Recent technological advances have turned biology in data-driven science. Bioinformatics is the interdisciplinary domain in which biology, computer science, statistics, mathematics, and engineering are combined to support this data-driven approach.

Bioinformatics is a booming interdisciplinary field that is driving innovation in many disciplines ranging from fundamental science in biology and computer science to applied research in biotechnology, pharma industry, medical decision making, food science, and big data analysis.

The increasing impact of the field, together with the need for multi-angle approaches to tackle bioinformatics related problems has created an urgent need for highly trained scientists with an interdisciplinary mindset.

Course content

Bioinformatics aims at gaining a better and preferentially more quantitative molecular understanding of cellular processes by integrating and modeling large amounts of molecular data.

Therefore, if

  • you like problem-solving through data analysis and data mining,
  • you are intrigued by understanding and modeling complex biological processes,
  • you want to make biological discoveries by decoding big data,
  • you like working in an interdisciplinary environment.

then bioinformatics is something for you.

As a bioinformatician, you will become an interdisciplinary scientist or engineer who can develop or use state-of-the-art statistical and computer science techniques to mine molecular data in order to answer fundamental or applied biological and biomedical questions. Ghent University offers an interfaculty Master of Science in Bioinformatics program, which - depending on the chosen track - can result in an Engineering or Bioscience Engineering degree.

The program:

  • offers a track-tuned toward your specific interests and background that prepares 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 Architecture and is affiliated with the VIB and IMEC.

Course structure

Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Engineering (120 ECTS)

With a bachelor degree in Engineering or Computer Science, you have the optimal background to become a bioinformatics engineer. 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 that will provide you with the basic domain knowledge to understand a data-driven biological problem. However, the major part of your curriculum will focus on advanced engineering and computer science techniques that elaborate on an already advanced knowledge obtained during your bachelor (see program overview Practical bioinformatics skills are obtained through the design project (9 ECTS) and the master thesis (30 ECTS) which focuses on a research topic. In addition, you will also have the opportunity to do an internship in the industry or a governmental institution.

Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Systems Biology (120 ECTS)/ Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Bioscience Engineering (120 ECTS)

With a bachelor degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or in Bioscience Engineering, you can decide to become a bioinformatics scientist/bioengineer. 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 who can creatively and efficiently combine bioinformatics tools and algorithms to analyze, integrate and model data. Hereto, the program offers a theoretical and practical training in statistics, programming and data analytical techniques (applied mathematics and informatics module) and shows how these basic data analytical methods are combined with domain knowledge to cope with the specificities of the bioinformatics domain (applied bioinformatics module). The difference between the Bioscience Engineering (for a program overview see and the Systems Biology track (for a program overview see is that the former deepens the engineering skills, whereas the Systems Biology track pays more attention to advance the domain knowledge. Practical bioinformatics skills are obtained through the design project (9 ECTS) and the master thesis (30 ECTS) which focuses on a research topic. In addition, you will also have the opportunity to do an internship in the industry or a governmental institution.

Career perspectives

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. Currently, a large discrepancy exists between the exponential increase of biological data (28% each year) and the number of newly educated bioinformaticians (increase of only 5,8%) who typically find a job in agro, biotech and pharma industry, in research and governmental institutes, and in genetic centra and hospitals. Because of their interdisciplinary and analytical skillsets bioinformaticians also find their way in consultancy, in spin-offs and in data analytics.

More information:

Program taught in:
  • English

See 10 more programs offered by Ghent University - Faculty of Sciences »

Last updated August 5, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
2 years
1,792 EUR
Price non-EU | Price EU: € 922,30
By locations
By date
Start Date
Sep 2020
End Date
Application deadline

Sep 2020

Application deadline
End Date