Education

Best Bioinformatics Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Bioinformatics programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Bioinformatics is the study of the structure and function of biological macromolecules, such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. Bioinformatics degree programs can prepare students for a variety of careers in the life sciences, including research, development, and management.

Bioinformatics degree programs offer a combination of coursework in biology, computer science, and mathematics. Students in bioinformatics degree programs learn about the different ways in which computers can be used to study biological data, and how to develop new methods for analyzing and storing that data. They also learn about the different applications of bioinformatics, such as drug development and disease diagnosis.

How to Choose the Right Bioinformatics Program

When it comes to choosing the right bioinformatics bachelor’s degree program, there are many factors to consider. Cost, location, and time to degree are just a few of the things prospective students need to keep in mind.

The cost of a bioinformatics degree can vary depending on the institution. When considering costs, students need to research tuition, fees, and associated expenses such as housing, commuting, and parking. Public schools offer a lower tuition rate for in-state residents. Location can also affect the ability to gain internship opportunities and network for jobs after graduation. Finally, the time to degree may make an expensive program less costly if students can transfer in college credits.

In addition to these factors, prospective bioinformatics students also need to consider the specializations available at each program. Students interested in a specific area of study, such as genomics or proteomics, may only wish to consider programs that offer a track in that area. Students can also research the graduation requirements to learn how many general biology classes they must take versus the specialized courses in their track.

Best Bachelor’s in Bioinformatics Programs

The best programs for Bioinformatics ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Saint Edward’s University
Austin, TX

The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics from Saint Edward’s University is a interdisciplinary program that combines coursework in computer science, computational biology, mathematics, statistics and chemistry. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in the biomedical field, with a focus on research and development. Students in the program have the opportunity to conduct research at the Wild Basin Creative Research Center, and can also take advantage of internships in the Austin area. The program culminates in a capstone project, in which students apply their knowledge and skills to a real-world problem.

Rank 2
St. Mary’s University
San Antonio, TX

The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics from St. Mary’s University is a interdisciplinary program that uses computer science, mathematics and information technology to solve biological, biomedical and biochemical problems. The program offers three tracks for students to choose from, depending on their interests and goals. The core Bioinformatics classes cover topics such as data mining, algorithms, databases and more. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship or research project, as well as a Bioinformatics Capstone course.

Rank 3
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA

The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a unique interdisciplinary program that combines coursework in Biology, Computer Science, and Mathematics. Students in the program will develop foundational knowledge in all three disciplines, and may choose to specialize in one area. The program also offers interdisciplinary courses on topics such as biovisualization, biomedical database mining, simulation in biology, and statistical methods in genetics and bioinformatics.

Rank 4
Baylor University
Waco, TX

The Bachelor of Science in Informatics (BSI) degree from Baylor University is a unique, interdisciplinary program that combines coursework in computer science and biology. The goal of the program is to prepare students for careers in bioinformatics, a field that combines the two disciplines. The curriculum includes courses in biology, computer science, chemistry, and mathematics, as well as the humanities and social sciences. The BSI degree is an excellent choice for students planning to enter one of the medical professions.

Rank 5
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Eau Claire, WI

The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is a unique program that helps students develop programming and statistical skills while also enhancing their knowledge in the life sciences. The coursework throughout the program introduces students to the software used to extract information from large databases and teaches them how to use that information in computer modeling and data analysis.

Rank 6
Marquette University
Milwaukee, WI

The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics from Marquette University is a unique program that combines biology and computer science to prepare students for a career in the rapidly growing field of bioinformatics. The program provides students with a broad background in both disciplines, and includes a capstone course that merges biological experimentation and big data analysis.

Rank 7
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

The Bachelor of Science degree in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from University at Buffalo is a highly interdisciplinary program that integrates coursework in applied mathematics, computer science and the biological sciences. Students learn how to apply mathematics and computing to the study of genes and proteins. This training prepares students for graduate education in a bioinformatics-related field or for entry into the workforce of this emerging discipline.

Rank 8
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY

The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from Rochester Institute of Technology is a dynamic degree that combines biology and computing to analyze big data collected by the health industry in order to discover, diagnose, and treat a wide range of medical conditions.

Rank 9
Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, IL

The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics from Illinois Institute of Technology is a STEM-focused program that prepares students for careers in computational biology and bioinformatics. The program provides a solid foundation in the principles of biology, chemistry, and physics, along with courses in programming, statistics, and other methods. Students can choose from two tracks: Applied Bioinformatics or Computational Biology. The program also offers the opportunity to earn a certificate in business economics, corporate finance, data analytics, or real estate investment.

Rank 10
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO

The Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics from the University of Central Missouri is an interdisciplinary degree program that bridges the gap between studies in biology and data. The program provides students with the skills and experience needed to excel in many research, medical and health care settings. The curriculum for the program is drawn from studies in biology, chemistry, statistics and computer science.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Bioinformatics Program

Students in a bachelor’s in bioinformatics program learn to use computers to store, organize, and analyze biological data. The coursework emphasizes both biology and computer science, and students take classes in topics such as genetics, molecular biology, and computer programming. In addition to coursework, most programs require students to complete a research project or thesis.

A bachelor’s in bioinformatics typically takes four years to complete, and students should have strong math skills and be interested in both biology and computer science. Some programs may also require students to complete an internship.

Bioinformatics is a relatively new field, and there are few schools that offer standalone programs. However, many schools offer degrees in related fields, such as computer science or biology, with a concentration in bioinformatics. Students in these programs take classes in both biology and computer science and often complete a research project or thesis in bioinformatics.

