Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

University College Cork

Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

Course Outline
Our MSc in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology is a one-year full-time (or two years part-time) taught masters course commencing in September.

Bioinformatics is a fast-growing field at the intersection of biology, mathematics, and computer science. Bioinformatics seeks to create, advance, and apply computer/software-based solutions to solve formal and practical problems arising from the management and analysis of very large biological data sets. Such applications include genome sequence analysis, such as the human genome, the human microbiome, analysis of genetic variation within populations, and analysis of gene expression patterns.

Major research efforts in the bioinformatics field include sequence alignment, gene finding, genome assembly, protein structure alignment, protein structure prediction, modelling of DNA and protein evolution, analysis of genetic variation in populations, and analysis of gene expression, protein-protein interaction and protein mass spectrometry data.

Another emerging area within bioinformatics is systems biology, which examines how individual biological components (e.g. metabolic pathways, genes, proteins, organelles, cells, physiological systems, organisms) interact in a network to produce observable phenotypes of a whole organism or body system.

As part of our MSc programme, students carry out a three-month research project in a research group in UCC or in an external university, research institute, or industry. The programming and data handling skills that you will develop, along with your exposure to an interdisciplinary research environment, will be very attractive to potential employers.

Placement or Study Abroad Information
As part of the MSc programme, students carry out a three-month research project in a research group in UCC or in an external university, research institute or industry. This will provide the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in bioinformatics to a cutting-edge research question. In principle, placements abroad to execute the research project can be facilitated subject to approval.

Subjects taught

This MSc programme has four different streams and students take 90 credits from their allocated stream:
Stream for Biological Science Graduates
Stream for Computer Science Graduates
Stream for Mathematics Graduates
Stream for Statistics Graduates

Entry requirements

- Entrants to the programme must be holders of a minimum Second Class Honours Grade I in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8), or equivalent qualification, in a discipline with a significant element of Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering, Computer Science or Biology.

- In addition, candidates with Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) may also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for places, following assessment by the Programme Director, if they are also proficient in mathematics as evident from grades in Higher Leaving Cert maths or Undergraduate maths modules, and have at least one year of proven and relevant Biological, Mathematical or Computational work or Postgraduate experience.

- The number of places is limited and selection will be made on the candidate's performance in his/her primary degree and experience.
It is not necessary to have prior knowledge of computer programming or bioinformatics to take the course. All the necessary computer skills will be taught as part of the programme.

Application dates

Closing Date: Rolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.

Assessment Info

There are exams for most of the taught modules, usually in December and May, of each of the two Semesters, while certain modules also have a continuous assessment element. The research project starts in June and finishes towards the end of September, followed by an oral thesis presentation in the middle of October Part-time students will carry out their research project during the summer of their second academic year.


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 9th September 2024.

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
Our graduates offer a unique set of interdisciplinary skills making them highly attractive to employers at universities, research centres and in industry. Many research institutes have dedicated bioinformatics groups, while many 'wet biology' research groups employ bioinformaticians to help with data analyses and other bioinformatics problems. Industries employing bioinformaticians include the pharmaceutical industry, agricultural and biotechnology companies. For biology graduates returning to 'wet lab' biology after completing the MSc course, your newly acquired skills will be extremely complementary and useful.

Non-biology graduates seeking non-biology positions will also find that having acquired interdisciplinary skills is of great benefit in getting a qualified job in many sectors due to being able to adapt knowledge across a broad range of disciplines.

Where have our graduates gone?

As this MSc qualification is recognised worldwide our graduates work across the globe including the Netherlands, Austria, the USA, and New Zealand. Graduates in Ireland work with Teagasc, tech multinationals, and BioPharma. Since there is a shortage of bioinformaticians there are many opportunities for bioinformaticians both locally and internationally.

More details
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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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