Why CS Bio?
The CS Bio major was recently created to give students an outlet, within the McGill curriculum, to understand the basics of both computer science and biology and to 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. Graduates of the program have gone into a wide range of careers, from big tech companies to medical and other graduate schools.
Choosing the Right Program
Within CS Bio, you have the option between a Joint Major a Joint Honours degree. There’s a lot of overlap between the courses for both degrees, with first year classes being almost exactly the same, so if you’re on the fence you can decide later in the program or try an honours version of the few courses where the program diverges to see how you find it. The Honours program is generally more demanding, time consuming, and theoretical than the Major program, as it intends to prepare students for graduate programs. In terms of registration, honours students have priority when registering for honours classes, but those in major programs can also register for most of them, sometimes with permission of the professor.
In your first few years, regardless of which program you choose, your basic prerequisites will include COMP 204, COMP 250, COMP 206, BIOL 219, MATH 240, and CHEM 212. Later, if you plan on completing an honours degree, you will need to take COMP 252 rather than COMP 251, and the year (rather than semester) long COMP 402 (rather than COMP 401) research class.
Surviving Bio and CS
The advantage of a joint program like CS Bio is that there are lots of different resources from both departments! Trottier 3090 is home to the CS Help Desk for help with your computer science courses, and there are advisors from both departments (Nancy Nelson for biology, and Liette Chin for computer science) to help with course selection and any issues you may have.
Additionally, both departments have a wide variety of cool talks and colloquia. The student societies for computer science (CSUS), biology (MBSU), and integrative biosciences (MIBS) organize and advertise all sorts of events and resources throughout the year. Be sure to subscribe to the CSUS listserv for a heads up on different events in SOCS!
For specific questions, feel free to email the CS/Bio Rep on CSUS at firstname.lastname@example.org.