Data Science and Machine Learning for Biotechnology Certificate Program (aka gSTAR Certificate)

With scientists at Genentech, we have designed a training program that aligns with the technical needs of the biotech/pharmaceutical industries. Students will take courses that consist of 12 units in total over the span of two semesters.

Why get this certificate?

  • Data science related jobs have been among the top ranked jobs (based on salary, job satisfaction) for several years now
  • As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the average growth rate for data science jobs in this decade will be four times higher than the average rate for all occupations
  • The demand for talent is surging -- we need a new generation of young, diverse, and well-rounded computational scientists to help solve problems in biotechnology
  • This certificate program will help to train you in the high demand cutting-edge skills in data science for biotechnology.


  • CSC 219 or CSC 220
  • BIOL 100 or BIOL 230 (if not a Biology major)
  • Open to all majors who have completed the course requirements listed above
  • Both Undergraduate and Graduate students are eligible

Semester 1

CSC 308: Introduction to Machine Learning and Data Science (3 units)

  • Introduction to the basic machine learning concepts and tools. Focuses on applying them for application development, linear model, deep neural network and transfer learning using Python, Tensorflow, and Keras.

CSC 508*: Machine Learning and Data Science for Personalized Medicine (3 units)

  • The course is both a standalone introduction to machine learning for genomic data science and a compliment to previous coursework in biology, biochemistry, or genetics. It is designed for those seeking to gain familiarity with data science and machine learning tools that enable better decision making from genomic data. Students will learn common Python tools used in genomic data science and how to apply them in real world datasets.

*Counts towards CS Senior elective

Semester 2

***CSC 601: Seminar Series (1 unit)

  • Featuring scientists in related areas from Genentech or other biotechnology industry or academia, explore a broad view of the topics on Drug design, modeling to predict drug performance, or new drug approval processes. (CR/NC grading only)

***CSC 602: Tech Interview Prep (2 units)

  • Preparation for interviews for data science-related internships and full-time positions in industry. Development of interview skills such as how to communicate about technical aspects describe a problem, and articulate issues. Practice of key problem-solving strategies specific to technical/coding interviews. (CR/NC grading only)

CSC 509: Machine Learning for Medical Image Analysis (3 units)

  • This course explores the application of state-of-the-art deep learning models to medical image analysis: the task of identifying objects such as tissue, bone within an image. 

(***only additional courses that PINC students need to take to get both minor and certificate)

Applying to receive the Certificate

When all requirements are completed, students must take the steps below for the award of the certificate. 
  • The student prepares a Certificate Approved Program (CAP) form, and forwards it, along with transcript(s), to the program chair, Anagha Kulkarni. [Link to download below]
  • The chair will determine if all the requirements for the certificate have been satisfactorily completed and sign the CAP form.
  • The student pays the application fee ($7.00) at the Bursars' Office and has the CAP form stamped to confirm payment. Online payment possible: Pay Graduate Fees Online | Division of Graduate Studies & Career Development (
  • The student then submits the following to the Division of Graduate Studies
    • the CAP form signed by the program chair (Anagha Kulkarni,
    • supporting transcript(s), and
    • evidence of the fee paid.

Example gSTAR CAP Form

Download sample form to guide you