Master in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
Vast amounts of data have been collected through genomics initiatives. They provide a golden opportunity to research the secrets of life, to understand more of its complexities, to improve quality of life and to conquer major diseases. Converting this huge volume of data into real understanding is the basic challenge of Bioinformatics research.
High-throughput methods like massively parallel sequencing and mass spectrometry generate more raw data than conventional computer models can handle efficiently. To process and analyse this data, computational techniques from Bioinformatics – such as sequence alignment, sequence assembly, biostatistics and machine learning – are required in order to make predictions about health outcome and to decide on a personalized treatment for the patient.
Both Bioinformatics and Systems Biology are strongly interdisciplinary fields. This programme combines molecular and cell biology, computer science and mathematical modelling to integrate vast amounts of biological data into fundamental knowledge. You will develop a strong feel for scientific research and high levels of abstraction, and learn to combine the rapid developments in these fields.
Why study at VU University Amsterdam
Bioinformaticians convert genomics data into knowledge. To do so, they make integrated use of contributions mathematics, computer science, chemistry, medicine and biology. It is a highly multidisciplinary field encompassing a broad range of in-depth knowledge and skills.
Excellent international reputation
The Master's programme in Bioinformatics has an excellent international reputation. It is led by research groups with extensive experience in a broad range of practical applications and theoretical research.
The Master’s is a truly integrated programme that takes a bioinformatics perspective. This means no courses just for the sake of computational issues or biological knowledge. Teaching materials are streamlined using current issues, challenges and opportunities in bioinformatics. The Centre for Integrative Bioinformatics also deals with neurobiology and systems biology. This means that there are ample opportunities for an interesting and challenging traineeship.
Each student is assigned a mentor for the entire programme. Moreover, practical coursework and traineeships are supervised closely by one of the Bioinformatics staff members.
Our graduates are in great demand: every student has immediately found employment in industry or the academic world. The vast majority go on to work within the field (40%) and find a suitable job in the biotechnology, finance, banking or insurance industry.
More than half of our students (60%) continues scientific research as a PhD student. Thanks to technological advances such as next generation sequencing and the development of personalized medicine career prospects will only improve.
The requirements are split up into Masters’ specialization specific requirements and general requirements.
Students with an international preliminary education
Admission to this Master’s programme is open to students with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree obtained at a university recognized by VU University Amsterdam. The prospective student should have a thorough interest and experience in biomolecular and computational sciences. The multidisciplinary nature of the Master's programme in Bioinformatics means that it is open to motivated candidates with an appropriate qualification in most biology and science subjects. Depending on your specific background, it may be necessary for you to take a number of supplementary courses in biology, computer science or statistics to bring your knowledge in these areas up to standard.
General language proficiency requirements
VU University Amsterdam requires international applicants to take an English test and to submit their score as a part of the application. Exceptions are made for students who have completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia or who have obtained an international Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma.
Last updated December 2, 2015