Undergraduate Degree & Course Catalog

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology BS - Biological Sciences Concentration

(HEGIS: 04.00 BIOLOGICAL SCI UNCLASSFD, CIP: 26.1103 Bioinformatics)

Biological Sciences

109 Cooke Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1300
Ph: 716-645-2525
F: 716-645-2975
W: www.biology.buffalo.edu
Stephen Free
Denise M. Ferkey
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Why study Bioinformatics and Computational Biology BS - Biological Sciences Concentration at UB?

The Department of Biological Sciences is the campus center for life sciences innovative learning activity and leading-edge research at the University at Buffalo. Housed within the Department of Biological Sciences, the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) program is an interdisciplinary program that provides students with training life science, mathematics and computing that are needed to the elucidate the molecular entities that govern biological organization at all levels, from molecules to ecosystems. Students qualify for the Bachelor of Science in degree BCB by successfully completing courses in mathematics, computer science, chemistry and biology, followed by a research project guided by a UB faculty member. In addition to completing foundational courses, students have the option to specialize in one of the three program sub-areas, biology, computer science or mathematics.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Develop computational skills relevant to solving problems in bioinformatics
  • Develop relevant skills in math, statistics and biology that enable success in the field of bioinformatics
  • Develop analytical skills that will allow them to identify important problems in bioinformatics and to identify solutions
  • Gain research skills that allow them to apply their academic training to real-world problems
  • Develop written and oral communication skills that are crucial to articulating research goals and reporting research results

The Learning Environment

The research and academic programs in the Department of Biological Sciences are inextricably intertwined. Our academic programs exploit the breadth and depth of our faculty’s research expertise, outstanding teaching and mentoring skills. Using a learn-by-doing philosophy, the BCB program provides students with the background knowledge and practical skills needed to succeed in the field. Students in the BCB program have the opportunity to work with faculty mentors in Biological Sciences across the University at Buffalo. Our faculty takes a cross-disciplinary approach to life sciences learning and research. Students in the BCB program will participate in nationally-recognized research projects and complete their degree requirements in a collegial, interactive atmosphere that fosters learning and discovery.

About Our Facilities

The Department of Biological Sciences is housed in Cooke and Hochstetter Halls on UB’s North Campus. The department holds classes in centrally scheduled space throughout the campus, which includes traditional classrooms and lecture halls that can accommodate our program’s teaching philosophies. Undergraduate laboratory courses are held in 10 teaching laboratories housed in Cooke and Hochstetter Halls. The University at Buffalo houses the Center for Computational Research (CCR), a leading academic supercomputing facility, maintains a high-performance computing environment, high-end visualization laboratories, and support staff with expertise in computing, visualization, and networking. CCR, together with UB’s Nextgen sequencing core form the foundation of the Buffalo Institute for Genomics, a New York State-funded collaborative project with the NY Genome Center in New York City.

About Our Faculty

The Department of Biological Sciences at the University at Buffalo is committed to conducting innovative research and providing outstanding instruction to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our department includes both distinguished faculty and upcoming, cutting-edge researchers who teach and conduct research in life sciences in interdisciplinary fields, including Biochemistry of Gene Expression, Molecular Evolution and Genomics, Sensory Transduction and Development. The breadth of expertise among the faculty and the depth of their dedication fosters an atmosphere of discovery. We have a long tradition of excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching, as evidenced by the number of department faculty who have won awards for teaching excellence. All courses are taught by full-time faculty; no TAs or adjunct faculty contribute to departmental instruction. Approximately 40 graduate student TAs assist with undergraduate laboratories each semester.

Faculty List Directory

Please visit our departmental website for more information on faculty.

Career Outlook

Holders of the Bachelor’s degree in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology can choose either to enter the workforce or go on for additional graduate level training. Graduates choosing to pursue employment will find opportunities at biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, in the health care industry or in academic/research institutions. Starting salaries range from $40-65,000. Graduates of the BSBC program have obtained employment at such places as Los Alamos National laboratory, for private consulting firms and in research laboratories around the country. Graduates choosing to pursue additional training have completed advanced degrees at such places as University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Boston University.

