This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The mission of the VCU Department of Biostatistics is to improve human health through methodological research, the education of graduate students and health science researchers in biostatistical methods and applications, and collaborative health sciences research.

Program goal

With the advent of sequencing technologies, genomic data science became a broad and interdisciplinary field with multiple points of entry, including biology, genetics and genomics, computer science, informatics, statistics and biostatistics, and others. As such, entry into the field can be confusing, especially for those looking to pursue further training, education or careers in this field. The purpose of the graduate Certificate in Genomics Data Science is to serve as a single point of entry for those interested in the field of genomics data science, which is defined as four domains: 1) biological principles of genomic science, 2) data analysis/statistical training, 3) principles of sequencing and bioinformatics and 4) computational principles and software tools.

The knowledge and skills acquired as a part of this certificate program will enable graduates to have better opportunities to be employed in medical centers and hospitals, data science-oriented departments in colleges and universities and government jobs. This training program is designed to be completed over two semesters covering 10 months.

Student learning outcomes

The purpose of the Certificate in Genomics Data Science is to train graduate students on the biological, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and data analysis principles and procedures associated with applied genomics research and prepare them to apply those procedures to real data. Graduates will achieve the following learning outcomes:

  1. Utilize the basic principles and methodologies of molecular biology and genetics, focusing on gene structure and function, epigenetics, gene expression, biochemical genetics and inborn errors of metabolism for therapeutic diagnostic decision-making
  2. Receive training in the use of genomic technologies and software tools for data processing widely used in bioinformatics, and using the R programming language to learn computational methods and data manipulation principles, clustering, data visualization, and machine learning algorithms
  3. Acquire the ability to use software packages to perform data analysis procedures and interpret the results, including descriptive statistics, tests of hypotheses and confidence intervals, analysis of variance, correlation and linear regression analysis, and quality control
  4. Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in many high-demand areas, including genomic medicine, health care, pharmaceutics and medical manufacturing, and government

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.