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Interdisciplinary Majors

Information Regarding Research in Biomathematics Courses

Catalog description:

01:122:491,492 Research in Biomathematics (3,3)

Research in a selected subject conducted with the supervision of a faculty member. Research proposals must receive prior approval of the director and codirector of the biomathematics program.
Prerequisite: Permission of program director.

Additional details:

01:122:491 Research in Biomathematics (3 credits, Fall semester)
01:122:492 Research in Biomathematics (3 credits, Spring semester)

Students interested in research credit under 01:122:491 or 01:122:492 should email a two page proposal to biomath@math.rutgers.edu, as described below.

The proposal will be evaluated by the Director and the Associate Director of the Biomathematics major.

A separate email endorsement should be sent to biomath@math.rutgers.edu by the faculty member who will supervise the research. This faculty member must be a full-time faculty member in mathematics or in any life sciences department at Rutgers (including biomedical engineering, and chemistry and chemical biology). The faculty supervisor should agree to supervise the research and to assign a grade upon completion.

The proposal should:

  1. state the problem to be studied;
  2. provide a brief background and proposed achievements,
    and, most importantly:
  3. explain clearly what are the biological as well as mathematical components of the proposed research.

The Director and Associate Director may ask for additional materials to further evaluate the proposal, and might meet the student and/or endorser prior to deciding. Faculty members from other Rutgers departments, or even from outside Rutgers (e.g. Princeton, NYU) may also serve as research advisors, with prior approval.

The proposal should be submitted at least one month prior to the start of classes for the semester when the work will be performed, so as to provide enough time for consideration.

If a continuation of the research project is required, the student may register for a second semester, with permission of the supervising faculty member. It is not necessary to prepare a new proposal nor request permission from the Biomathematics administrators.

The Research in Biomathematics course cannot be used to satisfy any of the regular required or elective courses in the Biomathematics major.

Information Regarding Graduation with Honors in Biomathematics

Graduation with Honors in Biomathematics

The interdisciplinary major in biomathematics has a program for recognizing graduating biomathematics majors for outstanding performance. Under this program, such students, upon graduation, may be awarded honors in biomathematics.

Note that the requirements for Graduation with Honors in Biomathematics are distinct from other honors graduation programs such as the honors program of the School of Arts and Sciences. Students may qualify for one or more honors programs, in multiple departments.

Students who will meet the requirements for biomathematics graduation honors and wish to be considered for Graduation with Honors in Biomathematics should file the Intent to Complete Biomathematics Honors by February of their senior year, in order to ensure consideration for the program.    The form is here .

To graduate with biomathematics honors, a biomathematics major must:

  1. have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.4 or better in the five mathematics courses at or above the 300 level taken to fulfill the biomathematics required and elective courses;
  2. have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.4 or better in the four courses taken to fulfill the biomathematics required upper-level science courses;
  3. have an overall cumulative grade-point average of 3.0;
  4. at least one of 01:640:336 and 01:640:338 must be completed with a grade of B+ or better;
  5. must have completed with a B+ or better grade in the biomathematics research courses 01:122:491 and 01:122:492.

Additional Notes Regarding Courses for the Biomathematics Major

See also answers to many questions under FAQs

640:336 and 640:338

It is highly advisable that you take the two special biomath courses 640:336 and 640:338 in your junior year. It has happened that students had to postpone their graduation by a year, because, having waited until their senior year to take one of these courses, they received a failing grade. Also please note that 338 is offered in Spring semesters and 336 is offered typically only during Fall semesters. There have been some years when 336 has been offered in the Spring, due to high demand, but this cannot be guaranteed. Plan accordingly.

Genetics Lab

Genetics 447:382. Genetics Lab. A laboratory that focuses on analysis and interpretation of genetic information. This is a computational lab, in that all genetic data are created by computer simulation. The Genetics Lab is not recommended as a way to satisfy the lab requirement. In recent years, the Genetics Lab has been turned into a "virtual lab" of computer exercises, and not a true "wet lab". Several students who picked this "easy lab" have later expressed frustration at not being eligible for certain jobs upon graduation, due to their lack of a true lab experience. Until the biomath requirements are modified, the course remains acceptable. However, you should realize that you will be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage for industry jobs as well as many graduate school programs, if you do not take a "real" lab course.

General Biology Lab 01:119:117 General Biology Laboratory is an excellent choice of lab.

