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Core Curriculum

The Bachelor of Science degree in Bioinformatics requires training via the VCU Life Sciences general education requirements. In addition, specific training is required in the collateral course work and bioinformatics core with focused training in the areas of Biological/Genomic, Computational, or Quantitative/Statistical through track-specific courses. The curriculum map can be found here.

Degree Program Goals

  1. Graduates will have acquired fundamental skills in oral and written communication, critical thinking, information fluency and quantitative literacy, placed within the context of bioinformatics and science in general.
  2. Graduates will have acquired fundamental knowledge in the basic scientific disciplines of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, computer science and statistics.
  3. Graduates will be able to use the process of science to good effect, to formulate a significant problem, to find and critically build upon the work of others in multiple fields, to use or devise appropriate tools (including those of bioinformatics) to address the problem, and finally, to communicate their results in a meaningful way to the world.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will have demonstrated:

  1. The ability to present scientific results, both orally and in writing, in a way that makes clear to an appropriate target audience the distinction between what is known (and how) and what is merely suspected and between an observation and a conclusion, in a way that tells a compelling story.
  2. Fundamental knowledge of the basic concepts of biology (particularly molecular biology), the physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and computational science, and the ability to apply that knowledge within the context of bioinformatics.
  3. An ability to identify and analyze bioinformatics problems and strategies to solve said problems.
  4. An appropriate level of technical knowledge and ability necessary to address a scientific problem by exploiting biological software and datasets and creating simple bioinformatics tools.
  5. An ability to identify and access relevant scientific literature and draw from it in a meaningful and critical manner.

The bioinformatics program consists of a core curriculum listed below that provides the basics of biology, chemistry, computer science and statistics, as well as an introduction to the field of bioinformatics.

Bioinformatics Core Courses

BNFO 201 Computing Skills and Concepts in Bioinformatics

3

BNFO 251 Phage Discovery I*

2

BNFO 252 Phage Discovery II*

2

BNFO 300 - Molecular Biology Through Discovery

3

BNFO 301 Introduction to Bioinformatics

3

BNFO 420 Applications in Bioinformatics

3

BIOL 151 Introduction to Biological Sciences I

3

BIOL 152 Introduction to Biological Sciences II

3

BIOL 218 Cell Biology

3

CHEM 101 General Chemistry

3

CHEZ 101 General Chemistry Lab

1

CHEM 102 General Chemistry

3

CHEM 301 Organic Chemistry

3

CMSC 255 Introduction to Programming

4

CMSC 256 Data Structures and Object Oriented Programming

3

STAT 212 Concepts of Statistics**

3

STAT 314 Applications of Statistics

4

OR

STAT 321 Introduction to Statistical Computing

3

Total credits in bioinformatics core:

48-49

 

Collateral course work:

LFSC 301 Integrative Life Sciences Research

3

MATH 200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry

4

PHYS 207 University Physics I ***

5

Total collateral coursework credits:

12

*Preferred. With program approval, BIOZ 151-152 may be substituted.
**Preferred. With program approval, STAT 210 may be substituted.
***Preferred. With program approval, PHYS 201 may be substituted.