Postgraduate taught 

Bioinformatics MSc/PgDip/PgCert

Two students on bioinformatics MSc

The Masters in Bioinformatics is an exciting and innovative programme that has recently been revamped. Bioinformatics is a discipline at the interface between biology, computing and statistics and is used in organismal biology, molecular biology and biomedicine. This programme focuses on using computers to glean new insights from DNA, RNA and protein sequence data and related data at the molecular level through data storage, mining, analysis and graphical presentation - all of which form a core part of modern biology.

  • MSc: 12 months full-time
  • PgDip: 9 months full-time
  • PgCert: 3 months full-time

Why this programme

  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology for the purpose of meeting, in part, the academic and experience requirement
  • Equips you with understanding and hands-on experience of both computing and biological research practices relating to bioinformatics and functional genomics.
  • Top 20 in the UK for Biological SciencesBenefit from being taught by scientists at the cutting edge of their field with intensive, hands-on experience in an active research lab during the summer research project.
  • Based in the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, which has carried out internationally-leading research in functional genomics and systems biology. It’s an ideal environment in which to train.
  • Emphasis is placed on understanding core principles in practical bioinformatics and functional genomics, then implementing that understanding in a series of practical elective courses in semester 2 and a summer research project.
  • Gain practical experience of working with large molecular datasets, with semester 2 courses built around real research scenarios, enabling you to see why each scenario uses the particular approaches it does and how to go about organising and implementing appropriate analysis pipelines.
  • Advanced biocomputing skills are now deemed essential for many PhD studentships/projects in molecular bioscience and biomedicine, and are of increasing importance for many other such projects. We have also updated the programme to cater more readily for those interested in preparing for life sciences PhD projects.
  • We welcome many students pursuing a career in Bioinformatics and several alumni now have careers in the field.
  • Learn computer programming in courses run by staff in the internationally reputed School of Computing Science, in conjunction with their MSc in Information Technology.
  • Some of the teaching and research scenarios you’ll be exposed to reflect the activities of 'Glasgow Polyomics', a world-class omics facility set up within the university in 2012 to provide research services using microarray, proteomics, metabolomics and next-generation DNA sequencing technologies.
  • Scientists here have pioneered the 'polyomics' approach, in which new insights come from the integration of data across different omics levels. Courses run by GP staff also provide a glimpse of 'systems biology' thinking - we see this as an important approach to the analysis of biological problems.
  • We have several world-renowned research centres at the University, such as the Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology, the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research and the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, whose scientists do ground-breaking research employing bioinformatic approaches in the study of disease.

Main Campus Location

Undertaken at the Gilmorehill Campus in the West End of Glasgow.

                         

Programme structure

Royal Society of BiologyBioinformatics helps biologists gain new insights about genomes (genomics) and genes, about RNA expression products of genes (transcriptomics) and about proteins (proteomics); rapid advances have also been made in the study of cellular metabolites (metabolomics) and in a newer area, systems biology.

‘Polyomics’ is an intrinsically systems-level approach involving the integration of data from these ‘functional genomics’ areas - genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics - to derive new insights about how biological systems function.

The programme structure is designed to equip students with understanding and hands-on experience of both computing and biological research practices relating to bioinformatics and functional genomics, to show students how the computing approaches and biological questions they are being used to answer are connected, and to give students an insight into new approaches for integration of data and analysis across the 'omics' domains.

On this programme, you will develop a range of computing and programming skills, as well as skills in data handling, analysis (including statistics) and interpretation, and you will be brought up to date with recent advances in biological science that have been informed by bioinformatics approaches.

The programme has the following overall structure:

  • core material of 60 credits in semester 1, made up of 10, 15 and 20 credit courses.
  • optional material of 60 credits in semester 2: students select 4 courses (two 10 credit courses and two 20 credit courses) from those available.
  • Project of 60 credits over 14 weeks embedded in a research group over the summer.

Core courses include:

Optional Courses Include:

MSc Outcome

The MSc outcome will require 180 credits total (full-time only):

- 60 credit 'core' courses: Semester 1: Sept - Dec

- 60 credit 'optional' courses: Semester 2: Jan - May

- 60 credits research project; Summer: May - August

 

Links for Further Programme Information 

PgDip/PgCert programme structures

Teaching methods, assessments and intended outcomes

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Career prospects

Most of our graduates embark on a University or Institute-based research career path, here in the UK or abroad, using the skills they've acquired on our programme in fields such as;

  • human genetics
  • infection and immunity
  • human nutrition
  • cancer research
  • biomedical and translational research
  • genomics
  • clinical brain sciences

These skills are now of primary relevance in many areas of modern biology and biomedicine with many successful in getting a PhD studentship.