Research in Genetics Lab 01:447:315 Introduction to Research in Genetics (01:447:315) is open to genetics majors.

Introduction to Research in Molecular Biology, lab courses. The Molecular Biology and Biochemistry 694:315 course is for sophomore or junior students in the major. The related 694:215 course (Fall) is only for first year Honors students who have Advanced Placement (AP) Biology credit. The 694:214 course (Spring) is only for first year students who have AP Biology credit. These are similar in that each includes lectures and wet lab experience, but depend on the student;s standing coming into the courses which serves as "prerequisites". If you have taken one of these courses and wish to have one it count for the BioMath major Lab requirement, please ask the Math Advisor's office that the substitution be made through special permission.

Please see also the next item regarding labs.

Winter BioMaPS "bootcamp" option for meeting lab requirement

Depending on the year, you may be able to use Interdisciplinary Boot Camp in Quantitative Biology, 2 credits 01:556:482:01 (Winter break term) toward the lab requirement, as an alternative to the currently listed courses. Please note that some years the bootcamp does not include a wetlab. It was acceptable in January 2015, but not in January 2016. You may click here for more information.

Computer Programming

As with the Genetics Lab, several students have given us feedback that potential employers found their lack of computer skills a reason for not hiring them. Due to the already heavy course requirements for the Biomath degree, we have not imposed a computer requirement yet (though one will be imposed in the future, very likely). You should, however, seriously consider taking at least one course that teaches programming skills. We recommend the following course: 447:302 Quantitative Biology & Bioinformatics (prerequisites: Genetics 447:380 or Genetic Analysis I 447:384) which provides students with skills needed to conduct basic computational research in the life sciences, including many aspects of computer programming and data analysis, and provides an introduction to Python programming. Another course that we recommend is: 01:198:107 Computing for Math and the Sciences (prerequisite: CALC1) which deals with MATLAB and Maple as well as basic ideas of programming. A more advanced and certainly better course is: 01:198:111 Introduction to Computer Science (prerequisite: 115 or placement into CALC1) and you should definitely take this instead of 107 if you wish to be challenged.

Introductory Biochemistry

The course Introductory Biochemistry 11:115:301 is equivalent to Introductory Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 01:694:301. In the future, we expect to change the requirements so as to reflect this equivalence. For the time being, if you wish to substitute 115:301 for 694:301, you should contact the math undergraduate advisor and request that the substitution be made through special permission.

Essentials of Cell Biology and Neuroscience

The course Essentials of Cell Biology and Neuroscience 01:146:295 is a combination of 01:146:245 Fundamentals of Neurobiology and 01:146:270 Fundamentals of Cell and Developmental Biology. The latter course is now restricted to Life Sciences majors only. In the future, we expect to change the requirements so as to reflect this equivalence. For the time being, if you wish to use 146:295 for credit, you should contact the math undergraduate advisor to request that the substitution be made through special permission. (Note: you cannot get credit for both 295 and 245, or for 295 and 270.)

General Biology

Starting Fall 2013, the following courses are being offered: General Biology I, 01:119:115 (4 credits), General Biology II, 01:119:116 (4 credits), and General Biology Lab, 01:119:117 (2 credits). These are equivalent to the old numbers General Biology 1, 01:119:101 (4 credits), and General Biology II, 01:119:102 (4 credits), which previously included a lab. The old numbers are used for pre-Fall 2013 students who have taken them, but credit will not be accepted for both.

Computational Systems Biology (Biomedical Engineering)

The course 14:125:437 Computational Systems Biology will be accepted as an elective, subject to the "At most one course from 14:125 (Biomedical Engineering) can count as an elective" limitation. In the future, we expect to change the requirements so as to reflect this change. For the time being, if you wish to use this course for credit, you should contact the math undergraduate advisor to request that the substitution be made through special permission.

Biomedical Transport Phenomena (Biomedical Engineering)

The course 14:125:303 Biomedical Transport Phenomena will be accepted as an elective, subject to the "At most one course from 14:125 (Biomedical Engineering) can count as an elective" limitation. In the future, we expect to change the requirements so as to reflect this change. For the time being, if you wish to use this course for credit, you should contact the math undergraduate advisor to request that the substitution be made through special permission.

Principles of Evolution

The course 11:704:486 Principles of Evolution is now listed as 11:216:486 so it is the same course.

Resources in Math Biology

FAQs on Biomathematics Interdisciplinary Major

Also see important notices here

  • How many D's is one allowed to receive in the Biomath major?

