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Bioinformatics Option for Computer Science Majors

Goal          Curriculum        Sequence         Advisors

Purpose and Goals

In the years since the draft of the human genome was published in 2001, bioinformatics has increasingly become a field where large databases of information and computer models play a significant role.  Computer scientists are needed in such areas as data mining, algorithms, visualization, networking, and human-computer interaction.  Working effectively to build these complex systems requires collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of research scientists. A computer scientist must have a firm background in the basic principles of biology, chemistry, mathematics and statistics as well as the in silico methods of research that are the standard in computer science. 

Bioinformatics is a burgeoning field with plentiful career opportunities.  People  working  in this  field  must have a solid  background  in  biology,  math  and computer  science with an emphasis on quantitative reasoning.  The curriculum for a bioinformatics  concentration would give CS majors a minor in Biology. Our goal is to  prepare undergraduate students majoring in CS for employment as  bioinformaticists  in  biomedical  research  and for graduate training  in bioinformatics at both the  Master’s and the Ph.D. levels.

Computer Science QuBi concentrators will master a repertoire of algorithms in computational biology, will acquire knowledge of biological database and data formats, and gain expertise in programming languages that will enable them to design, develop and implement tools for use in bioinformatics.


Students concentrating in bioinformatics will fulfill the requirements for the computer science major with three differences:
  1. Two required courses have been removed from the computer science major and have been replaced with three courses required for the bioinformatics concentration, as shown below.  All courses are 3 credits except CSCI 136.
  2. The requirement for a minor is fulfilled by a 12 credit minor in biology. 
  3. The major elective requirement, consisting of five 300 or 400 level CSCI courses or equivalent (15 credits), has been removed.


CSCI 160 Computer Architecture I
CSCI 360 Computer Architecture III
CSCI 435      Database Management
CSCI 493.66 Unix System Programming
STAT 319       Bayesian Statistical Inference in the Sciences (NEW)
The curriculum for the bioinformatics concentration in computer science is given below.  All courses are required.  BIOL 425 is the capstone seminar for the bioinformatics concentrations in all five disciplines – biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and statistics.  Prerequisites will have to be waived for BIOL 300 (waive BIOL 202 and CHEM 223), BIOL 302 (waive BIOL 300), CSCI 265, and CSCI 340 (waive CSCI 160).  The number of credits required in biology, chemistry, and mathematics and statistics effectively gives computer science students a minor in all three disciplines.

Computer science component – 28 credits

CSCI 135/136 (4 cr.) Software Analysis and Design I (CSCI 136 is required as a supplement to CSCI 135, but is not credited toward the major)
CSCI 150 (3 cr.)          Discrete Structures
CSCI 235 (3 cr.)          Software Analysis and Design II
CSCI 260 (3 cr.)          Computer Architecture II
CSCI 265 (3 cr.)          Computer Theory I
CSCI 335 (3 cr.)          Software Analysis and Design III
CSCI 340 (3 cr.)          Operating Systems
CSCI 435 (3 cr.)          Database Management
CSCI 493.66 (3 cr.)     Unix Tools

Biology component – 12 credits

BIOL 100 (4.5 cr.)     Principles of Biology I
BIOL 203 (4.5 cr.)     Molecular Biology and Genetics
BIOL 425 (3 cr.)      Computational Molecular Biology (NEW)

Chemistry component – 12 credits

CHEM 102 (3 cr.)      General Chemistry I
CHEM 104 (3 cr.)      General Chemistry II
CHEM 106 (3 cr.)      General Chemistry Lab
CHEM 222 (3 cr.)      Organic Chemistry 

Mathematics and Statistics component – 17 credits

MATH 150 (4 cr.)      Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
MATH 155 (4 cr.)      Calculus with Analytic Geometry II
MATH 160 (3 cr.)      Matrix Algebra
STAT 213  (3 cr.)      Introduction to Applied Statistics
STAT 319  (3 cr.)      Bayesian Inference in the Sciences (New)

Sample Course Sequence*

*Please see a QuBi advisors for individualized course plans.

The curriculum guide below presents a typical timetable for graduation, incorporating BIOL 300, which is offered in the fall semester, instead of BIOL 302, which is a spring semester course.  The two courses recommended for Fall (Year 1) are prerequisites:  MATH 125 (Precalculus) or equivalent is the prerequisite for MATH 150, and CSCI 127 (Introduction to Computer Science) or equivalent is the prerequisite for CSCI 135.

Fall (Year 1) – 6 credits

MATH 125   (3 credits)
CSCI 127    (3 credits)
Spring (Year 1) – 7 credits

CSCI 135 & 136   (4 credits)
CSCI 150              (3 credits)

Fall (Year 2) – 11.5 credits

BIOL 100     (4.5 credits)   
MATH 150    (4 credits)
CSCI 235     (3 credits)

Spring (Year 2) – 10 credits        

CHEM 102    (3 credits)   
MATH 155    (4 credits)    
CSCI 260     (3 credits) 

Fall (Year 3) – 12 credits

CHEM 104 & 106  (6 credits) 
STAT 213              (3 credits)
CSCI 265              (3 credits)

Spring (Year 3) – 9 credits        

CHEM 222   (3 credits)        
MATH 160   (3 credits)
CSCI 335    (3 credits)

Fall (Year 4) – 10.5 credits

BIOL 203     (4.5 credits)   
STAT 319     (3 credits)
CSCI 435     (3 credits)

Spring (Year 4) – 9 credits        

CSCI 493.66  (3 credits)
CSCI 340       (3 credits)   
BIOL 425       (3 credits)    

Faculty Advisers

Dr Saad Mneimneh (212) 772-5209,

Dr. Lei Xie,
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