Curriculum Overview (2020-21)

See Also Archived BISB/BMI 2020-21

Curriculum Overview


Course Descriptions

Sample Schedules

BISB in UCSD Catalog


The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Graduate Program is organized around two disciplinary tracks that have distinct, yet overlapping, faculty and curricular requirements: Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (BISB) and Biomedical Informatics (BMI). Students indicate their interest in one track, but are able to request a switch at any time during their study. For each Track there are four required Core Courses (generally completed within the first year) and 16 units to be chosen from a list of Elective fields to be completed within the first two years. All required Core and Elective courses for the degree must be taken for a letter grade. Students must obtain a “B” or better in courses taken for the degree. If you receive a “B-” or lower in a Core or Elective class, or you take it on S/U grading, it does not fulfill your requirements. Please see the Grades FAQ if you have any grades of “B-” or lower or “U”.

The Core Curriculum ensures that every student within the Program has the same knowledge basis in key areas of Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (as well as Biomedical Informatics for the BMI Track). The Electives are intended to provide students with in-depth courses related to their own research interests.

In addition, students must also take

  • The colloquium for their track (BNFO 281 for BISB track; MED 262 for BMI track) for fall, winter, and spring quarters of their first two years.
  • Student Research Talks (BNFO 283) in fall, winter, and spring quarters their first two years.
  • Ethics (BNFO 294 previously SOMI 226 or BIOM 219) within the first two years. Funding sources may require it be taken in the first year, so we recommend taking it by spring of the first year. The Scientific Ethics Refresher course is required every 4 years thereafter (if still here).
  • The Research Rotation requirement (BNFO 298 for 4 units) in the fall, winter, and spring quarters of the first year.
  • Research units (BNFO 299) with their dissertation advisor after joining a lab.
  • Two quarters as a teaching assistant (BNFO 500 or corresponding codes in other departments).