Bioinformatics & Computational Genomics
The past decade has seen enormous advances in molecular and biomedical technology resulting in the 'omics' revolution.
Bioinformatics covers the application of mathematics, statistics and computing to biological and clinical scenarios. It involves the application and development of algorithms and software to understand and interpret 'Big Data', which is driving medical research, discovery and practice.
You will be analysing clinical and 'omics data in order to find complex patterns relating to patient response to treatments and prognosis. You will discover results that translate to the real world, through clinical trials or commercialisation. You will use your vision to find unique solutions to clinical and biological problems, and by the end of the degree you will be ready to work within a multidisciplinary team alongside bioinformaticians, biologists and clinicians from the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/cancer-research/, the Welcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/wwiem/), and the Centre for Public Health (http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforPublicHealth/).
This is complemented by guest lectures from industrial and clinical collaborators.
1. Students may enrol on a full time (one year) basis. There is an introductory module to Cell Biology and Computational Analysis during the first two weeks. This is followed by three (20 CAT) modules in Semester 1, and four modules (2 x 20 CAT and 2 x 10 CAT) during Semester 2.
The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete all taught modules (120 CATS) and a dissertation (60 CATS).
A Diploma exit qualification is available to those students who have successfully completed 120 CATS points of taught modules.
A Certificate exit qualification is available to those students who have successfully completed 60 CATS points of taught modules.
Learning and Teaching
We provide a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in an advanced society making use of innovative technologies.
Across a combination of morning and afternoon classes, examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are lectures, practical experiences learning technologies and self-directed study to enhance employability.
Bioinformatics And Computational Genomics Highlights
The analysis of 'Big Data' may provide the key to unlocking the cause and development of various diseases, such as cancer. It also, offers the prospect of developing new drugs and therapies to prevent and treat conditions and diseases.
You'll be involved with our Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research and Welcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, who work with partners around the world in developing treatments and pioneering advances in patient care. Both Centres have an international reputation for successful dissemination and application of cutting edge research , knowledge transfer and the commercialisation of research ideas and innovations.
This conversion course provides a solid foundation in data analytical skills which will enable graduates to make the transition into careers in bioinformatics. The modules are delivered by research-intensive academics with industrial and clinical collaborators, ensuring that the course content is kept up to date on cutting-edge techniques.
Jaine Blayney, Lecturer in Translational Bioinformatics, Course Director.
Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics is an interdisciplinary field at the heart of biomedical research, discovery and practice. With its challenging and rewarding content, this Masters degree will provide students, with a background in computational or life sciences, the opportunity to move into an exciting new area of discovery, technology and application. We provide a broad learning base and offer training in open-source programming languages commonly used in academia and industry.
You will begin with an introductory short course (two weeks at the beginning of the first semester) in Cell Biology, followed by compulsory modules in:
SCM8051 Analysis of Gene Expression – 20 CATS
This module will provide the practical molecular biological knowledge required to develop the most effective and useful computational tools for analysis of gene expression data.
SCM8095 Genomics and Human Disease – 20 CATS
This module explores rapidly advancing fields that are moving from specialised research areas to mainstream medicine, science and public arenas. The principles of genomic medicine will be discussed alongside bioinformatics approaches for identifying 'causative genes' for human disease.
SCM7047 Scientific Programming and Statistical Computing – 20 CATS
This module covers the fundamental elements of the statistical framework R and the programming language Python. It gives an introduction to parallel processing applications and implementation and how to leverage modern big-data problems through HPC computing.
SCM8148 Health and Biomedical Informatics and the Exposome (half module 10 CATS)
The module will cover different aspects of health informatics including the basic structure of electronic health records (EHRs). This module also includes an introduction to the concept of the exposome and the contribution of biomedical informatics in exposome research.
SCM8152 Systems Medicine: From Molecules to Populations (half module 10 CATS)
Students will develop knowledge of integrative approaches for multi-'omics biomedical data analysis in order to illuminate disease mechanisms, with applications in precision medicine. Systems medicine brings together multiple scientific disciplines; some of the key areas covered in this module are network biology, machine learning and patient stratification.
