Computer Science Option: Bioinformatics

To submit a proposed plan of study, use the Applied CS Program webform.

At first glance, you might not think biology is even remotely related to computer science. But in recent years, computer science has helped other scientists make enormous advances by giving them access to huge amounts of data.

Today, computer scientists develop ways to model and analyze biological data that can help scientists speed up their research or discover new insights into the secrets of life. And the Human Genome Project, for example, would not have been possible without having computers to analyze huge amounts of genetic data. Combining biology with computer science is called bioinformatics or computational biology.

Potential Job Opportunities

Bioinformatics scientist: develop algorithms, integration & analysis of biological data across multiple databases. Companies: Ceres Inc. Somalogic Inc. Ocean Ridge Biosciences, ACGT

Bioinformatician: design, develop, maintain data processing of biological data. Companies: UC Davis, University of Chicago, DNAnexus, Qiagen


Degree Requirements

Example Plan


  • CS 434 (Machine Learning & Data Mining)
  • CS 440 (Database Management Systems)
  • CS 453 (Scientific Visualization) or CS 458 (Introduction to Information Visualization)
  • BI 212 and BI 213 (Principles of Biology)


  • BI 345 (Introduction to Evaluation)
  • BI 351 (Marine Ecology)
  • BI 445 (Evolution)
  • BI 370 (Ecology)
  • BOT 331 (Plant Physiology)
  • BOT 341 (Plant Ecology)
  • BOT 425 (Flora of the Pacific Northwest)
  • CS 446 (Biological Networks)
  • ENT 420 (Insect Ecology)
  • HSTS 415 (Theory of Evolution and Foundation of Modern Biology)
  • MB 448 (Microbial Ecology)
  • Z 361 (Invertebrate Biology)
  • Z 365 (Biology of Insects)
  • Z 371 (Vertebrate Biology)
  • Z 423 (Environmental Physiology)
  • Z 425 (Embryology and Development)
  • Z 431 (Physiology)
  • Z 432 (Vertebrate Physiology)