Common Bioinformatics Courses

A bioinformatics degree program will typically offer a range of courses in biology, computer science, and information technology. The following is a list of five courses that are often found in a bioinformatics degree program.

Structural Bioinformatics

This course covers the application of computer science and mathematics to the field of structural biology. Topics include protein sequence analysis, protein structure prediction, molecular dynamics simulations, and drug design. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of the physical and chemical principles underlying the structure and function of biological macromolecules, and on using computational methods to solve problems in structural biology. Upon completion, students should be able to apply computational methods to predict and analyze the three-dimensional structures of proteins and other biomolecules.

DNA sequencing

This course covers the theory and applications of DNA sequencing. Topics include an overview of sequencing technologies, data analysis, and genome assembly. Emphasis is placed on the use of bioinformatics tools for the management and analysis of DNA sequencing data. Upon completion, students should be able to use a variety of bioinformatics tools to process and analyze DNA sequencing data.

Machine Learning

This course covers the basics of machine learning and data mining. Topics include supervised and unsupervised learning, feature selection and transformation, model selection and evaluation, and algorithm design and analysis. Upon completion, students should be able to apply machine learning methods to real-world data sets, understand the advantages and disadvantages of various methods, and tune parameters to optimize performance.

Algorithms for Bioinformatics

This course covers the design and analysis of algorithms for problems arising in bioinformatics and computational biology. Topics include sequence analysis, pairwise and multiple sequence alignment, phylogenetic reconstruction, motif finding, gene expression analysis, and structure prediction. Algorithmic techniques include dynamic programming, greedy algorithms, divide-and-conquer, randomized algorithms, and graph algorithms. Upon completion, students should be able to design and analyze algorithms for bioinformatics problems, and implement algorithms in a programming language.

Data Structures and Algorithms

This course covers the design, analysis, and implementation of algorithms and data structures. Topics include asymptotic analysis, big-O notation, recursion, divide-and-conquer algorithms, greedy algorithms, dynamic programming, graph algorithms, minimum spanning trees, hashing, heaps, priority queues, search trees, sorting, and strings. Upon completion, students should be able to design and implement efficient algorithms and data structures to solve problems arising in bioinformatics and other fields.

Career Options for Bioinformatics Graduates

Graduates of bioinformatics programs work in a variety of industries, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. They may also work in fields such as research, development, and information technology.

Bioinformatics Scientist

Bioinformatics scientists develop and use computer programs to analyze and interpret biological data, such as DNA and protein sequences. They work in a variety of settings, including academia, government, and the private sector. In addition to their computer programming skills, bioinformatics scientists need to have a strong background in biology and be familiar with the scientific method.

Computational Biologist

Computational biologists use computers and math to solve problems in biology and medicine. They develop algorithms, write code, and run simulations to study things like how a cell works, how a disease progresses, or how a new drug might interact with the human body. Computational biologists often work in teams with experimental biologists and medical researchers to design experiments, analyze data, and interpret results. They also develop new ways to visualize data and build models to simulate complex biological systems.

Data Analyst

Data analysts collect, process, and analyze data to help a business or organization solve a problem. They use their findings to make recommendations about how the company can improve its products, services, processes, and strategies. Data analysts typically have a background in mathematics, statistics, computer science, and/or information technology. They use their skills to clean and organize data, identify trends and patterns, and build models to make predictions. Data analysts may work in a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, retail, manufacturing, and technology.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers develop devices and procedures that solve medical and health-related problems. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, research laboratories, and manufacturing facilities. Depending on their specialty, they might design artificial limbs, pacemakers, or other implants; develop new diagnostic devices, such as MRI machines; or work on developing gene therapies. Biomedical engineers often work on teams with other engineers, scientists, and medical personnel.

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts assess an organization’s computer systems and recommend ways to optimize them. They often work in the IT department of a company and liaise between different departments to understand the needs of each and how they can be met by the company’s technology. Analysts typically have a background in computer science and strong analytical skills. They use their skills to identify inefficiencies and recommend solutions, such as new hardware, software, or system configurations.

Insights From a Bioinformatics Graduate

Alexzander Shaw is a Bioinformatics Analyst at Pfizer. He has a bachelor’s degree in bioinformatics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Alexzander has over 3 years of experience in the bioinformatics field.

ClimbtheLadder: What would you recommend that students do in addition to their degree program, in order to stand out to employers?

Alexzander Shaw: In addition to their degree program, I would recommend that students take on internships and research opportunities. These experiences will not only help students learn new skills, but will also give them a chance to network with professionals in the field. Additionally, students should consider becoming involved in professional organizations, such as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in a Bioinformatics career?

Alexzander Shaw: A person who is successful in a Bioinformatics career is someone who is able to understand and work with complex data. They are also able to use their analytical skills to find trends and patterns in the data. Additionally, they are able to use their problem-solving skills to solve complex problems.

ClimbtheLadder: What misconception(s) do people have about a Bioinformatics degree, and what would you tell them?

Alexzander Shaw: I think the biggest misconception is that a bioinformatics degree is only for people who want to work in the biotech industry. In reality, a degree in bioinformatics can lead to a career in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and even law enforcement.

Another misconception is that a bioinformatics degree is only for people who are interested in computers. While it is true that a bioinformatics degree requires a strong background in computer science, it is also important to have a strong foundation in biology.

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