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

Module changes

Module changes

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.

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.

Tuition fees for 2018-19 have not yet been confirmed.

EU students starting at Newcastle in 2017 and 2018 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.

Funding opportunities

Funding for UK/EU students Number of awards Value of awards
Postgraduate Master’s Loan Scheme (students from England and non-UK countries)

Maximum of £10,280 (2017 entry)

Postgraduate Opportunity Scholarships 2017/18

40

£5,000

Non EU students Number of awards Value of awards
Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP)

Not specified.

The scholarship covers tuition fees and living expenses.

Newcastle University GREAT India Scholarships

3

£5,000 payable towards the first year of tuition fees.

Vice-Chancellor's International Scholarships

255

£3,000

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

Discount varies by level of tuition fee.

All Students Number of awards Value of awards
MastersCompare Postgraduate Scholarship

1

£5,000

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
PhD Studentship in Epidemiology and Public Health using Population-based Cohorts of Ageing in the UK and USA

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual stipend of £14,553. Additional funding is available for research costs and national and international travel (conferences and exchanges)

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 £14,553 (2017/18).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

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 £14,553 (2017/18).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

PhD Studentship: Health monitoring for wide-bandgap power modules

1

£56,244 in total (over 3 years). Funding covers the cost of annual fees at £4,250 and provides annual maintenance of £14,553 (2017/18 figure). UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except where UK residency has been established for more than 3 years.

PhD studentship in Interactive Visualization of Complex Data

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553.

The Clyde Higgs Postgraduate Scholarship 2017-18

Up to 5

An award of £5,000 is available for home students.

PhD studentship – underwater sensor networks

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees
UK students – annual tax-free stipend (living allowances) of £20,000.
Non-UK EU students - annual tax-free stipend (living allowances) of £15,000.

PhD studentship - Plastic Dispersion in the Global Ocean

1

This studentship includes: UK/EU tuition fees, an annual tax-free stipend of (up to) £14,553 (17/18 level) and use of a desktop computer.

PhD in Civil Engineering and Geosciences - Mapping, monitoring and characterising landslides with satellite radar and optical observations

1

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £14,553 (2017-18). 

Postgraduate Master’s Loan Scheme (students from England and non-UK countries)

Maximum of £10,280 (2017 entry)

Postgraduate Opportunity Scholarships 2017/18

40

£5,000

Two PhD Studentships in Environmental/Animal Science/Clean Technology - Assessment of Environmental Impact of European Pig Systems

2

100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for the duration of your PhD and an annual stipend of £14,533  

Architecture, Planning and Landscape - Postgraduate Taught Home and EU Scholarship Scheme 2017

Not specified.

£2,000 scholarships (which will be deducted from your tuition fees) and full fees scholarships.

Disabled Students' Allowances

Varies

Professional and Career Development Loans

Varies

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

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.

EPSRC CASE PhD Studentship in Nanoscale Tomography and Chemical Analysis of Soft Materials in 3D

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award).  Additional contribution from Proctor and Gamble to be confirmed before commencement.  Also significant additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

EPSRC Studentship – Electrical and Electronic Engineering

1

100% tuition fees and UK/EU rate for 4 years of study (MSc year + 3 years PhD), plus an annual stipend of £14,533.

PhD Studentship in Cell and Molecular Biosciences - Virulence factors of human and bird Trichomonad parasites targeting host proteoglycans: integrating evolutionary genomics and molecular cell biology

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only. 

BBSRC CASE PhD Studentship in Cellular Medicine - Investigating the impact of insulin resistance on ageing, appearance and wellbeing using sleep as a model system

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

PhD Studentship in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials: Development of novel proton – oxygen ion – electron conducting ceramics

1

Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, a full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for a three year duration of your PhD and an annual stipend £14,533 (2017/18).

The Elsie Jeffery Memorial Bursary

1

£1,000

PhD Studentship - Textile microplastics: causes and cures - improving our understanding of the drivers of fibre loss during washing

1

It provides a stipend at normal UK Research Council rates of £14,553 per annum (2017-18) and tuition fees. The studentship is open to UK and EU students.

