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Bioinformatics Ph.D.

Bioinformatics focuses on translational research that uses computational means to transform biological data into discoveries that help us better understand – and improve – life. It’s a discipline with such tremendous impact that further research exploration in the area is fully supported by the Indiana University Life Science Initiative, Indiana’s own Bioscience Initiative and INGEN (Indiana Genomics Initiative).

From the moment you enter our program, you will become fully immersed in ground-breaking research under the guidance of our world-renowned faculty. As part of course projects, independent research investigations and lab rotations, you’ll learn to use informatics, computer science, statistics, life sciences, molecular biology, genetics and a host of other disciplines to create and implement computational tools and applications that truly make a difference.

The Ph.D. in Informatics with Bioinformatics specialization is a 90-credit-hour program that integrates knowledge from informatics, computation, information systems, mathematics, biology and other related areas.

The program includes core courses, research rotations, your choice of minor, qualifying examinations and a dissertation.

Why study at SOIC?

  • Renowned Faculty
    Learn from approachable, internationally-respected faculty in personalized classes.
  • Industry Connections
    Our biopharmaceutical partners (Eli Lilly, Dow Agro and others) offer opportunities for internship, sponsorship and collaborative research.
  • IUPUI’s Biomedical Research Campus
    The IU School of Medicine, Regenstrief Institute, IU Simon Cancer Center and multiple research centers make IUPUI a leader in cross-disciplinary research.

Plan of Study

Prerequisite Courses

Students may test out of these.

For students with a biology background:

For students with a computing background:

  • K322 Genetics and Molecular Biology and K324 Cell Biology or
  • BIOL 507 Molecular Biology

Qualifying Courses (15 cr.)

Required Core Courses (15 cr.)

Elective Core Courses (15 cr.)

Select five:

At most one of the following courses can be counted towards the elective core.

Minor (minimum 12 cr.)

All students will be required to have an appropriate minor outside or partially inside the School of Informatics and Computing for a minimum 12.0 credit hours. Minors will be selected with the advisor’s recommendation. Some appropriate minors would include: biology, chemistry, cognitive psychology, computer science, information science, or statistics. In all cases the number of hours to be included in the minor will be consistent with the requirements of the unit granting the minor. Some of the courses included in the minor may also count toward the student’s methodology or other requirements.


No minimum or maximum credits
Students may take other electives (subject to approval) at the graduate level as needed for their specific research.

Qualifying Examination – Written

All students will take a written qualifying examination that covers the core courses (CORE A and B). The examination will be set by a group of faculty who are familiar with the content of the core courses. Examinations will be offered in August. Examinations must be completed by the beginning of the student’s fourth year in the program but can be completed before that time when the core courses are completed. Students who do not successfully complete the examination can retake the examination a second time.

Qualifying Examination – Oral

  1. The oral examination will take place after the student successfully passes the written exam. Students must pass both the written and oral exam before passing on to candidacy. Only two attempts to pass the oral examination will be allowed.
  2. The oral exam will be based on the student’s response to the written exam and any material from the core courses.

Dissertation Proposal

This is an oral review that covers in-depth knowledge of the student’s primary research area and dissertation proposal. The research proposal for dissertation must be approved by the student’s research committee. That committee may have the same membership as the program committee or the students may choose different members. The advisor for the dissertation will be a faculty member in the School of Informatics and Computing and a member of the Graduate Faculty. At least one the three members of the committee will be based outside of the school. The student will defend the thesis proposal at a public colloquium in the school. The review should be completed within one-year after passing the Qualifying Examinations.

Dissertation (30 cr. minimum)

Please refer to the IUPUI Graduate School Bulletin for more details on the dissertation process.