If you have a biology background and wish to focus on the exciting interdisciplinary field of bioinformatics, combining computer science, mathematics and biology, then the Master's Programme in Bioinformatics is designed for you. The tools and knowledge you acquire from this programme are central elements in many areas of research, such as studying genetic diseases in humans, building the tree of life or developing new types of pharmaceuticals.
Why this programme?
In a number of fields, such as biomedicine and evolutionary biology, modern methods are used to generate large amounts of data, including DNA, RNA and protein sequences, molecule structures and gene expression data. Transforming these large amounts of data into applicable information and being able to draw relevant conclusions requires proper data management and analysis tools. The bioinformatician possesses the skills to both use and develop such tools.
You will meet researchers working towards advancing the knowledge within each respective field. There will be opportunities for you to contribute to the rapid development of bioinformatics. You will gain hands-on experience in research groups, where you for example might develop a programme for analysis of new pharmaceutical candidates or analyse large scale sequence data from complex environments, populations or human cancers.
Through our expert teachers, you will obtain a broad network which will enable you to establish links with potential future employers. For instance, after the programme you may conduct research at a university or work with clinical applications at a hospital.
During the programme you can expect to:
contribute to the rapid development of bioinformatics
gain hands-on experience in a research group or in a company
obtain a broad network and establish links with potential future employers.
Student profile You are probably coming from a Bachelor's programme that included a number of courses in Biology and some in mathematics or statistics. Ideally, you have some training in applying your skills practically and not only theoretical knowledge.
You have a naturally analytical attitude and are able and willing to express your thoughts in both writing and speaking. English is not a problem for you and you understand that working in this field also means communicating with, and presenting for, specialists in other subjects.
A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you value coming into contact with current research and prominent researchers in the field.
The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Bioinformatics as the main field of study.
Name: Yuvarani Masarapu From: India Studied: Master’s Programme in Bioinformatics; study years 2018-2020.
How did you choose your programme?
I always wanted to enter the science community, but with my Bachelor’s in Computer Science I did not know how to do this without restarting my career. When I was searching for such options at Swedish universities, the Master’s Programme in Bioinformatics at Uppsala University fits perfectly for my future career goals. I could use my previous programming knowledge and learn how to apply it on scientific data.
What is it like to be an international student?
It feels great! Especially when the place is Uppsala University. You get to meet so many other international students, their cultures and traditions, and different study habits. All of these teach you so much of life out there away from your own country and place. You also get to experience how similar and different the academic system here is from your native country.
What is the best thing about studying at Uppsala University?
The research opportunities the University offers! I think for a student who is aiming for a future in academia, Uppsala University is the best option. Almost every professor that I know at the University is involved in some kind of interesting research which students can be part of. It is a great way to get involved in the research community. The other best thing about studying at Uppsala University is that you get to witness the tradition of various student activities offered by the student organisations. That includes both school stuff as well as pub crawls (it is till unclear if anyone has ever survived through all the 13 student nations in a pub crawl!).
How did you experience your first few days in Sweden?
Busy and tiring! I did not want to spare any minute. The welcome activities arranged by the University and student nations were all lined up during the initial days of our arrival. But that did not stop me from exploring Gamla Uppsala, Gottsunda (famous for the flea market for bikes) and most important of all, pay a visit to IKEA (VERY important, solution to all your furniture problems!).
What was a normal day like for you?
A typical study day would be me waking up at 7 (am/pm not disclosed…), biking to the University (except when the snow hits and my bike throws me off it), work/study until evening. Then I would video call my parents. This is a ritual that cannot be broken unless I want the Swedish police at my door called by my parents worried that I was kidnapped. I usually try to spend some of the evenings with friends at the nation or in Flogsta. It is very important to have a social life in Sweden. That is all you'd need to survive the harsh dark winters! But also, being realistic, I did have lazy gloomy days and I think it is completely okay to have so. You relax and get back to schedule with even more energy!
What’s unique about your programme?
Our programme is, as I see it, the most international among all the other programmes at Uppsala University, both in term of cultures and academic backgrounds. The interests of every student within our programme are different and you would be surprised by knowing how many fields of study can be involved within bioinformatics!
How would you describe the relationship between you and your teachers at the University?
The teachers are very helpful. They are your friends first and mentors after, so you will always be looked after (especially if you are like me and many others searching for emotional support from teachers!). Besides the teachers who teach courses, the University also offers study counsellors who help students plan their studies.
