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Ph.D. in Informatics with a specialization in Bioinformatics

At the intersection of biology and technology

Research scientists in bioinformatics design computational tools and data science applications that make sense of staggering amounts of data, developing solutions that can improve health and save lives. The Ph.D. degree program in Bioinformatics at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI immerses you in course projects, independent research investigations, and lab rotations that integrate informatics, technology, statistics, machine learning, computational biology, genetics, genomics, proteomics, other life science fields—and many other disciplines—in new ways.

Expert faculty at Indiana’s life science and IT research campus

Our bioinformatics degree programs put you in the heart of Indiana’s health care campus, where faculty inspire innovation and novel collaborations in high-through data analysis, big data mining, omics technologies, precision medicine, and many other translational research.

Learn more about studying bioinformatics at IUPUI

A balanced approach

The Ph.D. in Bioinformatics is a 90-credit-hour program that includes core courses, research rotations, the choice of a minor, qualifying examinations, and a dissertation. Our curriculum provides a balance in wide-ranging fields, cutting-edge computing technology, state-of-the-art informatics skills, innovative research and scholarly activities, bioethics, effective teaching, and intellectual property, preparing graduates to succeed in post-doctoral careers. In addition to research and analytics, you’ll learn how to:

  • Perform novel research projects
  • Publish original articles
  • Present inspiring findings at national conferences
  • Create visual representations of complex data
  • Design database systems
  • Write effective grant proposals

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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 (12 cr.)

Elective core courses (15 cr.)

Students will select five of these courses.

At most, one of the following courses can be counted toward 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 at IUPUI 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.


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

Written qualifying examination

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.

Oral qualifying examination

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

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

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 at IUPUI and a member of the graduate faculty. At least one the three members of the committee will be based outside 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)

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