Bioinformatics: Information Sciences, MS

for the degree of Master of Science in Bioinformatics, Information Sciences Concentration

dean: Eunice Santos

overview of MS in Bioinformatics requirements:

overview of grad college admissions & requirements:

school website: School of Information Sciences

school faculty:

graduate office: 501 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6211

program contact: Moises Orozco Villicana

phone: (217) 333-7197, (800) 982-0914 (within the US)


A typical student will take 6 required courses (24 hours) 1 Biology, 1 Computer Science, 1 Fundamental Bioinformatics, and 3 Information Sciences. The student must then choose 3 courses (12 hours) of electives to complete the degree. It is strongly encouraged that up to 2 courses of these electives (8 hours) are thesis. Our expectation is that each student will arrange a custom program of study, suitable for the information management of their particular biological informatics application. Currently, this program requires students to be in residence in Champaign-Urbana.

Graduate Degree Programs in the School of Information Science

Bioinformatics: Information Sciences, MS (on campus & online)

Information Management, MS (on campus & online)

Library & Information Science, MS (on campus & online)

Library & Information Science, CAS (on campus & online)

Information Sciences, PhD


Writing Studies

Joint Degree Programs:

Library & Information Science, MS and African Studies, MA

Library & Information Science, MS and History, MA

Library & Information Science, MS and Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies, MA

School Librarian Licensure: available in conjunction with both the MS in LIS and CAS in LIS

The School of Information Sciences (iSchool) offers programs of study leading to the Master of Science (M.S.), the Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S), and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Three Master of Science (M.S.) degrees are available. The M.S. in Library and Information Science (L.I.S.) prepares students for professional careers in all types of information organizations, including libraries. The M.S. in Information Management (I.M.) will prepare the students for information-intensive professional roles in a broad range of sectors. The Information Sciences concentration of the campus-wide M.S. in bioinformatics program emphasizes multidisciplinary skills that are required for a career developing and managing information systems for the biological sciences community. The C.A.S. program provides the opportunity

  1. to study an aspect of information sciences in greater depth than is possible in the M.S. program,
  2. to refresh and upgrade one's professional training several years after completing a M.S. program, or
  3. to redirect one's career into a different area of library and information science.

School Librarian Licensure is available in conjunction with both the M.S. in L.I.S. and C.A.S. The Ph.D. is a research degree program.


The general admission requirements of the Graduate College apply. Consideration is also given to language study and computer skills, relevant work experience, letters of reference, and evidence of leadership. International students must score at least 620 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (260 on the computer-based test; 104 on the iBT version); or 7 on each section of the IELTS. The M.S. in bioinformatics requires a strong background in information science including undergraduate-level computing and mathematics. The C.A.S. requires a master's degree in library and information science and a grade point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) in the master's program. 

School Librarian Licensure

Candidates interested in the School Librarian Licensure program must first be admitted and enrolled as a degree-seeking student within the School of Information Sciences before their application to the School Librarian Licensure program is reviewed.  Accepted students must successfully pass two Illinois State Board of Education testing requirements prior to registration for the final fieldwork experience.

Graduate Teaching Experience

Although teaching is not a general Graduate College requirement, experience in teaching is considered an important part of the graduate experience in the Ph.D. program for those interested in faculty careers.

Facilities and Resources

Among the major areas of faculty research are:

  • community informatics
  • data analytics
  • data curation
  • digital humanities
  • digital libraries
  • history of information
  • information retrieval
  • organization of knowledge and information
  • privacy, security, and trust
  • ethics and values for information
  • youth literature, culture, and services

The iSchool's Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS) conducts research on information problems that impact scientific and scholarly inquiry. The Center for Children's Books (CCB) provides a review and research collection of the newest literature for children and young adults. The Communications Office produces two high-quality publications, Library Trends and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. The staff of each of these units is available to students and faculty for consultation and guidance. A computer network with Internet connectivity is integral to teaching and learning activities. The University Library provides a vast reservoir of resources for all types of study and research in library and information science.

The School maintains an ongoing commitment to continuing education through conferences, institutes, workshops, and course offerings.

Financial Aid

Financial aid may be available from the iSchool, the University Library, and elsewhere in the University in the form of graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and hourly paid work. Area libraries may provide pre-professional or hourly positions. Also, the iSchool offers a limited number of fellowships for which doctoral students tend to be favored over C.A.S. and master's degree students. Students in the joint program that do not hold a FLAS fellowship are eligible for, but not guaranteed, fellowship or assistantship support in the semesters in which they are enrolled in the iSchool. Any assistantship awarded to these students provides a waiver of the base in-state tuition and service fee as well as a stipend. Non-Illinois residents must pay the difference between in- and out-of-state tuition.

for the degree of Master of Science in Bioinformatics, Information Sciences Concentration

For additional details and requirements, refer to the unit's Graduate Programs of Study and the Graduate College Handbook.

Thesis or Non Thesis Option

Computer Science and Informatics (choose one)4
Database Systems
Introduction to Bioinformatics
Perl & UNIX for Bioinformatics
Database Design and Prototyping
Data, Statistical Models and Information
Statistical Computing
Statistical Data Management
Advanced Data Analysis
Big Data Analytics
Computational Statistics
Fundamental Bioinformatics (choose one)4
Applied Bioinformatics
Statistical Genomics
Bioinformatics & Systems Biol
Introduction to Bioinformatics
Principles of Systematics
Computing in Molecular Biology
Biology (choose one)4
Human Genetics
Applied Animal Genetics
Population Genetics
Introduction to Biophysics
Biomolecular Physics
Advanced Plant Genetics
Genomics for Plant Improvement
Quantitative Genetics and Genomics
Plant Gene Regulation
Cancer Cell Biology
Introductory Biochemistry
Advanced Biochemistry
Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology
Choose One (1) course from each of the following areas:
Data Stewardship
Database Design and Prototyping
Information Modeling
Theory & Practice of Data Cleaning
Digital Preservation
Foundations of Data Curation
Metadata in Theory & Practice
Data Analytics
Introduction to Data Science
Data Visualization
Data, Statistical Models and Information
Network Analysis
Applied Machine Learning: Team Projects
Text Mining
Data Mining
System Policy & Design
Entrepreneurial Information Technology Design
Data Visualization
Sociotechnical Information Systems
Advanced Topics in Ethics and Privacy (Privacy in the Internet Age)
Usability Engineering
Advanced Topics in Management and Policy (Information Policy)
Social Computing
Information Assurance
Methods of Data Science
Advanced Topics in Use and Users of Information (Info Services for Diverse Users)
Grad Bioinformatics Seminar
For Thesis Option up to 8 hours:
Thesis Research
Total Hours36

Other Requirements

Other requirements may overlap
A concentration is required.
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall:12
Minimum GPA:3.0