Master in Bioinformatics for Health Sciences


Program Description

Master in Bioinformatics for Health Sciences

The master's program in Bioinformatics for Health Sciences is designed to provide professionals and researchers with skills and abilities geared towards the development of new computational strategies and IT systems for use in biomedical research.

One of the key features of this program is the large percentage of optional subjects it offers, allowing students to train in a wide range of bioinformatics disciplines. At the same time, it has a clear professional orientation as witnessed by the inclusion of compulsory subjects on the design, management, and exploitation of scientific research.

Who is it for?

The program is aimed at two types of candidates: holders of degrees in biological and health sciences (biology, medicine, biochemistry, biotechnology, pharmacy, etc.) and holders of engineering degrees or degrees in basic scientific disciplines (chemistry, physics, or mathematics).

Candidates must be interested in the development and application of computational tools for use in the field of biomedicine.


Students of the master's program may choose between three different course types: research, academic, and professional. The program spans a total of two academic years and is taught entirely in English.

All first-year subjects are optional with a view to encouraging students to design personalized curricula based on their prior training and future interests by choosing subjects from different fields of bioinformatics (genomic bioinformatics, structural bioinformatics, systems biology, pharmaco-informatics, and medical informatics), as well as among general cross-disciplinary subjects related to algorithms and programming, data management and analysis, and text mining.

In the second year, students acquire basic notions of bioethics and data protection applied to bioinformatics, as well as of the design, management, and exploitation of scientific research. They also complete a master's degree final project.


Genome bioinformatics: analysis, alignment, comparison and automatic annotation of biological sequences; analysis of genome evolution and variation; molecular biology databases.

Structural bioinformatics: an introduction to the experimental methods used in the structural determination of biomolecules, protein structure prediction, and the simulation of biomolecular systems.

Systems biology: description of biological networks and gene, protein and metabolic network modeling. Emphasis on both topological aspects of networks and on their dynamic behavior.

Pharmacoinformatics: managing molecular libraries and the virtual screening thereof, computer-aided drug design, and quantitative modeling of structure-activity relationships (QSAR and 3D-QSAR).

Biomedical informatics: clinical-health information systems, biomedical image analysis, study of genotype-phenotype relationships, and IT support systems for healthcare decision-making. Internship

The internship consists of a supervised placement at a laboratory or company to carry out the final research project for the master's degree. Upon completion of the placement, the student will write a research paper and publicly defend the work he or she has done.

Internships are generally carried out at public and private laboratories in the Barcelona area, although students may also choose to do them in other regions or countries. They take place during the second year of the master's program, span a total of six months, and are full-time (40 hours a week).

Career prospects

The main career prospects are:

  • Bioinformatics specialist, whether in academic research groups or at hospitals or companies in the biotech, pharmaceutical and bioinformatics industries.
  • Positions at biotech companies in the field of biomedicine.
  • Contract positions at research companies.
  • Drug research and development at public research centers.
  • The master's degree also qualifies holders to pursue the Ph.D. in Biomedicine.

Scholarships and grants

The master's program offers one UPF tuition fee scholarship and one grant awarded by the Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation.

Admission requirements

In order to be admitted to the Master in Bioinformatics for Health Sciences candidates must submit the following documents:

  • Official undergraduate degree/diploma (or a bachelor's degree, a degree in engineering or architecture, diplomas, technical engineering and technical architecture diplomas, or, for foreign qualifications, the equivalent qualification awarded by an accredited higher education institution) and the academic transcript of the accredited official training with the average grade at the University of origin. Qualifications can be in the following academic areas: Biology, Medicine, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Pharmacy, Veterinary studies, engineering studies, Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics or related degrees.
  • Curriculum Vitae in English.
  • A letter of motivation in English, stating the candidate's interest in following the master's program (400 to 600 words).
  • A (professional or academic) letter of recommendation signed by someone who really knows the candidate and can assess them.


Remember that in order to be successfully enrolled, the presentation of an official English certificate is an essential admission requirement. Only applicants whose mother tongue is English do not need to pre¬sent an English certificate. Official results must be sent directly by the examining institution to the school’s Admissions Department and must comply with the required minimum scores:

  • TOEFL CBT: > 235
  • TOEFL PBT: > 575
  • TOEFL IBT: > 100
  • CAE: C1
  • IELTS: > 6.5

Applicants who, at the time of the application, still do not possess an official English certificate or who are in the process of obtaining it must include this information in their admission applications. Applicants who have completed their full Bachelor’s Degree at an English-speaking university must submit written evidence that the language of instruction of their studies was English.

Last updated Jan 2018

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About the School

Its international orientation is one of the distinguishing features of UPF, a university with "its feet in Barcelona and its head in the world". This international projection has been recognised by th ... Read More

Its international orientation is one of the distinguishing features of UPF, a university with "its feet in Barcelona and its head in the world". This international projection has been recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Education through the International Campus of Excellence seal (2010) and is backed up by the UPF's distinguished position in international rankings as one of the top Spanish universities... Read less