Postgraduate

Computational Systems Biology MSc

Computational Systems Biology MSc

Full time: 12 months

Profile

This course provides specialist skills in core systems biology with a focus on the development of computational and mathematical research skills. It specialises in computational design, providing essential computing and engineering skills that allow you to develop software to program biological systems.

This interdisciplinary course is based in the School of Computing Science and taught jointly with the Faculty of Medical Sciences and the School of Mathematics and Statistics. The course is ideal for students aiming for careers in industry or academia. We cater for students with a range of backgrounds, including Life Sciences, Computing Science, Mathematics and Engineering.

Computational Systems Biology is focused on the study of organisms from a holistic perspective. Computational design of biological systems is essential for allowing the construction of complex and large biological systems.

We provide a unique, multidisciplinary experience essential for understanding systems biology. The course draws together the highly-rated teaching and research expertise of our Schools of Computing Science, Mathematics and Statistics, Biology, and Cell and Molecular Biosciences. The course also has strong links with Newcastle's Centre for Integrated Systems Biology of Ageing and Nutrition (CISBAN). 

Our course is designed for students from both biological and computational backgrounds. Prior experience with computers or computer programming is not required. Students with mathematical, engineering or other scientific backgrounds are also welcome to apply.

The course is part of a suite of related programmes that also include:

All four programmes share core modules, creating a tight-knit cohort. This encourages collaborations on projects undertaking interdisciplinary research.

Project work

Your five month research project gives you a real opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in depth in Systems Biology. You have the opportunity to work closely with a leading research team in the School and there are opportunities to work on industry lead projects. You will have one-to-one supervision from an experienced member of the faculty, supported with supervision from associated senior researchers and 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

Student satisfaction

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) said that their experience had been met or exceeded.  

Delivery

Our course structure is highly flexible. You can tailor your degree to your own skills and interests. Computational Systems Biology is designed for students who have a good degree in the biological sciences or the physical sciences (including computer science, mathematics, physics and engineering). Half of the course is taught and the remainder is dedicated to a research project.

You take compulsory modules (70 credits) and optional modules (20 credits), followed by a five month individual project (90 credits) that may be taken within the University or with a bioinformatics or pharmaceutical company. Compulsory modules typically include:

  • modelling cellular systems
  • introductory programming for biologists
  • systems biology
  • research skills for bioinformatics

There are up to four optional modules to choose from in the second semester, allowing you to tailor the research training component of your degree to your preferences. Module choices include:

  • Comparative Genomics
  • e-Science
  • Advanced Object-Oriented Design and Programming\
  • Complex Systems Analysis

Semester one contains modules to build the basic grounding in, and understanding of, Computational Systems Biology theory and applications, together with necessary computational and numeric understanding to undertake more specialist modules in the next semester. Training in mathematics and statistics is also provided. 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 will take a module that is focussed on learning about modelling of biochemical systems - essential material for understanding biological systems at a molecular level. All of the semester two modules are examined by in-course assessment - there are no formal examinations in these modules.

Research is a large component of this course. The emphasis is on delivering the research training you need in the future to effectively meet the demands of industry and academia. Newcastle's research in bioinformatics, life sciences, computing and mathematics is internationally recognised.

The School staff teaching you are successful researchers in their field and publish regularly in highly-ranked systems biology related journals. You gain the experience of working in a team in an environment with the help, support and friendship of fellow students.

A sample of job titles our graduates now hold

Software Engineer, IT Consultant, Bioinformatics Technician

A sample of employers our graduates now work for

European Space Agency, IBM UK, HTC Corporation

Data based on responses from 125 UK, EU and International postgraduate leavers (2011/12, 2012/13) studying Computer Science. See more about what our graduates do.

Related Degrees

  • Bioinformatics MSc

    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.

  • Computational Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics MSc

    This course provides specialist expertise in core neuroinformatics (such as computing and biology) focusing on the development of research skills. It equips you with the skills to contribute to biologically realistic simulations of neural activity and developments. These are rapidly becoming the key focus of neuroinformatics research.

All related programmes

Fees & Funding

2017-2018 fees

The fees displayed here are per course.

MSc

UK/EU

Full time: £6,750

International

Full time: £17,935

You can read more about our tuition fees and discounts available.

