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 epidemiology, biotechnology, precision medicine and human health, genetics and genomics, environmental systems, data science, and scientific research.

What will I learn in the minor?

  • Computational biology core 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 a cross-college minor that welcomes students from a diversity of majors. Students come together from disciplines in biology, math, computer science, and engineering in interdisciplinary learning settings. Students must have a minimum CU cumulative GPA of 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 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.
  • The two main pathways through the minor requirements are: a biology background, which fulfills BioElective coursework, or computing or math background, which fulfills most Skills coursework.
  • The CBIO Minor is intentionally designed to provide overlap with your respective computational and biological expertise while challenging you to integrate core concepts and skills.
  • A GPA of at least 2.000 (prior to December 2021 this threshold was 2.250) is required for the courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for this minor.
  • Relevant coursework can be petitioned.


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


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

Mathematical Biology. Choose one course from the table below:

Course # Title Semester
CSCI 2897 Calculating Biological Quantities (recommended) FA
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 for non-Computer Science majors) SP
CSCI 3022 Intro to Data Science with Probability & Stats (recommended for Computer Science majors) 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
STAT 4000 Statistical Methods and Application I FA, SP

Computing. Choose a two-course track from the table below:

Course # Title                                                   Semester
APPM 1650         
APPM 3650
Python for Math and Data Science Applications
Algorithms and Data Structures in Python 
CSCI 1300
CSCI 2270
CS 1: Starting Computing
CS 2: Data Structures
ASEN 1320
CSCI 2270
CS 1: Aerospace Computing and Engineering Applications
CS 2: Data Structures
CSCI 1200
INFO 2201
Introduction to Computational Thinking
Programming for Information Science 2
INFO 1201* 
INFO 2201
Computational Reasoning* ONLY IF TAKEN PRIOR TO FALL 2022
Programming for Information Science 2
INFO 1701
INFO 2201
Programming for Information Science 1 - REQUIRED for 2-course INFO sequence FALL 2022 forward 
Programming for Information Science 2


Emphasize knowledge and theory in one biological area.


Choose one course from any biological area from the tables below. Courses have required or recommended 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

Biomedical Engineering

Course # Title                                                                      Approx. # of
Pre-req Lec, Labs
BMEN 4117 Anatomy and Physiology for Biomedical Engineering 3, 0

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Course # Title                                                                          Approx. # of
Pre-req Lec, Labs
EBIO 2040 Principles of Ecology (accepted if minor declared prior to Fall 2021) 2, 2
EBIO 2070 Genetics: Molecules to Populations (accepted if minor declared prior to Fall 2021) 2, 2
EBIO 3040 Conservation Biology 3, 1
EBIO 3080 Evolutionary Biology 2, 0
EBIO 3400 Microbiology 2, 2
EBIO xxxx Petition any upper-division EBIO course focused in biological knowledge and theory* --

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, 0
IPHY 3430 Human Physiology 3, 1

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 FA (FA24 forward)
MCDB 4520 Bioinformatics & Genomics FA


Course # Title Semester
CSCI 4118 Software Engineering for Scientists FA
CSCI 4314 Dynamic Models in Biology SP
APPM 4370 Computational Neuroscience FA
APPM 4390 Modeling in Mathematical Biology SP
BCHM 4631

Genome Sequencing Analyses (lab course)

Formerly Statistical & Computational Analysis of the Human Genome

EBIO 4290 Phylogenetics and Comparative Biology SP
EBIO 4420 Computational Biology currently unavailable
EBIO 4700

Quantitative Genetics

Formerly Critical Thinking in Biology: Quantitative Genetic Methods (EBIO 4800 special topics)

BCHM/MCDB 4312 Quantitative Optical Imaging FA
PHYS 4560 Introduction to Biophysics SP odd years


Ready to enroll?

Interest Form: Interested in enrolling in the CBIO Minor or finding out more? Start here!


Reach out to us at
You can visit the University Catalog CBIO Minor page here.


Reach out to Eva Lacy at or the CBIO Minor Email -
Declared students: Use View All Calendars in Buff Portal Advising and select Other Helpful Meetings to find appointments with Eva

Aaron Clauset, CBIO Minor Faculty Director, BioFrontiers and Dept. of Computer Science
Kristin Powell, CBIO Minor Associate Director, BioFrontiers
Eva Lacy, CBIO Minor Academic Advisor, Dept. of Computer Science
Ed Chuong, BioFrontiers and Dept. of Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology
Robin Dowell, BioFrontiers and Dept. of Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology
Rhonda Hoenigman, CEAS Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
Dan Larremore, BioFrontiers and Dept. of Computer Science
Ryan Layer, BioFrontiers and Dept. of Computer Science
Manuel Lladser, Dept. of Applied Mathematics
Brett Melbourne, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Orit Peleg, BioFrontiers and Dept. of Computer Science
John Rinn, BioFrontiers and Dept. of Biochemistry


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