I want to apply for an MS CS degree. However I want to study computational biology along with other subjects like AI, etc. But many colleges have a separate department for computational biology(eg CMU) while others provide some courses to grad students of the cs department(eg Stanford). Is it possible for me study computational biology at colleges which offer it as a separate program altogether?

  • 2
    Of course. Why not? – JeffE Aug 19 '13 at 4:21
  • Of course, we are in the same boat. I have talked to different professors of different schools about it. The answer is "YES". But there are two important things. 1/ You need to show in your application that you have a strong background in bio and chemistry related domains. If you don't have time to take credited courses due to heavy workload of EECS, you can do research or take GRE-subject test to compensate. – Silentio Aug 19 '13 at 6:45
  • 2/ Computational biology is a very broad field, some program seems purely theoretical (strong EECS skills and decent bio knowledge would be enough) while some are extremely practical (in which, computational aspect appears to be a very small portion of the project. The rest are taken care by bio molecular science and material science). I think it would benefit you greatly if you read through the website carefully to see if they are interests and skills match up. – Silentio Aug 19 '13 at 6:48
  • Actually, I was hoping to avoid the subject test and get admitted to a cs program, and then take a course in computational biology(along with other courses). I will state in my sop other subjects in cs which are of interest tom and if admitted, take additional computational biology courses as well. Is this feasible? – aksd Aug 19 '13 at 8:05
  • Actually most universities don't have a computational biology department. Typically you will find such groups in a variety of departments. Computational biologists come from a variety of backgrounds, and CS is probably the most common. So there really is no problem. – Bitwise Aug 19 '13 at 15:43

I suggest that you make contact with the admissions of the target faculty, as well as make contact with academics whose research interests match the field you are interested in. Have a look at the academic's profile pages as well as looking at papers that they may have published.

As JeffE said in his comment - why not? You have computational background and a clear interest.

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