Bioinformatics Minor

IMPORTANT NOTE RE: 2024-2025 Bioinformatics offerings (click for details)

For all students graduating in F24, W25, Sp25, or Su25 and still need to complete the following requirement
“Take 2 from COM SCI C121, C122, or C124”
  • C121 will be offered in Spring 2025
  • C122 will be tentatively offered in Winter 2025
  • C124 will not be offered

The faculty acknowledge that this poses a challenge to students trying to graduate.  Here are their recommendations so you can still complete this minor.

  1. If you have not taken C121, this should be one of your 2 classes as it was offered last year and this year.
  2. You can take CS M146 – Intro to Machine Learning, CS M148 – Intro to Data Science, or C124 as your 2nd class. CS M146 and CS M148 are offered every quarter and have the same requisites as the CM120 series (check seats in both COM SCI M146 and EC ENGR M146 and in both COM SCI M148 and EC ENGR M148)
  3. If you are unable to take either C121 or C122 and still need 2 courses for this requirement, then your option is to take M146 or M148 and the other C12_ course being offered.
  4. If you are unable to do any of these combinations, please meet with a CS counselor (see info below)

Please note that if you take CS M146 or CS M148 to complete your minor requirements you will need to submit a petition so your DARS can be corrected.


Tracking the Minor requirements

The best way to track your minor requirements is to use our planning worksheet.

Worksheet for minor requirements prior to Fall 2019

Bioinformatics: What is it?

With the establishment of vast databases of genomes, molecular constituents, and electronic medical records, and exponential development in the technology to collect this data, the Bioinformatics field addresses the challenges of developing of robust methods for data analysis and its meaningful interpretation.  See more information.

Why would you add the minor?

If you are considering a career in computational biology, the minor program will provide an excellent introduction to core concepts in the field while offering a hands-on learning experience in wet and dry labs.  If you are a Life Sciences major and want to focus your career on coding, completion of hte minor program will ensure you graduate with competent programming skills.  Regardless of your major or long-term career objectives, the coursework and research experiences offered by the minor program will help you decide future directions and provide you with a competitive edge in negotiating the job market or graduate school application process.

Many UCLA undergraduates who complete the minor work in industry and academia.  At present, there is a rapidly growing industry around next-generation sequencing.  Recent UCLA Bioinformatics alumni have gained admittance to graduate programs in computational biology at universities such as Harvard and Princeton.

How do I find out if I am interested in Bioinformatics?

There are three ways to get started in Bioinformatics at UCLA.

  1. Take the COM SCI M184 Seminar – Introduction to Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.  The seminar course has very basic prerequisites and is a good option for students to get a survey of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at UCLA.
  2. Take one of the three core courses required for the minor: COM SCI CM121 – Introduction to Bioinformatics, COM SCI CM122 – Algorithms in Bioinformatics, or COM SCI CM124 – Computational Genetics.  The core courses can be taken in any order.
  3. Join a research lab.  There are plenty of research opportunities posted on the Bioinformatics website.

Minimum Eligibility

Bioinformatics is open to any undergraduate major at UCLA. Minimum requirements to Apply:

  • Complete 2 of the course options below with a C or better
    1. CS 32 or Pic 10C
    2. LS 3 or 7A
    3. Math 33A
    4. Math 61 (required effective Fall 2019)
  • Complete at least one quarter of coursework at UCLA prior to applying

Application Process/Adding the Minor

Processing may take longer for Letters and Science majors with 150 total units or more, as we have to submit your request to the College for additional review.  You can check the status of this pending review on MyUCLA -> Petitions.

Planning and Enrolling in course for the minor

20 units must be unique to the minor and not counting towards any other major or minor.

When are minor courses offered?

CS proposed offerings

Math proposed offerings

For other department courses, you will need to check with that home department.

LS 30A & 30B

LS 30A & 30B

If you took LS 30A/B, you do not need to go back and enroll in Math 31A, 31B, 32A to meet requisites for Bioinformatics required math courses.  You can just take MATH 32T or C&S BIO M32 to bridge from the LS 30 series to the Math 30 series.  This will leave you well prepared for Math 33A or Math 61 and Math 170E or C&EE 110 as a probability elective.  

Course Description

(Same as C&S Bio M32.) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisite: Life Sciences 30A, Life Sciences 30B. Not open to students with credit for 31A, 31B, 32A, or 32B. Designed for life sciences students who have taken Life Science 30B. Methods and results of single and multivariable calculus essential for quantitative training in biology. Limits, differentiation (single and several variables), optimization, integration and methods of integration, Taylor polynomials and applications to approximation, Taylor and other power series, vector valued functions, gradients, and Lagrange multipliers. P/NP or letter grading.


Undergraduate Research is not required, but you are strongly encouraged to supplement coursework with hands-on research experience.  By petition, up to 8 units of COM SCI 199/194 or BIOINF 199/194 may be use to satisfy Elective credit for the minor as well as up to 4 units of 199 research in your major department. Research units are arranged between students and affiliated faculty.  Learn more about available research projects in bioinformatics at UCLA.  Once you arrange research, you may create a 199 contract course via myUCLA and follow the instructions to be enrolled.

Talk to Faculty

The current lead faculty member of the Bioinformatics minor is:  Sriram Sankararaman

Enrolling in Engineering Courses

Enrolling in Engineering Courses

If you are a declared minor, you should be within the restrictions and able to add your required courses. If you are having issues enrolling, please contact us via myUCLA Message Center.

If you have not actually processed the paperwork to add the minor yet you will not be able to add yourself.

Historically we’ve been able to accommodate all bioinformatics requests.


Some lectures of LS 7A are restricted to first year students, but others are open to continuing students. For information about enrolling, please contact the LS Core office for assistance.


For students who added the minor in Fall 2019 or later, Math 61 is required.

For students who added the minor prior to this time, Math 61 is an extra class you may have taken to meet the requisites for algorithms.  You may petition to have these 4 units count towards your “20 units that need to be unique to the minor” if needed.  Just contact a CS counselor via myUCLA Message Center.


The faculty reassessed Biostats 100A and found that it really is more statistics than probability and doesn’t quite prepare you for what you need it to, so they have removed it from the requisite options for the Bioinformatics Core courses COM SCI CM121, CM122, and CM124.

If you really want to be prepared, I recommend you take STATS 100A or Math 170E for the CS CM120 series (EC ENGR 131A and C&EE 110 also work if you meet these requisites).   These classes will also fulfill a Bioinformatics elective!

Requisite Error when Enrolling

Requisite Error

The system has trouble reading transfer or substitution credit. Just contact the CS counselors via message center. Indicate that you are a Bioinformatic minor (or planning to declare) and include how you meet the requisite and your section preferences.

Course is closed with enrollment of 0/0

It is pretty common to see a closed section with no enrollment or very low enrollment like 5 seats.  But also check to see if it is an “M” course, e.g. Com Sci CM122, which is the same course as CHEM CM160B. The M indicates that the course is listed in multiple departments. Go to the course info to see what other departments offer the course (it may be numbered differently) and check the seats. It doesn’t matter if you enroll in Computer Science or Chemistry in this example. It is the same course with the same credit. Enroll where there is room.

Meeting with a CS Counselor

If you are having any difficulty or need help trying to find flexibility to fit minor classes in with your major requirements, you may meet with a CS counselor during Engineering drop in advising: Tuesday Mornings from 9-11am, Wednesday mornings from 10am-12pm and Thursday afternoons from 2-4pm.  Links to the zoom are found on our homepage  You can also contact us via myUCLA Message Center.