Graduate Programs

Degree Programs

Master of Science

Master of Science in Bioinformatics (36 cr.)

Bioinformatics is a pure and applied science dealing with the collection, management, analysis and dissemination of biological data and knowledge, especially with respect to genetics and molecular biology. A Master of Science in Bioinformatics addresses needs for education in this rapidly growing field. This is an interdisciplinary program involving faculty from multiple schools including IU School of Medicine and industrial scientists from Eli Lilly and DowAgroSciences.

The end of the twentieth century saw an explosion of data discovered from living organisms, especially in areas of molecular biology and genetics by next generation sequencing techniques. The goal of bioinformatics is to deal with this flood of data, organize it as comprehensible information, and turn it into useful knowledge. For example, the flow of information from the Human Genome Project will revolutionize medical practice and biological research in this century and enable an understanding of most inherited diseases. Study of the genomic code, coupled with new understanding of its organization, regulation and function in cells, and in development of organisms, is forming the basis for designing new treatments for many diseases and for understanding and modulating health problems associated with aging. Genome information is quickly becoming the basis for designing new drugs. It is also central to the improvement of genomes of economically important crops and animals.  

Experienced bioinformaticians are limited in number, while the need for them in industry, academe, and government has grown rapidly. Full understanding and application of this new data requires a large body of intelligent, creative, and experienced scientists with a firm understanding of both computation and biology. There is a current and projected shortage of such people and a pressing need for educational institutions to teach bioinformatics. New directions following the unraveling of the genomic code also point to greatly increased information flow and an increasing scale in the application of computing methods to biosciences.

 The School of Informatics collaborates closely with the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and the Department of Biochemistry in the School of Medicine, the Department of Computer and  Information Science in the School of Science, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the School of Engineering and Technology. Research and learning opportunities for students abound.

Degree Requirements

The bioinformatics curriculum includes a set of core and elective courses covering concepts and training in bioinformatics, biostatistics, and computer sciences. A primary goal of this curriculum is to provide scientists with a strong foundation in the areas of computation/informatics and biology, though their primary focus may be in one or the other area. The integration of knowledge from biology, computing, mathematics, and related areas will receive particular emphasis.

Students with different levels of background in biology, computing, and informatics sciences are encouraged to apply. Students with academic deficiencies will address these through individually planned programs of suggested course work. Students will gain experience in the applications of computing methods to biology information by completing course work and nonclassroom original research projects as well as optional  thesis.


Students holding a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field from an accredited four-year collegiate institution must have completed all or part of the prerequisites courses listed below:

  • Genetics and Molecular Biology and Cell Biology or Molecular Biology

Students holding a bachelor’s degree in life sciences or a related field from an accredited four-year collegiate institution must have completed all or part of the prerequisites courses listed below:

  • Programming in C, C++, or Java
  • Programming/Database
  • Statistics

 To receive a Master of Science degree in Bioinformatics, the applicant must be admitted as a graduate student and complete 36 credit hours including: 18 credit hours in bioinformatics core courses, 3 credit hours in seminar courses, and 9 – 15 credit hours of electives. The students have the options of taking (1) six credit hours towards a thesis, or (2) three credit hours towards a project, or (3) a non thesis/project option without thesis/project credit hours.

 Core Courses (15 credit hours)

  • INFO-I 501  Introduction to Informatics
  • INFO-I 519  Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • INFO-I 556  Biological Database Management
  • CSCI 59000  Algorithm in Bioinformatics
  • INFO-I 575  Informatics Research Design

Advanced Core Courses (12 credit hours, select four)

  • INFO-I 529  Machine Learning in Bioinformatics(3 cr.)
  • GRAD 652    Biostatistics II (3 cr.) or NURS-N 607     Advanced Statistics (3 cr.)
  • INFO-I 619  Structural Bioinformatics (3 cr.)
  • INFO-I 646  Computational Systems Biology (3 cr.)
  • INFO-I 656  Translational Bioinformatics Applications (3 cr.)

 Required Seminar Courses (3 credit hours)

  • INFO-I 532  Seminar in Bioinformatics


You may take other INFO graduate courses such as next generation sequencing (I590) and independent study (INFO-I 552), as electives. You may also take up to six credits outside the School of Informatics, in addition to CSCI 59000, GRAD-G 652 and NURS-N 607.

Project/Thesis (6 cr.)

  • INFO-I 692 Bioinformatics Project (3 cr.)
  • INFO-I 692 Bioinformatics Thesis (6 cr.)

 Students may perform an independent research project and produce a report or thesis for public defense.  The project might consist of a research paper, a designed artifact, or other appropriate deliverable format.