The Bioinformatics MSc combines foundational skills in bioinformatics with specialist skills in computing programming, molecular biology and research methods. Our unique, interdisciplinary course draws together highly-rated teaching and research expertise from across the University, equipping you for a successful career in the bioinformatics industry or academia.
This interdisciplinary course is based in the School of Computing. It is designed for students from both biological science and computational backgrounds. Prior experience with computer programming is not needed and we welcome applications from those with mathematical, engineering or other scientific backgrounds.
What you'll learn
Our course structure is highly flexible and you can tailor it to your own skills and interests. Half of the course is taught and the remainder is dedicated to a research project.
As research is a large component of this course, our emphasis is on delivering the research training you will need to meet the demands of industry and academia now and in the future. Our research in bioinformatics, life sciences, computing and mathematics is internationally recognised. We have an active research community, comprising several research groups and three research centres.
You will be taught by academics who are successful researchers in their field and publish regularly in highly-ranked bioinformatics journals. Our experienced and helpful staff will be happy to offer support with all aspects of your course from admissions to graduation and developing your career.
The course is part of a suite of related programmes that include:
- Synthetic Biology MSc
- Computational Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics MSc
- Computational Systems Biology MSc
All four courses share core modules. This creates a tight-knit cohort that has encouraged collaborations on projects undertaking interdisciplinary research.
We have a policy of seeking British Computer Society (BCS) accreditation for all of our degrees, so you can be assured that you will graduate with a degree that meets the standards set out by the IT industry. Studying a BCS-accredited degree provides the foundation for professional membership of the BCS on graduation and is the first step to becoming a chartered IT professional.
The School of Computing at Newcastle University is an accredited and a recognised Partner in the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science.
Semester one combines bioinformatics theory and application with the computational and modelling skills necessary to undertake more specialist modules in semester two. We provide training in mathematics and statistics and, for those without a biological first degree, we will also provide molecular biology training. Some of these modules are examined in January at the end of semester one.
Semester two begins with two modules that focus heavily on introducing subject-specific research skills. These two modules run sequentially, in a short but intensive mode that allows you time to focus on a single topic in depth. In the first of the second semester modules you learn how to analyse data arising from post-genomic studies such as microarray analysis, proteomic analysis and RNAseq. All of the semester two modules are examined by in-course assessment - there are no formal examinations in these modules.
Your five month project gives you an opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in depth, and to work in a research or development team. You will have one-to-one supervision from an experienced member of staff, supported with supervision from industry partners as required.
The project can be carried out:
- with a research group at Newcastle University
- with an industrial sponsor
- with a research institute
- at your place of work
91% of our international students rate their experience as 'excellent' (International Student Barometer, 2013).
89% of our students surveyed in the PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2013) say that their expectations had been met or exceeded.
You will have a unique opportunity to complete a work placement with one of our industrial partners as part of your project. Previous students have found placements with organisations including:
You will have dedicated computing facilities in the School of Computing. You will have access to the latest tools for system analysis and development. For certain projects, special facilities for networking can be set up.
You will enjoy access to specialist IT facilities to support your studies, including:
- a dedicated virtual Linux workstation
- a dedicated virtual Windows workstation
- high specification computers only for postgrduates
- over 300 PC's running Windows, 120 just for postgraduates
- over 300 Raspberry Pi devices
- high-performance supercomputers
- the latest Windows operating system and development tools
- 27" monitors with high resolution (2560X1440) display
- high-capacity database servers
- motion capture facilities
- 3D printing facilities
You will have access to a Linux based website that you can customise with PHP hosting services.
We have moved to the new £58m purpose-built Urban Sciences Building. Our new building offers fantastic new facilities for our students and academic community. The building is part of Science Central, a £350 million project bringing together:
- the public sector
- business and industry.
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Modules for 2017 entry
Compulsory modulesCompulsory modules
- CSC8309 High-Throughput Technologies in Bioinformatics
- CSC8313 Bioinformatics Theory and Practice
- CSC8316 Modelling Cellular Systems
- CSC8317 Introductory Programming for Biologists
- CSC8390 Research Skills for Bioinformatics
- CSC8398 Research Project for Bioinformatics
- MAS8401 Numeric Skills (Statistics and Mathematics)
Optional modulesOptional modules
- BIO8009 Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology OR
- CSC8304 Computing Environments for Bioinformatics
You take optional modules to a value of 10 credits from the following:
Modules change annually to take account of:
- changing staff expertise
- developments in the discipline
- the requirements of external bodies and partners
- student feedback.
Most module information for 2018 entry will be available from mid-May 2018.
Curious about what our graduates have gone on to do? Find out about opportunities they’ve pursued, and how we can help you develop your career.
Our graduates have an excellent record of finding employment (around 90%). Recent examples have included:
- bioinformatician at the Medical Research Council
- technical consultant at Accenture
- bioinformatics technician at Barcelona Supercomputing Centre
Our award-winning Careers Service will help you to explore your options and make informed choices to achieve your career goals.
Work experience placements are a great way to develop relevant skills to excel in your chosen career.
Find out about paid and unpaid work experience options and other ways you can add to your degree.
Fees & Funding
The fees displayed here are per course.
Full time: £10,200
Full time: £10,200
Full time: £21,600
Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.
EU students starting at Newcastle in 2018 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.
A 2:2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in any biological science-based discipline, such as:
A 2:1 honours degree, international equivalent, in a computing science or maths based subject.
We will also consider applicants on an individual basis with non-standard qualifications and significant industrial or professional experience in biological or computer science related areas.
Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.
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English Language Requirements
Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Pre-sessional English Course RequirementsPre-sessional English Course Requirements
- 6 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)
- 10 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 5.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.0 in all sub-skills)
You can study our Pre-sessional English course at the INTO Newcastle Centre.
How to Apply
The course starts in September. There is no application closing date for this course.
We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.
If you live outside the UK/EU you must:
- pay a deposit of £1,500
- or submit an official letter of sponsorship
The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.