Carnegie Mellon University

Minor in Computational Biology

Important Note: The minor in computational biology is open to undergraduate students in any major outside the School of Computer Science (SCS) at Carnegie Mellon University.  If you are an SCS undergraduate who is interested in computational biology, please check out the concentration in computational biology or the undergraduate major in computational biology.

The curriculum and course requirements in the minor are designed to maximize the participation of students from diverse academic disciplines. The program seeks to produce students with both basic computational skills and knowledge in biological sciences that are central to computational biology.

A minor in Computational Biology will position students well for entering the job market and graduate school in this exciting and ever-growing field.


Students must apply for admission no later than November 30 of their senior years; an admission decision will usually be made within one month. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible in their undergraduate careers so that the advisor of the computational biology minor can provide advice on their curriculum.

To apply, send an email to Dr. Phillip Compeau. Include in your email:

  • Full Name
  • Andrew ID
  • Preferred email address (if different)
  • Your class and College/School at Carnegie Mellon
  • Semester you intend to graduate
  • All (currently) declared majors and minors
  • Statement of purpose - describes why you want to take this minor and how it fits into your career goals (maximum 1 page)
  • Preposed schedule of courses for the minor (this is your plan, NOT a commitment)


The minor in computational biology requires a total of five courses: 3 core courses, 1 biology elective, and 1 computational biology elective, for a total of 45 units. Apart from pre-requisite courses, students may double-count at most two courses, and no courses can apply to another SCS minor or concentration.


15-112 Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science
03-151 Honors Modern Biology
or 03-121 Modern Biology

Core classes

Introduction to Computational Biology
or 02-251 Great Ideas in Computational Biology
02-261* Quantitative Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory
or 02-262 Computation and Biology Integrated Research Lab

One of the following courses:

02-510 Computational Genomics
02-512 Computational Methods for Biological Modeling and Simulation

(*03-343 Experimental Techniques in Molecular Biology may be substituted for 02-261 with permission of Minor advisor.)

 Computational Biology electives (one of the following):

02-xxx Any 02-xxx listed course of at least 9 units 02-300 or above

Biology electives (one of the following):

03-220 Genetics
03-221 Genomes, Evolution, and Disease: Introduction to Quantitative Genetic Analysis
03-231 Honors Biochemistry
03-232 Biochemistry I
03-320 Cell Biology
03-327 Phylogenetics
03-362 Cellular Neuroscience
03-363 Systems Neuroscience
03-364 Developmental Neuroscience
03-439 Introduction to Biophysics
03-442 Molecular Biology
03-534 Biological Imaging and Fluorescence Spectroscopy
42-202 Physiology

Courses in the minor may not be counted towards another SCS minor.


Last updated: July 2021