The Professional Science Master’s program in Bioinformatics has the following curriculum requirements:
- Science Core in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (15)
- Ethics Core (3)
- Seminar (1)
- Internship (6)
- Professional Science Master’s Plus Courses (12)
The Professional Science Master’s in Bioinformatics requires 19 credits of graduate-level coursework, six credits of internship, and 12 credits of PSM PLUS coursework, totaling 37 credits. The 19 credits of coursework must include 15 credits in the Bioinformatics & Computational Biology Core courses, three credits in the Ethics Core courses, and one credit Seminar.
An Internship (BINF 864 ) is required for the PSM degree. The internship will be in most cases completed at participating companies/institutions in the BINF-PSM program and be jointly supervised by the Faculty Advisor and a Co-Mentor in the hosting institution. Unless special permission is granted, students need to complete 12 credit hours prior to the start of their internship. The participating mentors will develop with the internship student specific objectives to be met during the internship, and have the internship approved by the Director of the BINF-PSM program prior to the start of the internship.
Students pursuing the PSM degree who have significant prior bench experience will be encouraged to focus their capstone on improving a company’s business/management plan or moving a newly developed product to market. Such projects could include; an analysis of how to bring a product to market, how to improve team interactions between company groups, or how to scale up a research project to commercial scale.
Students pursuing the PSM degree without prior experience working at the bench will be encouraged to focus their capstone on a specific scientific research question. Such projects could include: testing methods to increase production of recombinant proteins, testing the specificity of antibodies being developed, or direct research product development.
The capstone is assessed by the quality of the work performed at the internship and two written reports.
The first is due within one month of the start of the internship and includes a comprehensive description of the work environment including corporate history, corporate organizational structure including a description of the corporate focus, and a detailed description of the organization of the internship environment emphasizing its value to the company as a whole. This document should also include a plan of work outlining the background of the project, the learning objectives for the internship and goals to be accomplished developed in consultation with and approved by both the faculty and internship mentors.
The second, a paper is due at the completion of the internship and should outline the objectives of internship, the value of these objectives to the company, what was accomplished on each objective, and recommendations for future work. This document should also discuss what skills the student learned/refined during the internship, what aspects of the PSM curricula were helpful for success in the internship and what additional knowledge would have been useful.
Internships may be full-time or part-time depending on the schedule/needs of the student and employer. Internships may be paid or unpaid. Students who are currently employed in a related field are encouraged to develop their capstone projects at their place of employment as part of a professional development plan, however the expectation is that the “capstone” will be different than the student’s normal job responsibilities.
The program will make every effort to assist students with identifying internship opportunities and negotiating internship plans. However, students bear significant responsibility in this process as well and failure to either identify an internship and/or formulate an acceptable internship plan by the end of the student’s third semester of full time study (or completion of 30 credits of course work) is considered failure to make satisfactory progress towards degree.