Why CS Bio?
The CS Bio major was created 3 years ago to give students an outlet, within the McGill curriculum, to understand the basics of both computer science and biology and also appreciate the intricacies involved in their joint application.
A degree in computer science and biology can come in handy in a huge variety of industries. The very first graduates of the program had left McGill this past year and these alumni have gone into big tech companies, med schools, and various other graduate programs.
Choosing the Right Program
CS Bio consists of the Joint Major in Computer Science and Biology and also the Honours version of the same degree. There's a lot of overlap between the courses for both degrees, and first year classes are almost the exact same, so if you're on the fence you can try taking the honours versions of the few courses where the programs diverge and see how you find it. Honours programs tend to be more demanding and theoretical. They're intended to prepare the student for graduate school, and honours courses require more time than their major equivalents. Although honours students get priority in signing up for honours courses, students in majors programs can also register for honours courses.
In your first few years, regardless of whether or not you take honours, you will be required to take basic prerequisites such as COMP 206, COMP 250, BIOL 200, and CHEM 212. If you plan on completing an honours degree, you will need to take COMP 252 and the year-long COMP 402 research course, the honours versions of COMP 251 and COMP 401. Additionally, MATH 240 has recently become a required course for both degrees.
Surviving Bio and CS
The advantage of doing a joint program is that there are lots of different resources available from both departments! For example, Trottier 3rd floor is home to the CS Help Desk for all your computer science courses. Likewise, meeting up with our biology advisor Nancy Nelson can help for your biology courses.
Apart from this, both departments also offer a wide variety of cool talks and colloquia. For CS department colloquia: check the Computer Science Undergraduate listserv for a heads up on when the next talks are in SOCS.