Bioinformatics

This major offers rigorous, interdisciplinary training in the rapidly growing and evolving field of bioinformatics within the Division of Biological Sciences. Bioinformatics uses computational approaches to analyze biological data (e.g. large scale genomic, proteomic and metabolomic datasets) to investigate living organisms and their communities. An understanding of the qualitative and quantitative biological data that are accruing, and the tools used to analyze them, requires substantial mastery of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and computer science. The interdisciplinary bioinformatics specialization will be offered by two other departments (Computer Science and Engineering, and Bioengineering). All three versions of the bioinformatics specialization share a common set of core requirements, and also have distinct requirements reflecting each unit’s academic focus. The bioinformatics specialization offered by the Division of Biological Sciences is aimed at a student interested in applying, and to some extent developing, tools of bioinformatics for the study of biological systems. Students will receive a BS in Biology with a Specialization in Bioinformatics. This degree will prepare students for graduate studies in biological and biomedical sciences, and provide excellent training for work in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and bioinformatics industries.

Students in the bioinformatics major are required to take courses in departments outside of the Division of Biological Sciences. As a result, we recommend students contact each respective department to inquire about prerequisite enforcement.

The major requirements below ONLY apply to students who were admitted to UC San Diego in Fall 2017 or later.  If you were admitted to UC San Diego prior to Fall 2017, please refer to your degree audit, the UC San Diego General Catalog, or academic plan that aligns with your admit term for a listing of major requirements.  If you have further questions, please contact a Biology Advisor for clarification.

Lower-Division Requirements

  • Biology: BILD 1, 3, and 4
  • Chemistry: CHEM 6A and 6B
  • Organic Chemistry: CHEM 40A and 40B
    Information on Changes to the Organic Chemistry Sequence
  • Computer Science and Engineering: CSE 11, CSE 12*, and CSE 21* (Students may take CSE 8A and CSE 8B in place of CSE 11)
  • Mathematics: MATH 18, 20A, 20B, and 20C
  • Physics: PHYS 2A, 2B, and 2C*

* These courses have additional prerequisites and/or corequisites that are not required for the major.  Please contact the respective department to inquire about prerequisite and corequisite enforcement.

Upper-Division Requirements

Note: Any given course can only satisfy one major requirement

  • Advanced Data Structure (CSE 100)*
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms (CSE 101)
  • Structural Biochemistry (BIBC 100) or Metabolic Biochemistry (BIBC 102)
  • Genetics (BICD 100)
  • Molecular Biology (BIMM 100) or Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (Chem 114D)
  • Molecular Sequence Analysis (BIMM 181)
  • Biological Databases (BIMM 182)
  • Applied Genomic Technologies (BENG 183)*
  • Bioinformatics Laboratory (BIMM 185)
  • Probability and Statistics (MATH 186)
  • Upper-Division Biology Elective - complete at least eight units of coursework offered by the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences (a total of 48 upper division units is required for completion of the major).  
    • Upper-division Biology elective units may be completed with courses numbered 100-189 taken through UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences.  Elective units may include one quarter of BISP 195, up to four BIxx 194s, and one quarter of either BISP 193 or BISP 196/197/199. Electives may also include SIO 123, 125, 126, 127, 128, 132, 133, 134, 147, 181, and 189.  Students are required to meet the Division of Biological Sciences residency requirement .
    • Only one BISP 196/197/199 can apply towards the major.  Subsequent quarters of BISP 195, 196, 197 or 199 may be applied toward college and university requirements.

* These courses have additional prerequisites and/or corequisites that are not required for the major.  Please contact the respective department to inquire about prerequisite and corequisite enforcement.

Additional Requirements

Minimum Grade Requirement

  • All courses required and used toward any biology major requirements must be taken for a letter grade and completed with a C- or better.
  • The minimum grade requirement applies to all lower-division, upper-division, required courses taken in other departments, as well as courses transferred and used toward major requirements.
  • Exceptions will be made for those required courses that have a P/NP only grading option (e.g., BISP 199).
  • The minimum major GPA requirement is 2.0.

Please note: The degree audit may not automatically reject D grades for the major. If your degree audit appears blue and you have a D in a required course for the major, please contact a biology advisor.


Upper-Division Unit Requirement

To receive a Bachelor of Science from UC San Diego, all students must complete 48 or more units of upper-division course work within the major.

Please note: The degree audit may not display an accurate number of upper division biology electives required for the major in order to meet the 48 upper division unit requirement.

If your degree audit is blue and the 48 upper division unit requirement in the bottom of the first column is red, you will need to take additional upper division biology coursework in order to satisfy this requirement.  If you have questions, please contact a biology advisor.


Biology Residency Requirement

To receive a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from UC San Diego, all students must complete at least twenty units of upper-division coursework in the Division of Biological Sciences with a grade of C- or better. This coursework must directly apply to the student’s Biology major requirements, and must be taken while officially enrolled at UC San Diego. Courses completed outside of the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences will not be counted toward the residency requirement.