A postgraduate degree in bioinformatics is also valued by many employers in the life sciences sector, for example, computing biology jobs in:

  • biotechnology
  • biosciences
  • neuroinformatics
  • pharma industries

Some of our graduates have entered science-related careers in scientific publishing or education. While others have gone into computing-related jobs in non-bioscience industry or the public sector.

Some have entered a wide range of job roles with examples including:

  • computational biologist
  • bioinformatician (now a career path within academia in its own right)
  • computer programmer
  • research technician
  • research scientist
  • research assistant

student getting career advice

Fees & funding

Tuition fees for 2021-22

MSc

UK

  • Full-time fee: £9000

International & EU

  • Full-time fee: £23000

PgDip

UK

  • Full-time fee: £6000

International & EU

  • Full-time fee: £15333

PgCert

UK

  • Full-time fee: £3000

International & EU

  • Full-time fee: £7667

Tuition fees for November 2020 start

MSc

  • UK and EU full time fee: £8,500
  • International full time fee: £21,920

PGDip

  • UK and EU full time fee: £5,667
  • International full time fee: £14,613

PGCert

  • UK and EU full time fee: £2,833
  • International full time fee: £7,307

Deposits

The University requires a deposit of £1000 to be paid by applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme.

Additional fees

  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £370
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £350
  • Registration/exam only fee: £170

Fee information is subject to change and is for guidance only

Funding opportunities

Joseph Lister India Scholarships

Formed in 2010, the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences brings together internationally renowned experts and state-of-the-art facilities to improve health and quality of life for humans and animals across the globe. The College has scholarships available to high quality applicants from India, and are awarded as a fee discount for September 2021.

Scotland's Saltire Scholarships

Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships is a programme of scholarships offered by the Scottish Government in collaboration with Scottish universities. Our chosen scholars are people who aspire to become influential leaders in their future careers. They have wide ranging interests outside their studies and a desire to broaden their personal and academic experience in Scotland.

Scholarships are available to citizens of the following countries: Canada, China (including Hong Kong), Japan, India, Pakistan and USA. Saltire Scholars will also have the opportunity to take part in a programme of activities over and above their studies, including dialogue with the academic and business community in Scotland.

GREAT Scholarships 2021 – Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Malaysia and Mexico

In partnership with the British Council and the GREAT Britain Campaign, the University of Glasgow is offering 6 scholarships to students in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Malaysia and Mexico applying for postgraduate courses in Arts & Humanities, Life Sciences, Social Sciences (excl. Business Management and related), Physical Sciences and Chemistry and Geography.

The GREAT Scholarships 2021 programme, launched by the British Council together with 41 UK universities, supports postgraduate students from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand to access world-class UK higher education opportunities.

The scholarship programme offers financial support of a minimum of £10,000 to students pursuing one year postgraduate study in the UK. Students can apply for courses in a range of subjects, at the 41 institutions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For more information on the GREAT Scholarships 2021, please visit Study UK and the British Council website in your country.

Sustainability Scholarship

Finduddannelse.dk is a Danish platform for lifelong learning. 

The scholarship will be awarded for the fall/autumn semester of 2022 and is open to people from anywhere in the world who want to study a master's program that is helping you making the world more sustainable.

Please see Finduddannelse.dk Sustainability Scholarship for more details.

Our ideal candidate is a student that is planning on starting a master's degree that can help alleviate the impact of the climate change - whether it be within clean energy, biology, architecture, economics, business, health, agriculture, law, political science, journalism or any other relevant field.

Chevening Scholarship

Chevening Scholarships are the UK government's global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. The scholarships are awarded to outstanding scholars with leadership potential. Awards are typically for a one year Master’s degree at universities across the UK. There are over 50,000 Chevening Alumni around the world who together comprise an influential and highly regarded global network.

For further information, please refer to the Chevening website.

University of Glasgow African Excellence Fee Waiver

For September 2021 entry we are offering 10 scholarships worth the full tuition fee of a one-year Masters programme to academically excellent students from Africa. 

Postgraduate Talent Scholarships

The University of Glasgow awards Postgraduate Talent Scholarships each academic year to support students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. The value of each scholarship is £2,000 and they are for students undertaking a one or two year Taught Masters programme, in any of the University’s Colleges. For two year Taught Masters programmes, the scholarship is available in year one only. 

