Bioinformatics, Polyomics and Systems Biology MSc/PgDip/PgCert

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 Bioinformatics 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 this programme

  • 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 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.
  • The new programme reflects the development and activities of 'Glasgow Polyomics'. Glasgow Polyomics is a world-class facility set up in 2012 to provide research services using microarray, proteomics, metabolomics and next-generation DNA sequencing technologies. Its scientists have pioneered the 'polyomics' approach, in which new insights come from the integration of data across different omics levels.
  • In addition, we have several world-renowned research centres at the University, such as the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology and the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, whose scientists do ground-breaking 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 (including statistics) and interpretation, and you will be brought up to date with recent advances in biological science that have been informed by bioinformatics approaches.

The programme has the following overall structure

  • Core material - 60 credits, Semester 1, made up of 10, 15 and 20 credit courses.
  • Elective material - 60 credits, Semester 2, students select 4 courses (two 10 credit courses and two 20 credit courses) from those available.
  • Project - 60 credits, 14 weeks embedded in a research group over the summer.

Core and optional courses

Core courses include:

  • Programming (Java)
  • Database Theory and Application
  • Foundations of Bioinformatics
  • Omics and Systems Approaches in Biology
  • These 4 courses are obligatory for those taking the MSc degree and the PgDip; they are also obligatory for those with no prior programming experience taking the PgCert.
  • 60-credit summer research project lasting 14 weeks - this is also obligatory for those taking the MSc programme; normally this will be with one of the research laboratories in Glasgow associated with the programme, but there is also the opportunity to study in suitable laboratories in other parts of the world.

Optional courses include:

  • RNA-seq and next generation transcriptomics
  • Metagenomics
  • Pathogen Polyomics
  • Cancer Genomics - NGS and functional analysis methods
  • Disease Pathway Analysis - Systems Approaches and De Novo Pathway Mapping
  • Using Chemical Structure Databases in Drug Discovery for Protein Targets
  • Identification of disease-causing genetic variants
  • A range of more general biology and computing biology courses are also available in semester 2.

Please find additional core and optional course information in the Bioinformatics Programme Structure 2016-17.

Career prospects

Most of our graduates embark on a research career path here in the UK or abroad using the skills they've acquired on our programme - these skills are now of primary relevance in many areas of modern biology and biomedicine. Many are successful in getting a PhD studentship. Others are employed as a core bioinformatician (now a career path within academia in its own right) or as a research assistant in a research group in basic biological or medical science. A postgraduate degree in bioinformatics is also valued by many employers in the life sciences sector - e.g. 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.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2017

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 the contact listed above), 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.

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:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 90; no sub-test less than:
    • Reading: 20
    • Listening: 19
    • Speaking: 19
    • Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit 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 English for Academic Study Unit 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

 

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

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2017-18

MSc

Home and EU
Full time fee£7250
International
Full time fee£19500

PgDip

Home and EU
Full time fee£4833
International
Full time fee£13000

PgCert

Home and EU
Full time fee£2417
International
Full time fee£6500

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only

Deposits

The University requires a deposit of £1000 to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme.

Deposits terms & conditions

The University requires a deposit to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programmes and who require a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University in order that they can apply for a student visa. This is required where the programme is competitive and the deposit is required in order to demonstrate your commitment to attend the programme should you meet all the conditions of your offer.

If you are made an offer for this programme the University will write to you and request a deposit with information on how to pay your deposit and the deadline for making the deposit payment. Please note that if you are unable to pay a deposit because you are planning to fund your studies through an official financial sponsor then you should upload a copy of your scholarship application or award letter to your application by the deadline date.

The following guidelines will apply in determining whether or not a deposit will be refunded. Where the deposit is refunded, a 10% handling fee will be deducted.

Deposits WILL be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Where the University is unable to offer you a place.
  2. Where the applicant has personal circumstances such as illness, bereavement or other family situations that has prevented them coming to the UK. Medical or other proof may be requested.
  3. Applicant can prove that they have applied for a visa to attend the University of Glasgow, but the VISA has been refused. The applicant must have shown ‘real intent' to study at the University of Glasgow but has been unable to obtain their visa.
  4. Applicant does not meet his / her conditions of offer: this may be academic or language test requirements. Satisfactory evidence must be uploaded to the student’s online application to prove that they have not met the conditions of their offer (note that applicants who do not meet the language condition of their offer must show reasonable attempt to meet this, i.e. they must provide a language test which was taken after the date that the deposit was paid).

Deposits WILL NOT be refunded to applicants under the following circumstances:

  1. Applicant decides to go to another institution.
  2. Applicant cannot be released from work to study at the University of Glasgow.
  3. Applicant does not send completed documentation as requested in the condition of the offer: this may be required in order to prove that the offer has not been met for academic or language test conditions - failure to respond to requests for this information will result in no refund.
  4. Applicant has not secured funding to attend the University of Glasgow: this may be as a result of not being successful in applications for scholarships, OR simply not having sufficient funds in bank at time of visa application. This condition will apply unless it can be proven that there are clear mitigating circumstances which have significantly changed the applicant’s position since the time of application.
  5. Applicant has decided to defer – in this situation the University will retain the deposit and credit it against the applicant’s account for securing their place for the following year of entry. 

Refund requests must be made by 30th October, 2016: requests made after this date will be subject to discretion.


Additional fees

  • Fee for submission by a research student: £460
  • Fee for re-assessment of a dissertation (PGT programme): £300
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,000
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £200
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £260
  • Registration/exam only fee: £110
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni applying to the MSc/PgDip/PgCert. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding opportunities

Please note this programme is not yet approved for US Federal Loans funding.  If you wish to apply for US Federal Loans funding to study on this programme please notify Carol Barnett (carol.barnett@glasgow.ac.uk).

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 documents do I need to provide to make an 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) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • 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)
  • A two-page personal statement highlighting:
    • How your academic career to-date makes this programme a suitable next step
    • Why you want to study this programme
    • How you think this programme will help you in your future career development

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

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

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk. See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught 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. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • 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): 21 July 2017 
  • UK and EU applications: 25 August 2017

Classes start September 2017 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now