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The Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics (CHOICE) Institute

HEOR Data Science Degree Option

The CHOICE Institute is now offering currently enrolled PhD students Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) the opportunity to pursue a specialization in Data Science (DSO). Students will explore the fundamentals in computation, machine learning, visual techniques, study designs, and statistics to address quantitative challenges in HEOR. They will develop the latest data analysis skills essential to advance research and improve the efficiency of decision-making processes.  The option is based on a framework developed by the University of Washington eScience Institute.


The HEOR Degree Option is spread across the following five domains, including four courses:

  1. Programming Skills/Software Engineering
  2. Machine Learning
  3. Data Visualization
  4. Capstone in HEOR
  5. Study Design/Biostatistics/Data analysis


This specialization requires the completion of 14 credits that comprise of the following mandatory courses and their domains:

Required Courses for HEOR Degree Option in Data Science

Domain Course #, Name, & Credits Description
Programming Skills/ Software Engineering *CSE 583: Software Development for Data Scientists

(4 CR) 

For non-CSE majors 

Provides a foundational understanding of computation and practical data analysis. I am learning to code in Python to solve real-world scientific problems.
Machine Learning BIOST 546: Machine Learning for Biomedical and Public Health Big Data

(3 CR) 


Fundamentals of machine learning (supervised and unsupervised); bias/variance trade-off; cross validation; classification techniques; Taught in R.
Data Visualization CSE 512:  Data Visualization

(4 CR) 


CSE 412: Introduction to Data Visualization

(4 CR) 

Explores visual techniques for investigating patterns in data, summarizing, and efficiently presenting statistical results. Taught in R.
Capstone in HEOR HEOR 552: Application of Machine Learning HEOR (3 CR) This course will integrate the above material and apply it to HEOR.
BIOST = Biostatistics; CSE = Computer Science & Engineering; HEOR = Health Economics and Outcomes Research 

*CSE 160: Fundamentals of Programming may be taken prior to CSE 583 but is an undergraduate course and no credit will be awarded.

Suggestions for (Optional) Additional Courses

Domain Course #, Name, & Credits Description
Study Design,  

Biostatistics and Data Analysis

Highly recommended: BIOST 540

Option: BIOST 536, others; HSERV 524

BIOST 544: Intro to Biomedical Data Science

(4 CR; optional) 

Fundamentals of study designs; fundamentals of epidemiology; fundamentals of probability and statistics; learning in detail about model functional forms and assumptions; designing studies to answer specific scientific questions and selecting functional forms to answer those questions most appropriately.

BIOSTAT 544 covers four critical aspects of data science: 1) data acquisition/common data models, 2) data transformation and integration (wrangling), 3) interactive and dynamic exploratory data analysis, 4) data visualization analytics. Taught in R.

Data Science Seminar  CHEME 599: Topics in Data Science

(1-3 CR) 

Provides broad overview and discussion of issues across scientific disciplines
Research Ethics in the Data Sciences BIOSTS 532: Research Ethics in the Data Sciences

(2 CR) 

Explores ethical issues related to the computation, interpretation and communication of statistics, and provides students with knowledge and resources to practice statistics ethically.
Database Management  CSE 544: Principles of Database Management

(4 CR) 

CSE 414: Introduction to Database Systems

Fundamentals of relational modeling and query languages (SQL), relational algebra and optimizations, and database architecture.
BIOST = Biostatistics; CHEME = Chemical Engineering; CSE = Computer Science and Engineering


To declare the DSO, the doctoral student must meet the following requirements:

How to declare

To declare the DSO, complete the following form and submit to the Graduate Program Manager at Students must declare this option no later than one quarter prior to their intended quarter of graduation.