Computer Science Department

MS - Bioinformatics

The MS Bioinformatics includes an interdisciplinary curriculum in bioinformatics, biology, computer science and mathematics. Questions in many areas of biology, including genomics, molecular biology, neuroscience, physiology, microbiology, ecology and evolution, must now be answered using mathematical and computational methods. New techniques allow the acquisitions of many thousands or millions of biological measurements, requiring the use of mathematical and computational methods, and the field of bioinformatics has developed to address this need. The MS Bioinformatics will provide students with an understanding of biological questions, a background in mathematics, and the computational skills necessary to address complex problems in the biological sciences. Students will also gain experience utilizing these skills to answer biological questions, including those with biomedical applications. The goal of the MS in Bioinformatics is to prepare students for careers in the growing field of bioinformatics both in academia and in the biotechnology industry.

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Admissions Requirements

Candidates must meet all the university admission requirements.

Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English or in countries with multiple native languages, even if that includes English, must submit TOEFL scores. Minimum TOEFL scores acceptable for admission are 250 (Computer Based), 100 (Internet Based). Additional information about the TOEFL is given on the university webpage: Graduate Program Test Requirement.

Students can be admitted in either classified or conditionally classified standing.

Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing

To enter this program with classified standing, students must have a bachelor's degree in the biological sciences, mathematics, computer science or a similar program, i.e., at least the breadth and depth of the SJSU BS programs in these disciplines from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 GPA. In addition, a student must have completed each of the following courses with C or better:

Biol 30 / Principles of Biology I (4 units)

Biol 31 / Principles of Biology II (4 units)

Biol 115 / General Genetics (4 units)

CS 22A / Python Programming for Non-Majors I (3 units)

CS 22B / Python Programming for Non-Majors II (3 units)

Math 30 / Calculus I (3 units)

Math 31 / Calculus II (4 units)

Math 161A / Applied Probability and Statistics I (3 units)

or equivalent courses

Requirements for Admission to Conditionally Classified Standing

Students who meet the minimum university admission requirements can be conditionally classified if there is sufficient space in the program to accommodate them. Conditionally classified students will be required to complete undergraduate course work and prerequisite coursework (listed in "Requirements for Admission to Classified Standing"), as directed by the graduate coordinators.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy

To be admitted to candidacy for the MS degree, a student must meet the university requirements for advancement to candidacy for the master's degree as outlined in the Graduate Policies and Procedures section of this catalog. University requirements include completion of 9 letter graded units with a GPA of at least 3.0 and satisfaction of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). The GWAR is met in this program by a "B" grade in CS 200W.

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures.

Culminating Experience - MS Project

MS in Bioinformatics students will complete a culminating project. In selecting a project topic, the student must first identify an advisor and project topic and have their selections approved by one of the Bioinformatics Graduate Coordinators. The project requires writing a manuscript properly formatted for publication in a professional journal describing original bioinformatics research, and having this manuscript approved by the student's Master's committee, consisting of three faculty, two of whom must be tenured or tenure-track. The manuscript is not subject to the deadlines imposed by Graduate Studies for thesis submission, as it is not submitted for its approval. GAPE deadlines (candidacy, graduation application, and culminating experience) still apply.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
This requirement is satisfied by taking CS 200W
Requirements of the Masters
Core Courses19
BIOL 123A. Bioinformatics I3
BIOL 123B. Bioinformatics II3
BIOL 205. Advanced Molecular Techniques4
CS 200W. Graduate Technical WritingGWAR3
CS 223. Bioinformatics3
MATH 162. Statistics for Bioinformatics3
At least 6 units must be graduate level
BIOL 135A. Eukaryotic Cell and Molecular Biology I3
BIOL 135B. Eukaryotic Cell and Molecular Biology IIR3
BIOL 215. Seminar in Advanced Genetics3
BIOL 298. MS Project Culminating Experience3
CHE 293. Applied Bioinformatics3
CS 122. Advanced Programming with Python3
CS 255. Design and Analysis of Algorithms3
CS 256. Topics in Artificial Intelligence3
CS 257. Database System Principles3
CS 267. Topics in Database Systems3
CS 280. Graduate Individual Studies1-3
MATH 129A. Linear Algebra I3
MATH 161B. Applied Probability and Statistics II3
MATH 163. Probability Theory3
MATH 267A. Statistical Programming with R3
MATH 298. Special Study3
100- or 200-level courses chosen with advisor consent
Culminating Experience6
Complete one course from:
BIOL 298. MS Project Culminating Experience3
CS 280. Graduate Individual Studies1-3
MATH 298. Special Study3

Total Units:31

Elective courses must be planned in consultation with one of the Graduate Coordinators.

The maximum number of upper-division undergraduate units that can be applied toward the master's degree is 12.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.