Biomedical Informatics Career Education Programs in San Diego, CA

Research biomedical informatics programs in San Diego, which currently has only two schools offering programs, both within 15 miles of downtown. Read an overview of the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for these schools and decide which program is right for you.

San Diego Biomedical Informatics Programs

In the San Diego area, two schools offer degree programs in biomedical informatics. This article looks at those schools, both of which are less than a 20-minute drive from the city center. Information such as the school type, enrollment numbers, tuition and graduation rates are examined in a comprehensive table of information below.

  • The University of California - San Diego (UCSD), about 14 miles from downtown San Diego, has a Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Department that offers four undergraduate degrees in this field as well as a doctoral program.
  • San Diego State University (SDSU) has a much smaller program which offers a master's degree in bioinformatics through its Center of Bioinformatics. SDSU is around 10 miles from the heart of San Diego.

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Comparison of Schools

While these schools are similar in size, there are big differences in tuition that might be important to some students. This table points out several facts about both schools, including financial aid options and graduation rates.

University of California - San Diego San Diego State University
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017) 35,772* 35,158*
Campus Setting Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $14,018 in-state; $42,032 out-of-state* Graduate: $8,894 in-state; $18,398 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2017) 59%* NA*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 34%* NA*
Retention Rate (2017) 94% for full-time students* NA*
Graduation Rate (for students who began in 2011) 85%* NA*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

University of California - San Diego

The San Diego campus of the University of California is the only school in the area offering both undergraduate and graduate programs in biomedical informatics. The school's department features a Ph.D. program in bioinformatics. Undergraduates will find that several science departments offer bioinformatics concentrations within their bachelor's degree programs.

Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering with a Bioinformatics Specialization

The bioinformatics-focused bioengineering degree program provides extensive training in the engineering and analysis of biomedical information systems. Students receive in-depth applied and theoretical education in relevant biological, technological and engineering functions. The curriculum begins with courses in principles of chemistry, computer programming, geometry and engineering science. Once students develop basic comprehension of these concepts, they move on to more detailed coursework in such areas as biological evolution, linear equation differentials, electromagnetic physics, recombinant DNA and algorithmic data design. Students are also educated in professional issues and problems facing bioinformatics professionals.

Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Specialization in Bioinformatics

This degree program emphasizes the biological side of biomedical informatics, or the interaction between biology and computer information systems. The curriculum requires several classes emphasizing necessary fundamental concepts, such as biology, chemistry, physics and math. Students must also take numerous courses in specific bioinformatics-related topics, including algorithmic design and analysis, molecular sequences, applied genome technologies and biochemical techniques. There is also a bioinformatics lab section in which students participate.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a Bioinformatics Specialization

This degree program prepares students to operate and maintain computer systems that advance biomedical informatics knowledge, data and research. Its curriculum educates students in relevant science, math and engineering concepts. Sample lecture and laboratory topics in these areas include calculus for engineering, matrix algebra, thermodynamics and inorganic chemistry. Students also receive detailed instruction in the navigation, development and programming of all bioinformatics computer systems, such as Java and UNIX. Required computer science course topics include abstract data structures, worst and expected-case data analysis, network algorithm sorting and comparative genomics.

Doctor of Philosophy in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

This 5-year, multidisciplinary Ph.D. program's curriculum offers an in-depth education in seven fields relevant to bioinformatics: bioengineering, biomedicine, biological science, biochemistry and chemistry, physics, math and computer science. Students are fully trained in every professional and academic aspect of these disciplines, including medical research, theory and biological and statistical laboratory analysis. The course curriculum requires several electives in areas like data mining and structures, biochemistry, algorithms, molecular biology, engineering and cell biology. Students must also attend multiple research seminars and complete a thesis prior to graduating. In addition to the doctoral degree program detailed above, graduate students interested in bioinformatics may also apply to Ph.D. programs in any of the aforementioned seven related fields. All of those degree programs offer bioinformatics as an area of specialization.

San Diego State University

SDSU offers only one program specifically geared toward bioinformatics through its Center for Bioinformatics and it's only at the graduate level. The center is designed primarily for research in the biomedical informatics field, as well as the field of systems biology. Students can also pursue their master's degree through a professional track.

Master of Science in Bioinformatics

The master's program at SDSU focuses on the three branches of biomedical informatics studies: algorithm development, software engineering and biological and medical pursuits. During their second year, students can choose specific specializations of study, like artificial intelligence in the algorithm development branch or object-oriented programming (OOP) in the software engineering branch. In addition to completing basic courses in areas like biology or computer science during their first year, students in this program take courses on topics such as bioinformatic methods, molecular evolution, biochemistry, theories on database implementation, probability and programming languages. Finally, students in the 'classical' Master of Science program must complete a master's thesis before they complete the program.

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