Interdisciplinary Concentration in Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field of study combining aspects of Biology, Mathematics, and Computer Science. Undergraduates enrolled in degree programs in any one of these three disciplines can obtain the designation of a Concentration in Bioinformatics by completing the following courses:
BI 420 Introduction to Bioinformatics
Note: Students have the option to substitute a semester of Undergraduate Research (in the labs of Profs. Clote or Marth) in the place of BI 420. If this option is used, no other course can be substituted for research.
BI 524 Computational Foundations of Bioinformatics or BI 616 Graduate Bioinformatics
BI 230 Biostatistics or MT 426 Probability
Any one additional biology course at the level of BI 200 or above. BI 200 is recommended. Students with high school AP Biology may take BI 304 (Cell Biology), BI 305 (Genetics), BI 315 (Functional Genomics), BI 414 (Microbiology), or BI 440 (Molecular Biology) instead.
Any three computer science courses at the level of CS 101 or above. CS 101 and CS 102* are recommended. Upper-level courses well-suited to the concentration include:
- CS 127 Introduction to Scientific Computation
- CS 345 Machine Learning *
- CS 346 Data Mining *
- CS 383 Algorithms *
*CS 101 is a pre-requisite.
One elective course may be substituted by a semester of research in bioinformatics (e.g., in the labs of Profs. Clote or Marth) or another suitable laboratory. Students wishing to pursue this option should see Kristen Adrien in the Biology Department (Higgins 355) for course approval.
Courses that count towards a student's primary major can be used to simultaneously count towards the bioinformatics core or elective requirements as well. For example, the basic requirements for the biology major will automatically fulfill the required elective course requirement at the level of BI 200 or above, and the BI 420, BI 524, or BI 616 courses can double count to fulfill biology electives. Computer science majors will naturally fulfill the three CS course requirement in their primary coursework. Computer science students taking the B.S. option will also naturally fulfill the Probability requirement through MT 426.
Example Course Choices for a Biology Major
A biology major wishing to complete the bioinformatics concentration would typically choose BI 420 and BI 524 (or BI 616) as electives within the standard biology major. Beyond this, the student would be required to take four additional courses to complete the Bioinformatics Concentration. Typically, these courses would be CS 101, CS 102, BI 230, and any additional CS-course at a level above CS 101. This additional course could also be substituted by a semester of bioinformatics research within a lab.
Example Course Choices for a Computer Science Major
A computer science major wishing to complete the bioinformatics minor would naturally complete the three CS courses as part of their major requirements. Beyond this, the student would be required to take four additional courses. These would be BI 420, BI 524, a probability/stats course, and one biology elective. Typically, this elective would be BI 200, though students with high school AP Biology might take BI 304 instead. This elective could also be substituted by a semester of bioinformatics research in a lab.