Computational Life Sciences, MS


At a Glance: program details



Join in the transformation that new types and amounts of data are bringing to the life sciences. You can learn computational methods that complement traditional bench-based approaches, allowing you to arrive at novel insights, and you'll gain the knowledge and skills you'll need when applying computational techniques in life sciences research.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MS Computational Life Sciences

The MS program in computational life sciences introduces students to a burgeoning new field. Huge leaps in processing technologies have thrown open the doors for new research techniques and exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations, focusing heavily on genomics data generation, analysis and interpretation.

Students are introduced to a suite of statistical tools and computational approaches that enable them to uncover correlations, glean new understanding and help solve scientific problems.

Students examine many different types of data generated from a wide range of fields, including ecology, botany, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, molecular and cellular biology, and animal behavior. Students have the opportunity to investigate topics such as DNA, RNA, protein, imaging, conservation and even historical data from long-term ecological research sites.

Finally, students explore the ethical implications of collecting, analyzing and sharing the results of computational life sciences data.


Degree Requirements

30 credit hours including the required applied project course (BIO 593)

Required Core (1 credit hour)
BIO 610 Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) in Life Sciences (1)

Restricted Electives (18-20 credit hours)
Choose two computing in life sciences courses for six to seven credit hours:
BIO 539 Computing for Research (3)
BIO 591 Topic: Quantitative Methods in Conservation and Ecology (4)
BIO 598 Topic: Medical Genetics and Genomics (3)
BIO 598 Topic: Transcriptomics (3)

Choose two statistics and mathematics courses for six to seven credit hours:
BIO 514 Statistical Models for Biology (4)
BIO 579 Data Analysis and Visualization in R (3)
BIO 598 Topic: High-Throughput Genomics Analysis and Visualization (3)
BIO 598 Topic: General Linear Models for Biology (3)

Choose two biology courses for six credit hours:
BIO 543 Molecular Genetics and Genomics (3)
BIO 544 Discovering Biodiversity (3)
EVO 601 Principles of Evolution (3)
MCB 540 Functional Genomics (3)

Electives or Research (6-8 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (3 credit hours)
BIO 593 Applied Project (3)
BIO 597 Capstone (3)

Additional Curriculum Information
For restricted electives students complete two computing in life sciences courses, two statistics and mathematics courses and two biology courses. Restricted elective and electives or research credit hours are variable.

Students pursuing the applied project or capstone course complete three to six credit hours of electives or research. Students should consult the academic unit for a list of approved electives and research course requirements.

Courses not selected for the restricted electives may be used as elective coursework on the same plan of study. Students should check with their academic advisor to ensure that the total number of credit hours of their plan of study is equal to 30.


Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in biology, statistics or a related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Applicants are required to submit:

  1. graduate admissions application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement
  4. professional resume
  5. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.


Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

BS - Microbiology

Are you fascinated by the incredible way the tiniest organisms can impact our lives? Are you eager to make a difference in science, health and medicine? Dive in and explore the wonders of microbiology, and set yourself up for success in your future career.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Data Science

The shortage of data analysts in the U.S. is growing. In this high-demand field, you'll be able to impact the world in areas such as predicting consumer behavior, detecting fraud, improving manufacturing processes and analyzing medical images. Data science has exciting applications to any industry.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences

Are you captivated by the variety and wonder of life? Are you curious about how organisms grow, interact and affect each other? Build a strong foundation of knowledge, critical thinking skills and key lab techniques that will launch your career in science, health care and research.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology)

Are you fascinated by how genes can affect change in organisms at the cellular level? Are you curious about how genetic information is organized and transmitted across generations? Experience the excitement of scientific discovery and gain the critical thinking skills and key lab techniques that will launch your career.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biochemistry

Explore the mysteries of life at the molecular and atomic level with hands-on lab experiences and problem-solving skills through a range of courses in the physical, quantitative and life sciences.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Conservation Biology and Ecology)

Are you concerned about environmental challenges such as climate change and habitat destruction? Are you curious about how organisms interact with one another and their physical surroundings? Dive in and apply a biological approach combined with human perspective to develop a deep understanding of the complex problems threatening our world.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Biology and Society)

How does science shape the way we understand our world? Explore the social context of science while developing the skills needed to navigate the ethical complexities of scientific discovery. Discover how policy decisions are shaped by biological research, and investigate the significance of the sciences in understanding our complex world.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology

Are you fascinated by the interplay between biology and technology? Are you eager to make a difference through groundbreaking research? Dive in and explore the rapidly expanding field of biotechnology.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Biological Sciences (Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior)

Are you fascinated by animal behavior? Are you interested in making scientific discoveries at the laboratory bench and in the field? Dive in and build the strong foundation you need to launch your career in neuroscience, health care, veterinary medicine or biomedical research.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Microbiology (Medical Microbiology)

Are you passionate about understanding the way the tiniest organisms impact our lives? Are you eager to make a difference in science, health care or biomedical research? Build a strong foundation of coursework, competencies and critical thinking skills that will prepare you to take on the changing world of medicine.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Biochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry)

Learn about the molecular processes of life and how medicines work at this level to benefit human health. The conceptual and hands-on skills you gain through the molecular and life sciences courses are tailored for pre-health and pre-medical students, serving as your gateway to a dynamic career or medical school.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Biomedical Sciences)

Are you passionate about health care and biomedical research? Are you eager to experience groundbreaking research and understand the process of scientific discovery? Build a strong pre-health foundation of knowledge, critical thinking skills and key lab techniques that will give you a valuable edge in your career.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE


Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.



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Career Opportunities

Career opportunities for graduates include working at biotechnology companies, working as a lab research technician in academia, and working for government or nonprofit labs doing computational life sciences analyses. The median annual pay for those who hold a master's degree in a computational research science is approximately three times the median annual wage for all workers.

Attend Online

ASU offers this program in an online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. Applicants may view the program description and request more information here.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.