Bioinformatics BS

Program Purpose

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary program offering substantial training in both the biological sciences and the physical and mathematical sciences; our program emphasizes the integration of computer science with biology. A foundation in biology, computer science, and statistics provides the basis for developing and applying computational methods to test biological hypotheses. Students attracted to this program have dual interests in computer science and biology and find it an excellent choice for their broad interests. Students who complete this program either enter the top graduate programs in bioinformatics or the life sciences in the world, enter leading professional schools (including law school, medical school, or dental school), or find employment in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or software development companies.

List of Courses (Catalog)


Learning Outcomes

Broad Understanding of Biology


Students will interpret relationships among living things and analyze and solve biological problems, from the molecular to ecosystem level using basic biological concepts, grounded in foundational theories."

Courses that Contribute: BIO 165 BIO 130 BIO 165 BIO 465
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Competence
Computer Programming

Students will design computer programs to facilitate biological data analysis. (BYU AIMS 1,2,3)


Courses that Contribute: BIO 165 BIO 370 BIO 420 BIO 450 BIO 463 BIO 465 BIO 468
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Competence
Research and Inquiry

Students will be able to conduct basic bioinformatics research.(BYU AIMS 2,3,4)


Courses that Contribute: BIO 130 BIO 450 BIO 463 BIO 465 BIO 468
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Quantitative reasoning

Evidence of Learning

Direct Measures

  1. Students will demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of biology by passing the Biology Major Field Exam with a minimum score of 140 (200 possible).
  2. Students will complete a project in bioinformatics using databases, current data analysis techniques and the development of appropriate computer software.
  3. Students will participate in one or more of the following: an internship, a professional presentation, mentored research, or as coauthor of a peer-reviewed publication.
  4. Alumni survey data will be collected at one-, five-, and ten-year post-graduation intervals to ascertain if students are working in a bioinformatics-related field (or if they have had opportunities to work in a bioinformatics-related field) or if they are in professional school or graduate school.

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement

  1. At the end of each academic year (during spring/summer terms) the Program Director will:
    • Collect relevant assessment results for each learning outcome.
    • Identify significant gaps between expected learning outcomes and actual learning outcomes.
    • Develop strategies to improve actual learning outcomes.
  2. Additionally the Program Director will:
    • Establish program improvements that involve department policy, program outcomes, and/or curriculum changes.
    • Participate in the modification of learning outcomes and the plan for collecting related evidence of student learning.
  3. Faculty teaching courses should ensure students entering the program understand program learning outcomes and the characteristics of excellent work by making program learning outcomes and characteristics part of course syllabi. This means that each course will have a set of well-defined learning outcomes specific to that course that are congruent with program learning outcomes.
  4. Student evaluations, alumni survey data, and program specific questionnaire results are analyzed and evaluated as they come in. The state of the department and its programs is a chief topic of discussion at an annual retreat. Faculty meetings throughout the year may also be devoted to specific program issues.
  5. The degree programs and curriculum in the Department of Biology were established with renaming the department in 2007. These programs of study were developed by the Curriculum Committee based on input from the department as well as from college mandates.  Each undergraduate degree program will have an in-depth review every four years (each program will be reviewed on a 4 year rotation; the next scheduled review for the Bioinformatics BS is 2013). These reviews will involve departmental participation.
  6. Curriculum and degree program input is received from individuals, ad hoc committees, and college leadership. These changes are discussed and assessed by the curriculum committee on an ongoing basis. Proposals for curriculum change are then discussed at department faculty meetings and decided by a faculty vote. Approved proposals for curriculum change are then submitted to the College Curriculum Committee.