B.S. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

In order to keep pace with one of the fastest growing fields in the country, the B.S. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BINF) consists of a roughly equal amount of coursework in life sciences, computer science, and mathematics. By developing skills across several disciplines, students acquire the knowledge that allows them to access and manipulate the wealth of data now emerging from new technologies relating to genes, genomes and the molecules they produce.

Bioinformatics graduates have excellent background for employment in industry, government, and academics. Students are especially encouraged to seek some form of graduate study beyond the B.S., in order to focus their broad skills base into a specific area of expertise that prepares them for research careers in one of these domains.

NOTE: This is not a complete list of requirements. See the UMBC Undergraduate Catalog for the full listing of requirements for this program. The below list references the program requirements for students starting at UMBC in Fall 2022 onward. Please speak to your advisor and review your Degree Audit to ensure you are meeting your graduation requirements.

Download the B.S. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Worksheet from the Forms & Links Page

Required courses (87-90 CREDITS)

Biology (25 credits)

  • BIOL 141 Foundations of Biology I
  • BIOL 142 Foundations of Biology II
  • BIOL 300L Experimental Biology Laboratory
  • BIOL 302 Molecular and General Genetics
  • BIOL 303 Cell Biology
  • BIOL 430 Biological Chemistry
  • BIOL 313 Introduction to Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics Capstone: choose one (4 credits)

  • BIOL 415 System Biology
  • BIOL 428 Computer Applications in Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 495 Seminar in Bioinformatics

Chemistry (13 credits)

  • CHEM 101 Principles of Chemistry I
  • CHEM 102 Principles of Chemistry II
  • CHEM 102L Principles of Chemistry Lab
  • CHEM 351 Organic Chemistry I

Computer Sciences (17 credits)

  • CMSC 201 Computer Science I for majors
  • CMSC 202 Computer Science II for majors
  • CMSC 203 Discrete Structures
  • CMSC 341 Data Structures
  • CMSC 461 Database Management Systems

Physics & Mathematics (19 credits)

  • PHYS 121 Introductory Physics I or PHYS 111 Basic Physics I
  • MATH 151 Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
  • MATH 152 Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
  • MATH 221 Linear Algebra
  • STAT 355 Introduction to Probability & Statistics for Scientists & Engineers or STAT 350 Statistics with Applications in the Biological Sciences

Electives (9-12 CREDITS)

A total of three additional courses are required, to be selected from the two lists of BINF electives. One course is to be selected from List A, one course from List B, and one from either List A or B. See Catalog or Degree Audit for a full list of elective options.

B.S. grade requirements

Students must complete the courses below with a Grade Point Average (GPA) no lower than 3.0 and with no grade lower than “C” in any of the courses. At least three of these courses must be completed at UMBC. A course may be repeated once to meet gateway requirements, but both grades will be used to compute the gateway GPA. (e.g. a student receiving a grade of “B” in all six gateway courses with one enrollment in each course will have a gateway GPA of 3.0. A student receiving an initial grade of “C” and a repeated grade of “B” in CHEM 101, with a “B” in all other gateway courses, will have a gateway GPA of 2.86).

Required Gateway Courses Requirement

  • BIOL 141 – Foundations of Biology I
  • BIOL 142 – Foundations of Biology II
  • CHEM 101 – Principles of Chemistry I
  • CMSC 201 – Computer Science I
  • CMSC 202 Computer Science II
  • MATH 151 – Calculus & Analytical Geometry

Students who do not meet the above criteria (e.g. transfer students who transfer in more than three of the above courses) may petition the BINF steering committee for admission to the program.

Pre-requisites and co-requisites for all BIOL courses will be enforced. Pre-requisites in all biology courses must be satisfied with a grade of “C” or higher.

The department will adhere to university policies that limit to three the number of times a student may register for the same course.

A student planning to complete the B.S. in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology should begin a first course in chemistry during the first semester of the freshman year. The mathematics sequence should also be started as soon as possible.

Transfer students with an interest in Bioinformatics should contact the BINF steering committee chair as early as possible upon their arrival to UMBC in order to receive proper advising in degree planning.

Different career options and optional minors in other disciplines are available to BINF students. Please consult the BINF itinerary guidelines. These itineraries are meant only as illustrative guidelines of different pathways in the major. They do not define nor constitute strict or fixed pathway requirements for completion of the major.

On its own, the BINF major does not satisfy pre-med/pre-pharm/pre-dent requirements.

Students wishing to switch to the current BINF curriculum (beginning Fall 2022) should contact their advisor as soon as possible. Students should always refer to the Undergraduate Catalog and their Degree Audit for a full list of their degree requirements.

If you enrolled in college for the first time before Fall 2010 you may be following an earlier version of this degree program –  pre-Fall 2010 curriculum –  you should realize that some classes required in that curriculum are no longer available. Students pursuing a legacy degree can transfer to the new degree program by filing a Change of Major Form which can be found on the Registrar’s web site.



Page updated May 2022