PhD Program in Bioinformatics &
Systems Biology

Program Overview

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology is an emerging and rapidly expanding field where biological, computational, and quantitative disciplines converge. The field encompasses the development and application of computational tools and techniques for the collection, analysis, management, and visualization of biological data, as well as modeling and simulation methods for the study of biological systems. Fundamental to modern day biological studies and key to the basic understanding of complex biological systems, bioinformatics & systems biology is impacting the science and technology of fields ranging from agricultural and environmental sciences to pharmaceutical and medical sciences. The research requires close collaboration among multi-disciplinary teams of researchers in quantitative and life sciences, and their interfaces.

The Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology is offered as a university-wide interdisciplinary graduate program with scientific curriculum that builds upon the research and educational strength from departments across the Colleges of Engineering (CoE), Arts & Sciences (CAS), Agriculture & Natural Resources (CANR), and Earth, Ocean & Environment (CEOE). The Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB) administers the Ph.D. program in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology and coordinates with the individual Departments involved in the program.

The Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology will train the next-generation of researchers and professionals who will play a key role in multi- and interdisciplinary teams, bridging life sciences and computational sciences. Students will receive training in experimental, computational and mathematical disciplines through their coursework and research. Students who complete this degree will be able to generate and analyze experimental data for biomedical research as well as develop physical or computational models of the molecular components that drive the behavior of the biological system.

Admission Requirements

The following are the admission requirements to the Ph.D. program in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology:

  • A completed University of Delaware Graduate Studies application. Students may apply to the program prior to arranging a primary faculty advisor; however, all students in the program will need the agreement of a Program Faculty member to serve as the primary faculty advisor before admission into the program;
  • A bachelor's degree at an accredited four-year college or university, with a minimum grade average of 3.0 on a 4.0 system;
  • Official, up-to-date transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate programs;
  • Applicants may have undergraduate degrees from biological, computational, or other disciplines. However, applicants are expected to have scholarly competence in mathematics, computer science and/or biology;
  • The following GRE scores are competitive: Quantitative: 650, Verbal + Quantitative: 1200 if taken prior to August 1, 2011 or Quantitative: 151, Verbal + Quantitative: 307 if taken after August 1, 2011. No GRE subject test is required;
  • International student applicants must demonstrate a satisfactory level of proficiency in the English language if English is not the first language. International applicants must have an official TOEFL score of at least 600 on paper-based, 250 on computer-based, or 100 on Internet-based tests. TOEFL scores more than two years old cannot be considered official. Alternatively, IELTS can be accepted in place of the TOEFL. The minimum IELTS score is 7.5 overall with no individual sub-score below 6.0;
  • Three letters of recommendation are required. At least one letter must be from a professor, other letters can be from employers or others who have had a supervisory relationship with the applicant and are able to assess the applicant's potential for success in graduate studies; and
  • Applications must also include a resume outlining work and academic experience, as well as an application essay consisting of the answers to the following questions:
    1. What educational background and scientific research or employment experience prepare you for this degree program?
    2. What are your long-term professional objectives?
    3. What specific attributes of the program make you feel that this degree is appropriate to help you achieve your professional objectives?

Applicants must, at the time of admission, have a Primary Faculty Advisor who has agreed to direct and advise a program of study. The Graduate Program Committee must approve all advisor selections. It is the expectation of the Committee that graduate advisors will have active research programs with funding at a level sufficient to support graduate student training.

Applicants will typically have an M.S. degree in related field. Direct admission to the Ph.D. program immediately after a B.S. degree will only be considered for exceptionally qualified candidates, as determined by the Graduate Program Committee. However, these candidates will have to complete an additional nine credit hours to fulfill course requirements associated with the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology M.S. curriculum.

Application Process

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis as and when applications are complete. Complete applications received by February 15th for Fall admission and August 15th for Spring admission will have the best opportunity for admission. If space remains, we will continue to review complete applications received prior to April 15th for Fall admission and October 15th for Spring admission.

For additional information, please email

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 15 hours of coursework, plus 6 credit hours of seminar, 6 credit hours of research and 9 credit hours of doctoral dissertation (summarized in Table below). Students who are admitted directly after a B.S. degree will be required to fulfill the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology M.S. core curriculum by completing an additional 9 credit hours as prerequisites (for a total of 24 coursework credits) in the following areas: Database Systems, Statistics, and Introduction to Discipline. In addition, if students entering the program with an M.S. degree are lacking equivalent prerequisites, they also will be required to complete courses in these three areas; however, these courses may fulfill the elective requirement in the Ph.D. program, if approved in the program of study. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and courses with a grade of C or below will not be counted towards the degree.

