There are several routes to graduate studies at SDSU, and members of the Edwards lab come from all different routes. Each program has different entrance requirements, forms, and protocols, so you should contact the graduate advisors for each of the programs to seek further advice. The masters programs tend to be easier to get into, but typically students do not receive a stipend (money). It depends on the program and the professor that the student works with.
The masters programs are a great way to come to see if you like the university and the professors, and to study before applying to the PhD programs. If you get good grades in the masters courses it is a lot easier to be accepted into the PhD program, and those courses will
count towards your PhD so you don’t need to take them again!
The Computer Science Masters program has a usual CS focus, with core courses in CS as you would expect. We also have some great certificate programs in mobile and web application development that teaches cutting edge development.
The Computational Science Masters program has a more applied focus than the CS masters program. Many of the core courses are about the application of computational thinking to scientific problems.
The biomedical informatics masters program covers biology and computer science, with some statistics. This program will set you up as a bioinformatician, and teach the basic skills you need to cross from biology to CS or vice-versa.
The biology masters program is, as you would expect, a biology program. However, students also take some bioinformatics classes with Dr. Edwards (and others, of course) and biology students with computational interests work in Edwards lab.
Ph. D. programs
There are several PhD programs at SDSU that include bioinformatics students. The three PhD programs in biology are Cell and Molecular Biology; Evolution; and Ecology. Each has slightly different requirements, slightly different faculty, and all of those include some bioinformatics. The Computational Science program also includes bioinformatics, but is more theoretical than the biology based programs, with less emphasis on wet lab classes. In the CSRC we have an emphasis in Quantitative Biology that has been extremely successful in graduating students.
The PhD programs are quite competitive and you will likely need to take both the TOEFL and GRE tests to be accepted. However, the PhD programs pay students to cover their living expenses.
To apply for any of these programs, you should start by emailing the program directors. Then, there is an online application process that you need to follow which is linked from each of the websites above (but its the same process for all of them!). The applications are typically due from November through January, and decisions are made in February and March.
The most successful applicants to our PhD programs, regardless of whether they are in Biology or Computational Science, typically have a first author publication to complement a competitive GRE and TOEFL score. If you are thinking about grad school, think publications!