Program Description

Through collecting, storing, analyzing, and presenting complex biological data, specialists 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 $646 per credit hour for VA state residents or $1,401 per credit hour for out of state students, plus a $35 per credit hour Distance Education fee. Education Resource, 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 Dr. Donald Seto, Dr. Dmitri Kilmov, and Dr. Iosif Vaisman.
  • 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 (2015-16)

Virginia Resident$646 plus fees
Non-Virginia Resident$1,401 plus fees
Distance Education Fee$35
Education Resource Fee$60 - $100 (per semester)

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 the George Mason Career Services center for more career information and counseling.

Online Program ContactDiane St. Germain
Phone: (703) 993-4263
Fax: (703) 993-8976
Academic Program Office10900 University Boulevard, MS 5B3
Manassas, VA 20110
Phone: (703) 993-4263
College of Science
Graduate Admission Office
4400 University Drive, MS 6A3
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 993-3430
School of Systems Biology
Graduate Student Research


  • 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
  • Transcripts of all post-secondary education (two from each institution attended)
  • Resume
  • A TOEFL score with a minimum of 20 in each section (internet-based test), 230 (computer-based test), 575 (paper-based test), or 6.5 IELTS is required for students who have not attained a degree in the US, Canada, U.K., New Zealand, or Australia

Please send your application materials to:
George Mason University
College of Science
Graduate Admission Processing Center
4400 University Drive, MSN 6A3
Fairfax, VA 22030