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Bioimaging MSc

Start date
1 year, full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

Annual tuition fee for 2023/24:
UK: £10,170 full-time
International: £26,640 full-time
More details on fees and funding


Programme suspension

This programme is currently suspended and not accepting applications. Please continue to check our website for the latest information.

Our MSc Bioimaging (formerly MSc Quantitative Bioimaging)  combines the most exciting developments in advanced microscopy and quantitative image analysis for the study of key biomedical questions. 

Upon completion, students will be an ideal position to pursue a successful career in academia, as well as in the microscopy or pharmaceutical industry.

A deep understanding of the molecular mechanism at the basis of physiology and disease is key to develop novel treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer's. The recent development of innovative microscopy and computational methods like super-resolution microscopy and artificial intelligence has opened up unprecedented opportunities to study fundamental biological processes directly in living cells and organisms in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago.

This programme aims at training the next generation of biomedical and biophysical scientists with a highly interdisciplinary profile, capable of combining the most recent developments in advanced microscopy, image analysis and computational approaches to extract highly quantitative information from dynamic biological systems.

This is an exciting programme that combines lectures and seminars by world-leading experts in microscopy, probe design and image analysis with real life examples of their applications to investigate important biomedical questions. These will include the mechanisms that allow our cells to communicate with each other, the development of innovative drugs, and the study of the molecular pathogenesis of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer. The programme will include a substantial proportion of practical sessions and workshops on state-of-the-art commercial and custom microscopes for single-molecule, super-resolution and light sheet imaging as well as hands-on training with advanced software for quantitative image analysis and modelling. Moreover, students will have the opportunity of selecting a research project of their own in one of our world-leading research groups to apply what they have learned to a relevant biomedical question of their choice.

Six main modules will cover advanced microscopy methods and probes, image analysis/quantitative methods and biomedical applications. Each of the six modules will include real-life examples and applications as well as seminars by world-leading academics and industrial speakers from microscopy and pharmaceutical companies. Afterwards, the students will choose a 3-month project to be carried out in one of the participating research groups. In doing so, the students will have access to state-of-the-art imaging and computational facilities provided by the Centre for Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) of the University of Birmingham.

Why study this course?

We are at a unique time in science when tremendous technological advances have opened up the exciting opportunity of directly observing fundamental biological processes in living cells with unprecedented detail. The MSc Bioimaging provides all the knowledge and skills to become a future leader in this exciting and rapidly expanding field of science.

Biomedical research is rapidly evolving towards a multidisciplinary effort where biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists work together in larger teams to answer the big questions at the basis of life and disease. The programme provides all the required background, skills and a common language to thrive in a rapidly evolving scientific environment.

Besides paving the way to exciting opportunities in academia, this course is ideal for pursuing careers in microscopy, biotech and the pharmaceutical industry, where there is a high demand for researchers with skills in advanced microscopy and quantitative imaging.

The University of Birmingham hosts world-leading research centres and state-of-the-art facilities for advanced microscopy and computing, including the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE), the Alan Turing Institute and a new high-performance computing facility. Attending this course will give the unique opportunity of learning with world leaders in bioimaging and be trained on some of the most advanced microscopes in the UK.

In the first term, students will undertake three modules covering the foundations of cell biology, biophysics, optics and microscopy, and image analysis. These modules will include hands-on practical sessions and demonstrations to consolidate these principles and provide a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding. In the second term, they will continue to explore in more detail many aspects of advanced fluorescence microscopy and image analysis and how these can be used to build and test models of biological systems. This will be rounded off by a module studying how these techniques can be applied back to address fundamental and still open questions in modern biomedicine.

In the summer term, you will then undertake a research project in one of the Medical School labs. Working on your chosen area, you will have access to a wide range of expertise and advanced imaging techniques and apply these to real world biomedical research questions. This includes access to the world-leading COMPARE imaging labs, state-of-the-art computing research facilities and links with external institutes such as the Alan Turing Institute.

University of Birmingham Aerial Campus Tour


Foundations and open questions in Biomedicine (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to ensure that all students on the programme have a firm understanding of the basics of cell biology and biophysics and to expose them to some of the fundamental and still unresolved questions in biomedicine.

Foundations of Microscopy and Probes (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to ensure that all students on the programme have a firm understanding of the fundamental principles of light microscopy and their application in commonly used microscopy techniques.

Image Analysis and Quantitative Modelling I (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to give all students an understanding of the nature of digital images and how to analyse them to extract meaningful biological information.

Advanced Microscopy and Probes (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to achieve a deeper understanding of advanced bioimaging and single-molecule microscopy techniques and their applications in biomedical research.

Image Analysis and Quantitative Modelling II (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to give all students an understanding of how biological models can be built and informed by quantitative biological data extracted from microscopy images.

Biomedical Application of Quantitative Bioimaging (20 credits)

The aim of this module is to ensure that all students on the programme have a firm understanding of how the microscopy and quantitative image analysis methods they have learnt in the previous modules can be effectively used to investigate relevant biomedical questions.

Quantitative Bioimaging Research Project (3 months, 60 credits)

The aim of the research project is to allow students to combine the knowledge, skills and understanding of quantitative bioimaging acquired during the taught modules of the programme, and to apply these in the study of a real-world biomedical question.




  • UK: £10,170 full-time
  • International: £26,640 full-time

Learn more about fees and funding.


Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

As a UK resident you can apply for a government loan for postgraduate Masters study. This is a contribution towards the costs of study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at the discretion of the student.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Loan

Our Standard Requirements

A 2:1 Bachelors degree in life sciences, biomedical sciences, physical sciences or engineering is required.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of international qualifications - use the dropdown box below to select your country and see the equivalencies to the above UK requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.

If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not already meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course. If you successfully complete this, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without needing to take a further qualification.

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

International Requirements

As a Birmingham student, you will learn from world-leading experts, as well as your peers. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

The College of Medical Sciences with the co-located Tech Hub, Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE) and Intravital Imaging facilities host state-of-the-art microscopy equipment including confocal (Zeiss LSM 780 and 880), widefield (Zeiss Light Sheet Z1 and AxioScan Z.1), light sheet (lattice, diSPIM, Ultramicroscope), TIRF (Nikon N-STORM, custom 4-camera TIRF), FRET, SIM, FCS, and two-photon systems.

 The imaging hardware is complemented by state-of-the-art data analysis facilities including dedicated access to the University’s high performance computing facility, six high-end analysis workstations and a mixture of leading open-source and commercial (Arivis Vision4D and Huygens) software for image analysis. Moreover, COMPARE has dedicated staff support to facilitate optimal use of these resources.

Assessment Methods

A wide range of methods will be used including examinations, essays, presentations, oral examinations and practical reports. You will also produce a research thesis as part of your project and defend this in an oral examination.

The programme will enable you to develop a wide range of skills suited to careers not only in academic research but also in the pharmaceutical, imaging and optics and data science fields.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.