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Biometry and Bioinformatics (M.S.)

Course Description

The primary objective of our biometry (statistical) research efforts is to help all biological researchers obtain valid answers to their research questions. The unavoidable variability inherent to biological and physical experimentation must be separated from known sources of variation in order to evaluate and interpret results. As an example, biometry is important in risk assessment and management approaches to integrating agronomic, sociological, and statistical aspects in determining the optimal rate of fertilizer usage.

Bioinformatics is a new discipline that addresses the need to manage and interpret the data that is being massively generated by the "omic" revolution (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.). This discipline represents the convergence of biology, computer sciences, statistics, and information technologies, and encompasses analysis and interpretation of biomolecular data, modeling of biological phenomena, and development of algorithms and statistical approaches. Bioinformatics is important to the crop sciences because it plays an important role in the management and exploitation of microbial, plant and animal genomic resources.

Creative experiences are boundless when you opt for advanced education in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. We offer advanced degree programs tailored to your specific interests that will prepare you for enriching and stimulating careers with a spectrum of public and private organizations in a global agricultural industry.

Our graduate degree recipients hold positions of leadership throughout the world. Our degree programs provide state-of-the-science education to match nearly every interest and career aspiration in crop sciences.

Department faculty is positioned at the leading edge of a growing knowledge base in crop sciences. We are committed to providing you with a nurturing environment for personal and professional growth.

[[Opportunities for Study]]
The biometry and bioinformatics group is an integral part of the Department of Crop Sciences and of the greater computational biology and statistical community of the University of Illinois. The biometry area is ideal for those with a background in applied statistics and a special interest in crop sciences or a crop sciences degree with strong emphasis on biometry. The bioinformatics area is ideal for those with a background in molecular biology, computer science or statistics and a special interest in genomics, bioinformatics, and systems biology or a crop sciences or bioinformatics degree with strong emphasis on bioinformation.

[[Career Opportunities]]
A person with a degree in biometry or bioinformatics alone or in addition to a subject matter area in crop sciences generally finds excellent job opportunities in universities, government, and industry. Upon completion of the graduate program, the student may find a position as a researcher, teacher or consultant, or any combination thereof. Our programs, including the MS in Bioinformatics option, provides advanced training in biomolecular, statistics and information systems and diverse job opportunities in academia, government and the private sector, especially in areas with a biotechnology, pharmaceutical, agrochemical and agrobiological focus.

International applicants whose native language is not English must score a minimum of 570 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who are not U.S. citizens also must submit evidence that they have sufficient financial support for their entire program of study.

Prospective students are urged to apply by February 15 for the following summer or fall, or by November 1 for the following spring. However, applications are accepted at any time; they are considered and acted upon by the departmental graduate applications committee monthly.

[[Financial Aid]]
To apply for fellowships, assistantships, and tuition and fee waivers, prospective students should indicate their desire to be considered for financial aid on the admission application form. Credentials submitted with the form are used in determining financial aid.

Students already enrolled in the graduate program without financial aid from the University of Illinois may apply for financial assistance. Demonstration of exceptional ability in their studies and/or research activities is an important criterion in selecting students for available fellowships and assistantships.

Fellowships are awarded to graduate students in the Department of Crop Sciences in recognition of superior achievement and potential. Funding comes from a number of sources, each with specific criteria and opportunities.

The Department of Crop Sciences offers part-time positions to study with departmental faculty on research, teaching, or extension activities. Research assistantships are offered based on availability of funds and space in an appropriate faculty member's laboratory. Teaching assistantships require meeting University standards of English language skills, excellent teaching potential, and competence in the area being taught.

These assistantships include an annual stipend and can be awarded at different levels of time commitment. In addition to the stipend, assistantships of at least one-quarter time carry a waiver of all tuition and most fees. These waivers are worth several thousand dollars over and above the stipend. The department will be pleased to provide current values for assistantships and waivers.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are considered for admission if they have a baccalaureate or equivalent degree comparable to that granted by the University of Illinois, with a "B" average or higher over the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and any graduate work completed. Graduate record examination (GRE) scores also are required. Taking the biology section of the GRE is recommended, but not required. Strong letters of reference, evidence of motivation to undertake graduate study, high GRE scores, and good preparation in basic science courses enhance an applicant's credentials.

Course Fees

Please visit http://www.registrar.illinois.edu/tuition-fees for more details.

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Recipient: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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