Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, MS

Hybrid Online Program

Program: Bioinformatics & Computational
Biology, MS
In-State Tuition per Credit:
$517.25 plus fees
Department: School of Systems Biology,
College of Science
Out of State Tuition per Credit:
$1,233.25 plus fees
Application Deadlines:
Domestic students – Mar 15 (Fall), Nov 15 (Spring)
International students – Feb 15 (Fall), Oct 15 (Spring)
Credits: 31


What is Bioinformatics and Computational Biology?

Professor Donald SetoIn the field of bioinformatics and computational biology, specialists collect, store, analyze, and present complex biological data. Through this work, critical contributions are made to disease detection, drug design, forensics, agriculture, and environmental sciences through the combination of biological analysis and high-performance computing.

Who should apply?

Ideal candidates for this program have a background in biological and/or computer sciences. It is especially relevant for students employed in today’s diverse biotechnology workplace. Students completing the program are qualified to pursue careers that require knowledge of current bioinformatics methods and the ability to use current bioinformatics software.

Why choose George Mason?

  • This program addresses the growing international, 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.
  • Program projects are often done in cooperation with many world-class research institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, USDA, and many other universities, research institutes, museums, government, and military laboratories.
  • Courses in this program are taught by acclaimed professors like Dr. Donald Seto, Dr. Jeffrey Solka, and Dr. Iosif Vaisman. Dr. Seto has been awarded a research grant with the NIH. He is an expert in the origins and molecular evolution of viral pathogens using bioinformatics, predicting the next pathogen, and developing vaccines to viral pathogens. Dr. Solka offers instruction in bioinformatics programming and text data mining. Dr. Vaisman’s research focuses on developing computational methods for protein structure and function analysis.
  • Since the program is delivered partially online, you will often be able to participate in class without having to travel to campus.
  • The flexibility of the degree structure permits students to custom-design their curriculum under an advisor’s guidance, making this especially relevant for students employed in today’s diverse biotechnology workplace.
  • Persons employed at area biotechnology organizations may take up to six credits for bioinformatics work done on the job under the guidance of a faculty member. This work-related project may be applied either as a 3-credit research project or as a 6-credit master’s thesis.

[Top] Professor Donald Seto working with Amir Shams, graduate student, and visiting professor Shoaleh Dehghan.



  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in science, math, engineering, or computer science
  • Achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 in Bachelor’s program
  • Demonstrate completion of two semesters of courses in each of the following topics: Integral Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics
  • Demonstrate completion of one statistics course
  • Possess strengths in one or more of the following areas: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Physical Chemistry
  • Have a working knowledge of a computer programming language

Application Materials

  • Graduate application
  • Transcripts of all post-secondary education (two copies from each institution attended)*
  • Resume*
  • 3 letters of recommendation from faculty members or individuals who have personal knowledge of your academic or professional capabilities*
  • Goals statement*
  • Application fee*
  • Official GRE scores (the GRE requirement is waived if the student already holds a master’s degree from a U.S. institution)*
  • 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 all 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


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

Requirements: 31 credits total

  • 12 credits of core courses
  • 3 credits of advanced bioinformatics courses
  • 9-12 credits of electives in bioinformatics, biology and biotechnology, or computational sciences
  • 1 credit of the bioinformatics seminar course
  • 3-6 credits of the research component course

At least 75% of courses in this program can be completed fully online. Required courses which are not offered online are indicated below. The semester that each online course is available is indicated as well. Most courses are delivered asynchronously.

Core Courses (all required)

  • BINF 630 Bioinformatics Methods | 3 credits| Spring
  • BINF 631 Molecular Cell Biology for Bioinformatics | 3 credits | Fall
  • BINF 634 Bioinformatics Programming | 3 credits | Fall
  • BINF 701 Systems Biology | 3 credits | Fall | hybrid online course

Advanced Bioinformatics

  • 3 credits of advanced bioinformatics courses numbered BINF 730 or above


  • BINF 633 Molecular Biotechnology | 3 credits | Spring
  • BINF 690 Numerical Method for Bioinformatics| 3 credits | Fall
  • BINF 702 Research Methods | 3 credits | Spring
  • BINF 705 Research Ethics| 3 credits | Spring
  • BINF 730 Biological Sequence Analysis| 3 credits | Spring
  • BINF 731 Protein Structure Analysis | 3 credits | Fall
  • BINF 732 Genomics | 3 credits | Online availability varies
  • BINF 734 Advanced Bioinformatics Programming | 3 credits | Spring

Please contact your academic advisor for other elective options. Electives may be selected from bioinformatics, biology, biotechnology, statistics, computer science, and information systems courses. Not all are offered online.

Bioinformatics Seminar

  • BINF 704 Colloquium in Bioinformatics | 1 credit | Spring, Fall

Research Component (choose 1)

  • BINF 798 Research Project | 3 credits | independent study
  • BINF 799 Master’s Thesis | 6 credits | independent study


Tuition (2014-15)

Virginia Resident$517.25 plus fees
Non-Virginia Resident$1,233.25 plus fees
Distance Education Fee$35
Education Resource Fee$60 - $100 (per semester)

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

Financial Aid

For information on loans, scholarships, fellowships, and other types of financial aid, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Pictured right: Dr. Vaisman talks with a student presenting their findings at Student Research Days.

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

All online and hybrid programs in the College of Science

(Fully Online)

(Hybrid Online)


Career Descriptions

With a MS in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, you will be prepared for a career as a:

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

Check out the International Society for Computational Biology website for current job postings in the field of bioinformatics. As a Mason student, you may also contact the George Mason Career Services center for more career information and counseling.

Mason Graduates

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

Student Stories

“The option of taking Bioinformatics courses as a distance learner helped me juggle between work and school. For one class, I was able to tune in for class from home. This was especially beneficial after a long day of commuting. For another class, I was able to catch up with the lectures from the professor’s recordings.”

- Judy Chu, MS ‘14

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