Concurrent Programme in Computational Biology


1. Introduction

This is a fast–track programme that allows deserving students to obtain the Bachelor of Computing (Computational Biology) degree from NUS and a Scientiae Magister in Computer Science – Computational Biology track from the Brown University within five years. The programme aims to educate Computer-Scientists/Computational-Biologists in the foundations and the technology of Bioinformatics in its broadest connotation. Brown University has an excellent reputation for innovative education and research, and for the tight interaction of theory and practice. Graduates involved in the programme will play a major role in developing biotechnology industries and know-how, spanning therapeutics, diagnostics, translational medicine, and fundamental research.

The programme commences in August 2009, with an expected intake of 5 to 10 students.

2. Partner University: Department of Computer Science of Brown University


The Department of Computer Science, Brown University has an excellent reputation for innovative education and research, and for the tight interaction of theory and practice. A decade ago, it established an undergraduate degree in Computational Biology, presumed to be one of the first such degrees in the world. Recently, the CS Department has been the driving force in the establishment of the Center for Computational Molecular Biology (CCMB), an interdisciplinary academic unit spanning several departments (including Computer Science), which are central to this emerging area. The mission of the CCMB is to establish Brown as a leader in research and in the training of computational biologists.

3. Programme Requirements


The programme structure comprises the modules and requirements of both the BComp in Computational Biology, and the Scientiae Magister in Computer Science programmes. The details are listed here:

4. Admission Requirement


A. Direct Admissions

Students may enter the concurrent-degree programme at any point during their undergraduate study at NUS although it is preferred that they declare their interest at NUS matriculation.

Candidates applying for admission to NUS can also apply for direct admission to this programme. They will be chosen on the basis of their A-level grades (or equivalent), their interest profile in bioinformatics/computational biology, and a personal interview designed to judge their potential and suitability for the programme.

During their course of study at NUS, students in the programme must maintain a high level of performance as judged by a joint oversight committee. Students who do not meet this standard will be moved to the standard Bachelor of Computing in Computational Biology programme at NUS. Admission to the Master's degree component of the programme, granted by the Graduate School at Brown University, will be based on the student's academic performance, GRE exam scores and recommendations of the joint oversight committee.

B. In Progress Admissions

Students who have not opted for direct admission, but are admitted to SoC-NUS, may also declare their interest at NUS matriculation. Selection criteria for these students will be similar to those for direct admission.

Existing Bachelor of Computing in Computational Biology students who have demonstrated strong academic abilities may be allowed to enter the programme at any stage of their study at NUS (subject to size constraints). These students are required to meet all the requirements of the programme.

5. Admission requirements & procedure


A. Local applicants with A-level certificate or its equivalent

They can apply for direct admission to this programme when they submit their undergraduate admission applications to NUS via http://www.nus.edu.sg/oam/. They must obtain:

H2 pass in Computing, Mathematics or Physics; OR a good pass in H1 Mathematics.

Shortlisted students for the Concurrent Programme will be required to attend an interview and submit the documents listed below. Interviews will be held in early May.

B. For candidates who have received an offer before the current admission exercise
Candidates who have been given a place in the course for Computing (Computer Science courses) and joining in August 2010 may apply separately with the School for this Concurrent Programme. Please download the form here, and complete it. The deadline for submitting your documents listed below will be announced in due time.

C. Required Documents and Instructions for Submission
The documents required are:

  1. Academic Performance documents: Copy of A-Level consolidated results;
  2. Curriculum Vitae: concise, tabular, less than 4 pages;
  3. Statement of intent: an essay on why you are suitable for the concurrent programme;

Instructions for submission of supporting documents:
  1. Please do not submit original certificates or official documents; make and send the photocopies instead.
  2. Please write your name and application number on all documents.
  3. Please enclose an English translation for any supporting document that is not in English.
  4. Please write your application number and ‘BComp-Brown’ on the top left-hand corner of the envelope.
  5. Please send the documents to:
    NUS School of Computing
    Office of Undergraduate Studies
    The Administrator (BComp-Brown)
    Computing 1 #02-05
    13 Computing Drive

6. Progression Criteria


Students in this concurrent programme must maintain a CAP of 4.00 or above (out of 5.00) for their BComp requirements. A student whose CAP falls below 4.00 for two consecutive semesters in NUS will not be allowed to remain in the concurrent programme, but may continue with his BComp study at NUS.

7. Award of Degrees

Students must fully satisfy the concurrent BComp in Computational Biology and the Scientiae Magister in Computer Science degree requirements before they are simultaneously conferred both degrees. Under no circumstances would a student be conferred the Brown degree before both degree requirements are fully satisfied.

8. Grading and Degree Requirement

Continuation Criteria

Students in this concurrent programme must maintain a CAP of 4.00 or above (out of 5.00) for their BComp requirements.

Award of Degree

Students must fully satisfy the concurrent BComp in Computational Biology and the Scientiae Magister in Computer Science requirements before they are simultaneously conferred both degrees. Under no circumstances would a student be conferred the Brown degree before both degree requirements are fully satisfied.

9. Exiting the Programme

A student whose CAP falls below 4.00 for two consecutive semesters in NUS will not be allowed to remain in the concurrent programme, but may continue with his BComp study at NUS.

10. Tuition Fees at Brown University

Students will pay Brown tuition fees during the time they undertake instruction at Brown in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the concurrent degree. They will also provide their medical insurance coverage.

11. Admissions by B.Sc. (Computational Biology) to this concurrent programme

Faculty of Science students in B.Sc. (Computational Biology) programme are also eligible to apply for admission to this concurrent degree programme at any time during their study if they meet the following criteria:

  • A CAP of at least 4.00;
  • Must have read the following Computer Science related modules on top of the B.Sc. (Computational Biology) degree requirements – CS2100 Computer Organisation, CS2102 Database Systems and CS3230 Design and Analysis of Algorithms.

Faculty of Science Computational Biology students who join this concurrent degree programme will graduate with a Bachelor of Science (Computational Biology) Honours degree from NUS and a Scientiae Magister in Computer Science - Computational Biology track from the University of Brown.

The objective of establishing such a special admission criteria is to ensure that students entering the Scientiae Magister in Computer Science - Computational Biology track offered at Brown University have sufficient computer science background.

Admission application will be considered by the Joint Committee of this Concurrent programme. The Joint Committee reserves the right to adjust the special admission criteria to ensure the readiness of students in admitting to the Scientiae Magister in Computer Science - Computational Biology track.

12. Comparison of Tuition Fees and Duration

The CDP provides excellent overseas experience at a fraction of the cost of an overseas undergraduate education and with a shorter time duration compared to doing an NUS undergraduate degree and the overseas Masters degree separately.

For Singaporean students, the tuition fee for the entire CDP is approximately S$79,000. In comparison, the tuition fees for a 4 year undergraduate degree at Brown is approximately S$195,000 and the tuition fees for a 4 year undergraduate degree followed by a Masters degree at Brown is S$248,000. The typical duration of the CDP is 5 years in comparison with the total length of 6 years for doing the undergraduate and Master degree separately.

Note : The information is based on estimated cost, your actual cost may be different.  Please remember that tuition fees are also subject to change

13. Further Enquiry


For School of Computing students, please direct all queries to socug@comp.nus.edu.sg with the subject clearly marked: "Concurrent Programme in Computational Biology with Brown University".

For Faculty of Science students, please send your queries to Computational Biology Programme mailbox.