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Course content

The Bioinformatics MSc combines foundational skills in bioinformatics with specialist skills in computing programming, molecular biology and research methods. Our unique, interdisciplinary course draws together highly-rated teaching and research expertise from across the University, equipping you for a successful career in the bioinformatics industry or academia.

This interdisciplinary course is based in the School of Computing Science and taught jointly with the School of Biology, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences and the Institute of Genetic Medicine. It is designed for students from both biological science and computational backgrounds. Prior experience with computer programming is not required and we welcome applications from students with mathematical, engineering or other scientific backgrounds.

Our graduates have an excellent record of finding employment (around 90%). Recent examples have included:
-Bioinformatician at the Medical Research Council
-Technical consultant at Accenture
-Bioinformatics technician at Barcelona Supercomputing Centre

Our course structure is highly flexible and you can tailor it to your own skills and interests. Half of the course is taught and the remainder is dedicated to a research project.

As research is a large component of this course, our emphasis is on delivering the research training you will need to meet the demands of industry and academia now and in the future. Our research in bioinformatics, life sciences, computing and mathematics is internationally recognised. We have an active research community, comprising several research groups and three research centres.

You will be taught by academics who are successful researchers in their field and publish regularly in highly-ranked bioinformatics journals. Our experienced and helpful staff will be happy to offer support with all aspects of your course from admissions to graduation and developing your career.

The course is part of a suite of related programmes that include:
-Synthetic Biology MSc
-Computational Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics MSc
-Computational Systems Biology MSc

All four courses share core modules. This creates a tight-knit cohort that has encouraged collaborations on projects undertaking interdisciplinary research.

Delivery

Semester one combines bioinformatics theory and application with the computational and modelling skills necessary to undertake more specialist modules in semester two. We provide training in mathematics and statistics and, for those without a biological first degree, we will also provide molecular biology training. Some of these modules are examined in January at the end of semester one.

Semester two begins with two modules that focus heavily on introducing subject-specific research skills. These two modules run sequentially, in a short but intensive mode that allows you time to focus on a single topic in depth. In the first of the second semester modules you learn how to analyse data arising from post-genomic studies such as microarray analysis, proteomic analysis and RNAseq. All of the semester two modules are examined by in-course assessment - there are no formal examinations in these modules.

Project work

Your five month project gives you an opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in depth, and to work in a research or development team. You will have one-to-one supervision from an experienced member of staff, supported with supervision from industry partners as required.

The project can be carried out:
-With a research group at Newcastle University
-With an industrial sponsor
-With a research institute
-At your place of work

Accreditation

We have a policy of seeking British Computer Society (BCS) accreditation for all of our degrees, so you can be assured that you will graduate with a degree that meets the standards set out by the IT industry. Studying a BCS-accredited degree provides the foundation for professional membership of the BCS on graduation and is the first step to becoming a chartered IT professional.

The School of Computing Science at Newcastle University is an accredited and a recognised Partner in the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science.

Visit the Bioinformatics - MSc page on the Newcastle University website for more details!

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