Academic Programs

Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering at UC Santa Cruz supports interdisciplinary endeavors in engineering and science, offering unique opportunities for research and learning in bioinformatics and related fields. The blend of academic programs at UCSC allows students to pursue challenging avenues of study in biomedical research, bioinformatics, environmental toxicology, and related areas at the forefront of discovery. Community studies and philosophy programs address the ethical, social, and legal implications of today’s scientific research. Our students go on to exciting careers in research, industry, and teaching. Many of our undergraduates and most of our graduate students participate in research projects in faculty laboratories.

UCSC degree programs

Undergraduate degrees

Chemistry B.A. & B.S.
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology B.S.
Bioengineering B.S.
Bioinformatics B.S.
Biology B.A.
Biology B.S.
Community Studies B.A.
Computer Engineering B.S.
Computer Science B.S.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology B.S.
Health Sciences B.S.
Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology B.S.
Neuroscience & Behavior B.A.
Neuroscience & Behavior B.S.
Philosophy B.A.

Graduate degrees

Biomolecular Engineering & Bioinformatics M.S. & Ph.D.
Chemistry M.S. & Ph.D.
Computer Engineering M.S. & Ph.D.
Computer Science M.S. & Ph.D.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology M.S. & Ph.D.
Environmental Toxicology M.S. & Ph.D.
Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology M.S. & Ph.D.
Philosophy M.A. & Ph.D.
Social Documentation M.A.
Statistics & Stochastic Modeling M.S & Ph.D

Blending genomic science with policy, ethics, and justice

The graduate-level Science & Justice Training Program, starting in spring 2010, trains science and engineering students alongside social science and humanities students to identify and respond to moments where research requires attentiveness to questions of policy, ethics, and justice.

Grad programs in biomolecular engineering and bioinformatics

Effective fall 2009, the Department of Biomolecular Engineering in the Jack Baskin School of Engineering changed the name of its MS and PhD degree programs from Bioinformatics to Biomolecular Engineering and Bioinformatics.

This change reflects the increasing breadth and depth of the department, said chair Phillip Berman, Baskin Professor of Biomolecular Engineering. In both research and graduate training, the department now combines the rigorous computational analysis of bioinformatics with sophisticated laboratory research in biomolecular engineering.

"As the department has grown, we have greatly expanded the opportunities for graduate research," Berman said. "We now have a wide range of exciting research programs, from cancer genomics and DNA sequencing technology to stem cell biology and HIV vaccines."

Faculty in the department have received several major grants within the past year. These include grants from the National Institutes of Health for AIDS vaccine research, for nanopore technology for DNA analysis, and for a Cancer Genome Data Analysis Center. New funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has allowed expansion of a training program in stem cell research for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

CBSE teaching excellence

Eight CBSE faculty affiliates have received Excellence in Teaching Awards from the UCSC Center for Teaching & Learning:

Manny Ares
Rebecca Braslau
David Draper (read his statement on teaching)
Gabriel Elkaim
Kevin Karplus
Marc Mangel
Glenn Millhauser
Robert Kuhn (CBSE staff member)
Bakthan Singaram (Ron Ruby Teaching Excellence Award in Physical & Biological Sciences)
Susan Strome
Martha Zúñiga (Ron Ruby Teaching Excellence Award in Physical & Biological Sciences)

Stem cell training program

The UCSC Training Program in Systems Biology of Stem Cells funds the training of predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows who engage in research projects with faculty mentors from UCSC and also participate in a variety of learning opportunities.

The program draws on UCSC's strengths in basic biological research, such as RNA biology, chromatin biology, early development, and computational genomics. Program scholars will gain a solid understanding of the biology of stem cells, the skills to use stem cells in their own research, and the ability to devise and integrate results from computational analyses. The program will underscore the value of stem cell research in developing therapies and cures for human disease.

The program began in spring 2006, made possible by funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). 

Program director David Haussler said, "This program reflects our commitment to interdisciplinary research and education at the interface of science and engineering, and it takes advantage of the fact that many of our faculty regularly work across the divisional boundaries."

UCSC recognized for awarding engineering degrees to women

A survey of master's degrees awarded by U.S. engineering schools shows that the University of California, Santa Cruz, ranks third in the percentage of degrees awarded to women. Of the master's degrees awarded by UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering in 2004-05, 44.2 percent went to women.

NIH training grants support graduate studies

The departments of biomolecular engineering and of molecular, cell, and developmental (MCD) biology at UCSC both benefit from NIH training grants designed to support graduate students involved in specified areas of biomedical research. In addition to directly supporting graduate students, the grants also provide flexible funding departments can use to support graduate training programs.

The five-year grants amount to $850,000 for MCD biology and $800,000 for biomolecular engineering.

Under these grants, student training includes a rotation program in which they spend time working in different laboratories with faculty in both biomolecular engineering and MCD biology.

"By coordinating with the MCD biology program, we're trying to eliminate the boundaries between the disciplines. It's especially important for students in bioinformatics to have relationships with people in related programs," said Richard Hughey, professor and acting co-chair of biomolecular engineering and principal investigator on the bioinformatics training grant.


  Center for Biomolecular Science & Engineering
1156 High St, Mail Stop CBSE,
University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064
831-459-1477 ext. 9-1477 | 

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