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These are exciting times in biology and medicine. The genomics revolution is opening up whole new areas of research - from new insights into how organisms function, to new understandings of disease and disease processes. Medicine is currently involved in the largest and most ambitious IT project in the world - the capture and interpretation of electronic patient records. This information will make health care much more effective and can help spot new diseases early - whilst they can still be contained and controlled. At the heart of all these developments are data and knowledge - and a real need and demand for the skills and techniques that computer scientists can bring these problem areas. Biology and healthcare now provide some of the fastest growing and most challenging areas for computer scientists to apply their skills.

The Digital Biology pathway is centered around a central theme of Biohealth Informatics. The theme is specifically designed for computer scientists without any previous experience of medicine or biology and will help you to develop the core skills needed to work or research (as a computer scientist) in these rapidly evolving fields. This core theme is complemented by a range of other themes that allow students to develop additional skills which have important applications in healthcare and biology.

Teaching and learning

Computational thinking is becoming increasingly pervasive and is informing our understanding of phenomena across a range of areas; from engineering and physical sciences, to business and society. This is reflected in the way the Manchester course is taught, with students able to choose from an extremely broad range of units that not only cover core computer science topics, but that draw on our interdisciplinary research strengths in areas such as Medical and Health Sciences, Life Sciences and Humanities.

Coursework and assessment

Lectures and seminars are supported by practical exercises that impart skills as well as knowledge. These skills are augmented through an MSc project that enables students to put into practice the techniques they have been taught throughout the course.

Facilities

  • Newly refurbished computing labs furnished with modern desktop computers
  • Access to world leading academic staff
  • Collaborative working labs complete with specialist computing and audio visual equipment to support group working.
  • Over 300 Computers in the Department dedicated exclusively for the use of our students.
  • An Advanced Interfaces Laboratory to explore real time collaborative working;
  • Nanotechnology Centre for the fabrication of new generation electronic devices;
  • An e-Science Centre and Access Grid facility for world wide collaboration over the internet.
  • Access to a range of Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)
  • Specialist electronic system design and computer engineering tools.

Career opportunities

Students following the Digital Biology pathway have all the career options as described for general Advanced Computer Science.

In addition, students following this pathway are well placed for careers with healthcare providers, the pharmaceutical industry, and bio-health research institutes.

We maintain close relationships with potential employers and run various activities throughout the year, including career fairs, guest lectures, and projects run jointly with partners from industry. This is managed by our Employability Tutor; see the Department of Computer Science's employability pages for more information.


Visit the MSc ACS: Digital Biology page on the The University of Manchester website for more details!

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