Bioinformatics Minor

Bioinformatics is a new field of science that results from the application of information sciences to biology. Its goals are to facilitate data storage and retrieval, and the extraction of useful information from biological data.

Students wishing a minor in Bioinformatics must take at least 15 credits of the following courses, including at least one course from each of the following four groups. A single course cannot fulfill more than one group requirement. Courses used to satisfy requirements for a students major may be used to satisfy group requirements but may not be used towards the 15 credits for the Bioinformatics minor.

Bioinformatics Minor

Group A: Bio-Computing/Computer Science
MCB 3421, 3602W, 3637, 5429, 5430; MCB 5472/EEB 5372; EEB 4100, 4230W, 5348, 5350; CSE 2102, 2300W, 3500, 3502, 3800 (BME 4800), 3810 (BME 3810), 4102, 4701

Group B: Data Banks/Statistics
STAT 2215Q, 3025Q; 3375Q and 3445 (Note: both courses must be taken to satisfy this group requirement); CSE 4701

Group C: Protein Structure/Biochemistry
MCB 2000, 3010, 3421, 4009, 5011; PNB 6420

Group D: Genetics
MCB 2400 or 2410, 3201, 3412, 3413, 3602W, 3617, 3637, 5429; EEB 5300, 5348

MCB 3895, 3899, 3989, 4989; EEB 3899, 5895; PNB 3299; CSE 4095 and 4099 can be counted towards the 15-credit requirement, if approved by a member of the bioinformatics oversight committee.

The minor is offered jointly by the School of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For the Bioinformatics minor, contact Dr. Ion Mandoiu at or Dr. J. Peter Gogarten at

Questions and Answers about the Bioinformatics Minor

Q. I’m majoring in MCB. Some of the courses required for the minor are also in my major. Can I use the same course to satisfy both requirements?

A. You can’t use the same credits to count for both the MCB major and the Bioinformatics minor. For example, if you take MCB 3010 (Biochemistry), you should count those 5 credits towards the MCB major, since it is a required course. You cannot use those same 5 credits towards the Bioinformatics minor since they’re already “used up”. However, since you’ve taken MCB 3010 you do satisfy the 3rd category: Protein structure/Biochemistry.

Q. If I take more than the minimum 24 credits needed for the MCB major, can I count those additional credits towards the Bioinformatics minor?

A. Yes. When you fill out your plan of study for the MCB major and the Bioinformatics minor, you and your advisor can decide which courses to count in which category.

Q. Why do some courses appear in two categories?

A. Bioinformatics is a hybrid discipline, involving both biology and aspects of computing technology and database management. A few existing courses include substantial treatment of this breadth, and are appropriately listed in two categories. In part, this is done to make it possible for students to satisfy the requirements of the Bioinformatics minor without having to take extensive prerequisites in other fields.

Q. Do courses that count towards the 15 credit requirement of the minor also count as related courses for the major?

A. A 2000-level course taken outside your major’s department can count towards the 15 credit requirement of the Bioinformatics minor and simultaneously count as one of the related courses. Check with your major advisor, if the course in question is considered related. For example, EEB 5348, CSE 2363 or STAT 2215Q would count as related courses for an MCB major and would simultaneously count towards the Bioinformatics minor 15 credit requirement.

Q. What is the advantage of completing a minor?

A. A minor will be listed on a student’s transcript along with the major, whereas relateds are not listed. Minors are structured to ensure that students are exposed to a basic core of knowledge in a discipline, and require more course work than the related requirement. Completion of a minor in addition to a major provides evidence of a student’s ability to succeed in more than a single discipline.

Q. What do I have to do to obtain a Bioinformatics minor?

A. You must take the appropriate courses. In addition, you must fill out a “Minor plan of study”, have this signed/approved by a member of the Bioinformatics oversight committee, and file this with your plan of study in the final semester before graduation.