MSc Bioinformatics and Systems Biology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

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.

PhD with integrated master's

If you're planning to undertake a PhD after your master's, our Integrated PhD programme will enable you to combine your postgraduate taught course with a related PhD project in biology, medicine or health.

You can also visit this page for examples of projects related to integrated master's courses.


This course aims to:

  • provide a biological background to the data types of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics;
  • develop the computational and analytical understanding and skills necessary 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 and e-learning.

We provide experience of carrying out two substantive research projects, 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, and dry-lab performance. 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. 

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

What our students say

The most useful part was the feedback from my supervisor during the whole project, they provided me with prompt and precise insights to develop the experiment and the dissertation as well. In technical terms, programming skills in Python and mathematical models were the most useful topics I used.

In the project, ample time was given to specialise in a single topic. It was also great to be able to choose from a wide variety of topics when selecting a project.

I enjoyed the flexibility and in parts the ability to make my own goals.

(Anonymous student feedback)


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 .