Students applying must have good quantitative skills with an undergraduate or higher degree from an accredited institution in mathematics, statistics, biostatistics, computer sciences, biomedical engineering, or other closely related areas. It is recommended that candidates will also have taken basic coursework in human biology and/or genetics. All prospective students must provide evidence of basic skills in computer programming through coursework or documented experience. Promising candidates can arrange to take the appropriate courses to rectify deficiencies with the approval of the Program Director. Typically, we expect all applicants to have taken the following courses or their equivalents. If you have any questions about whether a course will meet our prerequisites, please inquire at or by calling 314-362-1384.

Calculus I – required

Derivatives of algebraic, trigonometric, and transcendental functions, techniques of differentiation and applications of the derivative. The definite integral and Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Areas. Simpler integration techniques.

Calculus II – required

Continuation of Calculus I. A brief review of the definite integral and Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Techniques of integration, applications of the integral, sequences and series, and some material on differential equations.

Elementary Probability and Statistics – required

An elementary introduction to probability and statistics. Discrete and continuous random variables, mean and variance, hypothesis testing and confidence limits, nonparametric methods, analysis of variance (ANOVA), (multiple) regression, contingency tables.

Computer Programming – required

A basic course in computer programming. An introduction to software concepts and implementation, emphasizing problem solving through abstraction and decomposition. Introduces processes and algorithms, procedural abstraction, data abstraction, encapsulation and object-oriented programming. Recursion, iteration and simple data structures. (If you have a very strong programming background without a formal course, please provide details in your personal statement.)

Intro to Biology and Genetics – highly recommended

Fundamentals of biology and genetics. A broad overview of genetics, including Mendelian assortment, linkage, chromosomal aberrations, variations in chromosome number, mutation, developmental genetics, quantitative genetics, population genetics, mechanisms of evolution, and phylogenetics.

Introduction to Statistics – highly recommended

Basic concepts of statistics. Data collection (sampling, designing experiments), data organization (tables, graphs, frequency distributions, numerical summarization of data), statistical inference (elementary probability and hypothesis testing).

Calculus III – highly recommended/required (As of Fall 2014 an important course in the MSIBS program lists Calculus III as a prerequisite. Students with extremely strong math backgrounds may choose to apply without having completed Calculus III but may need to supplement their knowledge to succeed in MSIBS classes.)

Multivariable calculus. Topics include differential and integral calculus of functions of two or three variables: vectors and curves in space, partial derivatives, multiple integrals, line integrals, vector calculus at least through Green’s Theorem.

Linear Algebra – highly recommended

An introductory course in linear algebra that focuses on Euclidean n-space, matrices and related computations. Topics include: systems of linear equations, row reduction, matrix operations, determinants, linear independence, dimension, rank, change of basis, diagonalization, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, orthogonality, symmetric matrices, least square approximation, quadratic forms. Introduction to abstract vector spaces.

Acceptance of Transfer Credits

We will accept transferable credits from other accredited institutions of higher education and from other programs at Washington University, provided that the didactic courses are considered to be essentially equivalent to the courses offered in our program. The Program administration will make such determinations. However, in order to graduate from the MSIBS program, at least 75% of the credits must be completed through the MSIBS program (residency requirement). Therefore, MSIBS will accept a maximum of 10 transfer credits.