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Researcher programming a computer.

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology MSc

Our course provides an integrated programme taught by researchers at the forefront of fields spanning bioinformatics, genomics and systems biology.

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Course details

Year of entry: 2017

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Course details

Course description

Bioinformatics is changing as high throughput biological data collection becomes more Systems oriented. This means that employers are looking for people able to work across the traditional disciplines. 

The MSc in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at Manchester reflects these exciting developments, providing an integrated programme taught by researchers at the forefront of fields spanning Bioinformatics, Genomics and Systems Biology.

Bioinformatics has been an identifiable discipline for more than a decade, driven by the computational demands of high volumes of biological data. It incorporates both the development and application of algorithms to decipher biological relationships. 

Enormous success has been achieved, for example in defining homologous families of sequences at the DNA, RNA, and protein levels.  However, our appreciation of function is changing rapidly as experimental analysis scales up to cellular and organismal viewpoints. 

At these levels, we are interested in the properties of a network of interacting components in a system, as well as the components themselves. The concepts or Systems Biology and Bioinformatics complement each other, and both are addressed in this course. 

This combination reflects the current skills sought in academic and industrial (eg pharmaceutical) settings. An important feature is the extent to which computational biology is concerned with finding patterns in biological data, and generating hypotheses that feed back into experiments.

Teaching is delivered by more than ten academic staff working in the fields of Bioinformatics, Genomics and Systems Biology, representing the breadth and depth of these areas.


The Bioinformatics and Systems Biology course provides students with theoretical and practical knowledge of methods to analyse and interpret the data generated by modern biology.  This involves the appreciation of biochemistry and molecular biology, together with the techniques of IT and computer science that will prepare students for multidisciplinary careers in research.

To achieve this there are three main objectives:

  • Provide biological background to the data types of Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics.
  • Develop the computational and analytical understanding necessary as a platform for processing biological data.
  • Demonstrate applications and worked examples in the fields of Bioinformatics and System Biology, integrating with student involvement through project work.

Coursework and assessment

Research projects provide experience in carrying through a substantive research project including the planning, execution and communication of original scientific research. They are assessed by written report.

Taught units involve lectures, practicals and problem classes and are assessed through both coursework and exam.

Course unit details

The taught part of the course runs from September to April and consists of 60 credits delivered from four 15 credit units.
  • Bioinformatics       
  • Programming Skills    
  • Computational Systems Biology
  • Experimental Design and Statistics

You will undertake two research project, each of 60 credits, in Semester 2 and the summer.

Additionally tutorials and the Graduate Training Programme (skills development) will run through the whole programme.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Programming SkillsBIOL6020115Mandatory
Communication Skills (0 credit)BIOL603110Mandatory
Research Project 1-BioinformaticsBIOL6123060Mandatory
Research Project 2-BioinformaticsBIOL6128060Mandatory
Statistics & Experimental DesignBIOL6516115Mandatory
Computational Approaches to BiologyBIOL6602115Mandatory
PGT Supervisor Meeting (MSc)BIOL721000Mandatory
PGT Advisor Meeting (MSc)-3BIOL730500Mandatory
PGT Advisor Mtg (MSc)-1BIOL731300Mandatory
PGT Advisor Meeting (MSc)-2BIOL732300Mandatory
Post Graduate Academic Literacy Programme (ALP)BIOL854400Mandatory
Computational Systems BiologyCOMP7056015Mandatory
Displaying 10 of 13 course units

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: