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MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full-time)
Places available
25 (Full Time)

The past decade has seen enormous advances in molecular and biomedical technology resulting in an ‘omics’ revolution.

Bioinformatics (health data science) covers the application of mathematics, statistics and computing to biological and clinical scenarios. Algorithms and software tools are used to understand and interpret patient-derived ‘Big Data’


You will be use data science tools to analyse clinical and ‘omics data in order to find complex patterns relating to patient response to treatments and prognosis. You will discover results that have the potential to translate to the real world, through clinical trials or commercialisation. Using the skills and tools developed in the course you will derive unique solutions to clinical and biological problems. By the end of the degree you will be ready to work within a multidisciplinary team alongside bioinformaticians, biologists and clinicians.

You will be taught by active researchers from the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research, the Welcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (, and the Centre for Public Health (

This is complemented by guest lectures from industrial and clinical collaborators.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 31st July 2024 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.

A data science approach, combining statistics and computer science may provide the key to unlocking the cause/development of various diseases, offering the prospect of developing new drugs and therapies to prevent and treat conditions and diseases.

Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics highlights

Global Opportunities

You'll be involved with the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research, Welcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine and the Centre for Public Health, who work with partners around the world in developing treatments and pioneering advances in patient care. All Centres have an international reputation for successful dissemination and application of cutting edge research , knowledge transfer and the commercialisation of research ideas and innovations.,

Course Structure

1. Students may enrol on a full time (one year) basis. There is an introductory module to Cell Biology 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.

Course Details

Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics is an interdisciplinary field at the heart of health data science 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 using data analysis. 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 and the Centre for Public Health

You will be taught by subject experts from the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research (, the Wellcome Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine (, and the Centre for Public Health ( This is complemented by guest lectures from industrial and clinical collaborators.


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.

People teaching you





Teaching Times

9.00am to 5:00pm

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.

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Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

  • Assessment for the modules will be based on 100% coursework/in-class tests/dissertation.
  • Students who pass all of the taught modules but who fail to achieve a mark of at least 50 per cent in the dissertation are eligible for the award of a PG Diploma.
  • Students who pass 60 CATS of modules are eligible for the award of PG Certificate

What our academics say




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

    Applied Genomics (20 credits)
    Dissertation (60 credits)

Entrance requirements


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:
i) QUB:
Intercalating medical and dental students within QUB will be considered if:
a) they have successfully completed the third year of their course at first attempt and
b) have achieved at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree standard.
c) have permission to intercalate from either the Director of Medical Education or Dentistry as appropriate.

ii) External:
An external medical or dental student wishing to intercalate will be considered if:
a) They have successfully completed all assessments at first attempt for the year in which they are applying.
b) Achieved at least an overall Upper Second Class Honours degree standard as determined by their University

iii) International:
• 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.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 31st July 2024 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.

Please note: A deposit will be required to secure a place on this course.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

An IELTS Academic test score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the four elements or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University (taken within the last 2 years). IELTS test result/qualification must be submitted by 30 June 2024.

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:

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.



Career Prospects


The rapid production of 'omics' data within medicine and the life sciences has meant that individuals with health data science experience in this field are highly sought after. Recent graduates have gone on to work in industry in companies such as Almac Diagnostics, Liberty IT 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 health data science 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, including the following:

Bioinformatician at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Application Scientist at Dotmatics
Network and Security Engineer at Darktrace
Senior Data Scientist at Liberty IT
Graduate Trainee HPC, University of Bristol
Junior Bioinformatic Scientist at Almac Group
Bioinformatician at Fios Genomics Ltd
Biomedical Scientist and Junior Bioinformatician, BioKinetic Europe
Data Analyst. Diaceutics

Professional Opportunities

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.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £21,500
International £21,500

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

Students have the option to hire a locker, at a cost of £5 per student per year. Students will need access to their own computing facilities as part of this programme is delivered online.

Terms and Conditions for Postgraduate applications:

1.1  Due to high demand, there is a deadline for applications. 
1.2  You will be required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the course.
1.3  This condition of offer is in addition to any academic or English language requirements.

Read the full terms and conditions at the link below:

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

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