Plant Biology BS/Bioinformatics MS(non-thesis)

The field of bioinformatics has grown tremendously, driven by remarkable advances in computational analyses, DNA sequencing, and other genomic technologies. Today more than ever, massive amounts of omics data are being generated and the wealth of information within these datasets is continually being mined to increase our knowledge and understanding of not only human health and disease but also of thousands of animal, plant, and microbial species. The demand for workers with advanced bioinformatics experience is large and will continue to grow.

The Institute of Bioinformatics (IOB) is comprised of faculty members whose research interests cover a broad spectrum of bioinformatics research in the areas of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, glycomics, and pharmacological informatics. Students who successfully complete the master’s program in bioinformatics will learn to use high-performance computing and to employ experimental and statistical approaches for the analysis of complex biological datasets. Acquiring these skills will position graduates with a competitive advantage when seeking employment in many science-related economic sectors including biotechnology, life and medical sciences, agriculture, and government agencies such as the CDC, Department of Energy, FDA, and USDA. In addition, an M.S. degree in bioinformatics can serve as an excellent foundation for the pursuit of more advanced degrees in science and medicine.

Admission to Program

Because bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary program of study, students will be advised to take prerequisite courses in any areas where they do not have the necessary background. For example, introductory courses in calculus, statistics, biochemistry, and molecular genetics are important foundational courses considered necessary for acceptance to this program.

After completing 60 hours of undergraduate coursework, students may apply to the Double Dawgs pathway. Upon acceptance, students may take up to 12 credit hours in approved graduate-level courses prior to formal admission into the graduate program. Students who meet the eligibility requirements specified below should arrange to meet with either the Plant Biology undergraduate coordinator or program advisor and should also meet with the Institute of Bioinformatics graduate coordinator early in the semester to discuss program feasibility and to be advised on coursework options.

To be eligible for the Plant Biology B.S./Bioinformatics M.S. (non-thesis) Double Dawgs pathway, students must
• Have completed at least 60 credit hours before the start of their junior year.
• Have a minimum GPA of 3.5 at the time they apply to the Double Dawgs pathway.

A 3.5 GPA is recommended to apply to the pathway and the student must maintain a 3.2 GPA thereafter. Any deviations from the recommended GPA policy will be at the discretion of the program and/or graduate advisor. Admission to the Double Dawgs pathway does not guarantee admission to the graduate degree program.


Graduate-level courses that may be used to satisfy undergraduate and graduate program requirements.

Students may take up to 12 hours of credit from the following course list:

BINF(PBIO) 6040, Essential Biology for Quantitative Scientists (4 hrs) – Only offered in fall semester of even-numbered years.
BINF(PBIO) 6550, Concepts in Bioinformatics and Omics (3 hrs)
PATH(PBIO) 4200/6200-4200L/6200L, Mycology (4 hrs)
PBIO(CRSS) 4500/6500, Introduction to Gene Technology (3 hrs)
PBIO(GENE)(PATH)(BINF) 4510/6510, Genome Evolution Across the Tree of Life (3 hrs)
PBIO 4650/6650-4650L/6650L, Plant Taxonomy (4 hrs)
PBIO(BINF)(FANR) 4700/6700, Computational Plant Science (3 hrs)
PBIO 6720, Plant Variation and Evolution (4 hrs)

Additional requirements that are unique to this Double Dawgs program:

This Double Dawgs Bioinformatics M.S. is a non-thesis professional degree. Students who wish to pursue a thesis master's degree should contact the Institute of Bioinformatics (IOB) graduate coordinator to discuss that option.

Students are required to fulfill the IOB program requirements for non-thesis master's degrees. Graduate credit hours must total at least 30 hours or more. An advisory committee is not required for non-thesis master's students.

The four courses listed below are required core classes for the Bioinformatics M.S. program of study:
BINF 8006, Advanced Programming and Algorithms for Informatics or BINF 8500, Bioinformatics Algorithms (3 hrs)**
BINF 8211, Advanced Methods for Biological Data Analyses (3 hrs)
BINF 8940, Applied Genome Analysis (3 hrs)
BINF 8441, Statistical Inference for the Life Sciences (3 hrs)
**BINF 8500 can be taken instead of BINF 8006 provided that the student can demonstrate competency in C, C++, or Java programming.

Other BINF and graduate-level elective courses will determined by the candidate and the IOB graduate advisor and will be based on the goals and interests of the candidate. BINF 8000-level courses may also be taken as an undergraduate provided there is room in the proposed schedule to do so, e.g. taken as an upper division elective credit.

What Students Need To Apply:
• Double Dawgs pathway application
• Resume or CV
• Statement of purpose (stating interest and career goals)
• One letter of support from a faculty member

Admission to Graduate Program

Students will need to apply to the Graduate School in addition to completing any requirements indicated for admittance to the Bioinformatics Double Dawgs pathway. Students need to have a recommended 3.2 GPA to apply to the M.S. program. After completing 90 hours of undergraduate coursework, students will formally apply to the to the Bioinformatics M.S. program in the fall of Year 4 and will begin registering as full time M.S. students in the fall of Year 5. Students must complete all required Bioinformatics graduate core courses and elective graduate courses before they can obtain the M.S. degree.

Program Advisor

  • Name: April King Mosley
  • Email:
  • Phone: 706-542-7783
  • Address: B118C Davison Life Sciences Building

Undergraduate Major Information

  • Major: Plant Biology B.S.
  • Department/College: Plant Biology

Advising Contact

  • Name: Dorset Trapnell
  • Email:
  • Phone: 706-542-6506
  • Address: 3508 Miller Plant Sciences

Graduate Major Information

  • Major: Bioinformatics M.S.
  • Department/College: Institute of Bioinformatics

Advising Contact

  • Name: Jan Mrazek
  • Email:
  • Phone: 706-542-1065
  • Address: 523 Biological Sciences Building