Computational Biology is an interdisciplinary field that develops and applies computational methods to understand and predict biological systems, and to address societal challenges. The Computational Biology (CBIO) Minor at CU teaches undergraduates to combine computational thinking and algorithms to study biological problems and systems. The program prepares students to understand complex biological phenomena and topics including biotechnology, epidemiology, precision medicine, data science, environmental systems, and scientific research.

What will I learn in the minor?

  • Computational biology concepts and experimental techniques
  • Representing and understanding biological data and patterns
  • Biologically relevant skills in applied math, data science & statistics, and computing
  • Modeling and predicting biological processes and dynamics
  • Biological phenomena under uncertainty with probabilistic and statistical analyses.

Can I join?

The CBIO Minor is open to undergraduate students rostered in both the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S) and the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS). The program is built to bring together students from biology, math, computer science, and engineering in interdisciplinary learning settings. Students must have a minimum CU cumulative GPA of at least 2.500 to enroll. A prerequisite course of Calculus I or equivalent, with a grade of C- or better, is required to enroll. If you are interested in enrolling, fill out the CBIO Minor Statement of Interest Application Form.

Complete one of the following before enrolling in the CBIO Minor:
Course # Title
MATH 1300 Calculus I
MATH 1310 Calculus for Life Sciences
APPM 1345 Calculus I w/ Algebra, Part B
APPM 1350 Calculus I for Engineers
  Calculus I AP credit


Course Requirements

  • Requirements are met by completing courses in three areas: Skills, BioElectives, and Data & Structure + Bioprocesses.
  • There are two main pathways through the requirements: a computing and math background (fulfills most Skills coursework) and a biology background (fulfills BioElective coursework).
  • The CBIO Minor provides you overlap with your respective computational and/or biological expertise, and challenges you to integrate new skills.
  • Relevant coursework can be petitioned, and starting Spring 2021, some course prerequisites will shift to further align with CBIO Minor curriculum.
  • A GPA of 2.250 or better is required in the courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for this minor.


Prepare you in mathematical biology, data science & statistics, and computing principles.


  • Mathematical Biology (one course)
  • Data Science & Statistics (one course)
  • Computing (one, 2-course track)

Mathematical Biology. Choose one course from the table below:

Course # Title Semester
CSCI 2897 Calculating Biological Quantities (recommended) SP '21, potentially FA '21
APPM 2360 Intro to Diff. Eq. with Linear Algebra FA, SP, SU
MATH 3430 Ordinary Differential Equations FA, SP, SU

Data Science & Statistics. Choose one course from the table below:

Course # Title                                                         Semester
MCDB 3450 Biological Data Science (recommended) SP
CSCI 3022 Intro to Data Science with Probability & Stats       FA, SP, SU
CHEN 3010 Applied Data Analysis FA
EBIO 4410 Biological Statistics FA
IPHY 2800/3280 Intro to Data Science & Biostatistics FA, SP, SU
MATH 3510 Intro to Probability & Statistics FA, SP, SU
PSYC 2111 Psychological Science I: Statistics FA, SP, SU
STAT 2600 Intro to Data Science FA, SP

Computing. Choose one, 2-course track from the table below:

Course # Title                                                   Semester
CSCI 1300           
CSCI 2270
CS 1: Starting Computing
CS 2: Data Structures
CSCI 2270
CS 1: Starting Computing-Aero/Engineering Application
CS 2: Data Structures
CSCI 1200
INFO 2201
Introduction to Computational Thinking
Comp Reasoning 2: Representations of Data
INFO 1201
INFO 2201
Comp Reasoning 1: Expression & Media Transformation
Comp Reasoning 2: Representations of Data


Emphasize knowledge and theory in one biological area.


Choose one course from any biological area from the tables below. Courses have prerequisite lectures or labs prior to enrollment, and we list the approximate number of them for you. Consult the online University Course Catalog or contact for more information:


Course # Title                                                                      Approx. # of
Pre-req Lec, Labs
BCHM 4611 Principles of Biochemistry 2, 1
BCHM 4720 Metabolic Pathways & Human Disease 3, 1
BCHM 4740 Biochemistry of Gene Transmission, Expression,
& Regulation
3, 1

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Course # Title                                                                          Approx. # of
Pre-req Lec, Labs
EBIO 2040 Principles of Ecology 2, 1
EBIO 2070 Genetics: Molecules to Populations 2, 2
EBIO 3040 Conservation Biology 3, 1
EBIO 3080 Evolutionary Biology 2, 0
EBIO 3190 Tropical Marine Ecology 2, 0
EBIO 4440 Animal Developmental Diversity 2, 0

Environmental Studies

Course # Title                                                                       Approx. # of
Pre-req Lec, Labs
ENVS 3040 Conservation Biology 3, 2
ENVS 4185 Geomicrobiology 1, 1

Integrative Physiology

Course # Title                                                                        Approx. # of
Pre-req Lec, Labs
IPHY 3410 Human Anatomy 2, 2

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Course # Title                                                                      Approx. # of
Pre-req Lec, Labs
MCDB 3135 Molecular Biology 3, 0
MCDB 3145 Cell Biology 3, 0
MCDB 3150 Biology of the Cancer Cell 2, 0
MCDB 3160 Infectious Disease 2, 0
MCDB 3501 Structural Methods for Biological Macromolecules 2, 0
MCDB 3650 The Brain - From Molecules to Behavior 2, 0

If your biological area of interest is not yet represented above, please contact to petition BioElectives for your major.

Data & Structure + Bioprocesses

Explore biological data and design models of biological processes and problems.


Choose three courses, with at least one course from each table below:

Data & Structure

Course # Title                                                               Semester
CSCI 3352 Biological Networks SP
MCDB 4520 Bioinformatics & Genomics SP '21 (FA thereafter)


Course # Title Semester
CSCI 4314 Dynamic Models in Biology SP
CSCI 2830 Software Engineering for Scientists FA
BCHM 4631 Statistical & Computational Analysis of the Human Genome SP
MCDB 4312 Quantitative Optical Imaging FA
EBIO 4420 Computational Biology SP
EBIO 4290 Phylogenetics and Comparative Biology SP
APPM 4370 Computational Neuroscience SP
APPM 4390 Modeling in Mathematical Biology SP
PHYS 4560 Introduction to Biophysics SP odd years


Ready to enroll?

Interested in enrolling in the CBIO Minor? Start here!


Reach out to us at

The CBIO Minor is brought to you by a partnership between the BioFrontiers Institute and the CU Department of Computer Science.