Commonwealth Scholarship Schemes

Commonwealth Scholarships are available each year to fund Commonwealth citizens' study in the UK for undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications. A range of scholarship schemes are available for citizens of Commonwealth countries other than the UK. Further information is available on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission's website.

PGT Excellence Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has a total of 28 PGT Excellence Awards available to UK Students for Academic session 2021-22. Scholarships are available to students entering any of the University’s colleges and are awarded as a tuition fee discount.

University of Glasgow International Leadership Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has 70 International Leadership Scholarships available to International and EU (non-UK) students starting a postgraduate taught Masters programme in any discipline for Academic Session 2021-22. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fees discount.

Banco de Mexico

The Mexican National Bank (Banco de Mexico) provides special loans for students who wish to undertake a programme of postgraduate study. The University of Glasgow in partnership with Bank of Mexico FIDERH is offering a fee discount to holders of a Bank of Mexico FIDERH loan. See the FIDERH website for further information.

University of Glasgow Chancellors Award (Nigeria)

The University of Glasgow has 10 Chancellors Award Scholarships available to Nigerian students starting a postgraduate taught Masters programme in any discipline in academic session 2021-22. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount.

Erasmus+ Master Degree Loans

Erasmus+ Master Degree Loans are EU-guaranteed loans with favourable pay-back terms. They’re designed to help prospective students finance their Master’s courses in an Erasmus+ Programme country while leaving as little of a lasting economic footprint as possible.

The scheme is designed to provide postgraduate students with the means to pay their tuition and living expenses – thereby allowing individuals to focus on their degree instead of managing their bank balance. The programme aims to be as inclusive as possible, working under the following guidelines:

  • No need for collateral from students or parents - ensuring equality of access
  • Favourable, better-than-market interest rates
  • Pay-back terms that allow graduates up to two years to find work before beginning repayment.

Please visit the Erasmus+ Master Degree Loans website for more information.

Colfuturo Fundacion para el Futuro de Colombia

The University of Glasgow offer discounts to all successful Fundacion para el Futuro de Colombia (Colfuturo) scholars who enrol at the University of Glasgow to complete a postgraduate programme.

Postgraduate Student Loan (NI)

If you are a Northern Irish student looking to study a taught Masters programme* in Glasgow then you can apply for a student loan in exactly the same way as you would for a University in Northern Ireland.

Northern Irish students are able to apply for non-means-tested tuition fee loans of up to £5,500, to help with the costs of funding.

For more information visit www.studentfinanceni.co.uk/types-of-finance/postgraduate .

* does not apply to Erasmus Mundus programmes

CONICyT (La Comsion Nacional de Investigacion Cientifica y Tecnologica de Chile)

The University of Glasgow offers a 25% discount to all successful CONICyT scholars who enrol at the University of Glasgow to complete a postgraduate programme.

Snowdon Masters Scholarships

The Snowdon Masters Scholarships have been designed to identify and accelerate talented disabled individuals through higher education.

The scholarship has been designed to identify and accelerate talented disabled individuals through higher education.

The scholarship is aimed at;

  • Supporting brilliant students with the ability to create change and influence others
  • Provide funding for students with excellence in a field of study, within and beyond academia
  • Accelerate disabled students to become leaders and role-models
  • Provide opportunity for individuals with the drive and determination to succeed

Please see Snowdon Masters Scholarships website for more details.

CONACyT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia) / FUNED Agreement

CONACYT offers a non-refundable scholarship, a monthly stipend and medical insurance of an approximate total of $20,000 USD (in the case of the UK, no medical insurance grant is given since students are already covered by the National Health System) The University of Glasgow offer a 30% discount to all successful CONACyT scholars who enrol at the University of Glasgow to complete a postgraduate programme.

Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loans England only (PTFL)

If you’re starting a master’s degree, you could get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,609 to help with course fees and living costs. You have to repay your Postgraduate Master’s Loan at the same time as any other student loans you have. You’ll be charged interest from the day you get the first payment.

If you’re studying by distance learning, you can also apply.

Examples of postgraduate master’s qualifications include:

  • MSc (Master of Science)
  • MA (Master of Arts)
  • MPhil (Master of Philosophy)
  • MRes (Master of Research)
  • LLM (Master of Law)
  • MLitt (Master of Letters)
  • MFA (Master of Fine Art)
  • MEd (Master of Education)
  • MBA (Master of Business Administration)

If you plan to study for Master of Architecture (MArch) or an Integrated Master’s qualification, you should apply for undergraduate support

Postgraduate Student Loan (Scotland and EU)

Eligible full-time and part-time students, undertaking an eligible postgraduate course, can apply for a tuition fee loan up to a maximum of £5,500 towards their course. 

