The field of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BCB) is characterized by a highly diverse confluence of traditional academic disciplines. Informatics and Bio-science are the umbrella terms given to a set of allied disciplines which make up the field, but a much larger array of traditional areas contribute to the set of tools needed by individuals training for this new and expanding interdisciplinary field. Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Genetics, Biology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Micro Biology, and Biostatistics are the principal allied disciplines.

This program provides competency in fundamental biological sciences as well as computing, math, and statistics that are essential in pursuing a career, academic or otherwise, that depends on bioinformatic and/or computational analyses of biological information.

The bioinformatics subprogram offers Ph.D. and M.S. degrees as well as a Graduate Certificate designed to serve Ph.D. students engaged in a wide diversity of Disciplinary Degree Programs. 

At the University of Iowa, the study of Bioinformatics is facilitated within a number of traditional areas of graduate and undergraduate study. There is a growing list of departments and degree programs that currently offer, or are making plans to offer, coherent adjunct curricula to students pursuing Bioinformatics within existing degree programs (see list above). Upon completion of the Bioinformatics requirements of a degree program (M.S. or Ph.D.), the student is awarded a Certificate in Bioinformatics by the Graduate College. This certificate is part of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics (IGPI).

BCB as an emerging discipline involves the creation of new methods for applying the capabilities of advanced mathematics, engineering and computation to problems of basic life science and biomedical interest. Examples of these problems include the understanding of the human genome, the genetic basis of disease, evolution of plants and animals, and the relationships between micro-organisms and higher-order forms of life. This list is by no means all-inclusive.