    Degree Navigator (Spring 2016 version) should be consulted for such questions. Pasting here:
    Condition N13 : Minimum Grade - Types: Major
    You must achieve a minimum grade of C for {all courses} in requirements {V1 - Biology Core Courses, V2 - Chemistry Courses, V3 - Math Core Courses, V4 - Math Core Courses, V5 - Required Lab, V6 - Electives}.

  • General course-related questions:
    • I have questions about courses or graduation requirements.
    • I am majoring in Biomathematics. Which courses actually count towards the major GPA and which courses do not?

    As Biomath is not a department, but an "interdisciplinary program", you should go to the math adviser (3rd floor, Hill Center) for course-related questions, including grades, requirements, etc.

  • I have taken all the required courses for completing the biomath major except 640:336. I am familiar with most of the concepts. Since the course is not offered next semester, I was wondering whether I could take an exam equivalent to the final exam for that course to show that I have mastery of the material, and possibly be exempt from the course.

    No. 336 (and 338) are courses specifically designed for the major, and as such cannot be substituted. Class participation and discussion are integral parts of the courses. You should plan your courses carefully so that you take both 336 and 338. No exceptions will be made to the policy. These are mandatory courses. Please do not e-mail asking for an exception.

  • Am I allowed to substitute 244 for 252?

    Contact the math adviser (3rd floor, Hill Center) to discuss a special permission. However, you should know that 252 is a pre-requisite for 336, and it is a very different course than 244. If you substitute 244, you will be missing important material. Even if you are allowed to get credit for 244 instead of 252, you should know that it is your responsibility to learn all 252 material. If you do poorly in 336, you cannot use as an excuse the fact that you did not take 252!

  • I am a sophomore here at Rutgers University and have taken Calculus II for Biological Sciences (01:640:136). In order to complete a Biomathematics major, one of the requirement is Calculus II (01:640:152), so will the course that I have already taken fulfill this requirement? Will I still have to complete Calculus II (01:640:152)?

    You need to take 152.

  • Am I allowed to use 01:146:295 Essentials of Cell Biology & Neuroscience instead of 01:146:245 Fundamentals of Neurobiology?

    Yes, 01:146:295 Essentials of Cell Biology & Neuroscience is now allowed as an elective. Eventually, the published formal requirements will be changed, to reflect the fact that 146:245 is reserved for CBN majors, and allowing 146:295 as an elective. In the meantime, you can ask the math advisor to enter this into you records (you can show this website, if there are any questions).

  • I know it is recommended that non-CBN majors take 295 but there are other CBN classes, for CBN majors, that count for biomath electives, so can I sign up for CBN classes that aren't 295? Can 295 and another CBN class both count as electives?

    You can use 295 as a replacement of 245 or 270, but you cannot get credit for both 295 and one of 245 or 270 (since 295 overlaps both).

  • In the past I took Statistics 01:960:211. Is that sufficient to satisfy the statistics requirement?

    No.

  • For electives, the biomath website states that: 'At most one course from 14:125 (Biomedical Engineering) can count as an elective.' Does this mean I can use any of my BME classes as an elective to fulfill this requirement?

    No. Has to be from list. However, you can request a substitution of one of the biomath BME listed electives, if that course is not offered anymore. Please send email to the biomath email address with the following information: (1) name, number, and catalog description of the course that is not offered anymore; (2) same information for suggested replacement. You will receive a reply by email.

  • Does Math 421 function as an elective for the Biomath major (i.e. will it count as partial differential equations)?

    No. 421 is not a real "math" course - it is a service course for engineering.

  • I took Numerical Modeling in Biomedical Systems in the Biomedical Engineering epartment (similar to Numerical Analysis in the math department). Is there any way I could use this to count as my math elective?

    No.

  • I am a Biomathematics major. I recently received an opportunity to conduct research for credit. I am unsure of the process to get credit for it. As a biomathematics major, should I try to register this credit as a biology course or something else?

    There is no current provision for research credits for the biomath major. (The university did not assign a course number.) You can certainly get research credits under biology, math, etc. Note, however, that such credits do not count toward the list of required courses for the biomathematics major.

  • I was wondering what types of career opportunities are out there for the biomath major after graduation?

    Generally speaking, the major is probably best suited for grad school in applied math, computational biology, biomedical engineering, or pre-med (see suggestions regarding pre-med courses on the website). It is less clear what jobs are available with a Bachelor's degree in biomath. If you are not heading to a graduate or professional school, perhaps it is best to double major in another discipline.

