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Bioinformatics MS

Program overview

The master of science degree in bioinformatics provides students with a strong foundation in biotechnology, computer programming, computational mathematics, statistics, and database management. Graduates of the program are well-prepared for careers in the biotechnology, bioinformatics, pharmaceutical, and vaccine industries.

Based on consultation with individuals within the industry nationwide, the job market is rich with opportunities for those who obtain a graduate degree in bioinformatics, particularly when coupled with industry-sponsored research as thesis work. This research provides exposure to real-world problems—and their solutions—not otherwise attainable in an academic setting.

The program provides students with the capability to enter the bioinformatics workforce and become leaders in the field. The curriculum is designed to fulfill the needs of students with diverse educational and professional backgrounds. Individuals entering the program typically have degrees in biology, biotechnology, chemistry, statistics, computer science, information technology, or a related field. The MS program accommodates this diversity in two ways. First, a comprehensive bridge program exists for students who need to supplement their education before entering the program. Second, the program itself consists of two tracks, one for students with backgrounds in the life sciences and one for those with backgrounds in the computational sciences. Regardless of the track pursued, students are prepared to become professional bioinformaticists upon graduation.

The program is offered on a full- or part-time basis to fulfill the needs of traditional students and those currently employed in the field.


A minimum of 30 semester credit hours is required for completion of the program. A number of graduate electives are offered for students to pursue areas of personal or professional interest. In addition, every student is required to complete a research project that addresses a relevant and timely topic in bioinformatics, culminating in a thesis. Graduate electives may be chosen from relevant RIT graduate courses.

Bioinformatics, MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
BIOL-635 Bioinformatics Seminar 3
BIOL-630 Graduate Bioinformatics Resources 3
BIOL-625 Graduate Ethics in Bioinformatics 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   CSCI-620    Data Exploration and Management  
   BIOL-700    Cell and Molecular Genetics  
  Graduate Elective* 3
MATH-695  Statistical Models for Bioinformatics 3
BIOL-694 Graduate Molecular Modeling and Proteomics 3
  Graduate Elective* 3
Second Year
BIOL-790 Thesis 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 30

* Any graduate level course deemed related to the field of bioinformatics by the program director.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in bioinformatics, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, information technology, statistics, or related disciplines from an accredited institution,
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher (on a 4.0 scale),
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants whose primary language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 79 (Internet-based) is required. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores are accepted in place of the TOEFL exam. Minimum scores will vary; however, the absolute minimum score required for unconditional acceptance is 6.0. For additional information about the IELTS, please visit

Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Computational Biologist, Gene Analyst, Bioinformatics Software Developer, Research Assistant/Associate, Biologics Database Programmer/Administrator, Computer Analyst/Programmer, Molecular Modeling Assistant

Recent Employers

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Pfizer, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Anthony IT, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Life Technologies, Applied Biosystems, The J. Craig Venture Institute, Indsoft Inc., 5Linx Enterprises, Childrens’ Hospital (Cambridge MA), Baylor College of Medicine, F.H. Hoffman/LaRoche Ltd., Broad Institute (at MIT), 454 Life Science, McNeil Consumer Products, The Institute for Genomic Research, Knowledge Computing, Agriculture Consulting Services, Automated Computer Solutions, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, FM Global, UCB, Inc., US Food & Drug Administration, University of Rochester Medical Center, US Dept. of Agriculture

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