Certificate Program


Where biology meets Big Data

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certificate Description

Build your computational and scientific foundation

Big data is everywhere and its presence across multiple industries will continue to stimulate job growth in pharma, biotech, and software industries. This certificate program is designed in consultation with industry leaders to meet the need for biologists and computer scientists to analyze and interpret today’s deluge of biological information. Tailor your studies to your particular needs and interests while learning the tools and methods of bioinformatics. Life scientists delve into data tech and computer scientists gain a background in molecular biology.

Bioinformatics certificate program objectives

  • Use public domain bioinformatics tools, including Genbank and the Protein Data Bank (PDB).
  • Employ statistical design of experiment (SDOE) to analyze experimental data and factors affecting outputs.
  • Distinguish key molecular biology techniques—gene cloning, manipulation and sequencing; PCR; RNA interference; and gene expression analysis.
  • Complete a computational biology project using Java.
  • Recognize sequence analysis techniques such as Hidden Markov Models and RNA analysis.
  • Query and read DNA sequences from Fasta files.


Additional informational resources

Bioinformatics Career Skills for 2024

Explore our professional certificate program designed to equip you with the precise skills demanded by today's bioinformatics employers. This video introduces the latest courses you'll need to succeed. (2024)

Who are the students in the bioinformatics program?

Often they are the experienced programmers who have an interest in biology or they are already in a lab and interested in the flexibility and new options that learning new data tools can offer. Janani Rangarajan, M.S., bioinformatician and program chair, tells you about her students. (2021)

Bioinformatics: What are companies looking for?

Janani Rangarajan, M.S., bioinformatician and program chair, discusses the tools and technologies used to make meaning from health data, the foundation for cures and vaccines being discovered each day. The webinar begins with a very brief overview of upcoming courses in the Bioinformatics certificate program and jumps right into Q&A.

• An 8-Part Video Q&A with Janani Rangarajan, M.S., Bioinformatician and Program Chair
• A 5-Part Deep Dive Into the Technologies & Biology of Bioinformatics

Program Overview

Estimated Cost: Starting at $5,480. (You pay only for courses you enroll in.) | International Tuition Cost
Program Requirements: 6–7 courses (minimum 18 quarter units). Take 4 required courses (12 quarter units) and 2–3 elective courses (minimum 6 quarter units). End with certificate of completion review.
Minimum Hours of Instruction: 180 hours of instruction.
Estimated Duration: A full-time student can complete the certificate in 12 months.
Modality: This is a fully online program with live-online & self-paced course formats.
Special Programs: This program is not approved for workforce or international students.


Course Quarter Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
1. Required Courses(s): Four Total & Equal to 12 Units
Bioinformatics Tools, Databases and Methods 3.0
Experimental Methods in Molecular Biology 3.0
Next-Gen Sequence Analysis Tools - A Hands-On Approach 3.0
Python for Data Analysis 3.0 Spring Flexible Summer Flexible
2. Electives: Total of Six Units
Data Analysis, Introduction 3.0 Fall Flexible Winter Flexible Spring Flexible Summer Flexible
Genomics and Next Generation DNA Sequencing: Methods and Applications 3.0
Principles of Drug Discovery and Development 4.0
Relational Database Design and SQL Programming 3.0 Fall Flexible Winter Flexible Spring Flexible
Statistics None
3. Completion Review:
Bioinformatics Certificate Completion Fee None
4. Related Course(s) (Not Part of Certificate Program)
Personal Development Seminar: Concepts in Next-Gen Sequence Analysis 0.5 CEUs

Meet Our Instructors

Abizar A Lakdawalla
VP., Product Development, Apton Biosystems
Darryl A. León
Director, Software Portfolio Strategy, Agilent Technologies
Edward James Rozhon
Program Chair | Retired Sr. Manager, Clinical Operations, Genentech
Guido Bordignon
Professor, Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology, UCSC
Janani Rangarajan
Statistical Data Analyst, Gilead Sciences | Program Chair
Michelle C Rosenaur
Technology Trainer
Parthasarathy M Padmanabhan
Data Engineering Lead, New Relic | Program Chair
Paul A Saunders
Biotechnology Consultant
Robert Knight
Mathematics and Statistics Professor
Ruth A Arthur-Asmah
Sr. Manager, Digital Health, Nordic Global
Sara Saatchi

Certificate Inquiry Form

Contact Us
Speak to a student services representative.

