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Interdisciplinary Concentration in Bioinformatics

biology department

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:

Core Requirements

  • BIOL 4200 Introduction to Bioinformatics

  • One of the following:
    • BIOL 5240  Computational Foundations of Bioinformatics
    • BIOL 6160  Graduate Bioinformatics

  • BIOL 2300 Biostatistics or MATH 4426 Probability or CSCI 2244 Randomness and Computation

Elective Requirements

Any one additional biology course at the level of BIOL 2000 or above.
BIOL 2000 is recommended. Students with high school AP Biology may take BIOL 3040 (Cell Biology), BIOL 3190 (Genetics & Genomics), BIOL 3150 (Intro to Genomics), BIOL 4140 (Microbiology), or BIOL 4400 (Molecular Biology) instead.

Any three computer science courses at the level of CSCI 1101 or above. CSCI 1101 and CSCI 1102* are recommended. Upper-level courses well-suited to the concentration include:

  • CSCI 2227 Introduction to Scientific Computation
  • CSCI 3345 Machine Learning *
  • CSCI 3346 Data Mining *
  • CSCI 3383 Algorithms *

*CSCI 1101 is a pre-requisite.

One elective course may be substituted by a semester of research in bioinformatics.  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 BIOL 2000 or above, and the BIOL 4200, BIOL 5240, or BIOL 6160 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 CSCI 2244 (Randomness and Computation).

Example Course Choices for a Biology Major

A biology major wishing to complete the bioinformatics concentration would typically choose BIOL 4200 and BIOL 5240 (or BIOL 6160) 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 CSCI 1101, CSCI 1102, BIOL 2300, and any additional CS-course at a level above CSCI 1101. 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 BIOL 4200, BIOL 5240, a probability/stats course, and one biology elective. Typically, this elective would be BIOL 2000, though students with high school AP Biology might take BIOL 3040 instead. This elective could also be substituted by a semester of bioinformatics research in a lab.