Master in Life Science Informatics


Program Description

How will Math­em­at­ics and In­form­at­ics help you un­der­stand Nature?

Life Sciences is one of the strategic research fields at the University of Helsinki. The multidisciplinary Master’s Programme in Life Science Informatics (LSI) integrates research excellence and research infrastructures in the Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences (HiLIFE). As a student, you will gain access to active research communities on three campuses: Kumpula, Viikki, and Meilahti. The unique combination of study opportunities tailored from the offering of the three campuses provides an attractive educational profile.

In the programme, you gain the knowledge and the skills for a career in life science research. You can specialise in Biomathematics, Biostatistics, Eco-evolutionary Informatics or Bioinformatics and Systems Medicine.


The Master's Programme in Life Science Informatics is designed for students with a background in mathematics, computer science and statistics, as well as for students with these disciplines as a minor in their bachelor’s degree, with their major being, for example, ecology, evolutionary biology or genetics.

Why Life Si­ence In­form­at­ics?

As a graduate of the Life Science Informatics programme you will:

  • Have first class knowledge and capabilities for a career in life science research and in expert duties in the public and private sectors
  • Competence to work as a member of a group of experts
  • Have understanding of the regulatory and ethical aspects of scientific research
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills for employment in an international and interdisciplinary professional setting
  • Understand the general principles of mathematical modelling, computational, probabilistic and statistical analysis of biological data, and be an expert in one specific specialisation area of the LSI programme
  • Understand the logical reasoning behind experimental sciences and be able to critically assess research-based information
  • Have mastered scientific research, making systematic use of investigation or experimentation to discover new knowledge
  • Have the ability to report results in a clear and understandable manner for different target groups
  • Have good opportunities to continue your studies for a doctoral degree

Struc­ture, con­tent and study tracks

The Master's programme comprises of 120 credits and it is possible to complete the degree in two years, in accordance with an approved personal study plan. The degree includes:

At least 85 cr of advanced studies, including:

  • shared introductory courses within the programme, 15 cr from the below list
    • LSI31001 Algorithms for bioinformatics 5 op or LSI31002 Modelling and analysis in bioinformatics 5 op
    • LSI32001 Introduction to applied bioinformatics 5 op
    • LSI34001 Topics in biostatistics and bioinformatics 5 op
    • MAST31501 Mathematical modelling 10 op or LSI33001 Introduction to mathematical biology 10 op
    • LSI35001 Modelling ecology and evolution 5 op
    • TMED-917 Introduction to Systems Biology 5 op
  • study track-specific courses within the programme, 35 cr
    • These courses are both from a given study track (student´s own study track) and from other study tracks and also from other programmes, as approved in personal study plans.
  • LSI30003 Master’s thesis, 30 cr
  • LSI 30002 Master´s thesis seminar which includes study orientation 5 cr

Other studies, 0-35 cr, for example, courses from other master's programmes or bachelor´s level courses

Courses and teach­ing

The Master’s Programme in Life Science Informatics has four study tracks:

  • Bioin­form­at­ics and Systems Medicine
  • Bio­mathem­at­ics
  • Bio­s­tat­ist­ics
  • Eco-evol­u­tion­ary In­form­at­ics

During the first autumn semester, each study track gives you an introductory course. At the beginning of the spring semester, you are assumed to have decided your field of specialisation (study track).

Mas­ter's thesis

The programme includes a mandatory Master´s thesis, a scientific research project. The project can be theoretical or practical in nature, including biological or medical data-analysis from an ongoing research project. The resulting thesis is a written work that demonstrates your ability for scientific reasoning and your familiarity with the relevant scientific literature.

You will be appointed a supervisor who will hold regular meetings with you to ensure that your thesis work is proceeding smoothly and on schedule. The thesis is worth 30 credits (ECTS), corresponding to full-time studies during one semester. Although the thesis is an independent work, it is often done as part of a research group.

Stu­dents and stu­dent life

Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, the student community is very active. More than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.

As a student and member of the Student Union (HYY), you are entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, basic healthcare services, sports facilities and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.


After completing the Master Programme in Life Science Informatics (LSI), you have excellent opportunities to apply and perform postgraduate studies either at the University of Helsinki, at other universities in Finland, or abroad. As a graduate, you can also find employment, for example, in health sector enterprises, such as bioindustry.

Last updated Aug 2018

About the School

The University of Helsinki offers a wide range of Master’s Degree Programmes, taught entirely in English. The scope of our programmes is 120 ECTS credits, completed with two years of full-time study. ... Read More

The University of Helsinki offers a wide range of Master’s Degree Programmes, taught entirely in English. The scope of our programmes is 120 ECTS credits, completed with two years of full-time study. All programmes comply with the national legislation governing university education and are, therefore, recognised globally. Read less