Call (408) 861-3860


Requisite Knowledge

Please review the course descriptions to ensure that you have taken the necessary prerequisites or meet the requirements through job experience or previous education. You can learn more about each course in the Syllabus Library.

Molecular biology knowledge

Familiarity with the principles of modern molecular biology is required to begin the Bioinformatics certificate. You can satisfy this requirement with an introductory course in molecular biology (taken within the last five years) or by demonstrating equivalent work experience.

Statistics knowledge

To take Statistical Analysis and Modeling for Bioinformatics and Biomedical Applications, you need an understanding of both probability and statistics. You can satisfy this requirement with an introductory course in statistics or by demonstrating equivalent work experience. UCSC Extension offers Statistics.

Programming knowledge

Basic familiarity with the Python programming language is required to begin the Bioinformatics certificate. You can satisfy this requirement with an introductory course in Python (taken within the last five years) or by demonstrating equivalent work experience. UCSC Extension offers Python Programming for Beginners.

Genomics and next Generation DNA sequencing knowledge

Basic familiarity with genomics and next generation DNA sequencing is required for Next-Gen Sequence Analysis Tools—a Hands-On Approach. You can satisfy this requirement with a similar course or by demonstrating equivalent work experience. UCSC Extension offers Genomics and Next Generation DNA Sequencing: Methods and Applications.

Advisory Board


Certificate Program Chair

JANANI RANGARAJAN, M.S., is a QA statistical data analyst at Gilead Sciences where she supports the Quality Risk Management department with data analysis for plant-wide interdepartmental KPIs. Former positions include working as a bioinformatics analyst at the USC Norris Cancer Center, as a statistical analyst/programmer for Northwestern University and as a researcher at the Scripps Research Institute, where she designed and produced custom DNA, peptide and carbohydrate arrays. Rangarajan has a graduate degree in bioinformatics and extensive experience with bioinformatics tools, databases and methods. She has contributed to the Consortium for Functional Glycomics and helped print the Glycan microarray for the project.

Certificate Program Advisory Committee

Assistant Adjunct Professor​, Project Scientist/Lecturer
Biomolecular Engineering, UC, Santa Cruz

Biosciences Instructor, UCSC Extension

Founding CEO
Statistics Instructor, UCSC Extension

Director, Proxeom​
Senior Advisor, INanoBio
Partner, ZB AngelFunds
Bioinformatics Instructor, UCSC Extension

Statistical Data Analyst, Gilead Sciences
Bioinformatics Instructor, UCSC Extension

Biosciences Instructor / Program Chair
Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, and Clinical Trials Design and Management Programs

Establish Candidacy

Who should establish candidacy?

  • People who are pursuing a certificate (and have enrolled in a course in the program).
  • People who want to lock in the current requirements of a certificate or specialization.
4 Simple Steps to a Certificate or Specialization
  1. Complete a course in your selected program.
  2. Establish candidacy. Click on the Establish Candidacy button on your program page.
  3. Take all required courses for certificate completion.
  4. Once your grades are posted on your final course, enroll in the certificate review fee.
A Benefit of Establishing Candidacy

Program requirements may change. Once you commit to a program by establish your candidacy, you will not have to change your plans to meet new requirements. They are locked in for you. Timeline: 4 years to get it done (or 3 for a specialization) You must complete all the necessary units in a certificate within a four-year window. The clock begins on the first day of your first course in the certificate program. For example, if you started a course on Sept. 5, 2023, you would have to finish by Sept. 4, 2027.

Note: Establishing candidacy does not trigger the beginning of the four-year window. It begins the first day of the first course in your chosen certificate program. The Certificate Completion Review process does not have to occur within the four-year timeframe.

Exceptions to the four-year requirement
  • If you Established candidacy prior to Jan. 1, 2024, you will have five years to complete a program.
  • Students participating in a special program, such as workforce, international, or our curriculum partner programs, such as the Legal Studies courses (CLS by Barbri) and sales and business courses (Ziplines Education) have shorter completion requirements.

Establish Candidacy

Grade Requirements

Please note that only letter grades of C or higher may be applied to a certificate, and in some programs, students may have more stringent requirements. Students in most employer- and government-sponsored payment programs, such as workforce development, as well as international students on F-1 visas, need to maintain a B average to meet their requirements. Personal Financial Planning students have additional grade requirements for individual courses to attain a certificate.

See Grading and Credits Policy for further information.