Graduate Certificate in Bioinformatics – Portland

Program Overview

The Graduate Certificate in Bioinformatics provides cross-disciplinary training in biology, computer science, and data analytics that will prepare students to play pivotal roles in today’s cutting-edge life science, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries. Students learn how to interpret data encountered in fields such as genomics, proteomics, personalized medicine, drug discovery, and cancer therapy. The certificate comprises four classes that can be completed in as little as eight months, with a maximum limit of three years.

All Roux Institute programs provide content relevant to the urgent and emerging needs of industry in Maine and the rapidly evolving regional, national, and global economy. Opportunities for experiential learning will be concentrated in Portland, the state of Maine, and the Northeast region. Students are encouraged to pursue co-ops and special virtual Experiential Network projects with the institute’s founding corporate partners, a group of leading employers in Maine. 

  • Portland


  • Full-Time


  • 8-36 months

    Duration of Program

Unique Features

  • A wide variety of electives allow students to specialize in an area of interest.
  • Students who wish to continue their studies can apply all credits toward the Master of Science in Bioinformatics.
  • The program is delivered through a hybrid model of online and on-site learning.

Scholarships and aid



Estimated Total Tuition

This is an estimate based on the tuition rates for Academic Year 2020-2021 and does not include any fees or other expenses. Some courses and labs have tuition rates that may increase or decrease total tuition. Tuition and fees are subject to revision by the president and Board of Trustees at any time. For more detailed information, please visit Student Financial Services.

Generous scholarships

The Roux Institute is currently offering generous scholarships to meet the financial needs of all students through its Alfond Scholars Initiative. Each award is determined by an individual assessment. And Northeastern alumni receive a Double Husky Scholarship —a tuition discount of 25 percent.

Learn more about the Alfond Scholars Initiative

Corporate tuition benefits

Many employers subsidize education for their employees. Speak with yours about any tuition benefits your company may offer.

Special military scholarships

For military veterans and servicemembers, a limited number of donor-funded scholarships are available even after all other aid has been awarded to help with commuting costs, childcare, and other costs of living.

Learn more about military scholarships

Federal aid

You can apply for federal aid grants and loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

Learn about the FAFSA

Admission Requirements

  • Online application
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Personal statement
  • Resumé
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • English language proficiency:
    • Degree earned or in progress at a U.S. institution
    • Degree earned or in progress at an institution where English is the only medium of instruction
    • Official exam scores from either the TOEFL iBT (institution code is 3682), IELTS, PTE exam, or Duolingo English Test. Scores are valid for 2 years from the test date.

Learn more about applying to the College of Science.

Admission Dates

Program Curriculum

General Requirements

Graduate Certificate in Bioinformatics General Requirements

Courses and their associated credit hours are listed below.

Core Requirements

BINF 6200 - Bioinformatics Programming4.00
Focuses on the fundamental programming skills required in the bioinformatics industry. Focuses on Python and R as the main programming language used. Topics include string operations, file manipulation, regular expressions, object-oriented programming, data structures, testing, program design, and implementation. Includes substantial out-of-classroom assignments.
BINF 6308 - Bioinformatics Computational Methods 14.00
Offers the first semester of a two-semester sequence on the use of computers in bioinformatics research. Offers students an opportunity to work with current methods and computational algorithms used in contemporary sequence analysis. Teaches practical skills necessary to manage and mine the vast biological information being generated and housed in public databases. Emphasizes the use of Python as the primary computer language and requires students to learn and understand basic computer logic and syntax, including an introduction to scalars, arrays, hashes, decision statements, loops, subroutines, references, and regular expressions. A focus on fundamental skills, including the command line interface found in the Linux operating system, is designed to prepare students for second-semester applications.
BINF 6309 - Bioinformatics Computational Methods 24.00
Designed to build upon the core topics covered in BINF 6308, i.e., use of the computer as a tool for bioinformatics research. Builds upon the Python language fundamentals covered during the first semester but requires students to apply these fundamentals to a semester-long project. The project includes protein family analysis, multiple sequence analysis, phylogeny, and protein structure analysis. Additionally, students have an opportunity to learn to build, load, connect, and query custom MySQL databases, and parse command line flags.


