There are currently 20 graduate students in computer science who will transfer into the new graduate program in bioinformatics, according to the university. "We had 170 applicants for the bioinformatics graduate program last year, before it was formally approved," Kevin Karplus, professor of computer science, said in a statement. "It is a very competitive program."
Karplus said the graduate program is looking for students "with at least some background in both computer programming and biology." Programming experience is "especially valuable, because it is not an easily acquired skill," he said. He added that UCSC's acceptance rate for domestic students was 15 percent, and 3 percent for foreign students.
Our focus is on producing the tools that are needed to answer interesting questions in biology," Karplus said in the statement.
The MS and PhD programs will be located in UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering, which is currently in the process of establishing a new Department of Biomolecular Engineering to administer the bioinformatics program, UCSC said on its website.
UCSC's program is believed to be one of seven US-based universities to offer BSs, MSs, and PhDs in bioinformatics.