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Bioinformatics (B.S.)

Website: School of Theoretical and Applied Science

About the Major

Ramapo College was one of the first primarily undergraduate colleges in the United States to offer a baccalaureate degree in Bioinformatics. The program prepares students for employment in industry and academia, and to engage in research. In addition to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, potential employers include research labs in academia, hospitals, governmental agencies, the software industry and the bioinformatics service industry. The bioinformatics program provides excellent preparation for graduate, medical and other professional schools.

Bioinformatics is a modern interdisciplinary science that uses computational techniques to frame and to resolve biological problems.  Bioinformatics allows scientists to answer questions which require the interpretation of large datasets and to detect trends in data that emerge when a “bigger picture” is considered.  This effective management of biological data allows scientists to create molecular models, discover genes and biomarkers, assign functions to newly discovered genes, and to study relationships like the structure and function of proteins and biomolecular pathways.  Bioinformatics is practiced in the fields of molecular, personalized and preventative medicine, biotechnology and nanobiotechnology.  Applying this powerful new technology can help to prevent, diagnose and treat inherited and other diseases, design new drugs and vaccines; shorten the development cycle of new medicines and much more.

Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing and evolving field.  Opportunities exist to join the forefront of research in industry as well as academic institutions.  Northern New Jersey/New York area is a hub for the pharmaceutical industry and one of the largest centers of biotechnology.  Several institutions of higher education are also located in the region.  Ramapo College is well-suited for a Bioinformatics program because it is proximal to institutions of higher education and companies that have high priority programs in Bioinformatics.

The bioinformatics curriculum has been designed to lay a solid multidisciplinary foundation in modern life sciences, chemistry, mathematics, as well as cutting-edge computer technology using informatics as an interdisciplinary, cohesive tool.  In advanced courses, students are trained to manage biological data, develop computational methods to analyze and interpret data, solve scientific problems and make new discoveries.  In addition to the scientific and technical concepts, students are also exposed to the social, business, and ethical aspects of science.

Highly qualified and experienced educators teach courses in the Bioinformatics curriculum.  The faculty members are actively engaged in research and typically involve undergraduate students in their projects.  Students are also encouraged to present their findings at research conferences and publish their accomplishments in peer reviewed scientific journals.

Supporting academic programs with the technology necessary for their success is a top priority at Ramapo College.  The College has well-maintained modern laboratories for biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, chemistry and physics that are used for the Bioinformatics program.  Most of these laboratories are equipped with modern computers with Internet connections.  In addition, two ultramodern labs have been specially designed to teach Bioinformatics courses.  The college also boasts over many different PC and Mac based computer labs across the campus, with hundreds of PCs and Macs for student use.  In addition to email and web page space for students, high-end System servers support more advanced computing needs for faculty and students.  Several servers have also been dedicated to Bioinformatics teaching and research.

The Major is offered by the School of Theoretical and Applied Science and leads to a B.S. degree in Bioinformatics.

Curriculum for the Bioinformatics Major:

In order to graduate with a B.S. in Bioinformatics from Ramapo College, a student will have to earn a total of 128 credits.  In addition to 67-72 credits of the core subjects, students pick 10-12 credits from two sets of specialized electives.  Additionally, Fundamentals of Physics I and II courses are highly recommended for Bioinformatics majors.  There is also a provision for students to opt for Bioinformatics research that can be performed under the guidance of one of the faculty members of the program as TAS Research Honors, or taken as Co-Op/Internship in a suitable industry in the area.

Outcomes for the Major

Program Goals

Bioinformatics majors should demonstrate:

  1. Knowledge of fundamental biological processes at organism, physiological, cellular and molecular levels.
  2. Basic understanding of principles of chemistry and their applications to living systems; properties of bio-molecules and their contribution to structure and function of cells.
  3. Understanding of computer programming methodology; including algorithm design and program development. Capability of designing and applying software tools for biological data analysis.
  4. Proficiency in the use of mathematical tools including discrete mathematics, calculus, and statistics.
  5. Integrated knowledge and technical skills gained from diverse scientific disciplines of biochemical, mathematical, computational and life sciences; understanding key problems, possible solutions, and latest advances in bioinformatics.
  6. Understanding of the process of scientific inquiry, preparation for rigorous research, quantitative problem solving skills, data analysis and interpretation of results.

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing the bioinformatics program, the students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the structural and functional organization of the living cells. Describe properties of bio-molecules. Explain how macromolecules catalyze chemical transformations and build complex multi-molecular structures of the cell. Exhibit familiarity with the major techniques for studying structure and function of cells at molecular level.
  2. Explain how macromolecules store and transmit hereditary information. Demonstrate understanding of their molecular structure/function relationships. Understand the impact of variation on biological function.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to resolve scientific problems by applying an integrated approach derived from up-to-date technical skills of biological, chemical, mathematical and computational disciplines.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of algorithms and computational methods in bioinformatics. Be able to apply existing computational tools to solve biological problems and perform data analysis.
  5. Demonstrate strong programming skills. Possess an understanding of the practices and dynamics required to develop bioinformatics software.
  6. Demonstrate basic understanding of the design, applications and significance of biological databases; Extract, evaluate and manipulate relevant data from large biological data sets.
  7. Demonstrate the capability of making scientific observations, develop appropriate hypotheses and design experiments to test the hypotheses. Be able to statistically validate and quantitatively analyze the results obtained from the experiments, interpret the outcomes and make inferences. Write logical and cohesive scientific reports.
  8. Demonstrate the capability to critically evaluate scientific literature. Design and conduct an original research project, critically analyze the results and present scientific findings orally and in a written report.
Requirements of the Major
  1. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below.  Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  2. Double counting between General Education and Major may be possible.  Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  3. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing and Studies in the Arts and Humanities; the other three courses are taken in the major.
  4. Not all courses are offered each semester.  Please check the current Schedule of classes for semester course offerings.

Note: A 2.0 GPA in the major is required for graduation.

Requirements of the Minor
  1. At least 1/2 of the courses fulfilling a minor must be distinct from the student’s major. That is, three of the five courses required for a minor cannot be used towards fulfillment of major requirements. A school core does not need to be completed for a minor. Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.

Students interested in minoring in Bioinformatics will need to select one of the two tracks below:

Track I


Track II

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