Undergraduate Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering Program

The undergraduate interdisciplinary program Quantitative Biosciences and Engineering (QBE) provides rigorous training with an interface between biology and mathematics, computer sciences, and chemistry; establishing a new hallmark for Colorado School of Mines.

Students in this major will complete a core course program that includes the general Mines core plus a set of additional required courses identified as important components needed to educate an individual in quantitative bioscience and engineering. These courses are coupled with an approved stream of biology electives that fortify a student’s understanding of key areas, leading to a BS degree.

Electives are designed to support students with an interest in a particular area of biology (e.g., pre-med, ecology, systems, molecular) along with critical quantitative skills. Enhanced skill development and research opportunities through independent study credit will be offered in partnership with several research labs across campus.

Degree Expectations and Requirements

Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, the QBE curriculum should prepare students to be able to:

  • Explain and apply foundational biological concepts in the areas of 1) evolution, 2) structure-function relationships, 3) biological networks and systems, 4) information storage and transfer, and 5) transformations of energy and matter
  • Explain and apply core skills and concepts in mathematical, physical, and data sciences including basic programming, working with biological datasets, modeling biological processes, and visualizing data
  • Conduct rigorous experimental biological research through hypothesis testing, experimental design, use of research equipment, data collection, data analysis, and written and oral communication of results to diverse audiences
  • Work in diverse teams using technical expertise, multidisciplinary skills, effective communication, and entrepreneurship to establish goals, plan tasks, and solve problems
  • Evaluate the ethical and cultural impacts of modern biology and data science on local communities, worldwide society, and the environment
  • Obtain a position in quantitative biosciences in industry, government, or graduate/professional school
4-Year Plan

Review detailed information by downloading the 4-Year Plan for the 2023-2024 Catalog.

The above 4-year plan is a general recommendation for a student with no transfer or other credits outside Mines and not incorporating ASI, minors, or other academic pursuits. Other paths will be possible with the note that some courses will be easier to move than others. You are encouraged to work with an advisor to develop a custom plan for your goals.

Download the full 4-Year Plan for all details about classes and electives.

Additional Program Information

QBE 4 + 1 Program

 Also referred to as 4+1, the combined program generally refers to an M.S. non-thesis (M.S.-NT). Thesis-based M.S. is available, but generally will take longer than 1 year to complete.

Students should discuss with faculty, employers, and other mentors regarding the pros and cons of continuing straight through to the QBE M.S.-NT program in relationship to their goals.

The graduate application becomes available once you have 60 or more credits on your transcript. It is recommended to apply in the spring or summer of your junior year. You will apply for the next available admission cycle, even if you are not planning to take graduate courses for a while. For example, if submitting your application in the spring/summer of 2024, you will select fall 2024 as your graduate admit term (even if you don’t plan to take grad courses in fall 2024).

What is needed to apply?

  • Transcripts. They can be unofficial if all your college credits are from Mines.
  • Letters of Recommendation are not required. If you are wanting to apply for a Thesis Masters, they are encouraged.
  • Statement of Goals/Purpose
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • You must be admitted AND accept your enrollment by the first day of the semester you will complete the B.S. in order to double count credits.
  • Plan on your double counted courses:
  • If you plan on getting the QBE 4+1, you should enroll in the graduate level of bioinformatics (BIOL510) instead of the undergraduate course (CSCI478). This will be 3 credits of double count that will apply to QBE B.S. and QBE M.S. core requirements.
  • Plan with an advisor for an additional 3 credits of relevant 500-level coursework to double count as tech or free elective to the B.S. and as an elective or required course to the M.S.
  • Double counted courses must earn a grade of B- or better.
  • With these 6 credits of double count, the M.S. will be reduced to 24 credits and can then be completed in two semester of approximately 12 graduate credits each, or less if additional graduate courses are taken while an undergraduate or over summer. 9 credits/semester is full time at the graduate student level, and more than 13 graduate credits per semester is generally not recommended.
Student Success (M.I.N.E.S.)

Mining Biological Databases and Biological Systems​
Interrogating Biological Data Sets Using Computational Modeling​
Natural Systems Exploration​
Engineering and Evaluating Biological Systems ​
Synthesizing New Ideas and Products

More information on how M.I.N.E.S. can facilitate student success, coming soon!

Research Opportunities

The objective of this program is to enhance the education of undergraduate students with an opportunity to work as research assistants on faculty-led research projects. This will broaden and deepen the educational experience of students by exposing them to the research enterprise. Engaging in research could turn into a journey of self-discovery for students as it may help them identify their own career or research aspirations.
See the MURF website for details.

The First-Year Innovation and Research Scholar Training (FIRST) Fellowship offers an opportunity for select, highly motivated first-year students to participate in original research experiences coupled with a focus on innovation. FIRST fellowship recipients are awarded up to a $1000 stipend, disbursed hourly, to compensate for their time spent on research.
See the FIRST website for details.