Biomedical Computation Major Program

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2013-14 BMC Program Requirements

  • UG Directors: Russ Altman, Clark S242, and Daphne Koller, Gates 1-A-142,
  • Program Advisor: Amit Kaushal,
  • Student Services Administrator: Darlene Lazar, 135 Huang,

Computational techniques are now being used to ask and answer fundamental questions in biology and medicine in ways never before possible. The Biomedical Computation (BMC) major allows students to focus on this exciting interdisciplinary field – the use of advanced computational techniques in biology and medicine.

BMC is an IDP, or interdisciplinary program, with its home in the School of Engineering. Students who major in BMC will gain a rigorous foundation in the many component fields that go into biomedical computation, including computer science, math and statistics, biology, and chemistry. Each student then has the opportunity to pursue one of four tracks most suited to his or her interests.

Our graduates have gone on to pursue a wide range of paths after graduation. Many of our students have chosen to continue their studies and pursue advanced degrees in various fields, including bioinformatics, bioengineering, or any of the pure biological or computational sciences. We have also had a number of students enroll in medical school or MD/PhD programs. BMC graduates have also ended up in fields a bit farther away from biomedical computation, such as law school, management consulting, and others. BMC gives students a solid foundation in a number of different fields, and students have the ability to pursue a variety of career paths in any of the fields that make up the major.


BMC Core: Math, Science, Engineering Fundamentals, and TIS

All BMC students take courses to get a solid foundation in the component disciplines of biomedical computation. Most of these courses are typically taken during freshman and sophomore year. These courses include:
Math: MATH 41, 42, STATS 116 (or equivalent), and one additional math course specific to your track.
Chemistry: CHEM31A+B or 31X or ENGR 31; CHEM 33
Biology: BIO Core or Human Biology Core (each is a 3-quarter sequence, ideally taken in sophomore year)
Physics: PHYSICS 41
Computer Science: CS 107; CS106B or X; CS103; CS 161
Engineering Fundamentals: CS 106B or X (see above) plus one additional elective (may not be CS 106A; see Chapter 3, Figure 3-4 for list of other SoE approved courses)
Technology in Society (TIS): One course required; see list of SoE approved courses in Chapter 3, Figure 3-3. HUMBIO 174, Foundations of Bioethics (3 units, Wtr, prerequisite of HUMBIO core), is an option to fulfill this requirement only for BMC majors.
Please see the program sheets for the exact course list.

For the upper division courses in the major, a student must choose between one of the four tracks of BMC. The four tracks are
Organs/Organ Systems
Two of the tracks, Informatics and Simulation, put a bit more emphasis on the computational aspects of the discipline, while the other two, Cellular/Molecular and Organs/Organ Systems, provide more depth in biology.

Each of the tracks consists of a core of about three to five courses. These are courses that provide students the core knowledge related to their in-depth area of study. The tracks also have elective requirements, to ensure students gain breadth in upper division courses as well. The entire track portion of BMC is composed of nine to ten courses in total. Lists of electives can be found on the BMC website

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