Plan Your Program

Students will complete 36 graduate credit hours to earn an MS in Bioinformatics from the iSchool. The MS degree is offered in both thesis and non-thesis options. To satisfy the campus core requirements, one course must be taken from each of the 3 core areas: biology, computer science, and fundamental bioinformatics. The courses approved for these core requirements are listed on the campus-wide MS in Bioinformatics site.

In addition, students completing the Information Sciences Concentration must choose 1 course from each of the following 3 areas: Data stewardship; Data analytics; and Systems policy and design. A course can meet only 1 of the requirements (i.e. the same course cannot satisfy both the iSchool and Campus level requirements. Similarly, a course can only be used to satisfy one of the area requirements within the iSchool).

The student must then choose 3 courses (12 hours) of electives to complete the degree. Up to 2 courses of these electives (8 hours) can be thesis. A recommended list of electives is given below. Our expectation is that each student will arrange a custom program of study, suitable for the information management of their particular bioinformatics application.

Data Stewardship

IS 455 Databases Design and Prototyping
IS 515 Information Modeling
IS 537 Theory and Practice Data Cleaning
IS 543 Digital Preservation
IS 547 Foundations of Data Curation
IS 575 Metadata in Theory & Practice

Data Analytics

IS 407 Intro to Data Science
IS 445 Data Visualization
IS 507 Data, Statistical Models, and Information 
IS 527 Network Analysis
IS 567 Text Mining
IS 577 Data Mining

System Policy & Design

IS 419 Entrepreneurial IT Design
IS 445 Data Visualization
IS 504 Sociotechnical Information Systems
IS 584PV Privacy in the Internet Age
IS 586 Usability Engineering
IS 594IP Information Policy


IS 424 Social Computing
IS 464 Information Assurance
IS 517 Methods for Data Science
IS 571IS Information Services for Diverse Users
IS 596GH Global Health Informatics
INFO 591 Grad Bioinformatics Seminar

Customize your program

Our expectation is that each student will arrange a custom program of study, suitable for the information management of their particular bioinformatics application.

A student who has already completed coursework comparable to one or more of the required courses for the MS in bioinformatics prior to enrolling in the degree program may petition to waive enrollment in that required course and replace it with a comparable number of hours of elective credit toward the MS in bioinformatics.  Such a petition needs to be approved by the advisor, the iSchool associate dean, and the Graduate College. Additionally, students may request transfer of credit for graduate level coursework from any accredited institution (maximum 8 hours) that has not already been applied toward a degree.

Opportunities for individual research include Independent Study (IS 592) and Thesis (IS 599).

Independent Study (IS 592)

Independent Study enables the intermediate or advanced student opportunity to:

  • undertake the study of a topic not otherwise offered in the curriculum.
  • pursue a topic beyond or in greater depth than is possible within the context of a regular course.

Independent Study should be a rigorous investigation of a highly specific topic, calling for student initiative, and requiring the formal structure of:

  • a written proposal including scope and purpose;
  • a reasonable specific statement outlining the method to be used; and
  • a description of the form in which the final product will be presented (e.g., written report, mediated presentation).

Independent Study is not available as an alternative version of a course otherwise offered on a regular basis by the School.

To Register for Independent Study:
  1. Complete all sections of the Independent Study form except for signatures.
  2. Attach the completed proposal to this form.
  3. Have the supervisory iSchool instructor member sign the form. 
  4. Have your iSchool advisor sign the form and submit the form to the Admissions and Records staff. 
  5. Once the form is processed, Admissions and Records staff will email the student registration information to allow enrollment in the course.

If a student prefers to complete the form electronically, the student will need to submit all documentation by e-mail to their iSchool advisor. Once the iSchool advisor signs and approves the form, the iSchool advisor will submit the form for processing. 
Forms take up to 10 business days to process.

Thesis (IS 599)

The student will, with the approval of their academic advisor, identify a problem in library or information science suitable for a master’s thesis. The student will conduct original research which

  • describes the problem 
  • reviews the related literature
  • collects and analyzes data
  • uses appropriate methods

This proposal should describe the research problem and the proposed methodology. Once the thesis is complete, the dean, on recommendation from the academic advisor, who serves as first reader, appoints a second reader. The second reader may be a faculty person outside the iSchool. The first reader (academic advisor) and second reader will confer and must agree upon the acceptability of the thesis or whether any revisions must be made before final acceptance. Should the two readers be unable to reach agreement about the evaluation of the thesis, a third reader may be appointed. Ordinarily there is no oral defense of the master’s thesis. After the readers have approved the thesis, the departmental format check will be conducted. Go to the Thesis Office website for information on completing a Thesis, including the formatting instructions, deadlines for deposit, etc.

To Register for Thesis
  1. Complete page one of the MS Thesis form, securing needed signatures.
  2. Attach the completed proposal to this form. 
  3. Give page one of the form to the iSchool Admissions and Records staff.
  4. Once this form has all required information and signatures, Admission and Records staff will email the student registration information to allow enrollment in the course.
  5. Once the examination of the thesis is complete, page three of the form will be submitted to the Admissions and Records staff.

Forms take up to 10 business days to process.

What if I have questions?

For more information, contact us! You can e-mail for answers to your questions.