Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field which combines mathematical and computer sciences with biology and/or medicine. With the recent advancements in biotechnology, biologists are frequently overloaded with large datasets which need to be stored and analyzed in automated ways. Bioinformatics provides the tools to understand complex biological systems ranging from entire ecological systems to specific human diseases, to cellular and molecular networks.
What is the curriculum?
The total credit hours required for graduation is 36. The core courses include two classes in computer science (Bioinformatics, Algorithms), two classes in Statistics (Probability Theory, Applied Statistics), two classes in biology (Cell biology, Genomics), and the Bioinformatics Research Seminar course (taken each semester). The remaining credit hours may be selected from a large number of graduate classes in Mathematics, Computer Science, Biology, Biomedical Engineering, or Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Memphis.
Students may receive up to six credit hours by electing to write and defend a Master's Thesis Project based upon their primary research outside of coursework. Research projects may be conducted with investigators at the University of Memphis, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, or St. Jude Children's Hospital. Non-thesis candidates will be required to enroll in a Research class, submit and defend a research paper on the topic approved by their adviser.
Research Assistantships and tuition waivers are available to Bioinformatics graduate students on a competitive basis and are renewable annually.
What are the job opportunities in Bioinformatics?
There is a growing need and job market for bioinformatics specialists in academic and research institutions as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The starting salaries for bioinformatics professionals can range widely, depending on the institution and specialization of the individual. Check St. Jude Children's Research Hospital "All Positions" for current Bioinformatics job opportunities in the area.
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Applicants must meet the University's requirements for admission to the Graduate School.
- GRE scores are required and are an important factor for admission;
- Two letters of recommendation;
- A minimum score of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL, 210 on the computer-based TOEFL, or 80 on the internet-based TOEFL (for students whose native language is not English);
- An undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
- A letter of intent and statement of purpose, explaining your reasons for applying to the Bioinformatics Program.
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