Minor in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

The College of Letters, Arts and Sciences departments of biological sciences and mathematics and the Viterbi School of Engineering departments of computer sciences and biomedical engineering jointly offer the cross-departmental minor in computational biology and bioinformatics. This minor provides essential training in using quantitative skills to solve fundamental biological problems as well as problems related to public health, neuroscience, and environment. The cross-departmental minor includes four different tracks according to the background of the students in biology, mathematics, computer science, and engineering.

As with all minors, students must include at least four upper-division courses (16 units) and four courses (16 units) dedicated exclusively to this minor (they can overlap). Four courses (16 units) taken outside the major department are required. The courses are designed for students in biology, mathematics, computer science, or biomedical engineering. Other students may need more units to receive the minor. The CHEM105bL or CHEM115bL prerequisite for BISC320 may be waived if the students have the necessary background determined by the faculty advisor for the minor and students who waived these prerequisite cannot retake CHEM105bL or CHEM115bL for credit.

Please see the minor advisor for specific program requirement.

Required courses

Biological Science

    BISC305: Introduction to statistics for biologists (4, Fa). (Can be substituted by Math208 or Math408 or BME423 (3:Fa))

    BISC320L: Molecular biology (4,Fa), Pre: CHEM105bL or CHEM115bL (the prerequisite can be waived*)

    BISC478: Computational Genome Analysis (4 Sp): Pre: BISC320L

    BISC481: Modeling of biomolecules and biological systems (4 Fa): Pre: Math125


    Math125: Calculus I (4, FaSpSm), Pre: Math108 or math placement exam

    Math126: Calculus II (4, FaSpSm), Pre: Math125

Computer Science

    CSCI101L: Fundamentals of Computer Programming (3, FaSp) (Can be substituted by EE150 (3:Fa))

    CSCI102L: Data Structure (3, FaSp), Pre: CSCI101L


    Biological Sciences: BISC230L, 300L*, 313*, 325*, 330L*, 403*, 406L*, 410*

    Mathematics: MATH225*, 226*, 408*, 432*, 458*, 465*, 466*, 467*

    Computer Science: CSCI200*, 201L*, 271*, 303*, 477a*, 477b*, 485*

*Prerequisite required

Total requirements for students with no prior course work: 30 units. Students need to take 30 units of the courses listed: all requirements, and enough electives to add up to 30 units, while fulfilling the requirement that they must take 16 units unique to the minor (not used for their major or GE) and 16 units not offered by their major.

Students majoring in biological sciences, mathematics, computer sciences and biomedical engineering can meet many of these requirements with course work that also satisfies their majors.

Students of other majors need to take all the required courses plus at least one elective from mathematics or computer science (e.g. Math226, Math 407, CSCI200, CSCI201) from the list of elective courses to meet the minor requirements

Biology Careers

Information on potential biology careers can be found at this site: American Institute of Biological Sciences.

For more news and announcements, please visit the USC Biological Sciences Blog.

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