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Bioinformatics, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in computational

This bioinformatics program consists of a core curriculum that provides the basics of biology, chemistry, computer science and statistics, as well as an introduction to the field of bioinformatics. The bachelor’s program in bioinformatics requires breadth of training via VCU Life Sciences’ general education requirements, specific training in the collateral course work and bioinformatics core, and focused training in the areas of biology/genomics, computational science or quantitative/statistical bioinformatics through the concentration-specific courses.

Students wishing to pursue the bioinformatics major must apply for admission into the program. High school seniors as well as students transferring to VCU should follow the regular VCU admissions process and deadlines, being sure to indicate clearly in their application that they wish to apply to the bioinformatics program. Continuing VCU students wishing to apply to the program will find information about the application process at or by calling the director of undergraduate curricula at (804) 828-0559 or the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity at (804) 827-0026.

Transfer students and continuing VCU students with at least 15 college credits should present a suggested college GPA of 3.0 including relevant course work in science, math or computer science.

Degree requirements for Bioinformatics, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in computational

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Present scientific results, both orally and in writing, in a way that makes clear to an appropriate target audience the distinction between what is known (and how) and what is merely suspected between an observation and a conclusion in a way that tells a compelling story.
  • Will have demonstrated fundamental knowledge of the basic concepts of biology (particularly molecular biology), the physical sciences, mathematics, statistics and computational science and the ability to apply that knowledge within the context of bioinformatics.
  • Will have demonstrated an ability to identify and analyze bioinformatics problems and strategies to solve said problems.
  • Will possess an appropriate level of technical knowledge and ability necessary to address a scientific problem by exploiting biological software and datasets and creating simple bioinformatics tools.
  • Will have demonstrated an ability to identify and access relevant scientific literature and draw from it in a meaningful and critical manner.
General Education requirements Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
General education requirements (6-14 credits)  
LFSC 301 Integrative Life Sciences Research 3
MATH 151 Precalculus Mathematics (fulfills University Core quantitative literacy)  
STAT 212 Concepts of Statistics (preferred) or STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics (with program approval) 3
Foreign language through 102 level or equivalent course or by placement testing 0-8
Collateral requirements (9 credits)  
MATH 200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 4
PHYS 207 University Physics I (preferred) or PHYS 201 General Physics may be substituted with program approval 4-5
Major core requirements (42-43 credits)  
BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Science I 3
BIOL 152 Introduction to Biological Science II 3
BIOL 218 Cell Biology 3
BNFO 201 Computing Skills and Concepts in Bioinformatics 3
BNFO 251/LFSC 251 Phage Discovery I (preferred) or BIOZ 151 with program approval 2
BNFO 252/LFSC 252 Phage Discovery II (preferred) or BIOZ 152 with program approval 2
BNFO 300 Molecular Biology Through Discovery 3
BNFO 301/BIOL 351 Introduction to Bioinformatics 3
BNFO 420 Applications in Bioinformatics (University Core capstone) 3
CHEM 101 General Chemistry 3
CHEM 102 General Chemistry 3
CHEM 301 Organic Chemistry 3
CHEZ 101 General Chemistry Laboratory I 1
CMSC 255 Introduction to Programming 4
STAT 314 Applications of Statistics or STAT 321 Introduction to Statistical Computing 4 or 3
Concentration-required courses (15 credits)  
CMSC 256 Data Structures and Object Oriented Programming 3
CMSC 302 Introduction to Discrete Structures 3
CMSC 355 Program Design and Implementation Practicum 3
CMSC 401 Algorithm Analysis and Advanced Data Structures 3
MATH 211 Mathematical Structures 3
Concentration electives (6 credits) — See list below. 6
Open electives (9-24 credits) 9-24
Total 120

Concentration electives

BNFO 491 Special Topics in Bioinformatics* (variable)
BNFO 492 Independent Study* (variable)
BNFO 496 Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship in Bioinformatics (1-2)
BNFO 497 Research and Thesis* (variable)
BNFO 540/BIOL 540 Fundamentals of Molecular Genetics (3)
BNFO 591 Special Topics in Bioinformatics* (variable)
CMSC 409 Artificial Intelligence (3)
CMSC 411 Computer Graphics (3)
CMSC 508 Database Theory (3)

* May be taken only with adviser’s permission

Click here to download a sample outline. [PDF]



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Last update: 6/13/2013

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