A summer mini course for hands-on training in the fundamentals of programming for biological research

Program Overview

April 2020 update: To accommodate social distancing practices, we will not be hosting the HLC program this summer. Stay safe and see you next year!

-If interesting in gaining some exposure and skills at home, CodeAcademy and Udacity (currently offering 30 days free) are popular online programming courses that may be of interest.

UNC How to Learn to Code

Need to find better, faster ways to analyze your data? Want to make your repetitive computer tasks quick and easy? Just want to be able to better communicate with bioinformaticist or add a set of skills to your repertoire? Not sure where to start because it’s overwhelming on your own??

How to Learn to Code (HLC) is a summer miniseries about the basics of computer programming/coding for biological research. HLC is run and taught by graduate students, post docs, and data scientists at UNC. The program is free and designed to introduce biological researchers (students/postdocs/faculty/staff) to foundational coding skills and tools they can apply to their own work. This program was named How to Learn to Code because coding is a continual learning process, even for experts, and not everything can be taught in one summer. This program aims to equip individuals with approaches on how to advance their skills in the future for their own specific data analysis goals.

Beginner participants can choose to learn either Beginner R or Python. Zero to minimal previous experience is expected.

Participants with previous experience can register for the Intermediate Python course. You should either have previous Python experience or experience in another language and be comfortable learning Python syntax quickly. Please contact us if you have questions about the specifics of this option.

Please see the course pages and FAQ for further information.

Certificate of Completion

We also offer a Certificate of Completion of this program to add to your CV/resume.

To receive the certificate , participants must:

  1. Attend 80% of small group classes
  2. Participate in small group lessons, homework
  3. Participate in end-of-class presentations
  4. Complete exit survey



UNC How to Learn to Code is sponsored by UNC TIBBS: http://tibbs.unc.edu



  1. Rylee Faraci

    I could like to apply for this program! I am currently a UNC Astrophysics student who has taken PHYS 331 (introduction to numerical techniques for the sciences 1). This course has a LOT of python coding and I’ve had a tutor help me but I still don’t quite yet have to coding intuition I need. I would love to join if I am not too late to register.

    • Lauren Donoghue

      Hi Rylee,

      Thanks for your interest in the program. Unfortunately we will not be hosting the program this year due to social distancing. We hope you can find programs online (ex. CodeAcademy and Udacity) to gain some exposure this summer.

      Thanks and stay well!

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