Postgraduate study

Bioinformatics MSc

Awards: MSc

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is about the application of computer-based approaches to understanding biological processes. Our programme will introduce you to the current methods used to interpret the vast amounts of data generated by modern high-throughput technologies.

The aim of this MSc is to equip you with a strong background in biology, plus the computing skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the vast wealth of modern biological data. On completing this programme you will be able to take up PhD studies or bioinformatics posts in academia or in industry.

The programme covers programming skills, statistical analysis and database science as well as bioinformatics. Option courses allow you to specialise in several aspects of bioinformatics.

The MSc comprises two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project and dissertation. The project is a key element in deciding how your career in bioinformatics should develop further. Teaching is through lectures, tutorials, seminars, computer practicals and lab demonstrations.

Compulsory courses:

  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Bioinformatics Research Proposal
  • MSc Dissertation (Bioinformatics)
  • Statistics & Data Analysis

Optional courses:

  • Bioinformatics 1
  • Human–Computer Interaction
  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Introduction to Java Programming
  • Molecular Modelling and Database Mining
  • Practical Systems Biology
  • Quantitating Drug Binding
  • Bioinformatics 2
  • Bioinformatics Algorithms
  • Comparative and Evolutionary Genomics
  • Drug Discovery
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Introduction to Website and Database Design for Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Next Generation Genomics
  • Software Architecture, Process, and Management
  • Software Development

Research

The research project is carried out independently, but under the guidance of a supervisor, during the summer, with results presented in a dissertation. A wide range of projects is available through both the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Informatics.

The programme is good preparation for further academic research or for technical or managerial roles in various commercial sectors, from medical electronics to defence.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in biological sciences. You must have a strong background in molecular biology, biochemistry or related sciences and some experience of computer science or mathematics.

We will also consider your application if you have a background in chemistry, physics, mathematics or engineering.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Biology Teaching Organisation
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD

Due to the high demand, applications for 2019 entry will close on 23 May 2019.

After this point those who have submitted a completed application will be notified on the outcome.

Final decisions are expected by 18 July 2019.

*(Revised 23 April to reflect new application deadline).

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Biology Teaching Organisation
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD