Bioinformatics blends biology, computer science, and mathematics to analyze the massive quantities of big data generated by modern biology. Hidden in this data might be the next blockbuster cancer therapy, the definitive proof that a certain gene is responsible for a disease, or the information needed to replicate a crucial biological process—and you could be on the team that discovers it.

A Master of Science in biotechnology with a specialization in bioinformatics helps prepare you to become a qualified bioinformatics professional for public- or private-sector organizations. You’ll gain cutting‑edge knowledge, and you’ll also develop experience in the field, which can give you an advantage in the job market.

These requirements are for students who enroll in the 2020–2021 academic year. For prior year academic requirements, visit our catalog archive.

About the Biotechnology Master's Degree with Bioinformatics Specialization

What You'll Learn

Through your coursework, you will learn how to

  • Code in Python and Java
  • Analyze big data, next-generation sequencing data, and scientific data
  • Perform sequence alignments and phylogenetic analyses
  • Use biostatistics, databases and data structures, algorithms, and mathematical modeling

Coursework Examples

In past projects, students have had the opportunity to

  • Align and analyze DNA, RNA, and protein sequences, then perform phylogenetic analyses on them
  • Write computer scripts to automate complex tasks and analyze biological data
  • Work on a team for a sponsoring organization to tackle a real project

Biotechnology Master's Degree with Bioinformatics Specialization Requirements

Our curriculum is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. You'll learn theories combined with real-world applications and practical skills you can apply on the job right away.

Master's - specialization Courses

Initial Requirement

  • UCSP 615
    (to be taken within the first 6 credits of study)

Core Courses

  • BIOT 640
  • BIOT 630
  • BIOT 645
  • BIOT 643

Specialization Courses

  • BIFS 613
  • BIFS 614
  • BIFS 617
  • DBST 651
  • BIFS 618
  • DBST 652
  • BIFS 619

Capstone Course

  • BIOT 670

Course Rules and Program Progression

  • BIOT 601, if required, may be taken concurrently with BIOT 640.
  • BIOT 640 must be taken as the first program course.
  • You must complete all core courses with the BIOT designator in the order listed before starting any specialization coursework.
  • STAT 200 or an equivalent statistics course (with a minimum grade of C for an undergraduate course, B for a graduate course) is prerequisite to BIFS 613.
  • UCSP 635 and UCSP 636 or an equivalent programming course (with a minimum grade of C for an undergraduate course, B for a graduate course) is prerequisite to BIFS 617.
  • BIFS 617 is prerequisite to BIFS 618 and BIFS 619.
  • BIOT 670 must be taken after you complete 30 credits of program coursework toward the M.S. in Biotechnology. The course is not offered in summer. Check the Schedule of Classes to learn more about the availability of the capstone course.

Other Requirements

  • You must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher at all times.
  • All degree requirements must be fulfilled within five consecutive years.
  • Any transfer credits must have been earned within the five-year time frame to be applied toward a graduate degree.

Please review our overview of overall master's degree requirements for additional considerations.

Career Preparation

This program is designed to help prepare you for a high-demand job in bioinformatics in a public- or private-sector organization. Potential employers include corporate organizations and government agencies as well as academic institutions.

Experience Recommended for Success in the Program

You are expected to have completed undergraduate coursework in molecular biology, programming, and statistics. This background may be acquired through preparatory coursework, listed below.

  • If you lack previous coursework in molecular biology, you must take BIOT 601, which may be taken concurrently with BIOT 640.
  • If you have no prior coursework in statistics, you must take STAT 200 (or equivalent) before taking BIFS 613.
  • If you have no prior coursework in programming, you must take UCSP 635 and UCSP 636 (or equivalent) before taking BIFS 617.
  • Taking UCSP 605 is recommended to help improve writing skills.

Program Admission Requirements

A molecular biology background is required for progression within this program. Upon submission of an official transcript, you can be accepted into the degree program without a molecular biology background, but you must either take a college-level molecular biology course or BIOT 601 prior to the required program core. BIOT 601 may be taken concurrently with BIOT 640.

 

Awards & Recognition

  • Outstanding Continuing Education Student Award | Michael Dayton, Master of Science in Biotechnology student | University Professional and Continuing Education Association, Mid-Atlantic Region | 2012

Special Designations

PSM LogoThis program has received a special designation as a Professional Science Master's Degree by the Council of Graduate Schools.