Master's Program

Students in the program are required to complete at least 30 credits of course work, plus some bioinformatics research.  Please note that BIOINF 599: Directed Research cannot constitute more than 6 of the 30 minimum credits.

Graduate students working on a computer

Course Work

Students are required to take at least one course in each of the following areas

A note about the molecular biology requirement: Students without a molecular biology background are strongly advised to take the introductory biology course, BIOINF-523, prior to the first term of classes or before taking any graduate level molecular biology course. BIOINF-523 alone is insufficient to qualify as molecular biology. Most Introductory molecular biology courses offered by PIBS programs qualify, ask advisers if it is not listed.

A note about the statistics requirement: Master's students can take BIOSTAT -521, which does not require multivariate calculus, or STATS -412. If you are especially interested in later pursuing a Ph.D., take BIOSTAT 521 and BIOSTAT 522 or one of the probability + statistics series, either Stats STATS 425 and Stats STATS 426, or the mathematically rigorous Math 525 + Math 526PSYCH 613 and PSYCH 614, or Biostats BIOSTAT 601 and Biostats BIOSTAT 602 series. It is also possible to take Biostat BIOSTAT 601 followed by Stats STATS 426.

The program encourages students to find other courses that may meet the core area criteria. All requests to substitute courses not listed that may meet that particular core area's requirements should be addressed to the Program Directors.

A student must get a grade of "B" or better in each of the required courses. Any exceptions need permission.

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Ph.D. Students Pursuing a Master's

Students wishing to obtain an M.S. in Bioinformatics while pursuing a Ph.D. in another program at the University of Michigan must apply by March 1.

Application materials include the Rackham “Add Degree” application, a statement of purpose, a current c.v., plus one letter of recommendation from the dissertation advisor. Students take the same courses listed above, of which no more than 15 credit hours can overlap with their Ph.D. program’s course requirements. A student’s research during their Ph.D. will fulfill the bioinformatics research experience requirement as long as there is bioinformatics content in at least one thesis chapter, and a DCMB faculty member on the student’s dissertation committee to assure bioinformatics content. Note: per Rackham rules, the credits from courses numbered 990 and 995 may not be applied to a master’s degree.

Research Experience

Research experience in bioinformatics for Master’s Degree students of a minimum of 300 hours is required. This can be either a paid part time research experience, spring or summer full time internship, or research for credit (BIOINF-599). Please speak with Dr. Stephen Guest about details. Guidelines can be found here. A maximum of 6 credit hour of BIOINF-599 will count towards your degree.

Financial Support

The Program provides financial support to Master’s students only in specific situations. Some students have obtained funded positions with individual mentors, but these are not guaranteed, rarely cover full stipend and tuition, and are frequently not available to students in their first term of study.

Students from underrepresented backgrounds in the biomedical sciences are encouraged to apply, even if they do not have the financial ability to fully support the duration of their studies. These students may be nominated for scholarships by Rackham that are matched by the department.

Transition from M.S. to Ph.D.

The M.S. program is a terminal degree program, and most M.S. students will find jobs in biotech or other industries or in academia. Some M.S. students choose to apply for a Ph.D. at U-M or elsewhere.

M.S. students in good standing who have identified a faculty member in CCMB who is prepared to take academic and financial responsibility for them as Ph.D. student can apply for admission to the Bioinformatics Ph.D. program by October 1 of their second year, for admission the following winter term.