  • I am interested in pursuing a research related career, but intend to work in industry for a few years, so I was just wondering what types of jobs are out there, and what types of places are hiring biomath majors.

    You should look at the general hiring for biology majors (genetics, etc) and apply to those jobs. Many, or at least some, of these recruiters should be very interested in someone who has the additional math background.

  • What are the different types of programs and activities I could get involved in during the school year to be more exposed to the major and gain a bit more hands on experience with it.

    For one thing, it is a great idea to attend the BioMaPS seminar.

  • Is there a direct correlation between the Biomathematics major and the BioMaps grad program at Rutgers?

    There is no formal link between biomath and BioMaPS, but students with a biomath degree have the perfect background for applying to BioMaPS.

  • I went on the BioMathematics website and saw that there were many research activities for the summer, but mostly out of state. Is there anything that I could get involved in at the local level?

    Regarding research at Rutgers, during the year as well as summers, the best is to, once again, look up opportunities available to life sciences majors. See for instance the genetics undergraduate research website. Contacting professors associated to the BioMaPS program whose research you find of interest is also a good idea. Eventually, however, an REU experience (probably out of state) would be optimal.

  • I'm interested in discrete modeling in biology and I was wondering if it was best to do a CS minor.

    If allowed by SAS, there is no problem. CS is indeed a very appropriate area, for someone interested in discrete modeling.

  • I was wondering if taking pure math classes would help with conducting research in the biomathematics area.

    Good question. If you will go to graduate school in mathematics, and/or if you plan to work on theoretical mathematical biology problems, then a solid background in "pure" mathematics would be a definite plus. For industry, graduate school in bioengineering, computational biology, and so forth, it is more likely that a background in computation and statistics will be far more useful.

  • I am currently a Neuroscience major, and am considering double majoring in Biomathematics. I would like to know what electives may help strengthen my degree.

    The key question is always: what exactly do you want to do with your degree? For a PhD program, you should consult the websites for some of the programs that you are considering, to see what they expect, and, ideally, talk to someone in their graduate admissions committee. If you find out something interesting, please let us know, so we may add to the FAQ's!

  • I want to take Organic Chemistry this summer at XXX University. Will this be allowed as part of the requirement to take 4 science classes?

    A letter from the undergraduate advisor in the Rutgers Chemistry Dept, indicating that the particular Organic Chemistry course taken at that particular university is equivalent to the organic chemistry course at Rutgers (01:160:307) would certify that the two courses are equivalent and therefore could be accepted as one of the four required science electives for the Biomath major. Please bring such a letter to the Mathematics Advising office.

  • Can I take Biology 1 & 2 over the summer at my community college if I get a letter from the undergraduate advisor in the Rutgers Biology Dept. saying that the course is equivalent to the biology courses at Rutgers?

    To get credit for Biology 1 & 2 at a community college, you need to do as follows:
    1. Go on to the Rutgers website "NJ Transfer" (https://www.njtransfer.org/) and determine if the college is on the approved list for transfer credits to Rutgers,if so then proceed to #2 and #3.
    2. Obtain approval from your college Dean, on "Transfer form".
    3. Obtain the signature of the Director of Advising (currently, Dr. Ann Carr-Schmid) in Nelson Biolabs Bldg. Rm B112.

  • Can I graduate with honors in Biomathematics?

    We are considering the possibility of setting up an option for "Graduation with Honors in Biomathematics". This option will likely require a high GPA in courses required for the major and a high overall GPA, as well as a research course. The process for approving such changes to a major takes some time, and there is no way to know when it will be done -- we are hoping to have it available for 2016 graduations. If interested, please check again this FAQs page periodically.

  • Can I take research credits in Biomathematics?

    We are considering the possibility of setting up a course number for Research in Biomathematics. The process for approving such changes to a major takes some time, and there is no way to know when it will be done -- we are hoping to have it available for 2016 graduations. If interested, please check again this FAQs page periodically. For now, it is best for now to do research under the mathematics department or one of the life sciences departments. Please note that what matters to employers and/or graduate schools is the fact that you did research - the actual label (math, life sciences, etc) is not important!

Contact Us

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Department of Mathematics

Department of Mathematics
Rutgers University
Hill Center - Busch Campus
110 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019, USA

Phone: +1.848.445.2390
Fax: +1.732.445.5530