Masters of Science in Bioinformatics

The Masters degree assures that the student meets the breadth requirement for the graduate program in bioinformatics. While an integral research aspect is incorporated into the Masters degree, the degree is primarily course oriented and focused on preparing students to take on research in one of four key areas: drug design, integrated bioinformatics and genomics, computational biology, and biomedical informatics.

Admission Requirements for both MS and Ph.D.
Applicants are expected to have a minimum of a four-year undergraduate degree (BS or BA) in the life sciences, statistics, or information/computer sciences. Students with an undergraduate degree in another field may be considered for admission if they have either relevant work experience in one of these three areas or complete sufficient remedial course work as defined below. Students who have not satisfactorily completed the following courses, or their equivalent, as part of their academic studies will be required to complete them on a remedial basis:

  • Genetics: A junior-level, life science course equivalent to UALR’s BIOL 3300 Genetics
  • Statistics: A junior-level, calculus-based course equivalent to UALR’s STAT 3352 Applied Statistics I
  • Programming: Some programming experience; a sophomore-level introduction to Java programming equivalent to UALR’s IFSC 2300 Object-Oriented Technology course is preferred
  • Databases: A junior-level course equivalent to UALR’s IFSC 3320 Database Concepts is recommended

Students will have to meet the minimum admission requirement of a GPA of 3.0 or a GPA of 3.3 or greater on their last 60 credit hours as an undergraduate. GRE scores, a letter of intent, a résumé and letters of reference are considered in the admission process; TOEFL scores are required of international students who have not matriculated from a university in a country where the primary language is English. (Please see the UALR Graduate School’s requirement for English proficiency exams.)

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Bioinformatics
Students must complete thirty five (35) credit hours consisting of the following:

15 credits of required graduate-level core courses:

  • BINF 5445 Bioinformatics Theory and Applications
  • BIOL 5415 Biometry or BIOM 5013 Biometrical Analysis
  • BIOL 5417 Molecular Biology
  • One course selected from CPSC 7375 Machine Learning, CPSC 7373 Artificial Intelligence or CPSC 7385 Analysis of Algorithms

12 credits of elective courses chosen in consultation with their faculty adviser. Electives are used to help strengthen students’ backgrounds for engaging in research areas such as drug design, biomedical informatics, computational biology, or integrated genomics/personalized medicine.

Minimum of 2 credits of BINF 7145 Lab Rotations. During the Lab Rotation, students are assigned to one or more faculty to gain experience and to identify a research mentor. Once a student has found their research mentor, the remainder of the Lab Rotation can be spent with that faculty member. As part of the Lab Rotation, students must produce a lab report describing their work and accomplishments for that semester.

Minimum of 2 credits of BINF 7193 Biosciences and Bioinformatics Seminar.

Minimum of 4 credits of Bioinformatics Master’s Capstone Project (BINF 7456) or Thesis (BINF 7455).