How was your student life and what was your best experience?
This is honestly a very difficult question to answer as there are so many good experiences. There are different levels of good experiences being a student, from the big ones where I actively chose to be the course representative for our programme, becoming the "buddy" administrator at the Biology Education Centre, and volunteered for the career fair UTNARM 2019, to the smaller ones like the Wednesday Bioinfo-pub meets. I enjoyed every bit to the fullest and I miss all of these so much during the pandemic that I still spend some of my “work from home” days at Campus Blåsenhus. Also, the best thing about being a student in Sweden is the student discounts. It is always worth asking for student discount at a store, even if they hadn’t advertised it on the STUK app, you’ll be surprised how much money you can save by doing so.
What is your reason for studying and your ultimate goal?
Education is, as I always believed, the only way one can become truly civilised. It opens the doors to wisdom that no money can buy. Every step in your educational career would get you closer to wisdom and this is my motivation to continue to study after my Bachelor’s. I want to continue studying after my Master’s, to get into a PhD programme within the area of my interests, and get the 'Dr' title without ever studying medicine.
The Master's Programme in Bioinformatics will provide you with both theoretical and practical knowledge in molecular biology, data management and programming, as well as bioinformatics applications within these fields. Through project-based courses, you will also learn how to plan, execute and finalise projects.
You will take some courses together with students in the Master's Programme in Molecular Biotechnology Engineering, specialising in Bioinformatics.
Year 1 In the first semester, students with a biology background will take courses in programming, statistics and database techniques. At the same time, all students in the programme will also take the course Introduction to Bioinformatics, which presents important concepts and methods within bioinformatics.
The second semester includes courses such as Genome Analysis, Molecular Evolution, Information Management Systems and Big Data in Life Sciences.
Year 2 During the second year, you will take more specialised courses in bioinformatics, for example, Knowledge-based Systems in Bioinformatics, Phylogenetic analysis, Applied Bioinformatics and Population Genomic Analysis. You can also individualise your studies by doing project work or research training.
The second year finishes with a degree project carried out at a company, government agency or authority, or at one of our research departments at the University.
The teaching is composed of lectures, group exercises, computer exercises, seminars and your own project work. For the group exercises, you will need to complete them together with your classmates outside the classroom. This way you learn from each other and you train to be a team player. On a seminar, you present your ideas and discuss with your classmates regarding a course book or other study material that you are required to read before the seminar; while the teacher usually only moderates the discussion. The aim is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills. All the students are expected to be active participants in all forms of discussions.
The course content is directly linked to current research, and our teachers are active researchers with substantial specialist knowledge. Through guest lecturers, you will meet people with experience from bioinformatics development work.
Our graduates, who now work in different bioinformatics environments and projects, are invited to provide insight into the work of a bioinformatician and to recount the knowledge particularly important in their professional lives.
You will also get suggestions about important courses or useful software tools, as well as information about especially creative research environments. The contact network you get will provide you with the opportunity to form relationships with future employers during the programme.
The programme is given in Uppsala and the language of instruction is English.
Currently, most of our alumni are working in research-related environments within the academy or in close cooperation with the university. Government agencies such as the Swedish Food Agency and the Public Health Agency of Sweden are also pursuing exciting developments in the field of bioinformatics. The biotechnology industry and hospitals have an urgent and increasing need for bioinformaticians.
Depending on your chosen specialisation in the second year, you may work with research and development at research laboratories, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, or software companies with specialisation in bioinformatics applications.
The job market is international, since methods and problems are similar in all parts of the world. Our research departments have cooperation agreements worldwide, and their contact networks will be a valuable resource for you. Rapid developments in the field of biotechnology entail that the demand for bioinformatics competence is increasing, particularly in academic research and at hospitals, but also in government agencies and the private sector.
Uppsala University has an excellent international reputation, and a Master's degree in Bioinformatics from Uppsala University will provide you with an internationally recognised qualification that opens doors to both academic research and a career in industry, in Sweden and internationally.
Career support During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career. Learn more about UU Careers.
Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fees. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, you also need to submit a programme-specific document: an Application Summary Sheet, where you fill in your Statement of Purpose .
Requirements: Academic requirements A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Also required is:
45 credits in biology including 30 credits in molecular biology, cell biology, evolution or genetics; and
15 credits in mathematics or statistics.
Language requirements Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at universityadmissions.se.
Students are selected based on:
an overall appraisal of previous university studies; and
a statement of purpose (1 page).
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.
If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.