Academic Advising

The Departmental Undergraduate Advisor is available for consultative management of student program planning by appointment and on a drop-in basis.

Each accepted student is also assigned a faculty advisor within the department at the time of acceptance. The advisor should be consulted concerning program requirements and the selection of courses to meet those requirements.

Academic Advising Contact Information

Ms. Brandi McKnight

Scholarships and Financial Support

The department presents five scholarships to matriculated majors:

  • The Knobloch Endowment Scholarship
  • The McCroskey Endowment Scholarship
  • Darryl Raszl Undergraduate Research Fellowship
  • The Philip G. Miles Undergraduate Research Fellowship
  • The Alumni Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Award criteria include both academic achievement and financial need.

Students in this program may also qualify for scholarships and financial support from a number of sources, including:

Academic Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to perform research projects (BIO 497 Honors Research or BIO 498 Undergraduate Research) in the laboratories of departmental faculty members.

Qualifying students may apply to participate in the departmental honors program.

Experiential Learning

A wide range of opportunities are available for students majoring in the biological sciences to gain experience outside of the context of the traditional lecture and laboratory course work that is offered by the department. Among the nationally recognized faculty in the department, many lead externally funded laboratories where students find research positions and thus gain valuable experience under the guidance of their faculty mentors. Students engaged in research (BIO 497 Honors Research or BIO 498 Undergraduate Research) may earn academic credit, or in some cases students may be remunerated for their research work if their mentors have grant funds for that purpose.

Extracurricular Activities

Undergraduate Biology Association: This organization is an active group open to all students. It sponsors special speakers on research, graduate school, and other selected topics. It also sponsors social activities.

Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE): The goal of WiSE is to increase the recruitment, retention and success of women in science, technology, engineering and math.

Association for Pre-Medical Students

National Pre-Health Honor Society

See also the UB Student Association

Honors and Awards

See Departmental Honors.

Departmental Honors

Students enrolled in the BS program may participate in the departmental honors program during their junior and senior years. Acceptance into the program may be achieved through invitation by the department, nomination by a sponsoring faculty member, or self-nomination by the student. Nomination forms for the honors program are available in the departmental office, 109 Cooke Hall, North Campus.

Becoming a(n) Bioinformatics and Computational Biology BS - Biological Sciences Concentration Student

Becoming a University at Buffalo Student

Admission to UB is highly competitive. For the 2016 incoming freshman class, UB reported an average ACT score of 24-30 and an average SAT (CR+M) score of 1100-1300. 90 percent of admitted students are in the top 50 percent of their class.

Admission to UB is based on a holistic review. We consider high school average, class rank, SAT (critical reading and math) or ACT scores, and strength of the high school academic record. A personal essay, recommendations, documented creative talent, demonstrated leadership, community service and special circumstances are also considered.

The following is not required for admission, but is suggested as adequate preparation for university-level coursework:

  • Four years of English (with a substantial writing component)
  • Four years of social studies
  • Three years of college-preparatory science
  • Three years of a second language
  • Three years of college-preparatory mathematics

Visit Undergraduate Admissions to learn more.

Transfer Admission to the Program

Transfer students are reminded that at least 16 credit hours of upper-division coursework must be completed within the department.

Current UB Students Applying to the Program

Students may indicate a preference to major in bioinformatics at any time, although acceptance into the major occurs only after a review of a student's progress at the end of four semesters of coursework. In exceptional circumstances, a student who wishes to major in bioinformatics may request a waiver or modification of the acceptance requirements. A minimum combined GPA of 3.0 in BIO 200 and BIO 201, and minimum combined GPA of 3.0 in CHE 101, CHE 102, MTH 121 (or 141) and MTH 122 (or 142) is required for acceptance to the program.

It is recommended that the prerequisite courses be completed by the end of the fourth semester; students with advanced placement credit may complete these courses earlier, and may then request acceptance into the program. Students, who follow the BCB program of study for several semesters but, for whatever reason, decide not to complete those requirements, can complete a traditional major in their area of concentration.

