B.S. in Computational Biology

Computational biology is the study of biological systems through computational and statistical modeling of large data sets. Through this program, students gain knowledge in biology, computer science, and information technology.

Rensselaer is one of the few universities to offer an undergraduate program in this emerging and exciting field. This program trains next-generation biologists who can harness the ever-rising computational power and tools to solve crucial biological problems to change the world.

There are two concentrations within the program: biomolecular systems and ecological systems. The biomolecular systems concentration focusing on applying computational methods on a microscopic scale to the structure, dynamics and interactions of protein, nucleic acid, glycan, biomembrane and drug discovery. The ecological systems concentration focuses on applying computational methods to study and solve problems in large scale ecological systems, such as regional to global environmental changes.

Graduates are encouraged to continue their studies in one of the growing number of worldwide computational biology graduate programs. Those who enter the workforce following graduation often are hired into sectors including the pharmaceutical industry, medical informatics, agricultural bioinformatics, government agencies and national labs, database management companies, or the biotechnology industry.

Program of Study

In this major, you can choose a concentration in biomolecular systems or in ecological systems.

Program Outcomes

As a result of completing this program students will:

  • demonstrate proficiency in computational biology, as well as in the foundational topics of cell and molecular biology, genetics and evolution, biochemistry, and ecology and the environment.
  • demonstrate additional competency in advanced Biological Sciences topics relative to their academic interest.
  • be able to apply skills such as reading primary literature, developing testable hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and using statistical and quantitative methods.
  • be able to communicate effectively on scientific topics in written and oral formats.
  • be able to apply knowledge and skills from across the curriculum to current problems in biological sciences to generate integrative papers, proposals, or other types of projects.

Curriculum

The B.S. in Computational Biology offers a wide variety of coursework in Biological Sciences and two concentrations for you to customize your degree path. 

Research

In this program, you’ll learn to think like a researcher and gain the essential skillset to carry out research in computational biology. All students are required to complete a culminating experience advanced laboratory course, which offers preparation for research in your career. Select students may perform independent research in faculty labs, through an internship or co-op.

Arch

The Arch is a unique approach to education that provides flexibility in the semester schedule, allowing students to pursue professional and personal development opportunities that prepare them to meet the multifaceted challenges of the 21st century. The Arch is a requirement of the Rensselaer curriculum.

Summer Here
During The Arch, students remain on campus for the summer after their sophomore year, taking junior-level classes, and receive focused attention from professors at this pivotal point in their academic progression. 

The World Away
Then, students leave the Troy campus for a semester during the traditional junior year—either fall or spring—to pursue their passions in the form of co-ops, internships, civic engagement, research, or international experiences. Students who pursue these opportunities during their academic career are better prepared for future professional careers and graduate school.

For more information regarding the Arch, please visit https://info.rpi.edu/the-arch

Faculty

The Biological Sciences faculty provide a variety of research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in our degree programs. Students who are interested in pursuing research themselves or learning more about what faculty members in our department should consult the Biological Sciences Research page. 

Academic Opportunities

Student researchers play a critical role in the world-changing discovery, innovation, and breakthroughs taking place across campus.

A biological honor society for undergraduate students dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study, and extending the boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research.

Ecologic is the longest-running environmental club at Rensselaer. Their mission is to make progress toward a greener world and educate the community about environmental issues. They run many fun projects and events throughout the year.

Inspiring a younger audience to explore the role of science in society.