Master of Science in Bioinformatics (Bioscience Engineering)

Bioinformatics aims at gaining a better and preferentially more quantitative molecular understanding of cellular processes by integrating and modelling high-throughput molecular data (omics data). This requires the use and development of state-of-the-art techniques for storing, retrieving, organizing, analysing and interpreting biological data.

Master's Programme
2 year 120 credits
Faculty of Sciences
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Faculty of Engineering and Architecture
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About the programme
Programme summary
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After graduation


Recent technological advances have changed our view on life science research dramatically, and have turned biology into a data-driven science. It is in this context that bioinformatics, a booming interdisciplinary field, has evolved from a new research field into a basic discipline in only fifteen years. Bioinformatics aims at gaining a better and preferentially more quantitative molecular understanding of cellular processes by integrating and modelling high-throughput molecular data.  

  • Are you fascinated with both engineering/mathematics and the biological aspects of science?

  • Do you like problem-solving through data analysis and data mining?
  • Are you intrigued by understanding and modelling complex biological processes,
  • Do you want to make biological discoveries by decoding big data?
  • Do you like to work in an interdisciplinary environment?
  • Do you want to study fundamental biological processes through integration of modern sequencing techniques and mathematical models?
  • Do you want to apply individual genome sequencing for personalized health care?
  • Do you want to contribute to facilitating the use of modern molecular technologies in the industry and the public sector?

If the answer to the questions above is a resounding ‘yes’, our Bioinformatics programme is the right choice for you!

As a bioinformatician you will become an interdisciplinary scientist or engineer who can develop or use state-of-the art statistical and computer science techniques to mine molecular data in order to answer fundamental or applied biological and biomedical questions. Ghent University offers an interfaculty Master of Science in Bioinformatics programme, which - depending on the chosen track - can result in an Engineering or Bioscience Engineering degree.

The programme

  • offers a track tuned to your specific interests and background, which prepares you for different job profiles in the field of bioinformatics (bioinformatics scientist and bioinformatics engineer, respectively);
  • offers both in-depth theoretical and data analytical/ problem-solving skills;
  • is embedded in a strong bioinformatics and biotechnology research environment, located at the Faculties of Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Bioscience Engineering, and Engineering and Architecture. It is also affiliated with VIB and IMEC.

Master of Science in Bioinformatics: Bioscience Engineering

You can enter the Master’s programme to become a bioinformatics scientist or bioinformatics bioengineer with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, or in Bioscience Engineering. A bioinformatics scientist applies (bio)informatics tools and techniques to understand a biological system or to solve an innovative research question. You are trained as a problem-solver who can combine bioinformatics tools and algorithms to analyse, integrate and model data in a creative and efficient manner. Having the essential programming and data analysis skills requires a deep understanding of statistics, programming and data analytical techniques (a 20 credit module of Applied Mathematics and Informatics). The Applied Bioinformatics module (33 credits) will make you familiar with the basic data analytical methods (e.g. NGS analysis), help you to acquire interdisciplinary skill sets and illustrate how theoretical concepts of statistics and data mining are used to build bioinformatics tools.
The difference between the Bioscience Engineering and the Systems Biology track is that the former deepens the engineering skills (Bioscience Engineering track of 23 credits), whereas the Systems Biology track (30 credits) pays more attention to advanced (systems) biological knowledge. The Master’s dissertation takes up 30 credits and focuses on a research topic. In your curriculum there is opportunity to do a work placement to familiarize yourself with the role and expectations of a bioinformatics scientist in the industry or at a government agency.

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For whom

The admission requirements vary. Depending on your prior education, you are either able to enrol directly, or there are additional requirements.

Labour Market

Technological advances have turned biology into a data-driven science. The wealth of molecular data enables key discoveries in biology, ecology and molecular evolution, drives innovation in the biotech and pharma industry and supports medical and governmental decision-making. However, the power of using these data for innovation depends on interdisciplinary skills to analyse, integrate and interpret the data.

There is thus an urgent need for bioinformatics scientists and engineers with an interdisciplinary mindset. There is currently a large discrepancy between the exponential increase of biological data (28% each year) and the number of newly graduated bioinformaticians (increase of only 5.8%) who typically find a job in agro, biotech and pharma industry, in research and government agencies, and in genetics centres and hospitals. Because of their interdisciplinary and analytical skill sets, bioinformaticians also find their way into consultancy, spin-offs and data analytics.