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Program of Study

The Track, as well as the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics that most Track students join at the end of their first year, prepare students for careers in academic research, education, and industry with a focus on data science and biotechnology. With the help of a faculty advisory committee, each student plans a program that includes courses, laboratory rotations, seminars, journal clubs, and independent research. Students are expected to achieve competency in three core areas: (1) computational biology and biomedical informatics; (2) biological and biomedical sciences; and (3) quantitative methods, with a particular focus on those from computer science, statistics, and applied mathematics. During the first year, all students are expected to complete a one-year-long graduate course that consists of passing three individual lab rotations over the fall and spring semesters. The courses taken to satisfy the core areas of competency may vary considerably, but a typical program will include ten courses and require 3 in core topics of computational biology and biomedical informatics. Completion of the required curriculum usually takes 3 to 4 semesters, depending in part on the prior training of the student. The training environment includes numerous seminars and speakers, journal clubs, and special-topic seminar courses. The average time to complete the Ph.D. program is approximately five years.