reflexivity as they relate to professional knowledge. Attention is drawn to epistemologies of practice in light of traditional divides between theory and practice, and to the role of dialogue in knowledge exchange within communities of practice. 0.5 credit course HIS students should meet with the HIS Coordinator or FHS-HIS Liaison regarding prerequisites for this course.