Bioinformatics Masters

The BIOINFORMATICS MS program at the University of Illinois is designed to satisfy the demands of a highly interdisciplinary and rapidly evolving field. An explosion of biological information is being generated from academic, industry, and government labs giving rise to a critical demand for professionals who can turn this information into useful knowledge.
The MS is coordinated by INFORMATICS in partnership with four academic units that are consistently ranked among the top in the world. Because each offers its own flavor of bioinformatics, students can gain exposure to all aspects of the field and have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of cutting-edge research projects.
Prospective students should apply directly to the unit of their choice as each unit has its own application, admission and curricular requirements.


At Illinois, students work side-by-side with distinguished faculty members and researchers. They also benefit from their peers — a talented and diverse group of promising graduate students who come from all over the world.
Research in bioinformatics takes place not only in academic departments, but in several leading interdisciplinary centers on campus, equipped with the latest tools and techniques, as well as experimental bioinformatics facilities.
Bioinformatics graduate students are encouraged to participate in a course on responsible conduct of research (RCR).

Interdisciplinary Centers

Which serves physical and computer science students who are interested in applying their knowledge to biology, as well as students with biological backgrounds interested in instrumentation, computation, and physical aspects of biology.
This laboratory is housed by An NIH Resource for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics, and is devoted to theoretical and computational biophysics research that centers on the structure and function of supramolecular systems in the living cell, and on the development of new algorithms and efficient computing tools for structural biology.

Experimental Bioinformatics Facilities

Where researchers study the comparative genetic organization, evolution and function of plant, animal and microbial genomes.
Where researchers work in the areas of systems biology, cellular and metabolic engineering, and genome technology. IGB is also at the forefront of farm bioenergy production research.
The home of Blue Waters: the first petascale computing system for open scientific research. NCSA allows researchers to access, develop and experiment with powerful computational tools for bioinformatics.

Responsible Conduct of Research Courses

Research Ethics and Responsibilities

Ethics and Engineering

Research Ethics and Responsibilities

Ethics and Engineering

Requirements for the Masters

The MS degree is offered in both thesis and non-thesis options. The aim is to prepare students for successful careers in the biotechnology or bioinformatics sectors, in industry or academia. All students must take courses in each of three core areas:
  • Fundamental bioinformatics – Courses in genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, and computational biology
  • Biology – Courses in general biochemistry and cell biology
  • Computer Science – Courses in database systems and combinatorial algorithms

Core Courses

Illinois provides a comprehensive set of graduate courses in life sciences, computer and mathematical sciences, and engineering that can be taken as technical electives for the MS in bioinformatics.

ANSC 542 Applied bioinformatics Also meets as CPSC 569 and IB 506
ANSC 545 Statistical Genomics Also meets as CPSC 545, IB 507
CHBE 571 Bioinformatics Also meets as ANSC 543, MCB 571, STAT 530
CPSC 567 Bioinformatics & Systems Biology
CS 466 Introduction to bioinformatics
IB 467 Principles of Systematics Prerequisite: IB 302 and IB 335 or IB 468; or consent of instructor
MCB 432 Computing in molecular biology
ANSC 441 Human Genetics Also meets as ANTH 441
ANSC 444 Applied Animal Genetics
ANSC 446 Population Genetics Also meets as IB 416
BIOP 401 Introduction to Biophysics Also meets as PHYS 475
BIOP 550 Biomolecular Physics Also meets as MCB 550 and PHYS 550)
CPSC 452 Advanced Plant Genetics
CPSC 466 Genomics for Plant Improvement
CPSC 563 Chromosomes
CPSC 564 Molecular Marker Data Analyses
CPSC 566 Plant Gene Regulation Also meets as HORT 566
MCB 400 Cancer Cell Biology
MCB 450 Introductory Biochemistry
MCB 501 Advanced Biochemistry
MCB 502 Advanced Molecular Genetics
CPSC 565 Perl & UNIX for Bioinformatics 2 credit-hour course
CS 411 Database systems
CS 446 Machine Learning
CS 473 Fundamental Algorithms Also meets as CSE 414 and MATH 473
IS 455 Database Deisgn and Prototyping
IS 507 (formerly taught as IS 542) Data, Stat and Info
STAT 428 Statistical computing Also meets as CSE 428
STAT 440 Statistical data management Also meets as CSE 440
STAT 448 Advanced data analysis
STAT 480 Data Science Foundations Prerequisite: STAT 425 and familiarity with high-level language (e.g. Python, Java, C, F#)
STAT 525 Computational Statistics