UCSC is a leader in genomics research.


The bioinformatics curriculum combines biology, chemistry, biochemistry, computer science, mathematics, statistics, bioethics, and specialized bioinformatics classes to develop tools to gain knowledge from biological data. We are particularly interested in interpreting data from high-throughput experiments, such as genome and transcriptome sequencing as well as gene expression arrays. The undergraduate bioinformatics degree program prepares students for graduate school or a career in the fast-paced pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries. The B.S. curriculum provides exceptional training in bioinformatics, and is particularly demanding as it requires three graduate courses.

Degrees Offered

  • B.S.
  • M.S.
  • Minor
  • Ph.D.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • Undergraduate minor, B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.
  • A combined B.S./graduate degree in bioinformatics is available that enables undergraduates to reduce by two the number of courses required for the graduate degree.
  • Many formal and informal undergraduate research opportunities
  • The undergraduate minor is well suited for biology and computer science majors who are interested in bioinformatics, but not committed to it as their primary field.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

It is recommended that high school students intending to apply to the bioinformatics major have completed four years of mathematics (at least through advanced algebra and trigonometry) and three years of science in high school, including one year each of chemistry and biology. Comparable college mathematics and science courses completed at other institutions may be accepted in place of high school preparation. Students without this preparation may be required to take additional courses to prepare themselves for the program.

Information for Transfers

Transfer students need eight transferable courses from the list of courses used for admission to the major for on-campus students, with a GPA in those courses of 2.8 or better. Students with fewer than 10 transferable courses may find it difficult to complete the major in only two more years.

Transfer students should not follow the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) because it will not provide enough mathematics and science courses to allow them to complete the bioinformatics program in two years. Most students find it easier to spread the general education requirements out over four years.


BSOE students may wish to develop their cross cultural competency, typically via the Education Abroad Program (EAP). Interested students must work very closely with the faculty and academic advisers in their major very early during the freshman or sophomore year to create a plan for transferability of coursework towards graduation. For more EAP information, visit

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute has formed a partnership with Microsoft that will help researchers accelerate analysis of genomic information using the company's cloud computing platform, Microsoft Azure. The collaboration provides the Genomics Institute with access to new compute, data storage, and analysis capabilities, enabling researchers to more easily collaborate and share information and speed scientific discovery.

Department Website

More Information

Undergraduate Advising Office
Jack Baskin School of Engineering
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064
(831) 459-5840