Funding opportunities

Funding for UK/EU students Number of awards Value of awards
Postgraduate Master’s Loan Scheme

Maximum of £10,000

Our students/graduates Number of awards Value of awards
20% Alumni Tuition Fee Discount

Discount varies by level of tuition fee.

Our students/graduates Number of awards Value of awards
20% Alumni Tuition Fee Discount

Discount varies by level of tuition fee.

UK/EU students Number of awards Value of awards
Doctoral Training Studentships (MRes plus PhD) in Cloud Computing for Big Data

12

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual tax free stipend (or living allowance) of £14,296. Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

IAPETUS NERC PhD Studentships - Biology, Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Geography, Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

12 PhD studentships offered across all partner institutions.

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual tax-free stipend (or living expenses) of £14,296 (pending confirmation). Extensive research support funding is also offered.

PhD Studentships in the Arts and Humanities - AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership

50 PhD studentships offered across Newcastle University, Durham University and Queen's University Belfast.

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual stipend (living expenses) at the Research Councils' UK (RCUK) postgraduate rate, currently £14,296. Also, additional funding to cover other study related costs (ie study abroad, conference attendance etc).

Postgraduate Master’s Loan Scheme

Maximum of £10,000

PhD in Marine Science and Technology - Shipping Exhaust Gas Emission Modelling, Indexing and Regulation

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid. £13,726 living expenses per year.

Disabled Students' Allowances

Varies

Professional and Career Development Loans

Varies

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: The Use of Perovskite-type Oxygen-carriers for Hydrogen Production via Chemical Looping

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Next generation of composite molten salt-ceramic membranes for selective separation of NOx, SO2 and CO2

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: State of the art novel catalysts for environmental reaction engineering

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

Industrial CASE PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Data-driven modelling of glass durability and glass pouring rate in nuclear waste vitrification process

1

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria), and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

Marie Curie PhD Fellowship on mammalian mitochondrial gene expression

1

An annual stipend will be paid to cover fees at the Home rate and living expenses.  The amount of stipend will vary depending on where the students appointed are from and their current circumstances.

Marie Curie PhD Fellowship on the regulation of human mitochondrial expression

1

An annual stipend will be paid to cover fees at the Home rate and living expenses.  The amount of stipend will vary depending on where the students appointed are from and their current circumstances.

PhD in Civil Engineering Discrete Element Method modelling of non-spherical particles: application to geomaterials, process and mining engineering

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,296 (full award). 

PhD Studentship in Synthetic Biology – Modelling Genetic Circuits in Space-Time

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,296.

PhD Studentship in Agricultural Biochemistry - Safener activity and metabolic resistance to herbicides in dicots

One

Depending on how you meet the BBSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the four-year duration of your PhD and an annual stipend of £14,701 (2016-2017). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

BBSRC PhD studentships – Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham Doctoral Training Partnership in Biosciences

22 studentships across the partnership

100% of UK/EU fees paid and a tax-free stipend (living expenses) at the Research Council UK rate (indicative amount in Year 1, £14,296). Some students will be eligible for a fee-only award (no stipend)

NIHR School for Primary Care Research Doctoral Studentship

1

100% UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £16,000.  Significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

PhD Studentship in Public Health and Epidemiology - Life-course determinants of poor oral health in older people: an epidemiological study using population-based cohorts in the UK and USA

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,296.   Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

1968 Postgraduate Hardship Fund

1

£2300

Pybus Bursary 2016-2017

1

Awards of up to £2,000 are available.

International (Non EU) students Number of awards Value of awards
International Family Discounts (IFD)

10% of the tuition fee per year.

Fulbright Scholarships

Varies

British Marshall Scholarships

40

Varies

Newcastle University Overseas Research Scholarship (NUORS)

15

Tuition fee scholarships of typically £7,800 - £11,700 per year. The award covers the difference between fees for UK/EU students and international students.

Newcastle University International Postgraduate Scholarship (NUIPS)

Partial scholarship payable towards tuition fees

Country-specific Scholarships

Varies.

