MSc Bioinformatics

Entry requirements: Level of English required 
Full or Part-time: Full-time
School: School of Science
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Course outline

The MSc in Bioinformatics provides intensive training in software development, database technologies and modern molecular genetics for graduate scientists from both biological and non-biological backgrounds. Vocational skills are also recognised in admission onto the programme. Demand for multi-skilled graduates is growing as industry, academia and the public sector increasingly respond to advances in genome biology and this programme provides the relevant skills to meet this need. The programme consists of lectures taught over 3 terms with a final term project conducted during a placement facilitating the development of practical skills.

With the completion of the human genome project, we are faced with a revolution in our understanding of complex biological systems and in the treatment of disease. The ability to efficiently manage and interrogate the wealth of DNA sequence information requires a combination of computational methodologies and molecular genetic expertise. However, there exists a shortage in appropriately skilled individuals and Buckingham offers an excellent environment in which to undergo intensive training in these disciplines.

The course aims to give students an understanding of computer programming languages, the application of computational algorithms to resolving biological problems and database creation and information mining. Students will complete the course having gained the transferable skills of computer programming, database techniques, oral and written communication skills and algorithm design.

The A-Level requirements for this course are AAB. Please note that subjects required for A-levels are Chemistry as well as one from Mathematics or Biology.

In the case of applicants who do not have Biology at A-level, they should have studied the subject to AS-level (or equivalent) and achieved at least a grade B. In the case of applicants offering more than three A-levels the Chemistry grade and the two best others will be considered.

Consult our 2017 Entry Requirements Selection document for a list of our entry requirements by country. Please email us on medicine-admissions@buckingham.ac.uk or call us on +44 (0)1280 828 275 if your qualifications are not listed in this document or if you have any specific enquiries about entry grades.

Click here for more information about the Medical School.

Terms and conditions for prospective students

When you are offered a place at the University you will be notified of the terms and conditions between the University and students on our courses of study. When you accept an offer of a place on the course at the University a legal contract is formed between you and the University on the basis of the terms and conditions outlined in your offer letter. Your offer letter and the terms and conditions contain important information which you should read carefully before accepting any offer. Read the admissions terms and conditions > >

Quality teaching

We offer high quality, traditional Oxbridge-style teaching, which leads to our degrees being recognised around the world. The standards of degrees and awards are safeguarded by distinguished external examiners – senior academic staff from other universities in the UK – who approve and moderate assessed work.

High calibre staff

Most of our academic staff teach for three terms out of four, with the remaining term used for research. Because of this, we have no difficulty in attracting high calibre, highly respected lecturers, many of whom also have a background in business or industry and can offer networking opportunities for students.

Teaching methods

Our modules include a mixture of formal lectures, tutorial classes and practical classes. At the start of each module you will be given an up-to-date module outline and reading list. Most modules will provide two or three hours of lectures each week to introduce you to the basic concepts and techniques. These will be supported by lecture notes or handouts.

Lectures are supported by weekly tutorial classes, usually one hour in length, which are held in small groups so that all students can benefit from individual attention. You will be expected to prepare for these classes, for example by attempting a set of exercises or by reading a case study.

Many of our modules have supervised practical classes in the computer laboratories in which you can apply and practise the techniques you have learnt in the lectures. These practical sessions are usually two or three hours long.

You will also be expected to study on your own, using the library for reading research and the computer laboratories to improve your practical skills.

Course material is also available on the University’s own Virtual Learning Environment. This allows students to download lecture notes, submit assignments and share resources in an electronic forum both within the University’s computer network and remotely.

Assessment methods

The assessment of individual modules within each course varies according to the subject. Assessment is usually by examination, assessed coursework, or a combination of the two. Please check module information for more details.

Preparation for work

All our degree courses combine academic challenge with the transferable skills that will stand you in good stead for future employment. Many of our more vocationally-focused degrees offer the opportunity of work placements and experience in industry.

Graduate employment

We have a high graduate employment rate, The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) ranked Buckingham top for graduate employability with 98.1% in July 2015.

Our graduate prospects are excellentOur graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country’s civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.

Career prospects

The increasing specialisation which is frequently required in the employment market is no longer provided by just an undergraduate degree. A postgraduate degree provides these advanced skills and, in today’s competitive employment market, is becoming increasingly important in order to stand out from the crowd.

Any successful career choice in the market place will be dependent on a number of factors. Your academic qualification, while important, may not be the deciding factor. Your attitude, skills and experience matter too. Whatever your motivation in taking a postgraduate course, you should think about the transferable skills an employer is seeking, and taking advantage of every opportunity for self-development to improve your chances of success in your future career. The Careers Service has the resources to help you with this process.

The tuition fees quoted below are for the degree (e.g. if you start a degree at Buckingham in January 2017, you will pay the same termly fee for the duration of your degree – you will not be affected by the price increase in September 2017). Fees are normally paid in termly instalments.

Postgraduate loan scheme

A new system of postgraduate loans for Masters degrees in the UK will be introduced from 1 August 2016 with support from the UK Government. The loan will provide up to £10,000 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. The loans can be used for tuition fees, living expenses or both.  Find out more >>

Postgraduate first class scholarship

From July 2015 a first class scholarship will be available to both home and international students following a taught postgraduate degree at the University. The scholarship will reduce tuition fees by 33%. The scholarship will be automatically awarded to applicants who already have a first class honours degree that is recognised to UK standard.

Details of other scholarships can be found on our main Bursaries and Scholarships page. You should make an application to study at the University and receive an offer letter confirming our acceptance of your application before applying for a scholarship.

You may also find it useful to visit our External Funding page.

*The University reserves the right to increase course fees annually in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering educational services. If the University intends to increase your course fees it will notify you via email of this as soon as reasonably practicable.

Due to the mode of study on this course you will not normally need a room in University accommodation during your degree.

However, if you require short-term accommodation in Buckingham we would be happy to provide a list of local bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation. Alternatively, please contact our Accommodation Office for advice.

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