Recommended Courses for UG Bio Sciences majors with interest in Bioinformatics
1) First Year – take MATH 140/141
Math 140/141 is the key prerequisite for all CMSC courses related to bioinformatics.
Math 220/221 is not considered to be an acceptable alternative.
2) Programming and algorithms: a suggested sequence.
Students with a serious interest in bioinformatics will want to learn computer programming and algorithms. The following sequence of CMSC courses is recommended as a guide. It is unlikely that a student majoring in the Biological Sciences would have room in their program to take all of these courses. Furthermore, all of these courses require permission from the Computer Science department. However, much of the material presented in these courses is available elsewhere and need not come from courses taken at College Park.
a) CMSC 131 and 132: Object-oriented programming
Introduction to use of computers to solve problems using software engineering principles. Design, build, test, and debug medium-sized software. Java.
b) CMSC 216: Introduction to computer systems
Machine representation and computer architectural features.
c) CMSC 250: Discrete structures
Fundamental mathematical concepts related to computer science.
d) CMSC 351: Algorithms
A systematic study of the complexity of some elementary algorithms.
e) CMSC 423: Bioinformatic Algorithms, Databases, and Tools
An introduction to the main algorithms, databases, and tools used in bioinformatics.
This is the only course that directly covers bioinformatics. The earlier courses are prerequisites to it. Those prerequisites may be waived for Biology majors with some knowledge of programming. Your advisor can approve use of CMSC 423 as an enrichment course under the advanced program in the biological sciences.
Additional relevant courses within computer science.
The following two courses are especially relevant.
f) CMSC 422: Introduction to Machine Learning
g) CMSC 451: Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms
3) Relevant courses within the biological sciences.
The following courses are especially relevant. However, different students will have different interests within bioinformatics and computational biology.
a) BSCI 411: Bioinformatics and Integrated Genomics
BSCI411 should be taken by all students with an interest in bioinformatics.
b) BSCI 410, 412 or 416: Molecular Genetics
c) BSCI 471: Molecular Evolution
Patterns of DNA sequence variation within and between species.
Any course with significant statistical content. 420 would be ideal.