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Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology is an interdisciplinary Specialist Program, jointly sponsored by the Departments of Biochemistry, Cell & Systems Biology, Computer Science, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Molecular Genetics. With this Program we address the unique challenges of the most rapidly advancing frontier of the sciences: understanding life at the molecular level. Bioinformatics builds the toolbox of this science. This requires a good grasp of computational principles, algorithms and practical considerations to work with and analyse individual molecules, whole genomes and "Big Data" in the lab and from public research databases. Computational biology is our goal. Applying deep insights into biology, sophisticated statistical analysis and advanced modeling techniques, we aim to transform the life sciences from a descriptive science to a predictive one, and provide the insights we need for academia, industry and medicine. The BCB Specialist Program provides a balance between computer science, mathematics and statistics courses, and courses in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology and genetics. Even so, the Program leaves ample space to add advanced courses in Computer Science or Life Science specializations, to prepare for graduate studies in either life- or computer science.


  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (specialist)


First-Year Courses

There are no first year courses specific to the Program.  The recommended courses are key prerequisites for advanced courses.

Advice for First Year

Students who wish to join the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program should take the following courses in first or second year:

  • Introductory Calculus: MAT 135H1 and MAT 136H1; or MAT 137Y1; or MAT 157Y1
  • Introductory Programming and Computer Science: CSC 108H1 and CSC 148H1
  • Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning and the Theory of Computation: CSC 165H1 and CSC 236H1;  or CSC240H1
  • Data Structures: CSC263H1; or CSC265H1
  • Introductory Organic and Physical Chemistry: CHM 135H1 and CHM 136H1; or CHM 151Y1
  • BIO130H1 – Molecular and Cell Biology

A minimum of 4.0 credits, taken in either first or second year, are required to enrol. We highly recommend parallel enrolment in the Computer Science major program. Refer to the Computer Science Programs for details. Note that special tuition fees apply, the same as for Computer Science programs.

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