Program of Study

Program of Study

Course requirements are tailored individually based on the student’s background and interests to ensure that they have a solid and rigorous computational biology foundation.

As an interdisciplinary program, CBM has implemented a focused, but flexible curriculum and requires students to obtain knowledge of fundamental principles in biology, computational science, and mathematics to ensure competency within these disciplines.


Students must complete at least 4 courses in year 1. If you are interested in taking a course that is not listed below, please contact CBM Associate Director, Dr. Ekta Khurana for approval.

CBM Required Coursework

Course Code Course Name Host
TPCM 5001.01 CBM Seminar and Journal Club (Yr 1: fall-spring) Weill Cornell
TPCM 5004.01 CBM Seminar and Journal Club (Yr 2: fall-spring) Weill Cornell
PBSB 5006.04 Critical Dissection of Scientific Data (spring) Weill Cornell
RCRP 9010.01 Tri-Institutional Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Weill Cornell
n/a CBM Annual RCR Case-Study Refresher (2-hour workshop) Weill Cornell

Additional Requirements

Dates Research Seminar Requirements
All Years CBM Student Research in Progress Seminar Series
All Years CBM Annual Symposium

Approved Core-Level Coursework

Course Code Course Name Host
CS 5785 Applied Machine Learning Cornell Tech
ECE 5412 (CU-I) Bayesian Estimation and Stochastic Optimization
(crosslisted at WCM as TPCB 9001 01)
CMPB 5001 01 Dynamic Models in Biology Weill Cornell
CMPB 5002 01 Data Structures & Algorithms for Computational Biology Weill Cornell
CMPB 5005 03 Functional Interpretation of High-Throughput Data Weill Cornell

Approved Electives

Cornell Tech
Course Code Course Name     Host
CS 5112 Algorithms and Data Structures for Applications Cornell Tech
CS 5304 Data Science in the Wild Cornell Tech
CS 5435 Security and Privacy in the Wild Cornell Tech
CS 5670 Introduction to Computer Vision Cornell Tech
CS 5740 Natural Language Processing Cornell Tech
CS 5787 Deep Learning Cornell Tech
CS 5854 Networks and Markets Cornell Tech
CS 6741 Topics in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning Cornell Tech
ECE 5242 Intelligent Autonomous Systems Cornell Tech
Course Code Course Name     Host
BIOMG 4810 Population Genetics
(crosslisted at WCM as PBSB 9201 11
BIOMG 4870 Human Genomics
(crosslisted at WCM as PBSB 9204 01
BTRY 6381 Biomedical Data Mining and Modeling
(crosslisted at WCM as PBSB 9202 01)
BTRY 6840 Computational Genomics and Genetics
(crosslisted at WCM as PBSB 9203 01)
BIOMG 4380 RNA in Biology and Medicine Cornell-Ithaca
BIOMG 4390 Molecular Basis of Disease
(crosslisted at WCM as PBSB 9209 03)
BIOMG 4880 Cancer Genetics
(crosslisted at WCM as PBSB 9210 03)
BIOMG 6310 Protein Structure and Function Cornell-Ithaca
BME 6120 Precision and Genomic Medicine Cornell-Ithaca
BTRY 6010
BTRY 6020
Statistical Methods I
Statistical Methods II
CS 5786 Machine Learning for Data Science Cornell-Ithaca
CS 6210 Matrix Computation Cornell-Ithaca
CS 6785 Deep Probabilistic and Generative Model
(crosslisted at WCM as PBSB 9211 03)
ORIE 6741 Bayesian Machine Learning Cornell-Ithaca
PSYCH 6140 Computational Psychology Cornell-Ithaca
STSCI 4030 Linear Models with Matrices Cornell-Ithaca
Rockefeller University

For more information about RU classes, please download the course catalog (pdf file).

