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University of Pittsburgh    
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 15, 2024
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Bioinformatics, BS

In the Fall of 2019, the Bioinformatics, BS was inactive for students to enroll in. Students who were enrolled prior to the Fall 2019 term have the option to remain in the major or transfer to the Computational Biology major. Students who choose to complete the program under Bioinformatics must do so by Summer 2023 term.

Biological Sciences Requirements

Students in all five majors within the Department of Biological Sciences must follow general rules and fulfill certain general requirements in addition to those in their specific major:

Updated information about the department, major requirements, and course offerings is available on the department’s Web site,


The undergraduate bioinformatics degree program at the University of Pittsburgh is operated jointly by the departments of biological sciences ( and computer science ( This program offers training that builds a solid foundation in chemistry, biology, computer science, mathematics, and statistics. The training will enable students to communicate fluently with experts across these disciplines and to have the skills necessary to apply computing tools to address contemporary problems in biology and medicine. It will enhance the professional opportunities for undergraduates to pursue careers in pure or applied research in academia, government, pharmaceutical, medical, or biotechnology sectors.

Advising for Bioinformatics majors is housed in both the Department of Biology and the Department of Computer Science. For information, contact one of the advisors.


* CHEM 0110 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY 1  and CHEM 0120 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY 2  are pre-requisites to taking CHEM 0310 .

** Students without a background in programming will be encouraged to take CS 0007 - INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTER PROGRAMMING  prior to taking CS 0401 .

Electives (12 credits)

Electives (12 credits) to be chosen from an approved list of courses in Statistics, Chemistry, Biological Sciences and/or Computer Science. With the approval of the Bioinformatics Program Committee, the student may take electives in other departments.


* Undergraduate Research is taken over multiple terms for variable credit. Four credits of undergraduate research are required for the major. Research can begin as early as the sophomore year and must be approved by Kirk Pruhs in the Department of Computer Science, or Paula Grabowski in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Capstone experience

BIOSC 1640  and CS 1640  satisfy the bioinformatics major capstone experience requirement. Capstone request must be made to Kirk Pruhs in the Department of Computer Science.

Additional requirements and restrictions

  • Bioinformatics majors who have completed CS 0401  may not enroll in CS 0004  or CS 0007 .
  • BIOSC 1000  cannot be substituted for BIOSC 1810 .
  • CHEM 1810  can only be substituted for BIOSC 1810  if it is not possible for the student to schedule BIOSC 1810  
  • Students must complete at least one W-course in the major
  • A grade of C or better is required in each of the core and upper level courses that are to count toward the major.
  • This requirement also satisfies the Dietrich School requirement of a minimum GPA of 2.0 in major courses
  • Elective courses for the major must be completed with a grade of C or better. If a C-or lower is earned in an elective course for the major and is not repeated, the course will be used to calculate the overall GPA but will not be counted toward the 32 credits required for the major.
  • Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required chemistry and mathematics courses.
  • No Bioinformatics major courses may be taken on an S/NC basis.

Honors major requirements

Honors in Bioinformatics is granted if, in addition to fulfilling all requirements for the major, the student:

  • completes three semesters (3 x 2 credits) or the equivalent (summer counts as a semester equivalent) of undergraduate research together with a written honors thesis presented in the last semester of the senior year;
  • maintains a GPA of 3.5 or above in all Bioinformatics major courses; and
  • maintains an overall GPA of 3.25 or above.

Approved elective course list

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