Computational Biology

Standard program for the Sc.B. degree

Computational biology involves the analysis and discovery of biological phenomena using computational tools, and the algorithmic design and analysis of such tools. The field is widely defined and includes foundations in computer science, applied mathematics, statistics, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution, anatomy, neuroscience and visualization.

Our program educates the student liberally in these fields, building on a foundation of coursework that may then focus via several possible tracks. The program offers four possible tracks: computational genomics, biological sciences, molecular modeling and applied mathematics and statistical genomics. The program requires a senior capstone experience that pairs students and faculty in creative research collaborations.

Computational Biology graduates are candidates for competitive positions in industry or for training in academic science.


General Core Course Requirements:

Computational Biology Core Course Requirements:

Capstone Experience:

Students enrolled in the computational biology concentration will complete a research project in their senior year under faculty supervision. The themes of such projects evolve with the field and the technology, but should represent a synthesis of the various specialties of the program. A minimum of one semester of independent study is required (such as BIOL 1950 or CSCI 1970), although many students may conduct a full year of independent study.


To be a candidate for honors, a student must have a course record judged to be excellent by the concentration advisor and must complete a thesis judged to be outstanding by the faculty member supervising the work.


Students must complete six courses in one of the following four tracks, as specified below:

Computational Genomics Track:

This track is designed for students whose interests lie in the development of algorithms and high-quality software (tools and systems) for biological applications.

Biological Sciences Track:

This track is designed for students whose interests lean more towards biological questions.

  1. Two courses from the following:
  2. CSCI 1950L (Algorithmic Foundations of Computational Biology)
  3. PHP 2620 (Statistical Methods in Bioinformics)
  4. APMA 1660 (Statistical Inference II)
  5. BIOL 1430 (Computational Theory of Molecular Evolution)

Molecular Modeling Track:

This track is designed for students who wish to gain competence in the field of molecular modeling and drug design.

Applied Mathematics and Statistical Genomics Track:

This track is designed for students whose interest focuses on extracting information from genomic and molecular biology data, and modeling the dynamics of these systems. Substitution of more advanced courses with consent of advisor is permitted.

Page last updated in February, 2011.

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