Subsea UK Subsea Engineering MSc Scholarship

1

£8,000

Integrated PhD in the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering: Additive Manufacture for Biomedical Applications

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual stipend of £14,000 in year 1 and £18,000 in years 2 to 4.  The studentship is available to UK/EU applicants only. Also additional funding to cover research costs and local, national and international travel (conferences and exchanges).

International (Non EU) students Number of awards Value of awards
School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape - Postgraduate International Scholarship Scheme (2017)

Not specified

£2,000 tuition fee scholarships

Vice-Chancellor's International Scholarships

255

£3,000

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)

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.

Chinese Business Excellence Scholarships

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

Newcastle Santander Scholarships

10

£5,000 payable towards the first year of tuition fees.

Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP)

Not specified.

The scholarship covers tuition fees and living expenses.

USA Athlete Scholarship

10

£5000- £8000 payable towards the first year of tuition fees and a comprehensive support package (see Overview for further details).

Newcastle University GREAT India Scholarships

3

£5,000 payable towards the first year of tuition fees.

All students Number of awards Value of awards
PhD Studentship - Tracked Electric Vehicles

1

£56,244 in total (over 3 years). Funding covers the cost of fees and provides an annual maintenance of £14,553 (2017/18 figures).  UK, EU and international applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance.

PhD Studentship in Computing Science - A Computational Systems Biology Approach to Psoriasis Treatment (Rosetrees Trust)

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual stipend of £14,553 (full award).  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

PhD Studentship in the Institute of Neuroscience – Effect of Ageing and Parkinson’s disease on Neural Control of Gait

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553.  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

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.

Research Excellence Academy PhD Studentship - Designing dynamic models to understand and predict the responses of complex ecological networks to environmental perturbations

1

100% tuition fees, a tax-free stipend of (up to) is £14,553 pa (17/18), a desktop computer, and £1,500 travel allowance. 

MSc Funding - 1st Class Scholarship (School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences)

Not specified

£2,000

Clinical Research Funding - various

Varies

Health Education England Bursaries (Physician Associate Studies, PGDip)

20 awards for 2017 entry

£18,000 bursary (£9,000 per year) and a contribution towards travel costs. 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

Employer Sponsorship

Varies

FindAMasters.com and FindAPhD.com Postgraduate Scholarships

Not specified.

FindAMasters.com and FindAPhD.com are offering £12,000 in scholarships for postgraduate study.

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

Sport Scholarships

Varies

£500 - £10,000

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.

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 Cell and Molecular Biosciences - Mechanistic understanding of cell wall biosynthesis to combat antimicrobial resistance

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,525.   Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation MLitt/PhD Studentships for Studies Relating to Japan

Up to 3 (MLitt or PhD)

£10,000,contributing towards your MLitt/PhD tuition fees and living costs. 

MastersCompare Postgraduate Scholarship

1

£5,000

PhD Studentship in cutaneous medicine and systems biology: Biomarker discovery and integration with computational modelling to predict psoriatic plaque resolution in response to UVB therapy

1

100% UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,553.    Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU and international fees.

PhD studentship in Biochemistry and Structural Biology – The Molecular Structure of Meiotic Chromosomes

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expense of £14,553.  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Walsh PhD Fellowship: Brexit and Land-Use on the Island of Ireland

1

100% of tuition fees at the UK/EU rate will be paid and an annual maintenance grant equivalent to the RCUK rate (£14,553 for 2017/18). Successful non-EU international students will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.  A research training support grant is available to support fieldwork and associated costs.

PhD studentship - Long-term training load management and recovery strategies in elite rugby union players (Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club and Newcastle University)

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,533. Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

PhD Studentship in Computing Science - Data Driven Computer Modelling of Brain Injury Recovery

1

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual stipend of £14,553 (full award).  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

School of Agriculture Food and Rural Development - Spatial Data Processing for Viticulture Systems

1

100% tuition fees paid and an annual stipend of £14,553 (full award) with additional funds to support research activities in the US including travel funding.

Hodcroft Larsen Postgraduate Scholarship

1

£3,000

School of Agriculture Food and Rural Development NERC Industrial CASE PhD - Using spatially explicit soil mapping and modelling to understand and mitigate nitrate leaching in an agricultural catchment

1

 A full award covers tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,553.

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 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