Program Description

Through collecting, storing, analyzing, interpreting, and presenting complex biological data, scientists in the field of bioinformatics and computational biology make critical contributions to disease detection, drug design, forensics, agriculture, and environmental sciences through the combination of biological analysis and high-performance computing. This program addresses the growing national and regional demand for trained computational biologists, combining a solid foundation in biotechnology with computational skills relevant to bioinformatics. Ideal candidates have a background in biological and computer sciences.

What it costs

The cost is $589.00 per credit hour for VA state residents or $1,446.75 per credit hour for out of state students, plus a $35 per credit hour Distance Learning fee. New Student and other mandatory university and course fees may apply.

Application Deadline

This program has an application deadline of June 1 for Fall and November 15 for Spring. International students must apply at least one month prior to deadline.

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Program Summary

100 Percent Online

Program: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Degree: Graduate Certificate

College/School: College of Science

Credits: 15 total

 Who should apply?

Ideal candidates for this certificate have a background in biological and computer sciences, and are either currently working in or planning to enter the fields of biotechnology or bioinformatics. Completion of this certificate will enhance the careers of individuals already working in the field and is designed for those who may not have adequate time to undertake an entire graduate degree program.

Why choose George Mason?

  • This program addresses the growing national and regional demand for trained computational biologists by combining a solid foundation in biotechnology with computational skills relevant to bioinformatics.
  • In this program, you will receive the most up-to-date, advanced bioinformatics education available in the region.
  • Courses in this program are taught by acclaimed professors and experts in the field, including Patrick Gillevet, Saleet Jafri, Dmitri Kilmov, Donald Seto, Jeffrey Solka, Iosif Vaisman, and James Willett, as well as faculty from other departments.
  • Online coursework allows you to participate in class without traveling to campus.
  • This certificate is a useful intermediate step toward future enrollment in the Bioinformatics MS program.

Program requirements are subject to change; please refer to the Mason Course Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements.

Requirements: 15 credits total

  • 9 credits core courses
  • 6 credits electives

Sufficient courses are offered for you to complete the entire program online. Only the courses available online are listed below. Most online courses are delivered synchronously and offerings vary by semester.

Core Courses

  • BINF 630 Bioinformatics Methods | 3 credits
  • BINF 631 Molecular Cell Biology for Bioinformatics | 3 credits
  • BINF 634 Bioinformatics Programming | 3 credits

Electives (Choose Two)

  • BINF 633 Molecular Biotechnology | 3 credits
  • BINF 641 Biomolecular Modeling | 3 credits
  • BINF 650 Intro to Bioinformatics Database Design | 3 credits
  • BINF 731 Protein Structure Analysis | 3 credits
  • BINF 732 Genomics | 3 credits
  • BINF 733 Gene Expression Analysis | 3 credits
  • BINF 734 Advanced Bioinformatics Programming | 3 credits

Tuition (2018-2019)

Virginia Resident$589.00 plus fees
Non-Virginia Resident$1,446.75 plus fees
Distance Learning Fee$35
Graduate New Student Fee$60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)

Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department.

Career Descriptions

Graduates from this program have been offered positions and research opportunities at world-class institutions including NIH, NCI, The John Hopkins University, FDA, USDA, J. Craig Venter Institute, the FBI,  University of Georgia, and Baylor University. Many graduates have also found positions overseas in India, China, and Mexico.

Check out the International Society for Computational Biology website for current job postings in the field of bioinformatics. Graduates of this program are prepared for the following positions:

  • Biological Software Engineer
  • Biostatistician
  • Computational Biologist
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Manager
  • Pharmaceutical Scientist
  • Research Scientist
  • Scientific Programmer

As a Mason student, you may also contact Mason Career Services for more career information and counseling.

Graduate Programs ContactKim Harris
Phone: (703) 993-4263
Fax: (703) 993-8976
College ContactCollege of Science (COS)
Graduate Admissions
Phone: (703) 993-3430
Program Website
College Website
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Follow COS on Twitter@GMU_COS

All applicants should review School of Systems Biology Application Information. For international applicants, see guidelines for International Graduate Requirements.


  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to biological and/or computer science from an accredited university
  • Achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate courses
  • Demonstrate completion of courses in molecular biology, computer science, calculus, and/or statistics
  • Possess a working knowledge of a computer programming language

Application Materials

  • Graduate application
  • Application fee
  • In-state tuition form (if applicable)
  • Two official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Goals statement
  • Resume

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact COS Graduate Admissions at or (703) 993-3430.