What is Computational Biology?

Spectacular developments in biomedical sciences have occurred over the past two decades, including advances in biomedical imaging, genomics and proteomics. These changes have created a need to organize, analyze and interpret large amounts of data, and to devise new ways to modify biological function.

Computational biologists apply computer science techniques to complex biological and biomedical problems.

Bachelor of Science in Computational Biology

Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Biological Sciences offered one of the first degree programs in computational biology in the United States. In 2009, Carnegie Mellon created the Computational Biology Department within the School of Computer Science.

The Computational Biology program provides an intensive, interdisciplinary education that enables outstanding students to identify and solve biological problems using computational methods.

The curriculum is grounded in the disciplines of biology and computer science, with a strong component of physical science and mathematics. In addition to the core courses, the program includes major-specific and general electives, allowing students to shape their degree program according to their interests and goals.

What will I study?

The School of Computer Science and Mellon College of Science have joined forces to establish an exciting interdisciplinary program leading to a B.S. in Computational Biology. The goal of this degree program is to provide an intensive interdisciplinary education to enable outstanding students to become leaders in identifying and solving tomorrow’s biological problems using computational methods. The program’s curriculum is truly interdisciplinary and is designed for students interested in the intersection of biology and computer science.

  • View a sample four year plan for the Computational Biology degree.
  • Program at a Glance

    Minimum units required for degree:

    360 units

    Mathematics/Statistics Core: 47
    General Science Core: 41
    Biological Sciences Core: 51
    Computer Science Core: 56
    Major Electives: 45
    Electives: 120

    See degree requirements in the CMU course catalog.


    Standard completion time

    4 Years

    Learn more about the B.S. in Computational Biology on the departmental web pages.


    Admission requirements
    All applicants are required to meet the following academic and subject prerequisites.


    Application deadline
    Fall Semester: March 1
    Spring Semester: May 1

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    Research Opportunities

    Research Opportunities

    Computational biology students are involved in experimental science from their first semester, gaining invaluable experience in laboratory methodology and scientific exploration.

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    Academic Enrichment

    Academic Enrichment

    Computational biology students at CMU-Q can choose from an extensive slate of academic enrichment opportunities that enhance their work in the classroom.

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    General Education

    General Education

    General Education includes mandatory and elective classes in a wide range of academic areas, including Arabic, architecture, chemistry, design, English, history, math and physics.

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    What are graduates doing now?

    The first graduate from CMU-Q’s Computational Biology program received her diploma in May 2016. “Noora is very dedicated, her work has been brilliant, and we are very proud that she is our first graduate,” said Valentin Ilyin, associate teaching professor of computational biology. Al-Muftah is pursuing graduate studies.

    Meet the Faculty

    Mohamed Bouaouina

    Mohamed Bouaouina

    Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Science

    Valentin Ilyin

    Valentin Ilyin

    Associate Teaching Professor, Computational Biology

    Gordon Rule

    Gordon Rule

    Professor, Biological Sciences

    Annette Vincent

    Annette Vincent

    Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences

    Ihab Younis

    Ihab Younis

    Assistant Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences