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MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at The University of Manchester
MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
Our course is an integrated programme taught by researchers at the forefront of fields spanning bioinformatics, genomics and systems biology.

MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology / Overview

Year of entry: 2019

Overview

Degree awarded
Master of Science
Duration
12 months
Entry requirements

We require an honours degree (minimum Upper Second) or equivalent in:

  • biological sciences
  • medical sciences
  • physical sciences
  • computing sciences subject

With sufficient evidence of the relevant units taken.

We may also consider exceptional applicants with a Lower Second who also have research experience or equivalent professional experience.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Please apply via our online application form . See the application and selection section for details of the supporting documents we require.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We reserve the right to close applications if the course is full.

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
MSc Y N N N

Course overview

  • Gain extensive research experience and professional skills in the field of bioinformatics and systems biology.
  • Prepare for a career in industry or academic research.
  • Study at a university ranked 7th in the UK and among the top 50 in the world for biological sciences (QS World University Rankings 2018).

Open days

Attending an open day is a great way to find out what studying at Manchester is like. Find out about our  upcoming open days .

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2019, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £10,000
    International students (per annum): £23,000

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Scholarships/sponsorships

Alumni bursary

The Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health offers an alumni bursary of £1,000 towards tuition fees for successful applicants who are recent University of Manchester graduates and who are commencing one of our postgraduate taught master's programmes in 2019.

The bursary is available to students or alumni who:

  • graduated in 2018 or are graduating in 2019; 
  • hold a first class honours degree; 
  • have home or overseas fee status; 
  • are applying for full- or part-time study; 
  • are self-funded and not in receipt of any other funding support. 
The bursary will be applied as a fee reduction automatically for those students and alumni who meet the alumni bursary criteria so there is no application process.

Contact details

Academic department
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
Contact name
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Telephone
+44 (0)161 306 5439
Email
Website
https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/biology/
Academic department overview
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We require an honours degree (minimum Upper Second) or equivalent in:

  • biological sciences
  • medical sciences
  • physical sciences
  • computing sciences subject

With sufficient evidence of the relevant units taken.

We may also consider exceptional applicants with a Lower Second who also have research experience or equivalent professional experience.

English language

International students must demonstrate English proficiency through a secure and approved testing system.

We ask for English language proof if you are from non-majority English speaking countries (a list of majority English speaking countries, as defined by the UK Home Office, can be found here ).

Specifically, we require a minimum of:

  • IELTS : 6.5 overall (6.5 in each component)
  • TOEFL: 90 internet-based (with 22 in each component)

See further information about requirements for your country .

We may also accept evidence of a confirmed place on a University Pre-sessional English language course , if your current IELTS scores are: 

  • Minimum 6.0 overall with 6.0 in writing plus enrolment and attendance on the 6-week pre-sessional course (PS6)
  • Minimum 5.5 overall with 5.5 in writing plus enrolment and attendance on the 10-week pre-sessional course (PS10)

Please note, we must approve this before you apply for the English course.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For more details see entry requirements from your country .

Relevant work experience

You need to be able to demonstrate relevant work experience in your chosen pathway.

Application and selection

How to apply

Please apply via our online application form . See the application and selection section for details of the supporting documents we require.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible. We reserve the right to close applications if the course is full.

Advice to applicants

We require the following documents before we can consider your application.
  • Transcript of your studies to date, translated into English.
  • Two academic references on letter headed paper. These can be scanned and uploaded when you apply or emailed to pgtaught.biosciences@manchester.ac.uk . We do not request references on an applicant's behalf and it is your responsibility to ensure your referees know how to provide your reference to us.
  • Degree certificate (if you have already graduated).
  • Personal statement or statement of purpose.
  • Curriculum vitae (CV).

If English is not your first language, we also require proof of your English language ability. If you have already taken an English language qualification, please include your certificate with your application. We may be willing to consider your application without this document, but if we choose to make you an offer, the conditions will include IELTS (or equivalent qualification).

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1,000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Please upload a copy of your current valid passport with your application showing the photograph page with your application. For CAS purposes, this must show your full name, date of birth, nationality, passport number and the date the passport is valid until, which must be later than the date of your planned arrival in the UK, and the start date of your course.

You cannot use your CAS to apply for a visa more than three months before the start date of your course. This means that if you intend to begin a course on 16 September 2019, we will not issue you with a CAS number before 16 June 2019.

Your CAS number is only valid for one Tier 4 application.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again.

Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

Our MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology course looks at two concepts that complement each other and reflect the skills currently sought by employers in academia and industry.

Bioinformatics is changing as high throughput biological data collection becomes more systems-oriented, with employers seeking people who can work across both disciplines.

Enormous success has been achieved in bioinformatics, such as in defining homologous families of sequences at the DNA, RNA, and protein levels. However, our appreciation of function is changing rapidly as experimental analysis scales up to cellular and organismal viewpoints.

At these levels, we are interested in the properties of a network of interacting components as a system, as well as the components themselves.

Our MSc reflects these exciting developments, providing an integrated programme taught by researchers at the forefront of fields spanning bioinformatics, genomics and systems biology.

You will gain theoretical and practical knowledge of methods to analyse and interpret the data generated by modern biology. This involves the appreciation of biochemistry and molecular biology, together with IT and computer science techniques that will prepare you for multidisciplinary careers in research.

Aims

This course aims to:

  • provide a biological background to the data types of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics;
  • develop the computational and analytical understanding necessary as a platform for processing biological data;
  • demonstrate applications and worked examples in the fields of bioinformatics and systems biology, integrating with student involvement through project work.

Special features

Expert teaching

Learn from researchers at the forefront of fields spanning bioinformatics, genomics and systems biology.

Research experience

Develop your research skills in preparation for a career in the biosciences industry or academic research.

Teaching and learning

We use a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, practicals, group discussions, problem classes and e-learning.

Research projects provide experience of carrying out a substantive research project, including the planning, execution and communication of original scientific research.

Find out more by visiting the postgraduate teaching and learning page.

Coursework and assessment

Research projects are assessed by written report, poster and oral presentations. Taught units are assessed through both coursework and exams.

Course unit details

The taught part of the course runs from September to December and consists of 60 credits delivered from four 15-credit units:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Programming Skills
  • Computational Approaches to Biology
  • Experimental Design and Statistics.

You will undertake two research projects, each carrying 60 credits, in Semester 2 and the summer.

Additionally, tutorials and the Graduate Training Programme (skills development) will run through the whole course.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Programming Skills BIOL60201 15 Mandatory
Bioinformatics BIOL60791 15 Mandatory
Research Project 1-Bioinformatics BIOL61230 60 Mandatory
Research Project 2-Bioinformatics BIOL61280 60 Mandatory
Statistics & Experimental Design BIOL65161 15 Mandatory
Computational Approaches to Biology BIOL66021 15 Mandatory
PGT Supervisor Meeting (MSc) BIOL72100 0 Mandatory
PGT Advisor Meeting (MSc)-3 BIOL73050 0 Mandatory
PGT Advisor Mtg (MSc)-1 BIOL73130 0 Mandatory
PGT Advisor Meeting (MSc)-2 BIOL73230 0 Mandatory

What our students say

My final MSc project was conducted in collaboration with a cancer research group in Liverpool, aimed at facilitating targeted DNA sequencing of gene regions identified as being important for breast cancer.

This gave me an opportunity to work together with researchers outside of the university on a project that had real-world value.

Martin Gerner

Facilities

You will be able to access a range of facilities throughout the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service .

Careers

Career opportunities

Our graduates acquire a wide range of subject-specific and transferable skills and extensive research experience.

The combination of systems biology and bioinformatics addressed in this course reflects the current skills sought in academic and industrial (eg pharmaceutical) settings.

Around half of each class find PhD positions straight after the MSc, while others find positions in the biosciences, health data and IT industries, or build upon their training to enter careers in biology and IT.