Chinese Business Excellence Scholarships

Tuition fees scholarships from £5,000 for a range of Business School postgraduate courses.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarships Scheme

6

Tuition fees, living expenses, return economy air fare, study travel grant towards the costs of study-related travel within the UK or overseas plus a warm clothing allowance.

All students Number of awards Value of awards
MSc Funding - 1st Class Scholarship (School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences)

Not specified

£2,000

ESRC Northern Ireland/North East (NINE) Doctoral Training Partnership PhD Studentships in the Social Sciences

50 PhD studentships across the Universities of:

  • Newcastle
  • Durham
  • Queen's Belfast
  • Ulster
  • Northumbria 
  • Teesside 
  • Sunderland

100% tuition fees plus an annual stipend at the RCUK postgraduate rate, currently £14,296. Additional funding is available to cover costs of study abroad, conference attendance, fieldwork, attendance at NINE DTP cohort-building events, short-term placements and specialist skills training.

David Goldman PhD studentship in Innovation and Enterprise

1

100% tuition fees paid at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend (living expenses) equal to that provided by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (estimated rate of £13,590 in 2016/17). 

Clinical Research Funding - various

Varies

Health Education England Bursaries (Physician Associate Studies, PGDip)

20 awards for 2016 entry

£15,000 bursary (£7,500 per year). The Bursary is paid as a tuition fee discount direct to the University.

School and Research Institute Studentships, Bursaries and Scholarships

Varies

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Instalments
2% Tuition Fee Discount

2% off annual tuition fee

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP)

Varies

Varies.

Sir Mark Waller Postgraduate Law Scholarships

6 for international students, 2 for home/EU students.

Full and partial (£2,500-£3,000) tuition fee scholarships.

Charities and Trusts

Varies

Allergy Module Funding

Varies

The Crown Estate Bursaries - MSc Marine Technology Education Consortium (MTEC)

9

Partial tuition fee bursaries of £3,600.

Employer Sponsorship

Varies

FindAMasters.com and FindAPhD.com Postgraduate Scholarships

1x £5,000 PhD scholarship
1x £5,000 Masters scholarship
4x £500 scholarships

£12,000 across six awards.

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries

15

£500 payable towards tuition fees.

Teacher Training (PGCE programmes)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy PGDip Bursaries

£2,000

The North of England P and I Association Limited (NEPIA) Studentship

1

£2500

PhD Studentship - Do age-associated B-cells contribute to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis?

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expense of £14,296.  Also significant additional funding to cover research expenses, general training, travel and meeting costs.  

Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Sport Scholarships

Varies

£500 - £10,000

Santander Mobility Awards for 2016/17

10 minimum

Maximum value of £1,400

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Mathematical modelling studies of rhythmic hydrogels for medical applications

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, 100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

Activia Training UK Scholarship Award

2

£500 for college and university students in the UK.

Research Excellence Academy Scholarship in the Constructions and uses of the European past in heritage and political discourse

1

The scholarship includes the UK/EU rate of tuition fee and £14,296 living expenses per year (2016-17 Research Council UK rate).

Research Excellence Academy Studentship in Prehistoric fuel use in the archaeological record: developing the potential of ash through integrating microfossil analysis and geochemistry

1

100% of tuition fees and £14,296 living expenses per year (2016-17 Research Council UK rate).

Research Excellence Academy PhD Studentship in Linguistics

1

The studentship includes the UK/EU rate of tuition fee and £14,296 living expenses per year (2016-17 Research Councils UK rate).

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Understanding Biological Pathways for Nanoparticle Synthesis

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, 100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration and an annual stipend £14,296 (2016/17).

PhD Studentships in Chemistry - Developing New Materials for Tandem Dye-sensitized Solar Cells

3

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend at RCUK rate (£14,296 2016/17).  Successful non-EU international students will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

PhD School of Chemistry Newcastle University: Advanced Materials for Redox Flow Batteries

1

100% tuition fees plus an annual stipend of £14,057 (based on RCUK stipend levels).  Overseas applicants should be aware that the overseas fees are not covered by the studentship, and would need to be self-funded.  The fees and stipend cover UK/EU applicants only.

PhD Studentship in Cancer Research - Functional screening for novel therapies in high-risk childhood cancers

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,171.  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU and international fee.

