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Birkbeck, University of London: Bioinformatics

Institution Birkbeck, University of London View institution profile
Department School of Natural Sciences
Telephone 0203 907 0700
Study type Taught


Our MSc Bioinformatics provides you with high-quality online training in bioinformatics. It is a distance learning only course run in parallel with an MRes course that includes a larger research component.

This specialist, online postgraduate degree is ideal if you are from a scientific background and want to pursue research training in bioinformatics and systems biology, or if you are seeking a future career in both academia and industry. Bioinformatics and systems biology have grown dramatically in the last two decades and this course has been designed to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnology industries for research and development.

It covers the core concepts and statistical fundamentals underpinning bioinformatics, most notably in the area of sequence analysis. You will learn how to program in Python and design and query databases using SQL, and gain experience in more advanced programming practices such as software testing and application development. You will also explore:

  • core biological concepts such as genes and genomes, protein structure and function

  • growth areas such as Next Generation Sequencing and systems modelling.

Our research areas include:

  • computational structural bioinformatics, with a focus on the characterisation of macromolecular assemblies relevant to disease

  • analysis of next-generation sequencing data, both genomic and transcriptomic

  • immunoinformatics, in particular virus-host interactions and immune responses to protein therapeutics

  • developing bioinformatics and chemoinformatics methods to analyse metabolic pathways

  • structure-thermodynamic relationships, molecular simulation and inhibitor design

  • developing new computational methods that exploit data produced using various experimental techniques (e.g. cryo-EM, mass spectrometry, NMR and tomography).


  • We are part of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, a joint initiative with University College London and a major biology research hub in the heart of London.

  • In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), in a joint submission with UCL, Biological Sciences at Birkbeck were ranked 11th in the UK, with a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.

Careers and employability

Graduates can pursue career paths in the biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as academia. Possible professions include:

  • healthcare scientist (genetics)

  • research scientist

  • higher education lecturer

  • science writer

  • software developer.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.


Master of Research - MRes

Birkbeck, part of the University of London, offers nearly 300 taught and research postgraduate programmes across arts and humanities, business and economics, law, science and social science. As an evening teaching specialist, Birkbeck offers its taught postgraduate courses between 6-9pm, with some courses available through distance learning. As with undergraduate courses, postgraduates can study full-time or part-time.

Home to 44 research and specialist institutes, Birkbeck is the sixth largest provider of taught postgrad courses for UK and EU students - some 44% of its 11,000-plus students are on postgrad programmes. Around 90% of its academics are active in research, and …

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