This Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree addresses the growing demand for trained bioinformatics professionals with solid management skills able to assume leadership roles in biotechnology, pharmaceutical and health care sectors. The flexible degree structure allows students to custom design a curriculum that best suits their needs and allows a focus on the biological big data analysis, genomics, or bioinformatics software development and management. Students will receive advanced training in bioinformatics and management through coursework and an external internship. The curriculum was developed with active input from the Program Advisory Board consisting of recognized leaders in the field. Many courses are offered in a distance-learning format, allowing students to participate in class without having to travel to campus.

Admissions

University-wide admissions policies can be found in the Graduate Admissions Policies section of this catalog.

To apply for this program, please complete the George Mason University Admissions Application.

Applicants should have a bachelor's degree in biology, computer science, or a related field from an institution of higher education accredited by a Mason-recognized U.S. institutional accrediting agency or international equivalent with a GPA of at least 3.00 in their last 60 credits of study. Applicants should have taken courses in molecular biology, computer science, calculus, physical chemistry, and statistics. Students with deficiencies in one or more of these areas may be required to take additional courses from the undergraduate curriculum. To apply, prospective students should submit the George Mason University Admissions Application, supply an official transcript from each college and graduate institution attended, a current résumé, three letters of recommendation, and an expanded goals statement. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required of all international applicants.

The GRE is not required for admission into this program.

Policies

For policies governing all graduate programs, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Banner Code: SC-MSP-BNFM

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 31

Students should refer to the Admissions & Policies tab for specific policies related to this program.

Due to the varied course options and their associated prerequisites, students are encouraged to create a program of study with their faculty advisor by the end of their first semester of studies.

Bioinformatics Courses

BINF 630Bioinformatics Methods3
BINF 631Molecular Cell Biology for Bioinformatics3
BINF 702Biological Data Analysis3
Select two from the following or other BINF-prefixed courses in consultation with the faculty advisor:6
Molecular Biotechnology
Bioinformatics Programming
Introduction to Bioinformatics Database Design
Protein Structure Analysis
Genomics
Introduction to Biophysics
Total Credits15

Professional Skills Courses

Please note: MBA-prefixed courses are offered on an alternative semester schedule (view the Schedule of Classes for details). Considering this, it may be advisable to take these courses in one semester rather than over several.

BINF 705Research Ethics1
MBA 712Project Management3
Select one course from the following that hasn't previously been taken:3
Selected Topics in Animal Biology 1
Professional Preparation for STEM Disciplines
Multidisciplinary Problem Solving and Leadership
Corporate Environmental Management and Policy
Information System Infrastructure Lifecycle Management
Advanced Communication Skills for STEM
Financial Reporting and Decision Making
Marketing Management
Managerial Finance
Organizational Behavior
Data Mining for Business Analytics
Data Mining for Business Analytics
Project Management in Public Health
Project Management in Health Information Technology
Project Management
Negotiations
Information Management: Technology and Policy
Software Project Management
Or other courses in consultation with the faculty advisor
Total Credits7

Scientific Electives

Close attention should be paid to each course's prerequisites.

Select 6 credits in courses that haven't previously been taken, tailored to suit interests and goals in consultation with the faculty advisor.6
Big Data Analysis:
Scientific Databases
Analytics: Big Data to Information
Problem Formation and Solving in Big Data
Determining Needs for Complex Big Data Systems
Synthetic and Systems Biology:
Systems Biology
Protein-Protein Interactions: Methods and Applications
Human Health and Personal Genomics:
Genomics
Personalized Medicine
Cancer Genomics
Environmental Hazards to Human Health
Laboratory Methods in Functional Genomics and Biotechnology
Genomics
Software Development and Analysis:
Bioinformatics Programming
Object-Oriented Programming in Java
Object-Oriented Software Specification and Construction
Software Design and Architecture
Software Project Laboratory
Software Testing
Component-Based Software Development
Software Analysis and Design of Real-Time Systems
Colloquium: 1
Colloquium in Bioinformatics (may be repeated for up to 3 credits)
Additional Internship Experience 2
Bioinformatics Internship
Total Credits6

Internship

The internship component is intended to provide students with the opportunity to put into practice all of the skills and knowledge accumulated throughout their studies in this program. Students must arrange an internship with a private company, a governmental agency, a non-governmental organization, or some other entity with an interest in bioinformatics and management. Students must identify a specific person within that outside entity who will be the contact and manager of the internship.

