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Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, M.S.

Saint Louis University's Master of Science in bioinformatics and computational biology program pulls together expertise from the of departments of biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science. This interdisciplinary master's program teaches you the fundamentals of computation and analysis of big data sets, and trains you in the use of computational methods to model and solve problems involving complex biological systems.

About the Program

The use of computational techniques and information systems has revolutionized research in the biological sciences — from the analysis of DNA sequences and the understanding of gene expression and regulation, to the structural modeling of proteins and RNAs and the evolutionary relationship between species. The fields of bioinformatics and computational biology have become an important academic discipline for such breakthroughs and a critical part of success for firms in the biotechnology sector.

Program Highlights

As a student in the bioinformatics and computational biology program, you will be required to complete either a research experience with SLU faculty or an internship with a biotech firm in the St. Louis area, which is home to one of the largest concentrations of biotech companies in the country.

This requirement gives you the opportunity for hands-on experience working with academic researchers or private industry. Our industry partners are:

Curriculum and Program Details

The 30-credit-hour bioinformatics and computational biology program is designed for students with academic backgrounds in the life sciences, mathematics, computer science, health sciences, and statistics. The curriculum consists of a mix of required courses that build a strong foundation in bioinformatics and computational biology and elective classes that allow students to specialize their expertise. You’ll be expected to complete the program in one-and-a-half to two years.

The master's program consists of a minimum of 30 credit hours, including the following requirements:

  • BCB 5200: Introduction to Bioinformatics I (3 credit hours)

  • BCB 5250: Introduction to Bioinformatics II (3 credit hours)

  • BCB 5300: Algorithms in Computational Biology (3 credit hours)

  • BIOL 5030: Genomics (3 credit hours)

  • Three credit hours in an additional biology course:

    • BIOL 5090: Biometry
    • BIOL 5100: Cellular and Molecular Genetics
    • BIOL 5700: Advanced Molecular Biology
    • BIOL 5780: Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis
  • Three credit hours in an additional computer science course:

    • CSCI 5710: Databases
    • CSCI 5750: Machine Learning
    • CSCI 5850: High-Performance Computing
  • Three credit hours in an internship or research experience:

    • BCB 5910: Internship in Bioinformatics
    • BIOL 4911: Integrated Bioinformatics Internship
    • BCB 5970: Research Topics
    • BIOL 5970: Research Topics
    • CHEM 5970: Research Topics
    • CSCI 5970: Research Topics
    • IAS 6970: Research Topics


  • BCB 5810: Bioinformatics Colloquium (1 credit hour)

The remaining eight credit hours may be completed using additional selections from the above courses (including repeating the Colloquium course for a total of three credit hours) and any of the following electives:

  • BCB 5100: Advanced Scripting for the Life Sciences
  • BCB 5930: Topics in Bioinformatics
  • BIOL 5050: Molecular Technique Lab
  • BIOL 5070: Advanced Biological Chemistry
  • BIOL 5170: Introduction to GIS
  • BIOL 5180: Intermediate GIS
  • BIOL 5190: GIS in Biology
  • CHEM 4610/4615: Biochemistry I + lab
  • CHEM 4620/4625: Biochemistry II + lab
  • CHEM 5370: Computational Chemistry
  • CSCI 5150: Computational Geometry
  • CSCI 5830: Image Processing
  • CSCI 5930: Topics in Computer Science
  • MATH 4850: Mathematical Statistics


  • Maureen Donlin, Ph.D. (Program Director)
  • Tae-Hyuk (Ted) Ahn, Ph.D
  • Gerado Camilo, Ph.D.
  • Erin Chambers, Ph.D.
  • Brian Downes, Ph.D.
  • Michael Goldwasser, Ph.D.
  • Haijung Gong, Ph.D.
  • Jack Kennell, Ph.D.
  • David Letscher, Ph.D.
  • Zhenguo Lin, Ph.D.
  • Dapeng Zhang, Ph.D.
  • Brent Znosko, Ph.D.

There are many employment opportunities for this program’s graduates in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, health care and software industries, as well as in academic, private and governmental research labs. St. Louis is home to many large and small biotech firms and is a national leader in biotech startups. St. Louis has medical schools at Saint Louis University and Washington University and is home to the Donald Danforth Plant Sciences center, a world leader in plant and life sciences.

Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2018-2019 Tuition and Fees
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Financial Aid

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Research and teaching assistantships through the program are available to well-qualified candidates. These assistantships provide tuition, a $22,000 stipend and health insurance.

A five-year NSF grant that is specifically to fund scholarships for this master's program can award up to $10,000 each year, based on need and merit. Further support is available through external research grants (NSF, NIH and more).

Applicant Criteria

A bachelor's degree in biology, biochemistry, computer science, mathematics, statistics or a closely related field is required. Ideally prepared students will have completed the following coursework in biology, chemistry, molecular biology, computer science and statistics:

  • Principles of Biology I and II (SLU equivalency: BIOL 1240/1245/1260/1265)
  • General Chemistry I and II (SLU equivalency: CHEM 1110/1115/1120/1125)
  • Molecular and Cell Biology (SLU equivalency: BIOL 3020 or 3040)
  • Genetics (SLU equivalency: BIOL 3030)
  • Introduction to Programming (SLU equivalency: CSCI 1300)
  • Data Structures (SLU equivalency: CSCI 2100)
  • Calculus I and II (SLU equivalency: MATH 1510/1520)
  • Discrete Mathematics (SLU equivalency: MATH 1660)
  • Introduction to Statistics (SLU equivalency: MATH 1300, 3850 or 4860)

Students can complete these prerequisites as part of the program but not for graduate credit.

Application Requirements

Application form and fee
Three letters of recommendation
Goal statement
GRE scores
TOEFL/IELTS scores (international students only)

The final application deadline is March 1.

Requirements for International Students

TOEFL/IELTS scores are required.

INTO SLU offers the Pathway Program for international students who are interested this course but do not meet the direct entry requirements. Visit for more information.

Assistantship Application Deadline

Students who want to be considered for an assistantship must submit their application by Feb. 1.

Review Process

Applications will be reviewed once they are complete. A panel of three faculty will review each application and decide on acceptance and potential assistantships. Applicants who are U.S. citizens will need to fill out a FAFSA to be eligible for support from the National Science Foundation.