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An Exciting New Opportunity!

Combining Practice with Theory


The Start IT initiative is based on the Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) concentration. It features professional work experience while studying HIT. The knowledge acquired though practice enhances the lessons learned in the classroom. The potential for work experiences also brings the opportunity for financial assistance.

The Start IT initiative was originally conceived to provide financial aid to dislocated workers without a computing background seeking to start a career in HIT. It received recognition in an article published in the Milwaukee BizTimes.

A key aspect of the initiative was an informal partnership between government agencies, healthcare providers, and Marquette. There were two powerful outcomes from this connection between the academic community and HIT organizations:

  1. Healthcare providers using our graduate students receive high-value assistance to achieve meaningful use of HIT.
  2. Graduate students see the theory of HIT through the lens of practical application while receiving financial assistance to offset tuition expense.

The HIT Background

Healthcare providers began a journey to meaningful use of HIT systems a few years back. The resulting growth in the demand for HIT knowledge amplified signals of a shortage in the workforce. The Start IT academic initiative took up the challenge to provide knowledgeable workers. We provided a Boot Camp to enable a quick start and added work experience during study to make the impact immediate. We learned that we could leverage the shortage of workers to provide financial compensation for professional work assignments. We saw that we could define a second Boot Camp experience for those with a computer science background. Through this Boot Camp and our professional placements, students may enter graduate studies in HIT with hope of financial assistance and a promising career.

Expanding Financial Assistance

Start IT continues to provide a career path for dislocated workers, but we are expanding the Start IT initiative. The result serves those with or without a computer science background and can provide financial assistance for all.

  1. We renamed our prior boot camp the Career Change Boot Camp and added a HIT Boot Camp for those already trained in computer science. This boot camp qualifies them for entry level professional positions in HIT.
  2. We are aggressively using community contacts to place our graduate students into HIT professional positions while they are attending classes as full-time students.

Sample assignments include assisting in the implementation of electronic health records and connecting medical operations to health information networks. These assignments provide financial aid for 18 credits per academic year and can fully cover the tuition expense of a two-year 36-credit MS in Computing degree. Placement is always dependent on the decision of the healthcare provider, but the reputation of our program and the qualifications of our students have led to successful placements.

Acting as HIT professionals, students serve in key roles while still early in their careers

  • Implementation Manager
  • Trainer
  • Technical/Software Support Staff
  • Practice Workflow & Information Management Redesign Specialist
  • Implementation Support Specialist

To prepare students to act in these roles, the MS program offers two flavors of a Boot Camp experience.

  1. The online HIT Boot Camp equips students with a computer science background to serve as HIT professionals. This offering is self-paced, completely online, and typically involves a few hundred hours of study.
  2. For students without the required computer science background for graduate study in computing, we bridge their gap with the Career Change Boot Camp. This classroom offering combines the basics of computing (programming, data structures, and algorithm analysis) with the online HIT Boot Camp. It enables a college graduate from an accredited university with no special experience in computing to begin the pursuit of our MS degree. This boot camp is the equivalent of eight undergraduate semester hours. It requires payment of tuition fees (with the exception for dislocated workers qualified through the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and returning military veterans).

The admission and entry process is different for these two options.


  Career Change Boot Camp HIT Boot Camp
Background Little academic or work experience in computing or healthcare. Qualified in three areas: programming, data structures, and algorithms
Application process Apply to the Marquette Graduate School for Temporary Status and provide Start IT with a Statement of Interest in HIT. Apply to the Marquette Graduate School for Degree Status and provide Start IT with a Statement of Interest in HIT.
Admission Temporary status in the MS in Computing program (valid for one term) and invitation to the Career Change Boot Camp. Degree status in the MS in Computing program and invitation to access the HIT Boot Camp learning materials.
Matriculation Attend the Career Change Boot Camp. After completion, matriculate into the degree program in the following term. Begin zero-credit, zero-cost HIT Boot Camp. May begin classes while studying the online Boot Camp materials.
Scope of study HIT professional skill, programming, data structures, and algorithms HIT professional skills
Certification AHIMA CHTS PRO (formerly HIT Pro) or CAHIMS certification is required to complete the Boot Camp successfully
Professional Experiences Working with local healthcare providers, we have been successful in finding placements for our Start IT students. This may begin in the first term after certification. Students interview with HIT organizations for placement in work experiences.
Part-time Half-time professional experience can be augmented in the final term when a full-time Practicum becomes an option.
Practicum A full-time professional assignment/internship during your final term in the program receives six credits and contributes to your financial aid.





Summer Research Experience

The Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science hosts a Summer Research Experience (REU) for Undergraduates. This program provides undergraduates with an intensive, faculty-mentored, summer research experience in the areas of applied mathematics, high-performance computing, statistics, ubiquitous systems and mathematics education. Learn more