BME Graduate Studies

The Department of Biomolecular Engineering offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biomolecular Engineering & Bioinformatics.

Bioinformatics combines mathematics, science, and engineering to explore and understand biological data from high-throughput experiments, such as genome sequencing and gene expression chips. The program builds on the research and academic strengths of the faculty in the Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering. One notable output from our research is that UCSC is the primary release site for the public version of the human genome. We are also a major player in protein-structure prediction.

The immense growth of biological information stored in computerized databases has led to a critical need for people who can understand the languages, tools, and techniques of mathematics, science, and engineering. A classically trained scientist may be unfamiliar with the statistical and algorithmic knowledge required in this field. A classically trained engineer may be unfamiliar with the chemistry and biology required in the field. This program strives for a balance of the two: an engineer focused on the problems of the underlying science, or, conversely, a scientist focused on the use of engineering tools for analysis and discovery.

The graduate degree prepares the student for life as a cutting-edge researcher in bioinformatics, creating new tools to answer new questions.

Support is available to graduate students through an NIH training grant in bioinformatics, CBSE Diversity Fellowships in Genomic Science, and various other sources detailed on the CBSE web site.

You can apply October 1st through December 1st at the UCSC Graduate Application Web Site for a fall quarter start in the following academic year.

You can see who has finished a graduate bioinformatics degree and where they went in our list of alumni.

Unsolicited comment from a Bioinformatics Ph.D. graduate:

I am whole-heartedly enjoying myself. And to a large degree I think that is because I was very well trained and prepared in grad school. I have a view and skill set that may have seemed the norm back in Santa Cruz, but out here I'm currently occupying a fairly unique position. Not only can I see (many of) the problems and unrealized potentials, but I know how to go all the way from biological theorizing to software development to experimental validation (or invalidation!). I realize now that this is not at all a common background.

Ph.D Program in Biomedical Sciences & Engineering

Students interested in closer ties with colleagues in wet labs should consider the graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences and Engineering (PBSE). This is an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort bringing together the departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry; Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology; Biomolecular Engineering ; and Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology. Most participants from BME will follow the Biomolecular Engineering & Bioinformatics track of PBSE. Highlights of PBSE include research laboratory rotations, journal clubs, targeted seminar series—all in a collaborative environment.

For more information, consult the PBSE website.