Suggested Introductory Courses

Completing the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology BS - Biological Sciences Concentration Program

Academic Requirements

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in biology courses and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in required chemistry, computer science, and mathematics courses is needed for degree conferral.
  • Completion of the Senior Project is also required.

Academic Advice

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all major courses to graduate.

Transfer Credit Policy

Courses from other institutions that have been previously evaluated in comparison to UB courses are listed on UB's course articulation website, TAURUS. For courses not listed, students must obtain approval through a petitioning process overseen by the department. Petition forms are available in 109 Cooke Hall (North Campus). In addition to filling out a petition, the student will be asked to provide supporting documents for transfer courses, such as a catalog description and/or syllabus.

SUNY Seamless Transfer is a SUNY-wide program intended to make transferring to UB and other SUNY Schools simple and efficient for SUNY students. SUNY has defined courses that SUNY students can take before transferring which will apply to the major at UB and ensure timely graduation.

Information about the Transfer Path for this major can be found on the SUNY website.

Students are encouraged to contact their academic advisor or department to discuss how their coursework will apply to their degree.

Prerequisite Courses

BIO 205 Fundamentals of Biological Chemistry
CHE 101 General Chemistry I
CHE 102 General Chemistry II
CSE 115 Introduction to Computer Science for Majors I
CSE 116 Introduction to Computer Science for Majors II
MTH 141 College Calculus I
MTH 142 College Calculus II

Required Courses

For Major:
BIO 205, BIO 319, BIO 400
CHE 101, CHE 102, CHE 201
CSE 115, CSE 116, CSE 250, CSE 462 OR BIO 519 OR BIO 608 OR MCH 501
MTH 141, MTH 142, MTH 309, MTH 411
MTH 191/CSE 191, MTH 337/CSE 337 OR MTH 437/CSE 437-MTH 438/CSE 438

For Concentration:
BIO 200 Evolutionary Biology
BIO 201 Cell Biology
BIO 203 General Physiology
BIO 213 General Physiology Lab
BIO 215 Fundamentals of Biological Chemistry Lab
BIO 319 Genetics
BIO 329 Genetics Lab
BIO 400 Bioinformatics
CHE 201 Organic Chemistry I
CHE 202 Organic Chemistry II
CSE 250 Data Structures
CSE 191 Discrete Structures/MTH 191 Introduction to Discrete Mathematics I
MTH 337/CSE 337 Introduction to Scientific Computing or CSE 462 Database Concepts or MTH 437/CSE 437 Introduction to Numerical Analysis
MTH 309 Introduction to Linear Algebra
MTH 411 Probability or STA 301 Intro to Probability
PHY 107 General Physics I
PHY 108 General Physics II
PHY 158 General Physics Lab
Senior Project (BIO 498 Undergraduate Research)

Departmental Honors Requirements

Students with a GPA ≥ 3.6 may apply to the departmental honors program during Fall of the junior year. Accepted students take a spring course during the junior year (BIO 487) solely for honors students. The senior year is devoted to lab research where the student 1) is accepted by a research advisor and 2) doing biologically relevant research at the honors level. Six credits of research (BIO 497) are completed during the senior year, resulting in a project and presented at our departmental symposium. BIO 497 credits count for two of the required labs for BA/BS degrees and all the BIO 487/497 credits will be counted toward the total required for the major. Students must maintain a 3.6 or greater GPA through graduation to graduate with honors. Honors students with a GPA of 3.6 – 3.79 will graduate with Honors. Students with GPAs of 3.8 and above will graduate with High Honors. Successful participation in the honors program and distinction level will be reflected on student diplomas.

Total Credit Hours Required

Credits Required for Major 92
Additional Credits Required for UB Curriculum  29
Additional Credits Required for Electives  0
Total Credits Required for Degree121

Students should consult with an academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite, or major requirements.

See Baccalaureate Degree Requirements for UB Curriculum and remaining university requirements.

Curricular Plan / Degree Map

View the Curricular Plan for the Bioinformatics BS - Concentration in Biology (PDF) which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.

Published: April 25, 2017 11:32:09 AM