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Dec. 22: Bioinformatics master's degree approved

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

FREDERICK, Md.—A new master’s degree in bioinformatics will be offered at Hood College in fall 2016.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission this week approved the 33-credit degree, the first of its kind in central Maryland. Hood has offered a 15-credit certificate in bioinformatics since 2014.

The new master’s degree is designed to address the core subject areas and skill sets identified by the International Society for Computational Biology. The degree will help meet the demand for knowledge and expertise at regional employers including the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, the Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center at Fort Detrick and other nearby biomedical and biotechnology companies.

Applicants for the bioinformatics degree program should have a bachelor’s degree in biology or computer science. Students currently in the bioinformatics certificate program, or who will have completed it, can continue on toward the master’s degree.

“This new degree is an extension of Hood’s long and strong history and reputation in the biological sciences, math and computer science,” said President Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D. “It draws on Hood’s strengths in creating innovative, rigorous programs that cut traditional disciplinary boundaries that are well grounded in the historic strength of Hood in the liberal arts.”

“Students in this program will benefit from our strong faculty—full time accomplished researchers and practitioners from our partners in the research labs at the fort and the related biotech companies.”

Bioinformatics is an established, cross-disciplinary degree between biology, mathematics and computer science. The educational objective of the degree is to ensure that students develop expertise in both the biological and computational concepts needed in today’s research and corporate biotechnology labs. Students will acquire a full complement of tools preparing them for employment in which they need a strong understanding of the underlying biology when conducting data analysis and interpretation.

This degree is built upon the considerable expertise available through the biology and computer science departments and the graduate programs in biomedical science and computer science. It will complement Hood’s 16 other master’s degrees, 11 post-baccalaureate certificate and certification programs and two doctoral degrees. Two weeks ago the first doctoral degrees in Hood College history and in the Frederick region were approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Maryland Higher Education Commission and will also be offered in fall 2016. The College has been offering graduate degrees since 1971.

“This new degree is an extension of Hood’s long and strong history and reputation in the biological sciences, math and computer science,” said President Chapdelaine. “It draws on Hood’s strengths in creating innovative, rigorous programs that cut traditional disciplinary boundaries that are well grounded in the historic strength of Hood in the liberal arts.”

“Students in this program will benefit from our strong faculty—full time accomplished researchers and practitioners from our partners in the research labs at the fort and the related biotech companies.”