Master in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Program Description

Master in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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 Vrije Universiteit 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.

Integrated programme

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.

Career prospects

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.

Admission requirements

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 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 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.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 2, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
2 years
Full time
1,984 EUR
Apr. 1, 2017
Start date Sept. 2017
Netherlands Amsterdam
Application deadline Apr. 1, 2017
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price 1,984 EUR
for EEA students; €12.000 for Non-EEA