Answers to Frequent Questions about Graduate Training with Dr. Murphy at Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon is one of the top places in the world to obtain graduate education in computational biology and related areas. The information below is provided due to the large number of students who contact me about graduate training.

Please note that I am not able to provide advice to students about the strength of their credentials, whether they should apply to a specific program, or the likelihood of being admitted to any of these programs. Decisions about qualifications are made by the admissions committees of the programs. I do not make commitments to accept students into my group until after they have been accepted into one of the programs.

Masters Degree Programs

M.S. students are responsible for paying their own costs (including tuition). Fellowships to cover part of tuition costs may be given to outstanding studentsas part of an admission offer. Research assistantships are not given, although opportunities to receive some payment for technical, research or teaching assistance are occasionally made available to students after they have begun in a program.

The M.S. in Computational Biology program is suitable for students who (1) plan to apply for staff positions in research and development groups using modern bioinformatics methods, or (2) seek an opportunity to establish a strong academic track record in quantitative biology (often as a prelude to further graduate education). Evidence of at least basic familiarity with computer programming is usually required for admission. Students with backgrounds in biological sciences who wish to move into bioinformatics and computational biology frequently enroll in this program.

The M.S. in Biotechnology Innovation and Computation is suitable for students who plan careers as entrepreneurs creating new solutions for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and health care industries. Prior computational training is expected.

Doctoral Degree Programs

For students seeking Ph.D. training in computational approaches to biological questions, there are a number of choices. A M.S. degree is not required for admission to any of these programs. Both U.S. and international students may apply, and all students accepted into these programs receive full financial support (tuition plus stipend).


This page is provided to answer frequent questions and to give guidance to prospective students. The opinions expressed here are my own and are not official positions of Carnegie Mellon University.

Robert F. Murphy

Last modified: September 3, 2016