MSc Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology

Equipping students with the skills to produce effective research in computational genetics and bioinformatics.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start dateOctober 2021
Location: South Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits
Apply now

Overview

Our MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology is a multidisciplinary research-based degree, designed for applicants with a biomedical, computational or mathematical background.

The programme is taught by experts in relevant fields within the College and makes use of collaborations with other researchers.

You gain the necessary skills to produce effective research in computational genetics and bioinformatics.

Study programme

The programme starts with a training phase in the autumn term, where you acquire core biological, computational and mathematics skills through lectures in bioinformatics and theoretical systems biology.

For the remainder of the autumn term, you cover the taught elements of the course comprising of lectures, practical classes and assignments.

This is followed by three full-time research projects that last for the rest of the academic year, under the supervision of researchers at Imperial. All projects have a 10-12 week duration and involve liaising with biologists, mathematicians and computing specialists.

Careers

For students who are interested in pursuing a PhD, this course forms the first year of the Wellcome Trust-funded PhD programme in Theoretical Systems Biology and Bioinformatics.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.

Structure

Core modules

You take all of the core modules below.

  • Bioinformatics and Systems Biology 1
  • Bioinformatics and Systems Biology 2
  • Computing
  • Mathematics and Statistical Inference

Research projects

You take the following research projects. Projects start in the Spring term and last for the rest of the academic year.

Computing Project

The first project is designed to reinforce programming skills and provide an opportunity to experience creation of code in detail.

Data Analysis Project

The second project involves working on the statistical and computational analysis of biological or biomedical datasets in collaboration with experimental/clinical groups within Imperial.

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Project

The third project provides a mechanism for the use of the skills obtained during the course in a research environment. You become part of your host laboratory within Imperial, including associated hospitals and Silwood Park. Many of these projects contribute directly to scientific publications.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

  • Assignments
  • Computer assignments
  • Computer-based work
  • Data analysis projects, website development (11-12 weeks)
  • Formal presentations
  • Group project; software development (10-12 weeks)
  • Individual research project & dissertation (12-13 weeks)
  • Lectures
  • Online lecture materials
  • Practical classes
  • Problems classes
  • Programming lectures
  • Programming practicals
  • Software development project

Assessment methods

  • Computer assignments
  • Computer exam (open book)
  • Coursework
  • Dissertations
  • Exams
  • Group report
  • Mathematics assignment
  • Presentations
  • Viva
  • Website development

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Entry requirements

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in a biological sciences, physical sciences, computational or mathematical subject.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

Competence standards

Our competence standards highlight the core skills students should be able to demonstrate by the end of this course.

View the Department of Life Sciences' competence standards [pdf]

We believe in providing the widest practicable access to all of our degree programmes and will make reasonable adjustments wherever possible to support your study. For more information, please contact the Department using the contact details below.

Department of Life Sciences

E: L.Barron@imperial.ac.uk

How to apply

How to apply

Making an application

Apply online

All applicants must apply online.

Visit our Admissions website for details on the application process.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

Application fee

For 2021–22 entry, we are introducing a pilot application fee for our Master's courses. This helps cover some of the administrative and staffing costs associated with processing the large volume of applications we receive.

This fee will be £80 per application and not per course. 

We will waive the fee for any applicant – Home or Overseas – who demonstrates that they are experiencing financial hardship.

There is no application fee for Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas or PhDs. The fee for MBA applications to the Imperial College Business School is £135. 

Find out more about the application fee and waiver

ATAS certificate

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Further questions?

Find answers to your questions about admissions. Answers cover COVID-19, English language requirements, Visas and more.

Visit the FAQs

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

Find out more about fees and funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Home rate of tuition

2021 entry

£12,700 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2021 will apply to fees for the academic year 2021–2022.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Home fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021. 

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Overseas rate of tuition

2021 entry

£31,200 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2021 will apply to fees for the academic year 2021–2022.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Overseas fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021. 

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you're a UK national, or EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government, if you meet certain criteria.

For 2020-21 entry, the maximum amount was of £11,222. The loan is not means-tested and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

DeepMind Scholarships in Life Sciences

A generous donation from DeepMind has established two new MSc scholarships for students from under-represented groups wishing to study courses in Life Sciences with applied artificial intelligence (AI).

Each scholarship will cover the full course costs, including living costs, and will provide additional support for equipment and attendance at academic conferences. The deadline for this scholarship is in May 2021.

Find out more about the DeepMind Scholarships in Life Sciences

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies.

See what opportunities you may be eligible for.

If you are an Iranian national and are accepted to study at Imperial starting this October, you may be eligible to apply for the Irani family scholarship.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information

Life Sciences

Got a question?

Jennifer Bennett
T: +44 (0)20 7594 2170
E: jennifer.bennett@imperial.ac.uk

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