Computational biology is playing an increasingly critical role in molecular genetics. The availability and continuing generation of large-scale molecular-genetic datasets, covering nearly all aspects of cellular and organismal biology, has created a high demand for researchers with advanced computational skills who have a solid grounding in biology.

The Computational Biology Ph.D. Track in Molecular Genetics (CBMG) Program aims to provide students who have been primarily trained in biology, but also have an aptitude for quantitative science, with an immersive computational biology education.

CBMG provides a curriculum that will convey the core knowledge expected of all Molecular Genetics students, furthers quantitative skills that are foundations to computational biology, and provides specialized training in computational biology.

The CBMG Curriculum

  • Background reading/study - Once accepted into the CBMG track, students will be assigned reading and study to be carried out over the summer preceding their arrival in our program. It is expected that CBMG students will be highly self-motivated and will carry out substantial study prior to commencing graduate studies in the Department.
  • Summer computational biology research experience.  Also preceding formal entry, CBMG students will be placed in a research lab (a paid position) to gain background and hands-on experience in computational molecular genetics. 
  • Topics in Molecular Biology, Genomics, and Computational Biology - In the Fall of the first year, students will be exposed to diverse current research topics relevant to quantitative biology.
  • Graduate Computational Biology - In the Winter of the first year, students will take a more intensive course in computational biology.
  • Rotations: students will undertake three five-week rotations within any Molecular Genetics laboratory.  Rotations will take place in the first fall semester and students will join their thesis lab in January.
  • Thesis topic: Students will have the opportunity to choose any thesis topic within the many fields of study represented in the department.
  • Annual retreats, and other social and scientific events aimed at promoting communication and scientific exchange between CBMG students and other Molecular Genetics students at all stages of their Ph.D. training.

Admission requirements for the CBMG Ph.D. track

  • A Bachelor’s degree in any life science.
  • An undergraduate average of A- or higher (or equivalent)
  • Comfort with and love of computer programming.  Evidence could come from academic excellence in multiple computer courses, or programming through employment or extracurricular activities.
  • Academic excellence in two or more quantitative subjects: calculus, linear algebra, probability/statistics or other math or quantitative courses.
  • Research experience – ‘wet’ or ‘dry’.
  • Completion of the online application form, indicating “CBMG” in the “Proposed Area of Study” in the “Areas of Study” sections.   
  • At least two letters of reference.
  • A letter of intent (be sure to explain your interest in the CBMG program)
  • A successful interview

 All successful CBMG applicants will be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program.