Business Excellence Scholarships

Tuition fees scholarships from £2,000 - £5,000 for a range of Business School Master’s courses.

MBA Business Excellence Scholarships

Tuition fee scholarships of £6,000 will be awarded to high achieving MBA candidates.

MBA Leadership Scholarships

Tuition fee scholarships of £10,000 will be awarded to high achieving MBA candidates.

PhD Studentship in Marine Transport – Market innovations and shipping economics

1

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate plus an annual stipend of £14,296.  International students may apply, however tuition fees will only be covered at the UK/EU rate.  Limited financial support may be available for research and fieldwork costs.

PhD Studentship in Diagnostic Test Evaluation Methodology - Evaluations of diagnostic tests in the presence of an imperfect reference standard and the health economic considerations

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees and annual living expenses of £14,296.  Also additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

PhD project in Statistics

1

100% tuition fees plus a tax-free stipend of (up to) £14,296 (16/17 level), a desktop computer, and £1500 travel allowance.

PhD project in Pure Mathematics

1

100% tuition fees plus a tax-free stipend of (up to) £14,296 (16/17 level), a desktop computer, and £1500 travel allowance.

PhD project in Applied Mathematics

1

100% tuition fees plus a tax-free stipend of (up to) £14,296 (16/17 level), a desktop computer, and £1500 travel allowance.

PhD Studentship in School of Chemistry - Quantum Mechanical Simulations for the Development of Novel Cancer Therapies

1

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend at RCUK rate (£14,296 2016/17).  Successful non-EU international students will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

PhD project in Physics

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees plus a tax-free stipend of (up to) £14,296 (16/17 level), a desktop computer, and £1500 travel allowance.

Practice-led PhD in Fine Art, in partnership with Helix Arts: Power, voice and decision-making in participative arts practice

1

100% UK/EU rate of tuition fees and £14,296 living expenses per year (2016 - 17 Research Council UK rate).

PhD Studentship in Institute for Agri-Food Research and Innovation (IAFRI) - Stakeholder involvement in policy evaluation within the Institute and linked to the ESRC CECAN Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity across the Nexus

1

Award is worth £16,805 per year, contributing towards your PhD tuition fees and living costs.  Non-EU nationals can apply but will need to fund the difference between UK/EU fees and international fees.

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Developing Stable Functional Head Group for Anion Exchange Membranes

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, 100%  tuition fees at the international students fees (if applicable otherwise UK/EU) and an annual stipend of £14,296 (2016/17). 

PhD Studentship in School of Biology – Slug Physiology

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,296.

PhD Studentship in School of Chemistry – Probing Femtosecond Dynamics with Core Hole Spectroscopy: Theoretical Approach

1

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend at RCUK rate (£14,296 2016/17).  Successful non-EU international students will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Research Excellence Academy PhD Studentship in Sociology - asylum seekers and refugees in peripheral urban areas in the north of England and the Italian South

1

100% of UK/EU fees and an annual stipend at RCUK rates (rate for 2016-2017 was £14,296 per year).  Also included is a research training and support grant of £750 per year and an overseas fieldwork support grant of £450 per year.

Physical Geography Research Excellence Academy PhD Studentships

Two Physical Geography Research Excellence Academy PhD Studentship awards are available, with five potential projects to choose from.

100% of tuition fees at the UK/EU rate will be paid and an annual maintenance grant equivalent to the RCUK rate (current stipend for 2016/17 is £14,296). Successful non-EU international students will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Entry Requirements

A 2:2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in any biological science-based subject, such as:

  • genetics
  • biochemistry
  • biology

Or a 2:1 honours degree in any computing science or maths based subject.

We will also consider applicants on an individual basis with lower or non-standard qualifications, provided they have significant industrial or professional experience in a biological or computer science related area.

International Students

To study this course you need to meet our Band 2 English Language requirements:

Direct Entry : IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a Pre-sessional English Language course. 

Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.

The equivalent academic qualifications that we accept are listed on our country pages.

How to Apply

Use our Applicant Portal to apply for your course. We have a step-by-step guide to help you.

Start dates

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.

Deposit

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.

Contact

Admissions Secretary
School of Computing Science
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8072
Email: cs.admissions@ncl.ac.uk