MSc year

The first year (MSc) programme

In your first year, you will be registered and follow our highly regarded MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology. Students who successfully complete the course will be awarded an MSc degree. During the first year, the intention is to provide:

  • training to ensure every student, irrespective of their first degree, has the background in fundamental molecular and cellular biology, computing, mathematics and statistics
  • an understanding of major research challenges and methodologies in bioinformatics and theoretical systems biology
  • an opportunity to formulate and develop your PhD project


During the first three months of the MSc you will have lectures that facilitate discipline hopping by introducing the principles of molecular and cellular biology, teaching computing (Python and R), and describing the mathematical and statistical methods underpinning this area. In addition, there will lectures on bioinformatics and theoretical systems biology, covering more advanced topics including computational and functional genomics, protein modelling, statistical genetics, biological networks, and systems modelling. These lectures will enable you to understand the research challenges in these areas.

Rotation research projects

After this training there will be three rotation research projects, each of about 11 weeks. The first will focus on gaining expertise in software development for bioinformatics and systems biology problems; the second project covers data analysis and modern, dynamic and web-based ways of analysing biomedical research problems and presenting the analysis and disseminating the results; the third project is an open-ended research project, that builds on the experiences and techniques learned over the course of the MSc, and in which you will tackle a current research problem. These projects will introduce you to cutting edge research and can naturally lead into the PhD project. The potential PhD supervisors will be offering these rotation projects; this provides you with an excellent opportunity to experience a range of research areas and help you identify the area of interest for your PhD. The rotation projects will also provide hands-on experience in applying modelling and in silico methods directly to experimental life- and biomedical science problems.