Carnegie Mellon University

Additional Major in Computational Biology

The Additional Major in Computational Biology is designed for undergraduate students wishing to study computational biology as a second field of study at Carnegie Mellon University in addition to their primary major.

Our additional major program is open to students who are completing majors other than computational biology majors within the School of Computer Science (SCS), as well as students from outside SCS who are interested in the field. We have had additional majors whose primary majors are computer science, artificial intelligence, biology, mathematics, engineering, and neuroscience. 

The additional major offers a compelling opportunity for students outside SCS to complete the requirements for a computational biology major without needing to meet the stringent requirements needed to transfer into SCS in order to complete the computational biology major as a primary degree.  To join the additional major, students must complete some prerequisite coursework (indicated below), and students outside SCS must have a 3.0 overall QPA when applying.

Double-counting rules

To prevent double-counting, students must complete at least seven courses of at least 9 units each as part of the additional major in computational biology (not including pre-requisites) that are unique to the additional major.  If you are an SCS student who is interested in seeing how to maximize double counting for the additional major, please check out our page with double counting suggestions after consulting the degree requirements below.

Degree Requirements

Prerequisite Courses Units
02-251 Great Ideas in Computational Biology 12
  or 02-250 Introduction to Computational Biology
03-121 Modern Biology 9
  or 03-151 Honors Modern Biology (if seats available)
15-122 Principles of Imperative Computation 10
15-151 Mathematical Foundations for Computer Science 10
  or 21-127 Concepts of Mathematics
  or 21-128 Mathematical Concepts and Proofs
21-120 Differential and Integral Calculus 10
21-122  Integration, Differential Equations, and Approximation 10
Total Units 61
Math/Stats Core Units
36-218 Probability Theory for Computer Scientists 9
  or 36-226 Introduction to Statistical Inference
  or 36-326 Mathematical Statistics (Honors)
  or 36-235 Probability and Statistical Inference I
  or 15-259

Probability and Computing

21-241 Matrices and Linear Transformations 10
  or 21-242  Matrix Theory
Total Units 19
General Science Core Units
09-105 Introduction to Modern Chemistry I 10
  or 09-107 Honors Chemistry: Fundamentals, Concepts, and Applications
33-121 Physics I for Science Students 12
  or 33-141 Physics I for Engineering Students
Total Units 22
Biological Core Units
03-221 Genomes, Evolutions, and Disease: Introduction to Quantitative Genetic Analysis 9
  or 03-220 Genetics
03-232 Biochemistry I 9
  or 03-231 Honors Biochemistry (Students taking 03-231 will take organic chemistry as a prerequisite, which will satisfy a biology electives requirement)
03-320 Cell Biology 9
Total Units 27
Computer Science Core Units
15-251 Great Ideas in Theoretical Computer Science  12
15-451 Algorithm Design and Analysis 12
  or 15-351 Algorithms and Advanced Data Structures
10-315 Introduction to Machine Learning (Undergrad) 12
Total Units 36
Computational Biology Core Units

Quantitative Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory

(majors must take 12 unit version) 
 or 02-262 Computation and Biology Integrated Research Lab
  or 03-343 Experimental Techniques in Molecular Biology
02-402 Computational Biology Seminar 3
02-510 Computational Genomics 12
02-512 Computational Methods for Biological Modeling and Simulation 9-12
Total Units 36-39
Major Electives Units
02-3xx Computational Biology electives at 300 level or above 18-24
03-3xx Biology electives at 300 level or above (09-217 or 42-202 also count as biology electives) 9-12
SCS-2xx These electives can be from any SCS department; 200-level or above, at least 9 units each. 15-150 is an acceptable 100-level course counting in this category, but the following exceptions are not allowed in this category: 02-201, 02-223, 02-250,
02-261, 02-262, 11-423, 15-351, 16-223, 17-200, 17-333, 17-562.)
Total Units 45-60
General Education (Humanities and Arts)
For specific courses that may be used to satisfy each elective, please consult the General Education Requirements for your primary major

Last updated: July 2021