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This Joint Major program in Computing Science and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (JMA CS-MBB) was initiated in 2003. The first of its kind in Canada, it formed the basis for a White Paper on Bioinformatics training for Canada. It provides excellent training for a bioinformatics career, while also allowing you to keep your options open to many other career options in the computational and life sciences.

The JMA CS-MBB is geared for exceptional students who want a high-caliber, intensive, broad-based education that forms a solid platform for further advanced training and/or a cutting edge, flexible career. Such skills are forecast to be in high demand in the workforce over the next decade and this program offers more than just training in these sciences. We will educate you to think in new ways about problems, both from the logic and process oriented perspectives common to the computational sciences and from the experimental, hypothesis driven approaches common to the life sciences. Our program will help you to excel in today’s quickly-moving, constantly-changing world.

There are many career options open to you once you have completed this program.  Some examples of possible career options as technicians or scientists in either academia, government or industry are: 

Bioinformatician        Computational Biologist
Medical Imager        Biomedical Computer Scientist        Genome Analysis Technician
        Molecular Biologist        Geneticist        Genome Scientist
Developmental Biologist        Cellular Biologist        Molecular Microbiologist
Biochemist        Protein/Nucleic Acid/Lipid/Structural Biochemist

Computer Scientist        Multimedia Developer        Programmer Systems Administrator
Software Developer        Database Developer

Admission and Degree Requirements are described below. Please contact the Applied Sciences Advisor for more information ( asadvise@sfu.ca )


Students will be able to enter the program directly from high school (direct entry), transfer from SFU (internal transfers) or from another institution (external transfers).

High School Students

Students from high school can apply for direct entry.  In order to qualify students must satisfy the following requirements with a minimum GPA of 88%.

Grade 11 courses – 3 total    

  • Language 11 or Introductory Language 11  
  • Chemistry 11   
  • Principles of Physics 11   

Grade 12 courses  -  5 total

  • English 12 or Français première langue 12
  • Principles of Math 12
  • Two approved Science 12 courses:  Biology, Chemistry or Physics
  • One additional from List 3 – excluding Languages and Sciences Group

Direct Entry Deadlines

  • February 28: Early Admission for BC, Canadian and US students
  • April 30:  All students

SFU or College/University Students

Approval is necessary and students should fill in a computing science major application form for approval and attach all unofficial transcripts. The student should then book an appointment to see a Computing Science Advisor ( on-line booking ) to review the form and to obtain approval.

External transfer students must also apply to be accepted as an SFU student (see admissions ).

Application Deadlines:      

  • April 30 for Fall
  • September 30 for Spring
  • January 31 for Summer


Lower Division Requirements

(63 - 67 units)

Students complete

  • CMPT 126-3  Introduction to Computing Science and Programming

or both of

  • CMPT 120-3  Introduction to Computing Science and Progamming I
  • CMPT 125-3  Introduction to Computing Science and Progamming II

and one of

  • MATH 150-4 Calculus I with review
  • MATH 151-3 Calculus I

and all of the following:

  • BISC 101-4 General Biology
  • BISC 102-4 General Biology
  • BISC 202-3 Genetics
  • CHEM 121-4 General Chemistry and Laboratory I
  • CHEM 122-2 General Chemistry and LaboratoryII
  • CHEM 281-4 Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 282-2 Organic Chemistry II
  • CMPT 150-3 Introduction to Computer Design
  • CMPT 225 Data Structures and Programming
  • CMPT 275-4 Software Engineering
  • MACM 101-3 Discrete Mathematics I
  • MACM 201-3 Discrete Mathematics II
  • MATH 152-3 Calculus II
  • MBB 222-3 Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
  • MBB 231-3 Cell Biology and Biochemistry
  • STAT 270-3 Introduction to Probability and Statistics

Plus one of

  • PHYS 101-3 General Physics I
  • PHYS 120-3 Modern Physics and Mechanics
  • PHYS 125-3 Mechanics and Special Relativity
  • PHYS 140-4 Studio Physics - Mechanics and Modern Physics

Plus one of

  • PHYS 102-3 General Physics II
  • PHYS 121-3 Optics, Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYS 126-3 Electricity, Magnetism and Light
  • PHYS 141-4 Studio Physics - Optics, Electricity and Magnetism

Students are strongly encouraged to take CHEM 286.


Upper Division Requirements

(45 units)

Students complete all of

  • CMPT 307-3 Data Structures and Algorithms
  • CMPT 320-3 Social Implications of a Computerized Society
  • CMPT 354-3 Database Systems and Structures
  • CMPT 441-3 Introduction to Computational Biology
  • MBB 308-3 Molecular Biology Laboratory
  • MBB 331-3 Molecular Biology
  • MBB 342-3 Intro to Genomics & Bioinformatics
  • STAT 302-3 - Analysis of Experimental and Observational Data

plus one of:

  • CMPT 376W-3 Technical Writing and Group Dynamics
  • MBB 309W-4   Biochemistry Laboratory

plus at least two of:

  • CMPT 305-3 Computer Simulation and Modeling
  • CMPT 310-3 Artificial Intelligence Survey
  • CMPT 340-3 Computers in Biomedicine
  • CMPT 361-3 Introduction to Computer Graphics
  • MACM 316-3 Numerical Analysis
  • MBB 321-3    Intermediary Metabolism

plus at least three of:

  • CMPT 405-3 Design and Analysis of Computing Algorithms
  • CMPT 413-3 Computational Linguistics
  • CMPT 419-3 Special Topics in Artificial Intelligence
  • CMPT 454-3 Database Systems II
  • MBB 423-3 Protein Structure and Function
  • MBB 435-3 Genomic Analysis
  • MBB 438-3 Human Molecular Genetics
  • MBB 441-3 Bioinformatics
  • MBB 442-3 Proteomics

Students must complete an additional two to three units to bring the total units to the required 45 upper division units.

Students are encouraged to enrol in the co-operative educaton program.


Students must complete additional elective courses to bring the degree program total to 120 units.

Credits Required for a General Degree

Minimum of 120 credits in total and 45 are Upper Division credits. 

Upon completion of the requirements, students will graduate from the Faculty of Applied Sciences with a Joint Major in Computing Science and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (JMA CS-MBB).


Coop is encouraged and mentorship is significant, as BC is noted for its unusually high concentration of researchers in the Bioinformatics and related fields. It combines work experience with academic studies.  Co-op is not mandatory, however, if students take 4 co-op placements it will be indicated on their graduation parchment and transcript.  Students are allowed to take a maximum of 5 co-op placements during their degree. 




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