Students are expected to have taken the following courses prior to entering the CBB program:
- Mathematics through at least differential equations and linear algebra
- A course in probability and at least one other course in statistics
- Courses in programming, data structures, and algorithms
- A course in genetics
- A course in cell and molecular biology
- A course in biochemistry or organic chemistry
Otherwise competitive students lacking one or more of these requirements will be expected to satisfy these prerequisites prior to or during their first year.
Computational biology is a dynamic, broad, relatively new, and rapidly evolving field, and the CBB program is designed with this in mind. As a result, the program does not have a heavy emphasis on required courses, although all CBB students must complete the following core courses:
- CBB 510S: Computational Biology Seminar (each semester; all first- and second-year students)
- CBB 511: Journal Club/Student Seminar (each semester; all first- and second-year students)
- CBB 520: Genomic Tools and Technologies
- CBB 540: Statistical Methods for Computational Biology
- CBB 561, 662, or 663: Algorithms in Computational Biology
- BIO 201L or 202L: (equivalent or previous training)
- COMPSCI 330 or 530: Algorithms
- STAT 611
Most students take a broad set of elective CBB courses as they define their own paths through the program. The Advisory Committee and the Dissertation Committee work with the student to design a series of elective courses to take beyond the core courses. Acceptable electives in other departments include statistical, computational, and biological course offerings that support each student’s specific research interests.
CBB students invite faculty speakers from on and off campus and organize the Computational Biology Seminar. All first- and second-year CBB students register for seminar and journal club for course credit. Students in their third year and beyond present their research as part of this series.
During their first year, students complete three or four research rotations with CBB faculty members. These rotations introduce the students to the flavor of research in a particular group and may be structured as a self-contained research project, a tutorial-level independent study, or an experience working in an experimental laboratory. Students are required to select one rotation with a primarily experimental faculty member, and one with a primarily computational faculty member. Each rotation lasts roughly 8 weeks, typically two in the fall and two in the spring of the first year.