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B.S. in Biomolecular Engineering and Bioinformatics

The Department of Biomolecular Engineering offers B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Biomolecular Engineering and Bioinformatics. Students majoring in another, related subject may minor in bioinformatics. 

The B.S. has two concentrations: one in Biomolecular Engineering (which emphasizes wet-lab techniques) and one in Bioinformatics (which emphasizes computational techniques). Bioinformatics students may apply in their senior year for our combined B.S./graduate program, which streamlines the path to the advanced degree.

For information on the scope and requirements of the programs, see the program description in the UCSC General Catalog.

For a more comprehensible overview of the requirements, see the School of Engineering Curriculum Charts.

COVID-19 changes

The program has made a number of changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing shelter-in-place orders that shut down lab courses and in-person lab work:

  • BME 21L and BME 128L have been cancelled for Spring 2020.  Students will be allowed to take BME 22L next fall without BME 21L as a prereq.
  • BME 51B has been moved to Fall 2020.
  • BME 129C  and BME 188 will be taught online in Spring 2020, but without lab access.
  • BME 193/195 and other independent studies will continue, but for most students this means switching to library work or dry-lab computational work, as wet-lab access is limited to critical personnel only.
  • BME 160 and BME 163 got increased capacity for Spring 2020 and BME 110 (Todd Lowe) and BME 130 (Ed Green) were added to the schedule.

  • BME 230B is available to students who have passed BME 205—the requirement for BME 230A may be waived (contact Josh Stuart if you are interested).
  • Independent-study petitions will not require wet signatures: answer all the questions (about hours to spend and due date for written report) and send to your supervisor, with a request that they forward it to David Bernick or Kevin Karplus with their approval. We will then forward with our approval to Monique and Greta, who will be able to issue the codes for registering.
  • The BME faculty decided on 2020 March 31 to permit pass grades from Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 without affecting major qualification or graduation requirements, but to stick with requiring grades for Spring 2020 and subsequent quarters (though we'll be monitoring the situation and may decide to change our minds later this in Spring 2020). On 2020 May 22, the BME faculty changed the policy to allow P/NP grading for major classes in Spring 2020.  This policy applies to all classes (even lower-division ones) and applies to both declared and proposed majors. Students who are thinking of grad school or med school are still advised to take grades, as GPA calculations done externally often turn P grades into the lowest possible grade. 
  • Check out https://keeplearning.ucsc.edu for tips and suggestions on how to get the most out of the forced remote learning Spring quarter.
Those of you who needed one (or more) of the cancelled courses to graduate in Spring or Summer 2020 should submit a petition (an email message) to Kevin Karplus and David Bernick, proposing a course substitution of something you have taken or will take Spring 2020 to replace the missing course.  It does not have to be a lab course—just something relevant for your degree.  We will try to be flexible, but it would be best if you could give a pedagogical justification for why the course you propose will be good for what you plan to do with your degree.  

The BMEB major is undergoing substantial changes in 2020–21 (see the preliminary flowcharts of the two concentrations attached to the bottom of this webpage), but students continue to have catalog rights to any catalog since the time they entered (plus two years earlier for junior transfers), as long as they have not had extended leaves of absence.
 

Program Learning Outcomes

A biomolecular engineering student completing the program should

  • have a broad knowledge of science and engineering disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics, and computer science;
  • be able to apply their broad knowledge to identify, formulate, and solve engineering design problems;
  • be able to find and use information from a variety of sources, including books, journal articles, online encyclopedias, and manufacturer data sheets;
  • be able to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  • be able to communicate problems, experiments, and design solutions in writing, orally, and as posters; and
  • be able to apply ethical reasoning to make decisions about engineering methods and solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.

A bioinformatics student completing the program should

  • have a detailed knowledge of statistics, computer science, biochemistry, and genetics;
  • be able to find and use information from a variety of sources, including books, journal articles, and online encyclopedias;
  • be able to design and conduct computational experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  • be able to apply their knowledge to write programs for answering research questions in biology;
  • be able to communicate problems, experiments, and design solutions in writing, orally, and as posters; and
  • be able to apply ethical reasoning to make decisions about engineering methods and solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.

Advising Information

Undergraduates may apply for supplemental funding through the CBSE Diversity Awards in Genomic Sciences and from other sources, found at the CBSE website.

All students are strongly advised to attend a research talk each week—there are relevant seminar series sponsored by Biomolecular Engineering, MCD Biology, Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology, Computer Science, Applied Math and Statistics, and other departments.  To find out about the research talks, students are advised to sign up for the "compbio" mailing list.