I have a MS in CS with strong interest in statistics. I am very much interested in doing a PhD in bioinformatics as it gives me best of both worlds. After my PhD my goal is to get an academic position but I am not sure if bioinformatics is the correct path to take or should I do a PhD in CS with focus on bioinformatics. Does it makes a difference what my PhD is in when applying for a job in bioinformatics/computational biology/statistical genomics field?

2 Answers 2


Like many other answers I am sure you will hear, it really depends what you want to do. Either path will be fine, what it will matter more in terms of job searching (academia or industry) would be:

  1. You research project
  2. Your PI
  3. The reputation of the program you enrolled in (unfortunately)

In general, doing a PhD requires patience, dedication, and hard work. Focus more on what types of projects you want to spend 4-5 years on rather than worrying about what field degree you will walk out with in the end.


It really depends in which direction you want your career to go. The closer you work to biological fields, the more biology you will need to know to advance in your career. This is due to the fact that the questions you are addressing with your research matter much more than the actual way you use to address your questions. While addressing the questions requires CS skills, finding questions considered good by other biologists requires biological skills. So if you want to move closer to biological applications and become a professor, a PhD in bioinformatics would be preferred to a PhD in CS with focus on bioinformatics.

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    This. I am a bioinformatics PI, with a biological bent. I take both biology and CS undergrads as grad students, but don't really have CS people applying for Postdocs with me. This is because I use bioinformatics to solve biological problems, rather than using biology as an example application for CS methods development. Aug 6, 2018 at 10:00
  • Should point out that by "CS people" applying for postdocs, I mean people with a PhD in CS. Aug 7, 2018 at 12:19

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