I am doing my third year BCA. I would like to do Bioinformatics in my PG. Could you please guide me about the course, universities and colleges offering the course, fee structure and about the scholarships. I opted for BCA because I heard that a degree in IT would do for this course even though there is no Biology background. Is it true?
There are two types of academic and research programs you can do in Bioinformatics. You can either do an Advanced Diploma in Bioinformatics or a Ph. D in Bioinformatics. The Advanced Diploma course teaches you about Bioinformatics resources and sequence data analysis, Biomolecular Structure & Dynamics, Computer organisation, C programming, and object oriented programming in C++, Data communication and networks, Computational methods for sequence analysis, Computational Genomics, Molecular Imaging and design, Database management systems, Numerical methods and optimisation techniques, Expert systems and neuronal computing, Graphics and Visualization. In Ph. D, you can specialise in one of the areas in Bioinformatics like Molecular Bioinformatics, Organal Bioinformatics and Species Bioinformatics.
The eligibility requirement for this course varies across Universities. But most Universities ask for M.Sc. in any branch of Biological Sciences with at least 55% marks or equivalent grades/grade point, or MBBS with Mathematics up to class 10. University of Pune asks for Master's degree (M. Sc.) in Bio technology, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Microbiology, Botany, Zoology, Agriculture, Veterinary Sciences, MCA or Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (B.E.), Technology (B. Tech.), or Medicine (MBBS), M. Pharm, MD, M.E, or equivalent qualifications with a minimum 60% aggregate marks (55% for candidates belonging to the reserved category) of any recognised university. Duration of the Advanced Diploma courses are one year and tuition fees range from Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 20,000 for the entire course. So, in your case, you will have to complete MCA after your BCA to be able to do this course. All the Universities do not provide scholarships. In Jawaharlal Nehru University, you can get a scholarship of about Rs. 1800/- per month if you have a real need for that.
Ph. D courses need you to have an Advanced Diploma in Bioinformatics or M.Sc. in any branch of Biological Sciences such as Biochemistry, Biophysics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Life Sciences, Botany, Zoology etc. with at least 55% marks or equivalent grades/grade point, MBBS and Mathematics upto 10 level.
Universities offering programs in Bioinformatics are:
(1) Bioinformatics Centre, School of Biotechnology, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai 625 021; (2) Bioinformatics Center (DIC), University of Pune, Pune 411 007; (3) Bioinformatics Centre, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi – 110 067; (4) University of Calcutta, Department of Biotechnology, Science College Campus, Ballygunje Circular Road, Calcutta 700 019.