Bioinformatics, Polyomics and Systems Biology MSc

This Masters in Bioinformatics, Polyomics and Systems Biology is a new, exciting and innovative programme that has grown out of our well-regarded MRes in Bioinformatics. Bioinformatics is a discipline at the interface between biology and computing and is used in organismal biology, molecular biology and biomedicine. ‘Polyomics’ is a new term used to describe the modern integrated approach to biological analysis involving genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and systems-level datasets. The MSc programme focuses on using computers to glean new insights from DNA, RNA and protein sequence data and related data at the molecular level through data storage, mining, analysis and display - all of which form a core part of modern biology.

Key facts

Why Glasgow

  • Our programme emphasises understanding core principles in practical bioinformatics and functional genomics, and then implementing that understanding in a series of practical-based elective courses in Semester 2 and in a summer research project.
  • You will benefit from being taught by scientists at the cutting edge of their field and you will get intensive, hands-on experience in an active research lab during the summer research project.
  • Bioinformatics and the 'Omics' technologies have evolved to play a fundamental role in almost all areas of biology and biomedicine.
  • Advanced biocomputing skills are now deemed essential for many PhD studentships/projects in molecular bioscience and biomedicine, and are of increasing importance for many other such projects.
  • The programme is closely aligned with 'Glasgow Polyomics' (formerly the Sir Henry Wellcome Functional Genomics Facility) and its activities. Glasgow Polyomics is a new world class facility that provides research services using microarray, proteomics, metabolomics and next-generation DNA sequencing technology. Its scientists have pioneered the 'polyomics' approach, in which new insights come from the integration of data across different omics levels.
  • The Semester 2 elective courses are built around real research scenarios, enabling you not only to gain practical experience of working with large molecular datasets, but also to see why each scenario uses the particular approaches it does and how to go about organizing and implementing appropriate analysis pipelines.
  • You will be based in the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, an ideal environment in which to train in bioinformatics; our College has carried out internationally-recognised research in functional genomics and systems biology.
  • We have several world-renowned research centres at the University, such as the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology, do research employing bioinformatic approaches in the study of disease.
  • You will learn computer programming in courses run by staff in the internationally reputed School of Computing Science, in conjunction with their MSc in Information Technology.

Programme structure

Bioinformatics helps biologists gain new insights about genomes (genomics) and genes, about RNA expression products of genes (transcriptomics) and about proteins (proteomics); rapid advances have also been made in the study of cellular metabolites (metabolomics) and in a newer area: systems biology

‘Polyomics’ involves the integration of data from these ‘functional genomics’ areas - genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics - to derive new insights about how biological systems function

The programme structure is designed to equip students with understanding and hands-on experience of both computing and biological research practices relating to bioinformatics and functional genomics, to show students how the computing approaches and biological questions they are being used to answer are connected, and to give students an insight into new approaches for integration of data and analysis across the 'omics' domains.

On this programme, you will develop a range of computing and programming skills, as well as skills in data handling, analysis and interpretation, and you will be brought up to date with recent advances in biological science 

The programme has the following overall structure

  • Core material - 60 credits, Semester 1, made up of 10- and 20-credit courses
  • Elective material - 60 credits, Semester 2, students select 6 10-credit courses from those available
  • Project - 60 credits, 14 weeks embedded in a research group over the summer

Please find additional information on the programme structure here

Core and optional courses

Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

Academic entry requirements

A second class Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Professional experience may be taken into account.

You do not need to have previous experience in computer programming, but you should be numerate, as part of the programme is spent learning programming. We may admit you if your background is outside molecular biology and we are confident that you can develop your understanding of the biology background in a timely manner.

If you have a degree in a molecular bioscience and want to specialise or enhance your skills in biological computing, this programme is designed for you

If your background is in a non-molecular life science, or in another discipline such as Computing Science, please apply anyway, or enquire (see contacts listed on the 'Introduction' tab), as we do often take students with other backgrounds

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

Further information regarding academic entry requirements: student.recruitment@glasgow.ac.uk

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20*
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): B minimum
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): C minimum
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59

* Please note that TOEFL has now been removed from the approved list of English tests by the Home Office and TOEFL tests taken on or after 17 April 2014 will no longer normally be accepted for UK visa applications. However, the University as an HEI can still choose to accept TOEFL tests for admission to degree level courses and so TOEFL tests can still be accepted as normal for this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

FAQs

What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2014-15 (subject to change and for guidance only)

MSc

Home and EU
Full time fee£5350
International
Full time fee£17250

PgDip

Home and EU
Full time fee£3567
International
Full time fee£11500

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

Most of our graduates embark on a research career path/PhD either in the UK or abroad using the skills they've acquired on our programme that are now of primary relevance in many areas of modern biology and biomedicine. A postgraduate degree in bioinformatics is also valued by many employers in the life sciences sector - e.g. core bioinformatician posts in research groups in basic biological or medical sciences, computing biology jobs in biotechnology/biosciences/neuroinformatics/pharma industry. Some of our graduates have entered science-related careers in scientific publishing or education; others have gone into computing-related jobs in non-bioscience industry or the public sector.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What essential documentation should I have available before I start my application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
Glasgow
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. 

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU) 24 July 2015
  • UK and EU applications 28 August 2015*
    (with the exception of those programmes offering SFC funded places)

Classes start September 2015 for most programmes and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before. 

*Please note that we can accept UK and EU applications for entry in 2014 up until 8th September 2014 but for any applications made after 29th August we cannot guarantee that an offer will be made before the start of the programme. In cases where an offer cannot be made before the start of the programme then entry in September 2015 may be offered instead.

Apply now