Course Code Course Name     Host
RU Cell Biology Rockefeller
RU Development of CNS Circuits Rockefeller
RU Microbial Pathogenesis Rockefeller
RU Molecular Basis of Cancer Rockefeller
RU Stem Cells in Tissue Morp and Cancer Rockefeller
RU Quantitative Modeling in Biology
(part 2, graduate level)
Weill Cornell Medicine
Course Code Course Name     Host
BCMB 5009 01 Stem Cell Biology Weill Cornell
CMPB 5003 01 Cellular and Molecular Biology Weill Cornell
IAMP 5001 Fundamental Immunology and Microbiology Weill Cornell
IAMP 9002 Seminars in Immunology Weill Cornell
IDPT 5001 04 Sociocultural Barriers in STEM Weill Cornell
NEUR 5003 01 From Neuron to the Brain Weill Cornell
NEUR 5013 03 Mathematical Structures in Neuroscience Weill Cornell
PBSB 5019 04 Clinical and Research Genomics Weill Cornell
PHAR 5009 01 Accelerating Bio Venture Innovation Weill Cornell
PHAR 5011 04 Neuropharmacology II: Neuropeptides, Pain and Drugs of Abuse Weill Cornell
PHAR 5014 03 Drug Development: Molecule to Prescription Weill Cornell
TPCM 5003 01 Genomic Innovation
(via the New York Genome Center)
Weill Cornell


If a student selects a thesis mentor at Weill Cornell or Sloan Kettering, they join the Weill Cornell Graduate School, a partnership with Sloan Kettering Institute; if thesis research is to be conducted at The Rockefeller University, student joins the David Rockefeller Graduate Program in Bioscience.  When a student selects a thesis mentor in Cornell Ithaca, they are affiliated with the Computational Biology Field.  Regardless of where the student is based, all are considered trainees in the CBM program.

Admissions to Candidacy Exam (NYC and Ithaca)

Deadline: June 30 of 2nd year
NYC-based students will write and defend a thesis proposal for their Admission to Candidacy Examination (ACE); Ithaca-based students will complete their A Exam. These exams must be successfully completed and registered according to the guidelines of the graduate school in which the student is matriculated. Originals of all required forms must be filed with the appropriate graduate school, and duplicates must be filed with the CBM office.

Thesis Committee Meetings

Thesis Committee meetings are required at least every 9 months in Years 3 and 4, then at least every 6 months in Year 5 and beyond; thesis committee reports must be filed with CBM and the graduate school in which the student is enrolled.


Prior to choosing a thesis laboratory, students complete research rotations with faculty of their choosing. These rotations provide the student the opportunity to experience a range of thesis research options and thereby enable an informed thesis laboratory decision.

Students must complete at least 3 rotations (in Ithaca and/or NYC) in their first 12 months in the program (beginning in July). Dates may be modified after consultation with CBM Co-Directors.

Find out more in the Timeline.


A student-organized retreat is held off-site every summer to bring together students from the three institutions. The 2-day event features a keynote speaker (selected and invited by students), alumni panel, oral presentations and a poster session. Student and faculty sessions are scheduled to discuss any changes to program structure and other suggestions to improve the overall training experience. In addition, the event provides students with time for recreational activities and other social events.

Previous Symposiums


Location: Virtual Symposium
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Gad A. Getz, Director, Cancer Genome Computational Analysis and Institute Member, Broad Institute


Location: Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg, NJ
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tal Nawy, Senior Program Manager, Dana Pe’er Lab, MSK
CBM Alumni Speakers: Dr. Julie Yang and Dr. Lauren Fairchild


Location: Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tuuli Lappalainen, Columbia University, New York Genome Center
CBM Alumni Speakers: Dr. Kaitlyn Gayvert and Dr. Kelson Zawack


Location: Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sam Globus, Director of Scientific Operations, Celmatix
CBM Alumni Speakers: Dr. Nyasha Chambwe and Dr. Byron Roberts
Job Search Panel (CBM recent graduates): Dr. Neel Madhukar and Dr. Priyanka Vijay