I'm pursuing a master's degree in Computer Science, and have no background in computational biology and bioinformatics. Although the paper I'm talking about does not propose any original, interesting computational model/method, it successfully combines two proposed approach -in a very trivial way-. I will be the co-first author of that paper, which is very likely to get published in a very impactful journal (IF>5k), since I dealt with all analytical and computational donkey work all by myself.

This paper is quite biology-oriented. I'm wondering about the impact of this paper if I apply for computational biology and bioinformatics PhD programs in US. It is obvious that my coursework does not focus on computational biology and/or bioinformatics.

  • 1
    Your description of the paper is confusing. You seem to dismiss it as trivial, but it will appear in a good journal. Your location might be helpful to know for any answer.
    – Buffy
    Jan 28, 2021 at 19:44
  • It is biologically very sophisticated, but in terms of computer science it is not original. I just combined two previously proposed models for a similar problem. Jan 28, 2021 at 19:47
  • Location? Admission requirements vary greatly.
    – Buffy
    Jan 28, 2021 at 19:52
  • My experience is that, no, work outside the field of application will not significantly bolster your competitiveness. But hopefully my observations are incorrect. Good luck. Jan 28, 2021 at 19:55
  • U.S. universities ranked between ~5 to ~20. Jan 28, 2021 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


Such a paper can't hurt and might help. CS is a pretty wide field with both theoretical and applied aspects. Your paper seems to describe applications. That would be more of a boost in some programs than in others.

But in the US, doctoral admissions is based on a wide variety of things, including letters of recommendation. Your co-author(s) may be able to help you there.

In any case, the paper is (about) done, and can't be a negative, so certainly include it in the CV and if applied CS is your goal, you might have something to add to your Statement of Purpose. Expect a lot of competition for slots in those schools, of course. You increase your chances if you widen the search a bit.

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