The University of Toronto’s Master of Science in Applied Computing (MScAC) program, in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and the Department of Cell & Systems Biology, is proud to announce the launch of two new academic concentrations that will reshape the future of bioinformatics and healthcare. These new concentrations are Data Science for Biology and Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare – both of which are new graduate field offerings that are uniquely joint with the Department of Computer Science.

The Data Science for Biology concentration will train students with an affinity for computational analysis to become bioinformatics analysts and developers. Students of this new concentration will gain access to hands-on instruction that makes use of cutting-edge algorithms and tools to evaluate, manipulate, record, and present complex biological data. Graduates of the MScAC program who complete the Data Science for Biology concentration will enter the multi-billion-dollar bioeconomy that is experiencing tremendous growth driven by the boom of big data and transformative developments in medicine, precision agriculture, consumer-focused bioproducts and services, and synthetic biology. With this ‘bio revolution,’ these industries have grown increasingly interested in recruiting highly trained bioinformaticians to work in analogous capacities to problem-solve for real-world complexities.

Nicholas Provart, Chair of the Department of Cell & Systems Biology states, “We believe that the proposed concentration will help meet demand by filling a gap between existing undergraduate and PhD-level offerings, further integrating activities between the partnering academic units, elevating the quality of training within those units, and aligning with the University’s ambitions in and commitments to Data Science for Biology.”

The Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare concentration will be the first of its kind to provide applied machine learning training for students with a desire to enter the field of healthcare as either medical experts or computer scientists/engineers. This subdiscipline is at the forefront of a new chapter of medicine where disciplines that traditionally were deemed outside of the realm of healthcare now have the opportunity to improve patient health and healthcare, and thus the quality of life. The Government of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) have recently stated that there is a huge gap in supply of quality training programs in AI for healthcare that meet the demand of healthcare institutions and healthcare providers. This new concentration will be able to scale up the next generation of professionals who want to positively impact medicine.

“Artificial intelligence promises to enhance the practice of medicine. This program addresses a large unmet societal need in developing knowledge in this area. It is a unique joint program between medicine and computer science that will allow students, scientists, and clinicians to receive the training they need to be truly equipped to facilitate safer development and deployment of AI into healthcare,” says Dr. Rita Kandel, Professor and Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology.

Eyal de Lara, Chair of the Department of Computer Science shares, “We take great pride in the Master of Science in Applied Computing and in our partnership with the Department of Cell & Systems Biology and with the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology. The two new concentrations we are announcing today build on the many successes of MScAC.” Arvind Gupta, Academic Director of the Master of Science in Applied Computing program adds, “These two novel concentrations will train our students in the multi-disciplinary techniques needed to address the myriad of social challenges facing us. We look forward to seeing the many amazing discoveries our students will make in the years to come.”

The MScAC program is a 16-month professional master’s program with the mission to provide students with a deep understanding of theory and practical applications of computer science and its related fields. In addition to these new concentrations, the MScAC program offers concentrations in Data Science, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Quantum Computing. Two of these existing concentrations were recognized by Forbes as “The 10 Best Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Master’s Courses” in 2021. MScAC gradates not only gain truly unparalleled experiences through the program’s academic concentrations, but they also acquire practical applied training that equips them to become the next generation of world-class innovators.

The Data Science for Biology and AI in Healthcare concentrations will be available in the Fall Semester of 2023. MScAC applications for Fall 2024 are open in early October of 2023 and interested students are encouraged to visit the MScAC website for more information.