Carnegie Mellon University

Curriculum overview

  • M.S. in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics (MS-QBB): 2-semester program. 90 total units of coursework (approximately 8 courses over two semesters).
  • M.S. in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics - Advanced Study (MS-QBBAS): 3-semester program. 114 total units of coursework (approximately 10 courses over three semesters).

Admitted students will choose a program in March/April for August start date. Inter-program transfer after matriculation requires special approval from program administration.

Fall semester (48 units):

  • 03-701-A1 (6 units): Statistcal Computing for Biological Sciences (half-semester)
  • 03-702-A2 (6 units): Data Analysis for Biological Sciences (half-semester)
  • 02-601 (12 units): Programming for Scientists
  • 03-727 (12 units): Evolutionary Bioinformatics
  • Biological Sciences graduate-level elective (12 units) or one of the following (subject to pre-requisites and availability):
    • 02-604 (12 units): Bioinformatics
    • 02-680 (9 units): Essential Mathematics and Statistics for Scientists
    • 02-719 (12 units): Genomics & Epigenetics of the Brain

Spring semester (42-51 units):

  • 03-708-A3 (6 units): Practical Computing for Biologists (half-semester)
  • 03-713-A4 (6 units): Bioinformatics Data Integration Practicum (half-semester)
  • Biological Sciences graduate-level electives (30-39 units)
    • Additionally, 09-563 Quantitative Chemistry (9 units) can fill an elective (subject to availability of space)
    • Up to 12 units of research credit may also be done, interested students should work with program advisors to find a lab

Fall semester of year 1 (36 units):

  • 03-701-A1 (6 units): Statistcal Computing for Biological Sciences (half-semester)
  • 03-702-A2 (6 units): Data Analysis for Biological Sciences (half-semester)
  • 02-601 (12 units): Programming for Scientists
  • 03-727 (12 units): Evolutionary Bioinformatics
  • Optional: Biological Sciences graduate-level elective (0-12 units) or one of the following (subject to pre-requisites and availability):
    • 02-604 (12 units): Bioinformatics
    • 02-680 (9 units): Essential Mathematics and Statistics for Scientists
    • 02-719 (12 units): Genomics & Epigenetics of the Brain

Spring semester of year 1 (36 units):

  • 03-708-A3 (6 units): Practical Computing for Biologists (half-semester)
  • 03-713-A4 (6 units): Bioinformatics Data Integration Practicum (half-semester)
  • Biological Sciences graduate-level electives (24 units)
    • Additionally, 09-563 Quantitative Chemistry (9 units) can fill an elective (subject to availability of space)
    • Up to 12 units of research credit may also be done, interested students should work with program advisors to find a lab

Fall semester of year 2 (42 units):

  • 03-711 (12 units): Computational Genomics and Molecular Biology
  • Optional: Biological Sciences graduate-level elective (30 units) or one of the following (subject to pre-requisites and availability):
    • 02-604 (12 units): Bioinformatics
    • 02-680 (9 units): Essential Mathematics and Statistics for Scientists
    • 02-719 (12 units): Genomics & Epigenetics of the Brain
    • Up to 12 units of research credit may also be done, interested students should work with program advisors to find a lab

Additional Curriculum Notes

Seminars

Each semester, all students are encouraged to and attend some or all of the weekly Department of Biological Sciences Research Seminars. Graduate students are strongly urged to meet the speakers to broaden their knowledge of cutting-edge biological science and to make useful contacts; the faculty host can arrange individual or small group meetings for interested students. Students may also count up to 3 units of seminar (typically 1 semester) as depth coursework.

Research

Students who are interested in research for credit may take M.S. Thesis Research. The number of credits for this course will be determined by the faculty mentor. In order for more than 12 units of research to count toward total units for graduation, the student must write and defend a Masters thesis. Students should contact faculty directly to learn about available research opportunities. It is strongly advised that students wait until their second semester to begin research. M.S. students are not eligible for research assistantships, but students can work or do research for an hourly pay within the limitations of number of hours and pay range. Students can not get course credit and an hourly wage for the same work.

Internships (only available to students in MSQBB - Advanced Study)

Students who are interested in doing an internship in industry or at a research lab not at CMU can take 03-601R, Biology Internship, for 3 units of credit.

International students who secure paid internships outside of Carnegie Mellon must register for both 03-601R and Curricular Practical Training (CPT). The Office of International Education (OIE) oversees CPT registration. Students will need the offer letter spelling out dates of employment, hours to be worked, and wages or stipend (if any). Note that, during the summer, tuition for 03-601R will not be assessed.

It is advisable to contact the Assistant Department Head for Graduate Affairs during the fall semester to begin seeking and preparing for an internship (i.e. resumes, cover letters and making contacts).