Credit Requirements Credits
A. Bioinformatics & Systems Biology Core 9
B. Prerequisites 3-9
C. Electives 6
D. Seminar 6
E. Research 6
F. Doctoral Dissertation 9
Total Number of Required Credits 36-45
A. Bioinformatics & Systems Biology Core Courses 9 credits
Bioinformatics Select one
BINF644 Bioinformatics 3
Systems Biology
BINF694 Systems Biology I:
Experimental Techniques and Bioinformatics Analysis of Omics Data
BINF695 Systems Biology II:
Computational Modeling of Processes in Cells and Biological Systems
B. Prerequisites 3-9 credits
Introduction to Discipline (select one)
BISC609 Molecular Biology of the Cell 3
BISC654 Biochemical Genetics 3
PLSC636 Plant Genes and Genomes 3
MAST697 Bioinformatics Programming for Biologists (link) 3
CISC637 Database Systems 3
Biostatistics (select one)
HLPR632 Health Science Data Analysis 3
HLPR667 Methods in Epidemiology 3
STAT656 Biostatistics 3
C. Elective Courses 6 credits
Recommended Electives
CISC841 Algorithms in Bioinformatics 3
CISC844 Computational Biomedicine 3
CISC879 High Performance Computing and Data Analytics 3
CISC889 Advanced Topics in Artificial Intelligence 3
CHEG621 Metabolic Engineering 3
ELEG671 Mathematical Physiology 3
EGGG667 Technical and Scientific Writing 1
MAST607 Writing Papers in the Marine Sciences 3
UAPP648 Environmental Ethics 3
UAPP650 Values Ethics and Leadership 3
BUAD840 Ethical Issues in Global Business Environments 3
BINF815 Ethics, Business and Communication 3
Other Electives
ANFS670 Principles of Molecular Genetics 3
ANFS/PLSC671 Paradigms in Cell Signaling 3
BINF650 Protein Modifications: A Proteomics and Bioinformatics Approach 3
BISC600 Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine 3
BISC602 Molecular Biology of Animal Cells 3
BISC612 Advanced Cell Biology 3
BISC615 Vertebrate Developmental Biology 3
BISC631 Practice of Science 3
BISC641 Microbial Ecology 3
BISC645 Bacterial Evolution 3
BISC656 Evolutionary Genetics 3
BISC665 Advanced Molecular Biology & Genetics 3
BISC671 Cellular and Molecular Immunology 3
BISC679 Virology 3
BISC682 Bacterial Pathogens: Molecular Mechanisms 3
BISC833 Special Topics in Biology 3
CHEG620 Biochemical Engineering 3
CHEM624 Principles of Mass Spectrometry 3
CHEM645 Protein Structure and Function 3
CHEM646 DNA-Protein Interactions 3
CHEM649 Molecular Biophysics 3
CISC621 Algorithm Design and Analysis 3
CISC681 Artificial Intelligence 3
CISC683 Introduction to Data mining 3
CISC882 Natural Language Processing 3
CISC886 Multi-Agent Systems 3
CISC887 Internet Information Gathering 3
CISC888 Machine Learning 3
CPEG/ELEG657 Search and Data Mining 3
ELEG633 Image Processing 3
ELEG652 Principles of Parallel Computer Architectures 3
ELEG655 High-Performance Computing with Commodity Hardware 3
ELEG679 Introduction to Medical Imaging Systems 3
ELEG680 Immunology for Engineers 3
MAST616 Methods in Molecular Biology 3
MAST618 Marine Microbial Ecology 3
MAST623 Physiology of Marine Organisms 3
MAST625 Microbial Physiology and Diversity 3
MAST634 Marine Molecular Sciences 3
MATH607 Survey of Scientific Computing 3
MATH611 Introduction to Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing 3
STAT608 Statistical Research Methods 3
STAT615 Design and Analysis of Experiments 3
STAT619 Time Series Analysis 3
STAT670 Introduction to Statistical Analysis I 3
STAT671 Introduction to Statistical Analysis II 3
D. Seminar 6 credits
BINF865 Seminar 1
E. Research 6 credits
BINF 868 Research (until Successful completion of preliminary exam) 1-6
BINF 964 Pre-Candidacy (until Successful completion of candidacy exam) 1-6
F. Dissertion 9 credits
BINF969 Doctoral Dissertation 1-9


Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology • 15 Innovation Way • Newark, DE 19711 • USA
Phone: 302-831-0161 • E-mail:

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