Computational Biology, BAS

The BAS in Computational Biology is an interdisciplinary area that crosses between the biological sciences, math, and computer science. More specifically, it requires that students augment a basic computer science curriculum with courses in biology, chemistry, genetics and statistics. The program is intended to train students in key areas of Computational Biology and is also designed so that a student may focus on those areas of biology in which he or she wishes to specialize. A broad background in computer science, from programming to algorithms to database systems, is also required. This program has a year-long capstone course in computational biology that is co-taught by faculty in computer science, biology and genetics. The development of Computational Biology has been influenced by various factors. One main influence derives from the need to solve problems associated with the assimilation, storage, retrieval and analysis of data arising from the Human Genome Project and similar projects that involve massive data sets containing bibliographic information, DNA sequence information and testing methods and results. The analysis of such data involves the development and use of complex information modeling techniques, languages, visualization techniques, and computational methods. The second broad area of biology in which computational methods have for some time been used is in evolution and ecology. Many evolutionary processes when viewed from the genetic point of view involve equations of such complexity that ordinary algebraic and calculus methods are simply insufficient to solve them, and numerical methods entailing the use of a computer are necessary. The construction of phylogenetic trees of evolution has for a long time been carried out by computational as opposed to mathematical methods. Many ecological processes similarly involve such complexities that computer methods offer the only way forward. Computational Biology is a field of current interest and is essential to train computer scientists with enough knowledge of biology to be able to understand the problems and computational opportunities in this domain. Employment opportunities are excellent at major pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies and research labs.

Computational Biology (ASCB) Major Requirements

40 course units are required. Read more about the Undergraduate Student Handbook.

CIS 110Introduction to Computer Programming1
CIS 120Programming Languages and Techniques I1
CIS 121Programming Languages and Technigues II1
CIS 240Introduction to Computer Systems1
CIS 320Introduction to Algorithms1
CIS Electives 12
CIS Project Electives 22
Engineering Electives2
EAS 499Senior Capstone Project1
MATH 114Calculus, Part II1
CIS 160Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science1
CIS 262Automata, Computability, and Complexity1
BIOL 446Statistics for Biologists1
Math Elective1
Natural Science
BIOL 121Introduction to Biology - The Molecular Biology of Life1
BIOL 102Introduction to Biology B1.5
BIOL 221Molecular Biology and Genetics1
CHEM 101General Chemistry I1
CHEM 053General Chemistry Laboratory I0.5
Select 7-8 course units7-8
Social Sciences and Humanities 3
EAS 203Engineering Ethics1
Select 2 Social Science courses2
Select 2 Humanities courses2
Select 2 Social Science or Humanities or Technology in Business and Society courses2
Free Elective
Select 2.5-3.5 course units of free electives2.5-3.5
Total Course Units40

A CIS elective is a CIS or NETS engineering course. The SEAS handbook defines all CIS and NETS classes numbered 1XX-5XX as engineering courses, with the following exceptions that cannot be used: CIS 100 Information Technology and Its Impact on Society, CIS 101 Introduction to Computer Science: Principles of information and Computation, CIS 106 Visualizing the Past., CIS 125 Technology and Policy, CIS 160 Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science, CIS 261 Discrete Probability, Stochastic Processes, and Statistical Inference, CIS 262 Automata, Computability, and Complexity. ESE 350 Embedded Systems/Microcontroller Laboratory may be used to satisfy the CIS elective requirement. Please note: Students may count at most 1 course unit of 1XX credit as a CIS elective.


Select one from the following list: CIS 330 Design Principles of Information Systems, CIS 341 Compilers and Interpreters, CIS 371 Computer Organization and Design, CIS 380 Computer Operating Systems, CIS 455 Internet and Web Systems, CIS 460 Interactive Computer Graphics, CIS 553 Networked Systems, or ESE 350 Embedded Systems/Microcontroller Laboratory.


The Social Science & Humanities Depth, Writing & Ethics Requirement can be satisfied with the 7 total course units.


Department approval is required.

BIOL 437Introduction to Computational Biology & Biological Modeling1
BIOL 537Advanced Computational Biology1
Select two of the following:
Principles of Physics I: Mechanics and Wave Motion
General Chemistry II
Vertebrate Physiology
Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology
Evolutionary Biology
The Evolution of Animal Behavior
Ecology: From individuals to ecosystems
CHEM 054General Chemistry Laboratory II (if applicable)0.5
Select remaining 3 courses from the following:
Any CIS course
Any 200 level Biology course
Advanced Evolution
Evolutionary Ecology
Advanced Ecology
Molecular Genetics
Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Superlab
Genome Science and Genomic Medicine
Advanced Cell Biology
The RNA World: A functional and computational analysis
Physical Models of Biological Systems
Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience
Ordinary Differential Equations
Partial Differential Equations
Stochastic Processes

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2017 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.