Carnegie Mellon University
October 03, 2016

CMU School of Computer Science Offers Computational Biology Major


Graduates in High Demand by Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Companies

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science will launch a new bachelor’s degree program in computational biology next fall, complementing the Computational Biology Department’s existing Ph.D. and master’s degree programs.

The undergraduate degree program at one of the world’s leading computer science schools will prepare students for positions now in high demand in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as for medical school and graduate studies across the spectrum of computation and biology.

The program emphasizes those aspects of computer science most relevant to biology and provides a firm foundation in the natural sciences. Computational biology enables users to leverage computational approaches to science discovery that could not be made with traditional means.

“Computer science increasingly is driving the research agendas in any number of disciplines, including biomedical research,” said Andrew Moore, dean of the School of Computer Science. “That’s why it’s especially important for a degree program in computational biology to be within our school, providing students with the rigorous computational perspective for which we are famous.”

Though the School of Computer Science offers numerous master’s and Ph.D. programs in a variety of general and specialized computer science areas, the new bachelor’s degree in computational biology will be just the second undergraduate program within the school, joining the Computer Science Department’s bachelor’s degree program that began in 1989. Admitted students in computer science also will have the option to add computational biology as a minor or second major.

The curriculum for the new program emphasizes those aspects of computer science that are most relevant for computational biology, and provides firm foundations in natural sciences.  It builds upon a pioneering computational biology program launched in 1987 and previously administered by the Mellon College of Science.

“With this program, we are providing a curriculum designed to train students to tackle the biomedical problems of the next century through rigorous training in both computer science and biology. The program provides a path for students interested in biology to pursue it within one of the leading Computer Science institutions in the world,” said Robert F. Murphy, head of the Computational Biology Department.  “An important goal in designing the curriculum was to retain the outstanding grounding in computer science associated with the CS major while making room for additional coursework.”

Students will learn from faculty members who are internationally recognized leaders in computational biology. Phillip Compeau, an assistant teaching professor who co-created the online introductory learning materials for computational biology known as Rosalind, will serve as Program Director for new computational biology majors.

Information about the new program is available online.