Complete one of the following. Electives outside this list may be chosen in consultation with faculty advisor.

Note: International students are required to select a 4-credit elective to maintain a full-time status, 8SH.

BIOE 5235 - Biomedical Imaging4.00
Presents the foundations of modern medical imaging, including imaging principles, imaging mathematics, imaging physics, and image-generation techniques. Includes X-ray, ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging.
BIOE 5420 - Cellular Engineering4.00
Analyzes the techniques that form the foundation of molecular cell engineering, including recombinant DNA, cloning and genomics, prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene regulation and single-cell gene expression, structure, dynamics of gene regulatory networks, metabolism and cellular energetics, cell structure, cytoskeleton and cellular motors, synthetic gene circuits, and metabolic engineering.
BIOE 6100 - Medical Physiology0.00
Designed to provide bioengineering students with a working knowledge of the integrated behavior of organs and systems in the human body. As such, the student is provided with a comprehensive and intense immersion in each physiological subsystem with the expectation that he or she display knowledge of each at the level equivalent to that of a second-year medical student following his or her exposure to physiology. The specific subsystems covered are muscle physiology, cardiovascular physiology with ECG interpretation, pulmonary physiology with gas exchange mechanics and ventilation/perfusion, renal physiology and water balance, regulation of pH, gastrointestinal physiology, temperature regulation and energy balance, endocrine systems, and reproductive systems. The course does not cover neurophysiology.
BIOL 5499 - Plant Biotechnology4.00
Designed as an introductory course on plant biotechnology for upper-level undergraduates and first-year graduate students. Using examples from current research, offers students an opportunity to review the technology used to modify and improve economically important plants for sustainable agriculture as well as for the production of pharmaceutical and medicinal products. Specific topics include principles of plant heredity and genetics (molecular biology), plant breeding and improvement, hormones and growth regulators, gene isolation, plant tissue culture and transformation, plant-based pharmaceutical production, and stress tolerance and improvement. The course consists of weekly lectures, laboratory demonstrations, and review sessions of recent literature.
BIOL 5543 - Stem Cells and Regeneration4.00
Explores the biological basis of embryonic, adult, and induced pluripotent stem cells toward an understanding of their roles in development, homeostasis, and regeneration, as well as their therapeutic potential. The study of stem cells is a rapidly advancing area in biology and biomedicine. Although the biological basis of stem cells is a major focus, the course aims to put this knowledge into a biomedical context.
BIOL 5549 - Inventions in Microbial Biotechnology4.00
Offers readings and seminar-style discussion from the current literature on important inventions and practical applications in biotechnology, with a focus on drug discovery.
BIOL 5569 - Advanced Microbiology4.00
Focuses on how microorganisms develop, exchange, and regulate genes, and survive in various environments. Emphasizes experimental design and proof, particularly as related to genetic exchange, gene regulation, single and multicellular development, and cell-cell communication.
BIOL 5573 - Medical Microbiology4.00
Emphasizes host-parasite interactions: virulence, toxins, natural flora, and immunological responses; characteristics of the common bacterial, rickettsial, and protozoal infections in humans; and epidemiology, pathology, vaccines, and chemotherapy.
BIOL 5581 - Biological Imaging4.00
Illustrates imaging principles and techniques and their application to biological problems. Topics vary and may include microscopic and macroscopic approaches in areas such as cellular and neurobiology, ecology, and biochemistry.
BIOL 5583 - Immunology4.00
Provides an overview of the structure and function of genes, proteins, and cells involved in the generation of the immune response. Emphasis is on molecular immunology and immunogenetics.

Experiential Learning

Learning integrated with professional experience is a hallmark of Northeastern and the Roux Institute. Students gain a clear understanding of real-world industry needs in Portland, the state of Maine, and the Northeast—and valued workplace skills like communication and teamwork—through assignments at companies and nonprofit organizations. Students can complete a six-week virtual project relevant to their studies through the university’s Experiential Network (XN) of employers, or even for their own company. Or they can apply for four- and six-month, full-time co-op positions. All opportunities enable students to build their resumés, expand their professional networks, and chart a path to in-demand careers.

Contact us to explore your options.

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