Internship credit is never given for work previously done, or for work that would have been done in any case due to an existing employment relationship.

The internship work must produce one or more products such as: a comprehensive report, a departmental presentation, a research project, or an article. Internship placement and product type must be approved by the student's faculty advisor.

Further details and procedures for completing the internship can be found with the faculty advisor.

Three credits of internship3
Bioinformatics Internship
Total Credits3

Bachelor's Degree (selected), Bioinformatics Management, Accelerated PSM

Overview

This bachelor's/accelerated master's degree program allows academically strong undergraduates with a commitment to advance their education to obtain both the Biology, BS, or the Chemistry, BS, or the Computational and Data Sciences, BS, or the Physics, BS, or the Neuroscience, BS and the Bioinformatics Management, PSM degrees within an accelerated timeframe. Upon completion of this 138 credit accelerated program, students will be exceptionally well prepared for entry into their careers or into a doctoral program in the field or in a related discipline.

Students are eligible to apply for this accelerated program once they have earned at least 60 undergraduate credits and can enroll in up to 18 credits of graduate coursework after successfully completing 75 undergraduate credits. This flexibility makes it possible for students to complete a bachelor's and a master's in five years.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies. For more information on undergraduates enrolling in graduate courses, see AP.1.4.4 Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Graduate Admission Policies section of this catalog.

Important application information and processes for this accelerated master's program can be found here.

Students in the Biology, BS; Chemistry, BS; Computational and Data Sciences, BS; Neuroscience, BS; or Physics, BS with an overall GPA of at least 3.00 in their last 60 credits are welcome to apply to the Bioinformatics Management, PSM accelerated master's program. Applicants to this accelerated master's should have previously taken courses in molecular biology, computer science, calculus, physical chemistry, and statistics. Students with deficiencies in one or more of these areas may be required to take additional courses from the undergraduate curriculum.

The GRE requirement is waived for students accepted into this accelerated program.

Students should seek out the graduate program's advisor who will aid in choosing the appropriate graduate courses and help prepare the student for graduate studies.

Accelerated Option Requirements

After the completion of 75 undergraduate credits, students may complete 3 to 12 credits of graduate coursework that can apply to both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.

In addition to applying to graduate from the undergraduate program, students in the accelerated program must submit a bachelor's/accelerated master's transition form (available from the Office of the University Registrar) to the College of Science's Office of Academic and Student Affairs by the last day to add classes of their final undergraduate semester. Students should enroll for courses in the master's program in the fall or spring semester immediately following conferral of the bachelor's degree, but should contact an advisor if they would like to defer up to one semester.

Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher in all graduate coursework and should consult with their faculty advisor to coordinate their academic goals.

Reserve Graduate Credits

Accelerated master's students may also take up to 6 graduate credits as reserve graduate credits. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree, but will reduce the master's degree by up to 6 credits. With 12 graduate credits counted toward the undergraduate degree plus the maximum 6 reserve graduate credits, the credits necessary for the graduate degree can be reduced by up to 18.

Graduate Course Suggestions

The following list of suggested courses is provided for general reference. To ensure an efficient route to graduation and post-graduation readiness, students are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor before registering for graduate-level courses.

BINF 630Bioinformatics Methods3
BINF 631Molecular Cell Biology for Bioinformatics3
BINF 702Biological Data Analysis3
GBUS 738Data Mining for Business Analytics3
or MBA 738 Data Mining for Business Analytics