Online Bioinformatics Degrees

If you're interested in using computational science to explore biological processes, you may want to pursue a degree in bioinformatics. Complete master's degree programs in bioinformatics are available online, but undergraduate and doctoral level programs are only offered on-campus, sometimes with limited distance-learning options. Find out more about online master's programs, how to access the programs, coursework and admissions prerequisites. Schools offering Bioinformatics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Master's Degrees in Bioinformatics Are Available Online?

You can earn a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Bioinformatics. You may also find a related degree, such as an M.S. in Biotechnology with a bioinformatics concentration. Courses offered within these programs can vary significantly. The M.S. in Bioinformatics offers the most in-depth curriculum with specializations in genomics and proteomics. An M.Eng. program includes aspects of engineering law and management. An M.S. in Biotechnology covers a more generalized field of knowledge.

Degree OptionsMaster of Science in Bioinformatics or Biotechnology, Master of Engineering in Bioinformatics
Online Course StructureNo special requirements other than possible on-campus proctored exams
Common CoursesMolecular modeling, database systems, data mining, molecular biology
Program PrerequisitesBachelor's degree in science or engineering, minimum GPA requirement, molecular biology background
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 7% for biomedical engineers
Median Salary (2018)* $88.550 for biomedical engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Access Online Courses?

Online instruction is delivered through course management systems that you can access from any computer with a high-speed Internet connection. Course material can take the form of PowerPoint slideshows, streaming video lectures, text notes, Q&A forums and discussion boards. Although you can access course content at your convenience, you will still have to complete scheduled assignments. In some programs you may have to take proctored exams on campus. Interaction with your instructors and classmates generally takes place via email, instant messaging and online chat rooms.

What Will I Learn?

Bioinformatics scientists use computer science and information technology to solve complex biological problems, especially in the areas of evolutionary biology, protein modeling and genome mapping. Not surprisingly, master's degree coursework is a combination of statistics and computer programming topics. You'll learn how to mine database systems, create computer algorithms and perform statistical analyses of gene sequences and protein structures. You'll also become familiar with Java, UNIX and SQL applications.

You'll acquire the same knowledge and skills in an online program as your on-campus counterparts, although there may be on-campus electives and lab experiences that are not available through distance learning. Typical online courses include the following:

  • Molecular biology
  • Database systems
  • Biostatistics
  • Computational genomics
  • Data mining
  • Basic software engineering
  • Molecular modeling
  • Data structures and algorithms

What Prior Education Do I Need?

At a minimum, you must have a bachelor's degree in science or engineering with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. A background in molecular biology is preferred and will give you the best foundation for the program. Some programs may also require undergraduate studies in biochemistry, organic chemistry, statistics, calculus or computer programming.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Ashford University

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    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • University of Pennsylvania

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    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
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    • New York: Ithaca