QCB Certificate FAQ's (as of Fall 2022)

What are the QCB certificate prerequisites? 

Integrated Science (recommended) or three foundational classes from the lists below:

ISC 231-234 (Integrated Science) – An Integrated, Quantitative Introduction to the Natural Sciences


Foundation in Computer Science – the following course or approved equivalent

  • COS 126/EGR 126 – Computer Science: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Foundation in Biology – one of the following courses or approved equivalent

  • MOL 214/EEB 214/CBE 214 – Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • EEB 211 – Life on Earth: Mechanisms of Change in Nature

Foundation in Math or Statistics – one of the following courses or approved equivalent

  • 200-level math course (or higher)
  • ORF 245/EGR 245 – Fundamentals of Statistics

Once I am admitted into the program, what are the requirements? 

  1. Two electives from our pre-approved course lists (see next FAQ question for lists)
  2. Junior and Senior Independent Work:  Junior and senior independent work must show adequate quantitative and computational biology content and expand upon the existing field. 

Which courses are pre-approved electives?

Students must take two electives from the lists below. Students may be permitted to take a graduate-level course not listed below to fulfill elective requirement, but only with permission of Program Director.

Computational Methods and Quantitative Modeling

  • COS 343 – Algorithms for Computational Biology
  • COS 557 – Analysis & Visualization of Large-Scale Genomic Data Sets
  • EEB 325 – Mathematical Modeling in Biology and Medicine
  • ENV 302/CEE 302/EEB 302 – Practical Models for Environmental Systems
  • MAT 321/APC 321 – Numerical Methods
  • MOL 485/QCB 485 – Mathematical Models in Biology
  • NEU 314 – Mathematical Tools for Neuroscience
  • NEU 437/MOL 437/PSY 437 – Computational Neuroscience
  • NEU 499/PSY 499 – The Computational Basis of Natural Intelligence in the Human Brain
  • ORF 350 – Analysis of Big Data
  • QCB 505/PHY 555 – Topics in Biophysics and Quantitative Biology: Statistical Mechanics for Biological Networks

Genomics, Chemical, and Systems Biology

  • CBE 433/MSE 424 – Introduction to the Mechanics and Dynamics of Soft Living Matter
  • CHM 301 – Organic Chemistry I: Biological Emphasis
  • CHM 302 – Organic Chemistry II: Biological Emphasis
  • CHM 337 – Organic Chemistry: Bioengineering Emphasis
  • CHM 541/QCB 541 – Chemical Biology II
  • EEB 309 – Evolutionary Biology
  • EEB 324 – Theoretical Ecology
  • EEB 388 – Genomics in the Wild (note: this course is offered as part of the semester abroad program in Kenya)
  • MAE 344/MSE 364 – Biomechanics and Biomaterials: From Cells to Organisms
  • MOL 415 – Modern Biophysics and Systems Biology
  • NEU 427 – Systems Neuroscience
  • QCB 302 – Research Topics and Analytical Approaches in Quantitative Biology (recommended)
  • QCB 408 – Foundations of Statistical Genomics
  • QCB 455/MOL455/COS 551 – Introduction to Genomics and Computational Molecular Biology
  • QCB 490 / MOL 490 – Molecular Mechanisms of Longevity: The Genetics, Genomics, and Cell Biology of Aging
  • QCB 515/PHY 570/EEB 517/CHM 517/MOL 515 – Method and Logic in Quantitative Biology

I found a course that I think would be a good elective, but it is not on the pre-approved electives list.  Is there a way to request that it count towards my certificate elective requirements?

Yes.  Send email with your request to the program director Professor Adamson (badamson@princeton.edu), with a copy to the program administrator Jennifer Giraldi (jgiraldi@princeton.edu).  Please include the course title and a link to the course description.  If you have a course syllabus, please send that as well. 

How do I know if my independent work in my junior and senior years qualify for the QCB Certificate?

Your independent work must show adequate quantitative and computational biology content and expand upon the existing field.  If you are unsure if your thesis work qualifies for the certificate, please notify our program coordinator, Jennifer Giraldi (jgiraldi@princeton.edu), she will guide you to consult with one of our certificate program committee members: QCB Certificate Program Committee | Lewis-Sigler Institute (princeton.edu)

I am enrolled in the QCB Certificate program and another Princeton certificate program.  Can I use the same course to count for both programs?

No. You cannot double count courses for two different certificate programs.  

Can I use the same course to count towards my department major and the QCB certificate?

At least two classes taken to meet the requirements of the certificate (including prerequisites) must not count towards student’s concentration requirements.

Can my thesis project be used for both the QCB certificate and my department requirement?

Yes.  But please check with your academic department for any special requirements or restrictions on their end.    

If I am enrolled in the QCB certificate program, are there any other certificate programs I am not permitted to enroll in?

Yes.  Students who pursue a certificate in quantitative and computational biology may not also receive a certificate in biophysics.    

Can I take a course as P/D/F?

No.  Program courses cannot be taken Pass/D/Fail.  

How do I apply to the program?

By September 1 of your junior year, please email a completed application to the program administrator (jgiraldi@princeton.edu).  You will need to include the prerequisite courses you completed, the course work you’ve completed and what you plan to take, as well as what your independent work plan is for your junior and senior years and how it relates to QCB. 

Who do I contact for help?

Please contact our program administrator, Ben Zhang at xzhang2@princeton.edu