About Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field which combines mathematical and computer sciences with biology and/or medicine. With the recent advancements in biotechnology, biologists are frequently overloaded with large datasets which need to be stored and analyzed in automated ways. Bioinformatics provides the tools to understand complex biological systems ranging from entire ecological systems, to specific human diseases, to cellular and molecular networks.

What are the requirements to enter the Program?

Bioinformatics is a challenging field, requiring working knowledge of three different disciplines. To enter the Master's Program in Bioinformatics, a student must have: 1) A strong background in computer science; 2) background in Biology and Statistics; 3) competitive GRE and TOEFL scores. For more information on admission requirements for the graduate school at The University of Memphis, please go to the Graduate School website.

What is the curriculum?

The total credit hours required for graduation is 36. The core courses include: two classes in computer science (Bioinformatics, Algorithms), two classes in Statistics (Probability Theory, Applied Statistics), two classes in biology (Cell biology, Genomics), and the Bioinformatics Research Seminar course (taken each semester). The remaining credit hours may be selected from a large number of graduate classes in Mathematics, Computer Science, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, or Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Memphis.

Students may receive up to six credit hours by electing to write and defend a Master's Thesis Project based upon their primary research outside of course work. Research projects may be conducted with investigators at the University of Memphis, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, or St. Jude Children's Hospital. Non-thesis candidates will be required to enroll in a Research class, submit and defend a research paper on the topic approved by their adviser.

Research Assistantships and tuition waivers are available to Bioinformatics graduate students on a competitive basis and are renewable annually.

What are the job opportunities in Bioinformatics?

There is a growing need and job market for bioinformatics specialists in academic and research institutions as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The starting salaries for bioinformatics professionals can range widely, depending on the institution and specialization of the individual. Check St. Jude Children's Research Hospital "All Positions" for current Bioinformatics job opportunities in the area. Learn more.

For more information, email bioinformatics@memphis.edu.