Certificate Program


Where biology meets Big Data

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Certificate Description

Build your computational and scientific foundation

Big data is everywhere and its presence across multiple industries will continue to stimulate job growth in pharma, biotech, and software industries. This certificate program is designed in consultation with industry leaders to meet the need for biologists and computer scientists to analyze and interpret today’s deluge of biological information. Tailor your studies to your particular needs and interests while learning the tools and methods of bioinformatics. Life scientists delve into data tech and computer scientists gain a background in molecular biology.

Bioinformatics certificate program objectives

  • Use public domain bioinformatics tools, including Genbank and the Protein Data Bank (PDB).
  • Employ statistical design of experiment (SDOE) to analyze experimental data and factors affecting outputs.
  • Distinguish key molecular biology techniques—gene cloning, manipulation and sequencing; PCR; RNA interference; and gene expression analysis.
  • Complete a computational biology project using Java.
  • Recognize sequence analysis techniques such as Hidden Markov Models and RNA analysis.
  • Query and read DNA sequences from Fasta files.

Past bioinformatics event recordings

Listen to our recent week-long webinar series and see the accompanying lecture slides. Designed to give you a sense of what it takes to begin a bioinformatics career, you will hear from Silicon Valley bioinformaticians about the different tools and technologies used to make meaning from the vast trove of amassed health data. This specialized data serves as the foundation for cures and vaccines being discovered each day. The demand is enormous for trained professionals in the bioinformatics field. Help save lives!

Required Credits: Total Required: 6–7 courses (18 units). Take 4 required courses (12 units) and 2–3 elective courses (6 units). End with certificate of completion review.
Duration: A full-time student can complete the certificate in 12 months.


Course Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
1. Prerequisites:
Python Programming for Beginners 1.5
2. Four Required Courses
Experimental Methods in Molecular Biology 3.0 Spring TBD
Next-Gen Sequence Analysis Tools—A Hands-On Approach 3.0
Python for Biology 3.0 Fall TBD
Statistical Analysis and Modeling for Bioinformatics and Biomedical Applications 3.0
3. Elective Courses (Total of Six Units Required)
Bioinformatics Tools, Databases and Methods 3.0
Data Analysis, Introduction 3.0
Gene Expression and Pathways 2.0 Spring TBD
Genomics and Next Generation DNA Sequencing: Methods and Applications 3.0
Principles of Drug Discovery and Development 4.0
Relational Database Design and SQL Programming 3.0
Statistics 5.0
4. Fee for Certificate Review
Bioinformatics Certificate Completion Fee None

Certificate Inquiry Form

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Requisite Knowledge

Please review the course descriptions to ensure that you have taken necessary prerequisites or meet the requirements through job experience or previous education.

Molecular biology knowledge

Familiarity with the principles of modern molecular biology is required to begin the Bioinformatics certificate. You can satisfy this requirement with an introductory course in molecular biology (taken within the last five years) or by demonstrating equivalent work experience.

Statistics knowledge

To take Statistical Analysis and Modeling for Bioinformatics and Biomedical Applications, you need an understanding of both probability and statistics. You can satisfy this requirement with an introductory course in statistics or by demonstrating equivalent work experience. UCSC Extension offers Statistics.

Programming knowledge

Basic familiarity with the Python programming language is required to begin the Bioinformatics certificate. You can satisfy this requirement with an introductory course in Python (taken within the last five years) or by demonstrating equivalent work experience. UCSC Extension offers Python Programming for Beginners.

Genomics and next Generation DNA sequencing knowledge

Basic familiarity with genomics and next generation DNA sequencing is required for Next-Gen Sequence Analysis Tools—a Hands-On Approach. You can satisfy this requirement with a similar course or by demonstrating equivalent work experience. UCSC Extension offers Genomics and Next Generation DNA Sequencing: Methods and Applications.

Advisory Board


Certificate Program Chair

JANANI RANGARAJAN, M.S., is a QA statistical data analyst at Gilead Sciences where she supports the Quality Risk Management department with data analysis for plant-wide interdepartmental KPIs. Former positions include working as a bioinformatics analyst at the USC Norris Cancer Center, as a statistical analyst/programmer for Northwestern University and as a researcher at the Scripps Research Institute, where she designed and produced custom DNA, peptide and carbohydrate arrays. Rangarajan has a graduate degree in bioinformatics and extensive experience with bioinformatics tools, databases and methods. She has contributed to the Consortium for Functional Glycomics and helped print the Glycan microarray for the project.

Certificate Program Advisory Committee

Assistant Adjunct Professor​, Project Scientist/Lecturer
Biomolecular Engineering, UC, Santa Cruz

Biosciences Instructor, UCSC Extension

Founding CEO
Statistics Instructor, UCSC Extension

Director, Proxeom​
Senior Advisor, INanoBio
Partner, ZB AngelFunds
Bioinformatics Instructor, UCSC Extension

Statistical Data Analyst, Gilead Sciences
Bioinformatics Instructor, UCSC Extension

Biosciences Instructor / Program Chair
Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, and Clinical Trials Design and Management Programs

Declaring Candidacy

You can enroll in a certificate program any time during your studies.

Once you create your student account, you can enroll in a certificate program. Although you can enroll in a program at any time, the benefit of enrolling early is that it locks in your certificate requirements. This means that even if program requirements change, the requirements to complete your certificate will remain the same for you.

  • You must enroll in the certificate program before enrolling in the Certificate Completion Review.

You have a total of five years to complete all necessary courses in a certificate program.

All the necessary units in a certificate must be completed within a five-year window. The clock begins on the first day of your first course in the certificate program. For example, if you started a course on Sept. 5, 2017, you would have to complete all of the required units in this certificate by Sept. 4, 2022.

  • Enrolling in a certificate program does not trigger the beginning of the five-year window. It begins the first day of the first course that applies to a certificate program.
  • The Certificate Completion Review process does not have to occur within the five-year timeframe.

Grade Requirements

Please note that only letter grades of C- or higher may be applied to a certificate, and in some programs, students may have more stringent requirements. Students in most employer- and government-sponsored payment programs, such as workforce development, as well as international students on F-1 visas, need to maintain a B average to meet their requirements. Personal Financial Planning students have additional grade requirements for individual courses to attain a certificate.

See Grading and Credits Policy for further information.

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