Mathematical Biosciences

Program Description


The specialization in Mathematical Biosciences was the first of our MMS programs, introduced in 2009. The curriculum has been developed in collaboration with other units at Ohio State including the Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI),  the College of Biological Sciences, and the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Students will participate in MBI activities such as summer research programs and colloquia, and complete a thesis in their second year under the supervision of mathematics faculty working in math biology. The training in this specialization aims to equip students with skills to model problems in the life sciences in mathematical terms and solve these with analytical and numerical methods in order to explain, predict, or optimize underlying biological situations. The emphasis is on continuous modeling, differential equations, and numerical analysis. Prospective careers are in biomedical research and industry, employment in the public sector (such as with Health & Human Services (HHS) or Centers for Disease Control (CDC)) or in education, as well as advanced academic pursuits along the interface of mathematics and biology.

Admissions Criteria


Requirements for the Mathematical Biosciences specialization are:

  • 4-year BS or BA degree, which should include courses taken in multivariable calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra. Most of our applicants are math majors but other majors with significant math background are also welcome to apply.
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher*
  • Students from non-English speaking countries need to have excellent English skills. Both TOEFL and GRE General Test scores must be submitted (neither test is required for domestic students). Successful MMS applicants typically score at least 28 on the TOEFL iBT Speaking Test or 8.5 on the IELTS Speaking Test.**
  • Three reference letters from writers qualified to judge the applicant's academic abilities
  • CV and Statement of Purpose describing your background and professional goals
  • GRE Subject Test scores will be considered if submitted, but are not required
  • Background in biology is useful but not required; however, we look for a demonstrated interest in life sciences

on a 4.0 scale, otherwise 75th percentile or better

**TOEFL scores are waived for applicants who complete a Bachelor's or Master's degree from a U.S.-based college prior to matriculation

Sample Program


Exact degree requirements can be found under the Current Students section of the website. An example of the typical courses a student in this program would take is included here.

Sample Schedule for Mathematical Biosciences Specialization

Year 1

  • Autumn: Total Class Hours: 8
    • Course 1: Math 5401 (3Cr)
    • Course 2: MOLGEN 5660 (5 Cr)
    • Course 3: --
  • Spring: Total Class Hours: 9
    • Course 1: MATH 5402 (3 Cr)
    • Course 2: MATH 5651 (3 Cr)
    • Course 3: Elective (3 Cr)
  • Summer: Independent Study Summer Project

Year 2

  • Autumn: Total Class Hours: 9
    • Course 1: Math 5601 (3Cr)
    • Course 2: STAT 6301 (3 Cr)
    • Course 3: -Elective (3 Cr)
  • Spring: Total Class Hours: 8
    • Course 1: MATH 5602 (3 Cr)
    • Course 2: STAT 6302 (3 Cr)
    • Course 3: MATH 6999 (2 Cr)**

Total                Class Hours: 34

** Additional MATH 6999 or other independent study courses beyond the required hours for the degree are chosen here so that that minimum hour requirements per semester to hold a GA appointment are met

If you have further questions about the curriculum or content of courses, please contact Professor Yuan Lou or Professor Adriana Dawes.

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