Academic Program and Requirements


Sample 4 Year Plan - New for fall 2015

BCBio 2015 Checklist - Complete with BCBio adviser

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology is an interdisciplinary science at the interfaces of the biological, informational and computational sciences. The science focuses on a variety of topics. These include gene identification, expression, and evolution; RNA, protein, and genome structure; and molecular and cellular systems and networks. The large group of participating faculty provides students with a multidimensional perspective on bioinformatics and computational biology and presents them with broad range of possibilities to get involved in research.

This major will prepare students for careers at the interfaces of biological, informational and computational sciences. BCBio graduates with a B.S. seeking direct employment will find ready markets for their talents in agricultural and medical biotechnology industries, as well as in academia, national laboratories, and clinics. Although some students find employment directly after their baccalaureate training, many students will continue their education in one of the many excellent graduate programs in bioinformatics and computational biology that now exist.

Participation in this field requires that students achieve a high level of competence not only in biology, but also in mathematics, computer science, and statistics. As a result, the program includes required courses from many different disciplines. Graduates demonstrate an above-average ability to synthesize methods from these different disciplines to solve problems. Link to Learning Outcomes

In addition to basic degree requirements listed in the Curriculum in Liberal Arts and Sciences, BCBio majors must satisfy the following requirements to earn a B.S. in BCBio.

Core Courses. Core coursework provides students with a broad foundation in the biological sciences, mathematics, computer science and statistics.

Course # Course Name Term Offered
BCBio 110 Orientation F.
BCBio 322X Introduction to Bioinformatics and Computational Biology F.
BCBio 401* Fundamentals of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology I F.
BCBio 402* Fundamentals of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology II S.
BCBio 490 (or BCBio 491) Independent Study F.S.SS.
BCBio 491 (or BCBio 490) Team Research Projects F.S.SS.
Biol 313 & 313L Cross-listed with Gen 313 & 313L Principles of Genetics & Genetics Laboratory F.S.SS. F.S.
Com S 227 & 228** Introduction to Object-orientated Programming & Introduction to Data Structures F.S.
Com S 311 Design and Analysis of Algorithms F.S.
Com S 330 (or Cpr E 310 Theoretical Foundations of Comp Engrg) Discrete Computational Structures F.S.
Math 165 & 166** Calculus I & II F.S.SS


*BCBio 444, Introduction to Bioinformatics (4 cr, F.) can substitute for BCBio 401 and 402 when these courses are not offered. Plans are to offer them in 2016.

**Courses with a double asterisk are required for students in the BCBio major. If a student transfers into the BCBio major and has already taken the Com S 207/208 and/or Math 181/182 series, they can substitute those course options for these Com S and Math requirements. Students still need to request permission of instructors that require Com S 227/228 or Math 165/166 as a prerequisite to enroll in their course/s.

Complementary Course Requirements. Complementary courses are required to complement the core course requirements. What course options a student takes depends largely on their career interests and is best discussed with their faculty adviser.

Course # Course Name Term Offered
Biol 211 & 211L Principles of Biology I and Laboratory F.S.
Biol 212 & 212L Principles of Biology II and Laboratory F.S.
Biol 314 or Biol 315. Biol Evolution or Gen 409. Mol Genetics Principles of Molecular Cell Biology F.S.
Chem 163 & 163L College Chemistry/L or Chem 177, 177L Gen Chem I/Lab & 178 Gen Chem II or Chem 201 & 201L Adv Gen Chem/Lab College Chemistry and Laboratory of College Chemistry F.S.SS
Chem 231 & 231L Elem Organic Chem/Lab or Chem 331, 331L Organic Chem I/Lab and Chem 332, 332L Organic Chem II/Lab Elementary Organic Chemistry and Laboratory F.S.SS
Phys 111 General Physics or Phys 221 Intro to Classical Physics 1 or Phys 115 & 115L Physics for the Life Sciences/Lab General Physics F.S.SS
Stat 330*** Probability and Statistics for Computer Science F.S.
Stat 430*** Empirical Methods for the Computational Sciences F

***The following other STAT courses may be substituted for STAT 330 and STAT 430, with permission of the BCBio Major. Stat 330: Stat 101, 104, 105, 201, 231, 305, or 341 Stat 430: Stat 301, 401, or 432

Bioinformatics Support Electives for the BCBio Major. Bioinformatics support electives allows students to tailor their degree program to their interests. Choose 3-9 credits from the following list.

Course # Course Name Term Offered
BBMB 404 Biochemistry I F.
BBMB 405 Biochemistry II S.
BBMB 461 Molecular Biophysics S.
Biol 328 Molecular and Cellular Biology of Human Diseases F.
Biol 423 Developmental Biology S.
Biol 451 Plant Evolution and Phylogeny F.
Biol 462 Evolutionary Genetics F.
Biol 465 Morphometric Analysis Alt. S.
Biol 487 Microbial Ecology F.
Com S 252 Linux Operating System Essentials F.
Com S 309 Software Development Practices F.S.
Com S 319 Software Construction and User Interfaces F.
Com S 327 Advanced Programing Techniques F.S.
Com S 363 Introduction to Database Management Systems F.S.
Com S 425 High Performance Computing for Scientific and Engineering Applications S.
Com S 426 Introduction to Parallel Algorithms and Programming F.
Gen 340 Human Genetics F.S.SS.
Gen 410 Analytical Genetics S.
Math 207 (or 317) Matrices and Linear Algebra (Theory of Linear Algebra. Cr 4. F.S.) F.S.SS.
Math 265 Calculus III F.S.SS.
Math 266 (or 267) Elementary Differential Equations (Elementary Differential Equations and Laplace Transforms. Cr. 4, F.S.SS.) F.S.SS.
Math 304 Combinatorics F.
Math 314 Graph Theory S.
Math 373 Introduction to Scientific Computing F.
Micro 402 Microbial Genetics and Genomics Alt. F.
Stat 342 Introduction to the Theory of Probability and Statistics II F.S.
Stat 402 Statistical Design and the Analysis of Experiments F.S.
Stat 407 Methods of multivariate Analysis F.
Stat 416 Statistical Design and Analysis of Gene Expression Experiments S.
Stat 444 Bayesian Data Analysis S.
Stat 480 Statistical Computing Applications S.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements. In addition to the other General Education requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences outlined in the ISU Catalog, communications and English proficiency requirements are met by Engl 150, 250 or 250H, and an additional English writing course chosen from Engl 309 or Engl 314. The lowest grade acceptable in Engl 150, 250 or 250H is C-. The average GPA of all courses in the major must be 2.0 or higher. The major must contain at least 8 credits in ISU courses numbered 300 or above and in which the student's grade is C or higher.

Minor in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

A student can now add a Minor in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology that requires 28 credits (effective fall 2015). Most students pursuing a minor in BCBio will be biology, genetics, computer science, computer engineering, statistics, or mathematics students who have already taken some of these courses for their major. Of the 28 credits required for the minor, 9 credits must be used only to fulfill the BCBio minor.

Minor in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Course Requirements

Biol 211, 212 Gen 313 Com S 227, 228 (or Com S 207, 208) Stat 330* BCBio 322X, 401, 402 (or BCBio 444 if 401, 402 are not offered)

*The following other Stat courses may be substituted for Stat 330, with permission of the BCBio Major: Stat 330: Stat 101, 104, 105, 201, 231, 305, or 341