Bioinformatics M.S. Launched this Fall

 |  Fall 2016

The Graduate School at Hood College will offer a Master of Science in b ioinformatics beginning in the fall 2016.

With the advent of “big data,” bioinformatics has become one of the major growth opportunities in the life sciences. This degree addresses the core subject areas and skill sets identified by the International Society for Computational Biology as essential for bioinformaticians. Regional employers have expressed a desire for a local graduate level master’s program in bioinformatics. These employers include the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, the Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center at Fort Detrick and other nearby biomedical and biotechnology companies. Representatives from each of these entities were key in the development of the master’s degree. These professional connections are instrumental in maintaining relevant partnerships that provide practical learning opportunities.

Under the program’s dual-gateway format, candidates who have strong biological backgrounds begin by enrolling in a gateway foundation course in computer science, and candidates who have strong computational backgrounds, but lack the understanding of life science and “-omics” projects, enroll first in a foundation course that introduces the basics of cell biology and genome science.

Students will benefit from small classes taught by faculty who are highly qualified in computer science, biology and bioinformatics and have experience with top research and development and biotechnology firms and federal and private laboratories. A team-based research project, linked where possible with local research labs and companies, culminates the program. Students are required to develop the research questions; collect and analyze the primary data; coalesce and synthesize the material into a final product; and report their findings back to the partner institution.

Applicants for the bioinformatics degree program should have a bachelor’s degree in biology or computer science. Students currently in the bioinformatics certificate program, or who will have completed it, can continue on toward the master’s degree. Hood has offered the bioinformatics certificate program since fall 2015.

With the addition of the Master of Science in bioinformatics, the Hood College Graduate School now offers two doctoral degrees, 16 master’s degrees and 12 certificate and certification programs. The College has been offering graduate degrees since 1971.

For admission requirements and other information, visit

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