SCM8108 Applied Genomics – 20 CATS
This module examines the practical challenges in generating different 'omics' datasets, the important implications of how this is conducted when analysing such datasets and gives practical experience of dealing with resulting datasets using relevant tools.
SCM8109 Biostatistical Informatics (online) – 20 CATS
The core of this module will highlight the analysis of clinico-pathological and 'omics' data. The module will also provide an introduction to carrying out key statistical tests in the R statistical programming language.
Research Project: Dissertation – 60 CATS
Translational bioinformatics and technical development research projects are mainly split between the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research and the Wellcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine.
You will be taught by subject experts from the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research (https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/cancer-research/), the Wellcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/wwiem/), and the Centre for Public Health (https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforPublicHealth/). This is complemented by guest lectures from industrial and clinical collaborators.
Environment You'll be taught by active researchers including biologists, clinicians and bioinformaticians. We also have teaching input from our industrial partners.
During the research projects, you may have the opportunity to work alongside PhD students in open-plan environments on-campus, but the course is flexible. A suite of high-specification PCs is available for use by students on this course.
A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a Natural Science subject, Mathematics, Computer Science, or a relevant medical or life sciences subject (e.g. Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Physics or Statistics). A medical (MB) or dental degree (BDS) is also considered.
Applicants must have completed (and passed at equivalent of UK 2:1 standard) a subject/module from any of the following groups:
1. genetics/genomics/molecular biology/biomedical science
2. chemistry/medicinal chemistry/biochemistry
3. mathematics/statistics-related subjects
4. computing/computer science/informatics.
Intercalating Medical and Dental Applicants
Intercalating medical and dental students within QUB will be considered if they have successfully completed the third year of their course at first attempt and achieved at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree standard. Intercalating applicants should also ensure they have permission to intercalate from either the Director of Medical Education or Dentistry as appropriate.
An external medical or dental student wishing to intercalate must have successfully completed all assessments at first attempt for the year in which they are applying. External intercalating applicants should also ensure they have the permission of the Head of Undergraduate Medical/Dental Education or equivalent from their home University.
• Applicants who are currently studying an overseas Medical (e.g. MBBS or MbChB) or Dental degree at a recognised institution acceptable to the University, may apply.
• Applicants must have passed all assessments at first attempt for the year in which they are applying, normally 3rd year for those completing a 5 year programme or 4th year for those completing a 6 year programme.
• Applicants may be required to provide details of the medical or dental curriculum they are studying in order to confirm compatibility.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
• Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
• Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 31st July 2023 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.
Please note a deposit will be required to guarantee a place on the course. Due to high demand, applications may not be considered if the course has reached its maximum class size and will be placed on a waiting list. Please see deposit terms and conditions for more details.
How to Apply
Applications should be submitted online via the Postgraduate Applications Portal for admission to the vast majority of postgraduate programmes.
New applicants will need to register via the Portal to create an application account. If you are already a Queen's student with an active Qsis account, you can log in using your student number and Qsis password. Guidance on how to complete an application is provided within the Portal and it is possible to save application data and return to complete it at a later date, if you wish. After core details about yourself and your academic background have been provided, you can submit an application, or multiple applications, if required.
If you applied in a previous cycle through the Portal and are re-applying, you should use your previous log in details. Please review and update your personal and contact details, academic and professional qualifications before submitting a new application.
Important – please ensure that the email address you provide is correct and active, as this will be used by us to communicate the progress of your application to you.
1 year (Full Time)
Teaching Times: 9.00am to 5:00pm.
Post Course Info
The rapid production of 'omics' data within medicine and the life sciences has meant that individuals with analytical experience in this field are highly sought after. Recent graduates have gone on to work in industry in companies such as Almac Diagnostics, Biokinetic Europe and Fios Genomics and some have gone onto further PHD level research.
Employment after the Course
Many of our students go on to pursue further PhD study in Bioinformatics at Queen's and further afield. Others go on to work in a variety of roles in both the private and public sector here in Northern Ireland and internationally. The following are some of the jobs they have taken on:
Bioinformatician at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Application Scientist at Dotmatics
Network and Security Engineer at Darktrace
Junior Bioinformatic Scientist at Almac Group
Bioinformatician at Fios Genomics Ltd
Biomedical Scientist and Junior Bioinformatician, BioKinetic Europe
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.