Postgraduate study

Bioinformatics MSc, PgDip

Awards: MSc, PgDip

Study modes: Full-time

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
  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Introduction to Practical Programming with Objects
  • 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.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScBioinformatics1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
PgDipBioinformatics9 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScBioinformatics1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
PgDipBioinformatics9 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees

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

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

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