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University of Michigan Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :30 Sep 
International :30 Sep 

PhD Bioinformatics

Catalog id : 01637
 Course Level
Full Time

5 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

22674 USD
7537 USD

Application fee

International 80 USD
National 75 USD
Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)6.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)88
TOEFL-PBT (min)480
GRE (avg)20
GMAT (avg)570

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About this course

Bioinformatics Graduate Program is the academic component of the Center for Computational Medicine and Biology (CCMB), an interdisciplinary center whose mission is to catalyze research and teaching on biomedical problems where quantitative and computational methods can be of decisive value.

Students in our program come from many backgrounds: biological sciences, computer science and basic quantitative sciences such as statistics, mathematics, chemistry and physics. A significant number join the program after some post-college job experience.

Bioinformatics now includes approximately 40 Ph.D. students. They are mentored by the CCMB faculty, which is more than 105 strong and represents more than 20 departments and programs and six colleges within the University. Faculty are split among those of more biological or more quantitative expertise.

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

The University of Michigan requires a high level of proficiency in English, so that all students are able to participate fully in University life, both in and out of class. Applicants that do not speak English as their native language are required to provide proof of English proficiency.

Testing requirements
Who must take an English Proficiency test?
All transfer applicants that do not speak English as their native language must provide proof of English proficiency. The English proficiency requirement is not based on citizenship. Non-native speakers of English must submit current, official test scores from TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS to complete a transfer application.

Exceptions to the English proficiency tests include only lifetime residents of Australia, Canada (other than Quebec), New Zealand, United Kingdom or the United States (other than Puerto Rico). Students who have recently and successfully completed at least 4 years of rigorous academic studies in one of the countries listedmight also be exempted if SAT critical reading scores are in the mid-600 range.

Applicants that meet the above criteria and wish to request an exemption from the English proficiency requirement must present SAT scores and send a written request containing full name, U-M ID and requested term of enrollment to:

University of Michigan
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
515 East Jefferson Street
1220 Student Activities Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316

Accepted English Proficiency tests
The University accepts the results of the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Testing System (IELTS). The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) is not accepted.

Generally accepted minimum scores
English proficiency scores are one component in the overall review of an application. Generally accepted minimum scores for each of the accepted tests are:

  • MELAB: 80-85 range with section scores of at least 80
  • TOEFL (PBT): 570-600 range with section scores of at least 57
  • TOEFL (iBT): 88-100 range with section scores of at least 23 in listening and reading, and at least 21 in speaking and writing
  • IELTS: 6.5-7.0 range with section scores of at least 6.5

Sending test scores
Test scores are valid for two years from the date an application is received. Expired scores will not be accepted. Copies of test scores or scores submitted by applicants are not accepted. Only test scores received directly from the testing agency will be accepted. TOEFL scores are not accepted unless received directly from ETS. The U-M Ann Arbor TOEFL code is 1839.

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

The core coursework for the Ph.D. program is listed below. In addition to taking courses, Ph.D. students must perform at least two full research rotations in their first year. Students are expected to identify their dissertation lab preferably by the end of their first year, but during their second year at the latest. In the second year, Ph.D. students complete preliminary examinations to achieve candidacy. Successful completion of the preliminary exam is one condition for a student to become a candidate. Once students are Ph.D. candidates, they are expected to devote most of their time to research and writing their dissertation. Students are expected to complete and defend their dissertation within 5 years of their studies in the Bioinformatics Graduate Program.

As a part of the Bioinformatics Ph.D. Program curriculum, students must reach a level of expertise in four core areas by either adequate background experience or by taking appropriate courses.

The four core areas are defined as:

  • Introductory Bioinformatics
  • Computing & Informatics
  • Probability & Statistics
  • Molecular Biology

In addition, students need to take:

  • At least two major (3-4 credit) courses in advanced bioinformatics and/or computational biology, defined as applying the skills or computing and statistical analysis to a biological or medical problem. 
  • Ph.D. students are also required to take at least one semester of Bioinformatics 602 (Journal Club) and must also take the Research Responsibility and Ethics course (PIBS 503).
  • A list of sample courses that can be taken to fulfill these requirements can be found on the courses page.  However, the program encourages students to find other courses that may meet the core area criteria.  All requests should go directly to the Graduate Program Directors via the student services representative.

Students need to take a minimum of 8 major (3-4 credit) courses. The remaining credits for Ph.D. students are filled by rotation and dissertation research credits (Bioinformatics 990 and 995 respectively) and electives. 

Preliminary Examination: The aims of the preliminary examination in Bioinformatics are two-fold. The first aim is to demonstrate that students have developed the ability to analyze a scientific problem and develop appropriate strategies to carry out a research plan.  The second aim is to demonstrate that students have enough Bioinformatics knowledge needed to carry out their thesis research. The preliminary examination in Bioinformatics consists of a written and oral component. For the written portion of the examination, each student will independently prepare a research proposal in a format modeled on standard NIH proposals, in a subject which may be somewhat relevant to, but is not their thesis project.  In the oral portion of the exam, the student will defend his or her research proposal. The examining committee has the further option of questioning the student on general subject matter that the committee feels is relevant to the candidate's proposed area of research.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

Prepare Your Application

Minimum Requirements

Applicants complete a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association; or Complete an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university recognized and approved by the Ministry of Education or Commission responsible for higher education in the country where the degree is earned.

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. Applicants are required to provide an official score report. Photocopies and/or faxes of English proficiency scores will not be accepted.

Persons holding master’s or doctoral degrees are usually not eligible to apply for study in the field of specialization and level for which they already have a degree.

Statements and Curriculum Vitae or Resume

The academic statement of purpose, the personal statement, and a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume work together to give a fuller picture of your interests, motivations, and experiences. These 3 documents must be uploaded to the ApplyWeb application.

  • Formatting
  • Include at the top of each document:
  • The type of document (Academic Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, or Curriculum Vitae orResume)
  • Your name
  • The name of the graduate program
  • Your 8 digit U-M ID (if known)
  • Make sure margins are at least one-inch so nothing is cropped when you upload the documents to the application.

Letters of recommendation :

When you register your recommenders in the ApplyWeb application, each recommender will receive an e-mail notification to complete the recommendation form through ApplyWeb.
Letters of recommendation must be received no later than the graduate program application deadline.

Tips :

You will need each recommender’s name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, institution or employer, and title.
Under the provisions of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, if you check "yes" to waive your right to see this document, you will not be granted access to this information as an enrolled student. It is recommended you check the waiver box “yes” for each recommender. Many recommenders will not submit a letter if you select “no.” You will not be able to change the waiver status once your recommender has signed into their recommendation account.

Resources for Prospective Graduate Students with Disabilities

Rackham Graduate School is dedicated to helping all graduate students at the University of Michigan with the resources they need to be academically and personally successful. As part of this mission, we seek to provide information and resources to students based on their different gifts, abilities and backgrounds.

Prospective students are encouraged to visit campus, sit in on classes, meet with other students in the program, and to contact Rackham or the prospective department regarding any disability-related questions or concerns. In the preparation of your graduate school application, please keep in mind that disclosure of a disability is completely voluntary and will be kept confidential. This information is only used for accommodation purposes.

If you have a psychological disability that could interfere with your academic success, it is important that you have your condition evaluated by a mental health professional. This evaluation is required for obtaining accommodations specific to students with disabilities. If possible, it is advisable that this evaluation be sought prior to enrollment, which will enable an earlier receipt of support and services as you transition into the academic and campus community.

Check further details on University website

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