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 from the list of computational and biological courses below. Other courses may be selected, subject to approval from CBM Co-Directors.

New York City

Quantitative Biological
Analysis of Next Generation Sequencing Data (Weill Cornell, Spring) Cellular and Molecular Biology (Weill Cornell, CMPB 5003, Fall)
Applied Machine Learning (Cornell Tech, CS 5785, Fall) From Neuron to the Brain (Weill Cornell, NEUR 5003.01, Fall)
Data Science in the Wild (Cornell Tech, CS 5304, Spring) Fundamental Immunology & Microbiology (Weill Cornell, IAMP 5001, Fall;  IAMP 5002, Spring)
Data Structures and Algorithms for Computational Biology (Weill Cornell, CMPB 5002.01, Fall) Genomic Innovation (Weill Cornell & New York Genome Center, TPCM 5003.01, Fall)
Dynamic Models in Biology (Weill Cornell, CMPB 5001, Fall)
Functional Interpretation of High-Throughput Data (Weill Cornell, Spring)
Quantitative Genomics and Genetics (Weill Cornell, PBSB 5021.03, Fall)
Quantitative Understanding in Biology I & II (Weill Cornell, PBSB 5005.01, Fall; PBSB 6005.03, Spring)
Statistical Signal Processing and Reinforcement Learning (Cornell Tech, ECE 5411, Fall)
Bayesian Estimation and Learning (Cornell Tech, ECE 5412, Spring)


Quantitative Biological      
Applied Stochastic Processes (ORIE 6500) Biosynthesis of Macromolecules (BIOMG, 6330)
Computational Genetics & Genomics
(BTRY 4840/6840)
Biomedical Machine Learning (BME 5310)
Computational Intensive Statistical Methods
(BTRY 6520)
Human Genomics (BIOMG 4870)
Data Mining & Machine Learning (STSCI 4740) The Nucleus (BIOMG, 6390)
Introduction to Database Systems (CS 4320) Population Genetics (BIOMG/BTRY 4810)
Linear Models with Matrices (BTRY 4030) Precision & Genomic Medicine (BME 6120)
Machine Learning for Intelligent Systems (CS 5780) Protein Structure & Function (BIOMG, 6310)
Numerical Analysis and Differential (CS 4210)
Statistical Genomics: Coalescent Theory &
Human Population Genomics (BTRY 4820/6820)
Theory of Linear Models (ORIE/STSCI 7170)

Additional Requirements

(and not included as part of the 4 required courses):

Dates Research Seminar Requirements
Year 1 CBM Seminar and Journal Club, (Weill Cornell, TPCM 5001.01)
Year 1 Critical Dissection of Scientific Data, (Weill Cornell, PBSB 5006.04)
Year 2 CBM Seminar and Journal Club, (Weill Cornell, TPCM 5004.01)
All Years CBM Student Research in Progress Seminar Series
All Years CBM Annual Symposium
Dates Responsible Conduct of Research Requirement Location  
Year 1 Tri-Institutional Responsible Conduct of Research (RCRP 9010.01) Weill Cornell
Year 1 CITI Responsible Conduct of Research for New Grad Students Cornell-Ithaca
Years 2 & Up Ethical Issues and Professional Responsibilities (BIOMG  7510) Cornell-Ithaca
Years 2 & Up CBM Annual RCR Case-Study Refresher Weill Cornell (videoconference with Cornell-Ithaca)


When a student selects a thesis mentor at Weill Cornell or Sloan Kettering, they join the Weill Cornell Graduate School and must abide by all its policies and procedures. When a student selects a thesis mentor in Cornell Ithaca, they join the Computational Biology Field and must abide by the requirements of the Field.

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: 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


Location: The Shawnee Inn, PA
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Pallavi Phartiyal, Senior Analyst and Program Manager, Union of Concerned Scientists
CBM Alumni Speakers: Dr. Haley Hunter-Zinck and Dr. Zachary Nichols