Jul 22, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Genomics & Bioinformatics

Professors: Heyer
Associate Professors: El Bejjani, N. Snyder
Assistant Professors: Key, D. Thurtle-Schmidt

In 1953, two young scientists published the structure of DNA, a Nobel Prize winning discovery that gave birth to the interdisciplinary field of genomics. Beginning in 1990, scientists around the world embarked upon the Human Genome Project, with the goal of determining the composition of the entire human genome. The project is now complete, but there is so much more to learn from the genome: how our bodies function, how to prevent diseases, what makes different species unique, and even how life evolved on earth.

To ensure that future scientists, physicians, and policymakers are prepared to take full advantage of the genomic revolution, the National Research Council (NRC) issued a report (Bio2010) calling upon academic institutions to alter the way undergraduates prepare for post-baccalaureate education. The genomics interdisciplinary minor fulfills NRC recommendations to provide undergraduates with a strong foundation in biological, mathematical, physical, and information sciences. The diverse academic background provided by this interdisciplinary minor in the context of a liberal arts education will help prepare students of all majors for exciting fields such as drug discovery, pharmaceutical industry, biomedical sciences, patent law, and ethics.

Bioinformatics Major (B.S. Degree)

The Bioinformatics major is intended for students who want to emphasize the math and computer science side of the Genomics program.

To major in Bioinformatics, students must apply for the major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies prior to spring break of their sophomore year.  Application information can be found on the CIS  website.



The Bioinformatics major requires 12 courses, as follows:

  1. Three Computer Science Courses
  2. Four Mathematics Courses
  3. Two Biology Courses
  4. One Life Science Course (choose one of the following)
  5. Thesis (both courses are required)

Genomics Major (B.S. Degree)

To major in Genomics, students must apply for the major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies prior to spring break of their sophomore year.  Application information can be found on the CIS website.



The Genomics major requires 12 courses, including:

  1. Two Biology Courses
  2. Two Life Science Courses (choose two of the following)
  3. Two Chemistry Courses
  4. Two Computer Science Courses
  5. Two Mathematics Courses
  6. Thesis (both courses are required)

Genomics Interdisciplinary Minor

Application Procedures

Students interested in pursuing the Genomics interdisciplinary minor should contact primary advidor Dr. Laurie Heyer as early as possible to discuss curriculum options. Those who decide to pursue the interdisciplinary minor must submit the minor declaration form to either of the primary genomics advisers no later than the last day of the spring term in their junior year. Certification of completion of all requirements for the interdisciplinary minor is made by the Registrar upon the recommendation of the Genomics Advisory Committee.


The Genomics Interdisciplinary Minor requires six courses that meet the criteria below, with no more than two courses “double counting” for the interdisciplinary minor and a student’s major. No more than three of these six courses may have the same prefix (e.g., BIO). No more than one of these six courses can be taken pass/fail.  A maximum of one transfer course credit can be applied towards the interdisciplinary minor if pre-approved by the advisors.

Three elective courses

Complete three courses from the list below or approved independent studies and group investigations.  Other courses may also contribute towards the Genomics Interdisciplinary Minor with approval from the primary advisers.  However, no more than two of these three courses can have the same prefix such as BIO or CSC. The purpose of this restriction is to foster additional diversity in a student’s curriculum.