Technological advances have turned biology in a data-driven science. The avalanche of molecular data enables key discoveries in biology, ecology and molecular evolution drives innovation in biotech and pharma industry and supports medical and governmental decision making.
However, the power of using these data for innovation depends on interdisciplinary skills to analyze, integrate and interpret the data. There is thus an urgent need for bioinformatics scientists and engineers with an interdisciplinary mindset.
The interfaculty Master of Science in Bioinformatics at Ghent University provides a curriculum of 120 credits, taught in English, which - depending on the chosen track - can result in an Engineer’s or Bioscience Engineer’s degree.
- offers a track-tuned toward your specific interests and background that prepare you for different job profiles in the bioinformatics domain (respectively bioinformatics scientist and bioinformatics engineer),
- offers both theoretical deepening and data analytical – problem-solving skills,
- is embedded in a strong bioinformatics and biotechnology research environment, located at the Faculty of Sciences, Medicine, Bioscience Engineering and Engineering and affiliated with the VIB and IMEC.
As Bachelor in Engineering, Mathematics and/or Computer Science, you have the optimal background training to become Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Engineering (120 credits).
This programme trains you to become a bioinformatics developer.
As bioinformatics engineer, you are skilled in developing new algorithms and complex software implementations, primarily focusing on, but equally applicable outside the bioinformatics domain. You will follow a module of ‘biologically oriented’ courses (9 credits) that will provide you with the basic domain knowledge to understand a data-driven biological problem. However, the major part of your curriculum (engineering module of 42 credits) will focus on advanced engineering and computer science techniques that elaborate on an already advanced knowledge obtained during your bachelor. The applied bioinformatics module (33 credits) will make you familiar with the data specificities of the bioinformatics domain (preprocessing techniques, noise and potential biases, assumptions etc.) and allow you to acquire the essential interdisciplinary skill set that is needed to be successful in modern science and engineering. The master thesis corresponds to 30 credits and focuses on a research topic. Within your programme, you have the opportunity to do an internship in order to get familiar with the role and expectations of a bioinformatics engineer in the industry or a governmental institution.
With a Bachelor degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or in Bioscience Engineering, you can decide to become a Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Systems Biology or a Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Bioscience Engineering (120 credits).
In both programmes, you are trained to become a bioinformatics scientist.
A bioinformatics scientist applies (bio)informatics tools and techniques to understand a biological system or to solve an innovative research question. You are trained as a problem solver that can creatively and efficiently combine bioinformatics tools and algorithms to analyze, integrate and model data. Having the essential programming and data analysis skills requires a deep understanding of statistics, programming and data analytical techniques (applied mathematics and informatics module of 21 credits). The applied bioinformatics module (33 credits) will make you familiar with the basic data analytical methods (e.g. NGS analysis), help you to acquire interdisciplinary skill sets and illustrate how theoretical concepts of statistics and data mining are used to build bioinformatics tools.
The difference between the Bioscience Engineering and the Systems Biology track is that the former deepens the generic engineering skills (Bioscience Engineering track of 31 credits), whereas the Systems Biology track (30 credits) pays more attention to advanced (systems) biological knowledge. The master thesis corresponds to 30 credits and focuses on a research topic. Within your programme, you have to opportunity to do an internship in order to get familiar with the role and expectations of a bioinformatics scientist in the industry or a governmental institution.
To have direct admission to the Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Systems Biology, a bachelor university programme is required with minimally 8-10 credits Mathematics (or equivalent courses). In addition, your bachelor programme together with maximally 18 credits obligatory reorientation courses within the Systems Biology track should cover in total
- 16 credits in (Molecular) biology courses*
- 3 credits in Statistical courses*
- 3 credits in Programming courses
- 3 credits in Bioinformatics introductory courses*
* for the indicated courses, English reorientation courses are available at Ghent University.
Students with a previous Master programme in Biosciences are likely to have exemptions for the 18 credits of optional courses in the Systems Biology track, leaving room for the obligatory reorientation courses within the 120 credits Master’s programme.
For direct admission to the Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Engineering, a Bachelor in Computer Science, Informatics or Engineering is required.
For direct admission to the Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Bioscience Engineering, a Bachelor in Bioscience Engineering is required, or in other Biosciences with a strong mathematical component.
Diploma equivalence of international Bachelor's degree students will be checked by the curriculum commission based on your individual track record, and a suitable personalized programme will be proposed. For students with a Ghent University Bachelor degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, a standard remediation package is available within the 120 credits Master programme to enter the Bioscience Engineering
International Bachelor degrees will be evaluated for equivalence with one of the Belgian Bachelor degrees by the Study Programme Committee responsible for the Master of Science in Bioinformatics. Based on this equivalence, direct access or access via a preparatory programme will be proposed (see application for international students).
Because the relatively slow increase in newly educated bioinformaticians (increase of only 5,8% per year) does not meet the exponential increase in biological data (28% each year), job opportunities for well-trained bioinformaticians both in pharmaceutical, agronomical and biotechnological companies, and at universities and (governmental) research institutions are expected to keep on growing in the future. Rooted within the Bioinformatics Institute Ghent N2N, renowned for its expertise and impact in the research domain of Bioinformatics, the Master of Science in Bioinformatics at Ghent University prepares its students for a future full of challenge and job security.
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