Eligible full-time postgraduate students can apply to us for a living-cost loan of up to £4,500. 

Please see the Postgraduate funding guide.

For more information visit the SAAS website

Postgraduate Loans for Welsh Students

If you are a Welsh student looking to study a postgraduate programme* in Glasgow then you can apply for a student loan in exactly the same way as you would for a Welsh University.

* does not apply to Erasmus Mundus programmes

Postgraduate Master's Finance

If you’re starting a full-time or part-time Postgraduate Master’s course (taught or research based) from 1 August 2019, you can apply for Postgraduate Master's Finance and receive up to £17,000 as a combination of grant and loan:

  • a maximum grant of £6,885 and loan of £10,115 if your household income is £18,370 and below
  • a grant of £1,000 and loan of £16,000 if your household income is not taken into account or is above £59,200.

For more information visit Student Finance Wales

Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

If you’re starting a full-time or part-time postgraduate Doctoral course (such as a PhD) from 1 August 2019 you can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan of up to £25,700.

For more information visit Student Finance Wales

Alumni Discount

In response to the current unprecedented economic climate, the University is offering a 20% discount on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni, commencing study in Academic session 2021/22. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed a Study Abroad programme or the Erasmus Programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. This discount can be awarded alongside other University scholarships.

Humanitarian Scholarships

The University of Glasgow is offering four scholarships (one per college) for applicants to the University who are staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students of the University of Glasgow applying for entry in 2021/22. The scholarship meets the full cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme as well providing an additional £5,000 per year stipend, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met this will also be provided for the duration of your degree. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.

We are also offering eight scholarships to students who hold refugee status. This scholarship is awarded as a £2,500 stipend towards study costs, per year of study.

The Clan Gregor Society Prize

The Clan Gregor Society are offering an award to new entrants to the University of Glasgow who descend from Clan Gregor. Prospective students will be asked to submit an application highlighting areas of consideration such as academic excellence and financial need. The award is open to both Undergraduate and postgraduate applicants.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

Entry requirements

Normally an upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Professional experience may be taken into account. Applicants with a lower second-class Honours degree in a relevant subject will be considered on a case by case basis.

Relevant degree subjects are

  • all biology degrees with a substantial molecular biology or genetics component.
  • other biology degrees with at least some molecular biology.
  • computing science, software engineering or IT.
  • mathematics or statistics (with evidence of experience in computer programming).
  • other physical sciences subjects with either evidence of experience in computer programming or evidence of a strong background in molecular biology.

For all other degree backgrounds, please consult the programme director for advice before applying.

You do not need to have previous experience in computer programming, but you should be numerate as part of the programme is spent learning programming and many of the courses involve statistical analysis. We may admit you if your background is outside molecular biology and we are confident that you can develop your understanding of the biology background in a timely manner.

If you have a degree in a molecular bioscience and want to specialise or enhance your skills in biological computing, this programme is designed for you.

If your background is in a non-molecular life science or in another discipline such as computing science, please apply anyway, or enquire (see the contact listed above), as we do often take students with other backgrounds.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0. 
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23. 
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

PTE (Academic)

  • 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Duolingo

  • 120 with 120 in two or more sub-scores including literacy and no subscore below 110 for direct entry, in-sessional support requirement available for those with 120, 100 for 5 week PSE, 100 for 10 week PSE. Please see: Pre-sessional courses.
  • Tests must have been taken within 1 year of start date.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
  • Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
  • Masters degree from English speaking country
  • Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

 

For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office using our enquiry form

International students

We are proud of our diverse University community which attracts students and staff from over 140 different countries.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We cannot accept applications any other way.

Please check you meet the Entry requirements for this programme before you begin your application.

Documents

As part of your online application, you also need to submit the following supporting documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • One reference letter on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process.

You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload supporting documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

For more information about submitting documents or other topics related to applying to a postgraduate taught programme, check Frequently Asked Questions

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately; they are also available within the help section of the online application form. 

If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.

Reference: Please provide one reference. This should typically be an academic reference but in cases where this is not possible then a reference from a current employer may be accepted instead. Certain programmes, such as the MBA programme, may also accept an employer reference. If you already have a copy of a reference on letter headed paper then please upload this to your application. If you do not already have a reference to upload then please enter your referee’s name and contact details on the online application and we will contact your referee directly.

Apply now

More information about this programme