M.S. in Bioinformatics

Join our interdisciplinary science master's program

Bioinformatics deals with discovering knowledge in biology or medicine present in large data sets. As such, it is an interdisciplinary science that is always in rapid flux as the methods and the nature of the data sets change. 

As a student in this master's program, you'll learn the application of computers for storage, organizing, and analyzing the data. You'll also get a deeper understanding of statistics, probability, mathematics, and related disciplines to create the analysis algorithms and to make sense of the results. 

Program Description

The Department of Computer Science and the Department of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences offer a M.S. in Bioinformatics through a joint Marquette University/Medical College of Wisconsin program. Bioinformatics refers to the field that deals with developing and improving methods and software tools for storing, retrieving, organizing and analyzing biological data. The goal is the extraction and recognition of new biological knowledge. Bioinformatics is a highly interdisciplinary field involving biology, computer science, engineering, applied mathematics, and probability and statistics.

Our program is designed to equip graduates with a distinctive blend of theoretical and computational skills and practical experience for employment in industry, research laboratories and institutions of higher education. This M.S. also can serve as a starting point for doctoral work through our Computational Sciences and Computer Science programs.

apply to the Bioinformatics program

Program Resources

Graduate Bulletin

For a thorough program description, which includes program requirements and courses, please visit the Graduate Bulletin.

What courses do students take in this program?

Students are able to complete their Master's degree with either a thesis + 30 credits (Plan A) or a shorter essay + 33 credits (Plan B).

Required Courses
For both options (Plans A and B), the following courses are required:

BIOL 5201 Genomics and Bioinformatics 3
BIIN 6000 Introduction to Bioinformatics 3
COSC 6050 Elements of Software Development 3
BIIN 6980 Practicum in Bioinformatics 3
3 credits of approved computer science courses 3
3 credits of approved biological science courses 3
3 credits of approved statistical science courses 3
Total Credit Hours 21

In addition to the specified courses, the following are typical approved courses:

Approved BIOL courses*:
BIOL 5401 Advanced Ecology 
BIOL 5806 Immunobiology 
BIOL 8101 Protein Structure and Function 
BIOL 8202 Principles of Eukaryotic Genetics 
BIOS 16278 Functional Genomics (MCW) 
PHYS 08230 Physiological Genomics (MCW) 

Approved COSC courses*:
COSC 5610 Data Mining 
COSC 5800 Principles of Database Systems 
COSC 6330 Advanced Machine Learning 
COSC 6060 Parallel and Distributed Computing 
BIOS 24150 BIIN in Omics Analysis (MCW) 

Approved STAT courses*:
MSSC 5720 Statistical Methods 
MSSC 5750 Computational Statistics 
MSSC 6010 Computational Probability 
MSSC 6020 Statistical Simulation  
MSSC 6250 Statistical Machine Learning 
BIOS 04231 Statistical Models & Methods I (MCW) 
BIOS 04232 Statistical Models & Methods II (MCW) 
BIOS 04224 Biostatistical Computing (MCW) 
BIOS 04224 Intr. to Stat. & Machine Learn. (MCW) 

*Other courses can be approved in each category (BIOL, COSC, and STAT) by the co-director of the BIIN program.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Understand scientific problems associated with data from at least one of the following areas: molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology or genetics.
  2. Create relevant algorithms and software for managing or analyzing biomedical data obtained from the research or clinical setting.
  3. Communicate effectively with biological and computational scientists about informatics solutions to biological problems.

Faculty for the Bioinformatics Program

See individual faculty pages for more complete descriptions of their laboratories:

Primary Faculty:

Mehdi Maadooliat (Co-Director) - Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (MU)

Raul A. Urrutia (Co-Director) - Surgery (MCW)

Michael T. Zimmermann (Co-Director) – Genomic Sciences and Precision Medicine Center (MCW)

Lisa Petrella – Biological Sciences (MU)

Associated Faculty (MU):

Chelsea Cook – Biological Sciences

Tony Gamble – Biological Sciences

Krassi Hristova – Biological Sciences

Nate Lemoine – Biological Sciences

Chris Marshall – Biological Sciences

Keke Chen – Computer Science

Naveen Bansal – Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Anne Clough – Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Daniel Rowe – Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Elaine Spiller – Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Associated Faculty (MCW):

Jing Dong – Hematology and Oncology

Gwen Lomberk – Surgery and Pharmacology & Toxicology

Brian C. Smith – Biochemistry

James Verbsky – Pediatrics and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics 

What jobs do students get after graduation?

Students who have graduated from this program work in laboratories in the pharmaceutical industry, biotech companies and academic settings. Several have continued on for Ph.D.'s in the area such as Ph.D. in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Computational Sciences.

Student Success Stories

Do you have a success to share with us? We'd love to hear from you. Please fill out this form and tell us about your new job, presentation, publication, or any other award or honor you've recently received. We will post your story here, on the Graduate School website and on the Marquette University Facebook and Twitter pages.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the MSSC Co-Director, Mehdi Maadooliat 

Ready to learn more about Marquette's bioinformatics graduate program? Request more information now or schedule an on-campus visit. 

Graduate Program Recruiter

Tim Carter

(414) 288-7139


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