The MS degree prepares students for advanced research. The Computational Sciences Concentration allows students with strong quantitative sciences backgrounds to gain knowledge and research experience in developing computational methods and bioinformatics tools and databases for the study of biological systems. The Life Sciences Concentration allows students with strong biological backgrounds to gain knowledge and research experience in applying bioinformatics methods, tools and databases as an integral approach to life science research. The BICB-MS graduates will have solid knowledge and research experience to pursue further study towards a PhD or other professional degree such as MD, MBA or law, or a research career in academia, industry, or government agencies.

The Master’s degree requires 31 credits of course work and must include 15 credits of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology core courses, 3 credits of Ethics, 6 credits of Elective and 1 credit of Seminar.

BICB-MS (31 Credit Hours Total)
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology Core15 Credits
Ethics Core3 Credits
Electives6 Credits
Seminar (3 semesters)1 Credit

Up to six credits of MS Thesis must be used to meet the degree requirements. The University requirements for master’s thesis shall apply to the thesis in this degree and shall be supervised by the Thesis Faculty Advisor.

Thesis (6)
Thesis (6)BINF 869 Master’s Thesis (1-6)

Up to six credits of Special Problems can be used to meet the degree requirements. The Special Problems credits must be related to the program objectives in bioinformatics and computational biology, and approved by the Graduate Program Committee.

Non-Thesis (6)
Non-Thesis [Select Two]Additional Electives (1-6)
BINF 666 Special Problems (1-6)

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Core Courses

Students must take 15 credits of breadth courses, one course in each of the following areas:

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Core (15 Credit Hours)
BioinformaticsBINF644 Bioinformatics (3)
Systems Biology
[Select One]
BINF694 Systems Biology I (3)
BINF695 Computational Systems Biology (3)
[select one]
BINF640 Databases for Bioinformatics (3)
CISC637 Database Systems (3)
[select one]
STAT656 Biostatistics (3)
STAT611 Regression Analysis (3)
Intro to Discipline
[select one]
Computational Sciences Concentration
BISC609 Molecular Biology of the Cell (3)
BISC654 Biochemical Genetics (3)
PLSC636 Plant Genes and Genomes (3)
Life Science Concentration
BINF690 Programming for Bioinformatics (3)

Elective Courses

Students must take two courses (6 credits). Students are encouraged to explore graduate courses (600-level or higher) in other areas such as electrical engineering, mathematics, linguistics, statistics, and business and economics.

See Elective courses

Ethics Courses

Students must take one of the following ethics core courses (3 credits)

  • PHIL655 The Ethics in Data Science and AI
  • BUAD840 Ethical Issues in Global Business Environments
  • PHIL648 Environmental Ethics
  • UAPP650 Values Ethics and Leadership


Students must take three semesters of seminar (two 0 credit; one 1 credit) and give a presentation in their final semester.

Seminars (1 Credit Hour)
SeminarBINF 865 Seminar (0-1)

Master’s Thesis

Up to 6 credits of Master’s Thesis (BINF869) must be used to meet the degree requirements. The master’s thesis shall be supervised by the Thesis Faculty Advisor. Students will prepare and present a research proposal to their Thesis Committee for review and approval of the proposed research project. Following completion of the research outlined in the proposal, the MS degree candidates will prepare a written thesis according to the guidelines set forth by the Graduate College. A thesis defense, preceded by a seminar, will be held. The student’s Faculty Advisor and Thesis Committee will administer and evaluate the thesis defense.

Thesis Committee Guidelines

Formation of Thesis Committee – Students must assemble their thesis committee one month prior to their second academic year. The committee must contain at least three members, with at least two CBCB Affiliate Faculty. Students must complete the Thesis Committee Formation form and complete a one page document proposing a topic and a plan of work. Upon completion, both documents need to be submitted to the Associate Director.

Thesis Committee Meetings – The thesis committee will meet prior to the first semester of the second academic year to discuss project guidelines and assess student progress. If needed, the committee can chose to meet again (prior to the thesis defense) to ensure student is meeting expectations. Within two weeks of the committee meeting, the Thesis Committee Evaluation form must be completed and submitted to the Education and Outreach Coordinator.

Thesis Defense – The thesis defense will be scheduled for the second semester in the second year. Students should note the thesis submission deadlines provided by Office of Graduate and Professional Education and ensure enough time is allotted between the submission deadline and the thesis defense to make appropriate changes and obtain signature pages. The University Thesis and Dissertation Manual must be followed.

The student must submit their thesis to the thesis committee two weeks before the thesis defense date. Within one week of the thesis defense, the thesis committee must submit the Results of the MS Defense form to The original will remain in the student’s file.