Sample Curricula for First and Second-Year BCB Graduate Students

Summary of First Year Course Requirements for BCB Majors

The foundation disciplines for BCB are genetics, molecular biology, mathematics, computer science, statistics and physics. Students entering the BCB program are expected to have a strong undergraduate background in at least one of these disciplines and additional coursework in another.

Students are also expected to have basic competence in Statistics, Computer Science and Biology and are strongly encouraged to take courses equivalent to the ISU courses listed here prior to enrollment in the BCB program. Where such preparatory coursework has not been taken, students will have the opportunity to take these courses during their first year of BCB graduate training to prepare for BCB core courses.  The temporary advisor will help each student determine which additional courses are needed.

All first year Ph.D. and M.S. degree candidates will:

  • take 4 to 6 courses to complete BCB Background Coursework Requirements
  • if some required background coursework is in place as determined by the temporary advisor, take a BCB core course:
    • BCB 567 - Fundamentals of Genomic Informatics or
    • BCB 568 - Advanced Genomic Informatics or
    • Variable - Advanced Biology Core Requirement
  • attend BCB 691 - BCB Faculty Research Seminar (Fall)
  • attend BCB 690 - BCB Student Research Seminar (Spring); and
  • participate in 3 research rotations.

After the First Year

  • Students should register for BCB 699 - Research (rather than BCB 697 - Research Rotation) every semester. Each BCB faculty member has a different BCB 699 reference number.  A link to the page of BCB 699 reference numbers for all BCB faculty can be found under BCB 699 on the Courses Offered page.  The number of BCB 699 credits taken will vary depending on other courses taken.
  • Students should take courses to fulfill the BCB Bioethics training requirement.
  • Students should register for courses to complete Advanced Group Requirements, following the recommendations of their major and co-major professors and POS committee.
  • Students should refer to the Summary of BCB Requirements for specific credit hour requirements for seminars, workshops, etc.

Sample Curricula for BCB Graduate Students

For students with prior training in computer science and biological sciences, but needing Statistics preparation:

Year 1

Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
Stat 401 3 Stat 447 3
BCB 567 - Algorithmic Informatics 3 BCB 690 - Student Seminar 1
BCB 691 - Faculty Research Seminar 1 Adv. Biol. Core Requirement 3
BCB 697 - Research Rotation 5 BCB 697 - Research Rotation 5
Total Credit Hours 12   12

Year 2

* BCB 593 Workshop is offered various semesters (F S SS), but at least once each year
Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
Advanced Biology Requirement 3 BCB 568 - Statistical Bioinformatics 3
Advanced Group Requirement course 3 BCB 570 - Systems Biology 3
BCB 593 - Workshop (if offered)* 1 GR ST 565 – Ethics Requirement 1
BCB 699 - Research with Major Professor 7 BCB 699 - Research With Major Professor 5
Total Credit Hours 12   12


For students with prior training in computer science and statistics but needing biology preparation:

Year 1

Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
Biol 313 3 Biol 315 3
Stat 430 3 BCB 568 - Statistical Bioinformatics 3
BCB 691 - Faculty Research Seminar 3 BCB 690 - Student Seminar 3
BCB 697 - Research Rotation 3 BCB 697 - Research Rotation 3
Total Credit Hours 12   12

Year 2

* BCB 593 Workshop is offered various semesters (F S SS), but at least once each year
Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
BCB 567 - Bioinformatics I 3 Adv. Biology Core Requirement 3
BCB 593 Workshop* 1 BCB 570 - Bioinformatics IV 3
Advanced Group Requirement 3 GR ST 565 - Ethics Requirement 3
BCB 699 - Research With Major Professor 5 BCB 699 - Research With Major Professor 6
Total Credit Hours 12   12


Two examples for students with strong Biology, but needing computer science preparation:

First Example

Year 1

Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
Com S 227 3 Com S 228 3
Stat 430 1 Com S 230 3
BCB 691 - Faculty Research Seminar 3 BCB 690 - Student Seminar 3
BCB 697 - Research Rotation 5 BCB 697 - Research Rotation 5
Total Credit Hours 12   12

Year 2

 * BCB 593 Workshop is offered various semesters (F S SS), but at least once each year
Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
BCB 567 - Bioinformatics I 3 BCB 568 - Bioinformatics II 3
Advanced Group Requirement 3 BCB 570 - Bioinformatics IV 3
BCB 593 Workshop 1 GR ST 565 - Ethics Requirement 1
BCB 699 - Research with Major Professor 5 BCB 699 - Research With Major Professor 5
Total Credit Hours 12   12

Second Example 

Year 1

* BCB 593 Workshop is offered various semesters (F S SS), but at least once each year
Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
Com S 228 3 Com S 230 3
Stat 430 3 Adv. Biol Core Requirement 3
BCB Faculty Seminar 1 GR ST 565 1
BCB 697 - Research Rotations 5 BCB 697 - Research Rotations 5
Total Credit Hours 12   12

Year 2 

Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
BCB 567 - Bioinformatics I 3 BCB 568 - Bioinformatics II 3
Advanced Group Requirement 3 BCB 570 - Bioinformatics IV 3
BCB 699 - Research with Major Professor 6 BCB 699 - Research with Major Professor 6
Total Credit Hours 12   12  


For students with strong Biology, but needing computer science and Statistics preparation:

Year 1

Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
Com S 227 3 Com S 228 3
Stat 401 3 Stat 447 3
BCB 691 - Faculty Seminar 1 BCB 690 - Student Seminar 1
BCB 697 - Research Rotation 5 BCB 697 - Research Rotations 5
Total Credit Hours 12   12

Year 2

* BCB 593 Workshop is offered various semesters (F S SS), but at least once each year
Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
Advanced Course Requirement 3 BCB 568 3
Com S 230 3 Adv Biol Core Requirement 3
BCB 593 Workshop* 1 BCB 699 - Research With Major Professor 6
BCB 699 - Research with Major Professor 5    
Total Credit Hours 12   12

Year 3

Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
BCB 567 - Bioinformatics I 3 BCB 570 - Systems Biology 3
Advanced Course Requirement 3 Ethics Requirement 3
BCB 699 - Research with Major Professor 6 BCB 699 - Research With Major Professor 8
Total Credit Hours 12   12