Bioinformatics degree questions.

Lori Superina lsuperin at
Fri Apr 5 21:49:39 EST 2002

I'm currently an undergrad student at the University of Waterloo in Ontario,
Canada, candidate for their Bachelor of Computer Science, Bioinformatics
option.  If you feel like studying somewhere up north, we're a highly
reputed university in computer science.  The program offers a strong
background in Math and Comp Sci, in addition to courses in molecular biology
and bioinformatics.  I'm only in second year mind you, but if you're willing
to attend schools abroad, keep in mind there are a few that do offer bioinfo
at the undergrad level.  :)

Kevin Karplus <karplus at> wrote in message
news:slrnaa2079.qr3.karplus at
> In article <u9sbe9cjkld407 at>, Kenneth Blaine wrote:
> > I'm thinking about going back to school to (eventually) get a PhD in
> > bioinformatics.  My original degree was in a non-technical field
> > administration) so I've got quite a lot of makeup work to do before I
> > consider applying to grad school.   The way that I look at it, I have
> > options I could follow before I apply:
> >
> > 1.  Take only the standard courses necessary for entrance into a
> > bioinformatics program.
> >
> > 2.  Get a (second) undergraduate degree in molecular biology.
> >
> > 3.  Get a (second) undergraduate degree in molecular biology and take
> > extra year of courses required for a masters in molecular biology.
> >
> > (Note:  I do plan on taking several extra courses in mathematics and
> > computer science, in any case.  But I can take more of them if I don't
> > to worry about filling (Lib Arts&Sci) requirements for the 2nd degree.)
> >
> > So, which of these options would give me the best chance at getting into
> > good graduate program?   Or are they all pretty much on par?   Also, how
> > difficult is it to get into a bioinformatics program?  I've read that
> > universities are having a hard time keeping professors in the field -
> > many are being lured away by the private sector.  Has this caused it to
> > significantly more difficult to be admitted to a bioinformatics program
> > to a regular molecular biology program?
> There are a lot more molecular biology programs than bioinformatics
> programs, and the necessary training to get into them is not as broad
> (though possibly deeper).  You can look at
> to answer a number of your questions about what training UCSC expects
> for its incoming bioinformatics students.
> Getting into UCSC (one of the premier programs in bioinformatics,
> though I say it as shouldn't) is quite difficult---we only accepted
> about 20 out of 60 applicants this year, and we expect the number of
> applicants to soar once we actually have an approved grad program.
> Getting a grad degree in molecular biology is great, but it won't be
> enough to get you into our bioinformatics program.  We want to see a
> substantial programming background and some statistics, as well as a
> fair amount of molecular biology.  We've found it takes too long to
> teach someone how to program---that is a skill that need to be
> obtained BEFORE entering a grad program in bioinformatics.
> --
> Kevin Karplus karplus at
> Professor of Computer Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz
> Undergraduate Director, Bioinformatics
> (and grad director-to-be)

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