Online MSc Bioinformatics

Start date
February, June, October
2.5 years
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Distance learning, Taught
Total tuition: £17,030/£1,310 per module

Drive health and bioscience innovation. Develop your understanding of complex data sets and machine learning tools in order to drive new discoveries with an online MSc Bioinformatics.

Embrace data-driven bioscience

Connecting contemporary topics across biology and computer science, our online MSc Bioinformatics will help you to master and communicate with cutting-edge methods of data manipulation and learn how to utilise them in cutting-edge health and life science research.

Led by active researchers in bioinformatics and linked to institutions across the world, this programme content is grounded in real-world experience and designed to help you develop the practical skills you need to further your career in this progressive field.

Delivered by the intrinsically multidisciplinary Centre for Computational Biology, the programme is uniquely placed to support those eager to get ahead in this fast-growing industry - from biologists and healthcare professionals already interested in data analysis, to statisticians or computer scientists wishing to apply their skills in health and biology.

Your programme of study

Our online MSc Bioinformatics connects biology, clinical applications, mathematics and computer science on a programme that bridges the fields of health informatics, machine learning and systems biology.

Taught by our research-led lecturer team at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Computational Biology, you'll learn how to apply real-world data and use it to inform your decision making. Through mini-case studies and group projects, you’ll work through real-life examples, drawing on connections with from across the globe – along with other industry partnerships. Combined with hands-on coding and data analysis exercises, you will complete your studies with both the theory and the practical skills you need.

This 180-credit programme is split into twelve 10-credit taught modules and a 60-credit dissertation. Students will study six modules per year of the programme, with each module lasting approximately eight weeks. Modules will cover a wide range of contemporary topics, such as the foundations of programming, statistics, omics, health analytics, machine learning and advanced computational methods.

Programme outcomes include:

  • Exploring the ethical implications of research in biology-related fields.
  • Developing an understanding of data types used in bioinformatics including health, genomic, epigenetic, and metabolic data.
  • Gaining an understanding of omics, environmental science and toxicology, computing, algorithmics, programming and the technologies underlying biology.
  • Understanding the statistical concepts and advanced machine learning techniques used in bioinformatics.
  • Applying statistical and computational techniques underpinning advanced methodologies, and integrating diverse data types.
  • Demonstrating self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
  • Communicating your findings in the most effective way.

£10,000 MSc Bioinformatics Scholarships

We are offering 120 awards of £10,000 to upskill UK students to progress into the AI and Data Science workforce. Scholarship funding will be prioritised for women, Black students, disabled students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, to ensure that AI reflects the makeup of our society. This scholarship is open to students with a 'home' fee status only.

The deadlines for applications for the MSc Bioinformatics (Online) are Friday 15 September 2023 for the October intake and Friday 19 January 2024 for the March intake.

Apply now  

To accompany the support offered to the under-represented groups that the scholarship will benefit, we are offering a Mathematics for Data Science Pre-sessional Bootcamp to successful awardees. This pre-sessional course will provide an alternative means of entry for those who may not meet the standard Maths entry requirement of the course.

Admission to this bootcamp is made as part of your scholarship application.

Maths bootcamp  

Enquire now for detailed programme and pricing information

Frequently asked questions

When can I start a programme?
There are three intakes per year. You can choose to join the Online MSc Bioinformatics programme in summer, autumn or spring. Request information to speak to a Recruitment Coordinator and find out more about upcoming start dates.

What will my online MSc Bioinformatics certificate say?
You will graduate with an MSc Bioinformatics having further developed your skills in the provision of data-driven health services. Your certificate will not specify that you studied the qualification online, as we make no distinction between our campus and distance learning programmes.

Are there specific times for online classes?
We have designed the programme to fit your busy schedule. All the work that you will carry out with tutors and fellow students will be asynchronous, with specific periods of time given to collaborate via email, discussion forums and video conferences.

What are the types of networking and collaboration opportunities?
Our online learning environment, Canvas, allows you to contact your peers and tutors, use discussion forums, connect with lecturers and take part in group work. It’s a highly interactive environment, designed to make you feel part of the learning community.

How will I be supported as an online student?
As well as learning from expert lecturers, academic tutors and PET tutors, you’ll have access to community boards, instant messaging services, live discussions and one-to-one support from a Student Services Coordinator. We also offer 24/7 technical support should you encounter any difficulties accessing the online platform.

Our online learning environment includes videos and interactive activities for you to learn from. You can also access the university’s online library, which includes e-textbooks, journal articles and specialist industry reports.


The online MSc Bioinformatics is a 180 credit, 30-month programme of study. As a student on the programme, you will study twelve 10-credit taught modules over two years, with each module lasting eight weeks. You will also submit a dissertation worth 60 credits.

You have a maximum of five years to finish your online programme and under certain circumstances, you can break up your studies and take time out between modules if you need to. Please discuss this with a recruitment coordinator.

Programme modules:

  • Introduction to biology and programming
  • Scientific communication
  • Introduction to probabilities
  • Essentials of statistical modelling
  • Introduction to genomics and next generation sequencing
  • Applied genomics and next generation sequencing
  • Statistical machine learning
  • Health data analytics
  • Concepts in metabolomics and advanced (omics) technologies
  • Applied metabolomics and advanced (omics) technologies
  • Essentials of complex systems
  • Computational biology for complex systems
  • Dissertation


The full cost of this programme in 2023/24 is £17,030. This can be paid in full or in instalments of £1,310 per module. Programme fees are reviewed annually and are subject to change each academic year.

For more information and to speak to a recruitment coordinator, fill out our form.

International students can occasionally gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or via your home government.

How To Apply

Click on the ‘Apply now’ button and create an account. You will be directed to an application specifically designed for the online MSc Bioinformatics programme. Submit your application and supporting documentation online. Your supporting documents include:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé: Demonstrate your academic and work experience, in addition ot any other skills that may support your application. This will help our recruitment team ensure that you have the right experience for the programme.
  • Statement of purpose: Draw attention to your skills, experience and goals, and to explain why you wish to apply for this programme. This should be no longer than one page of text.
  • Two references: Send details of your references either as a letter of recommendation or a recorded transcript by email or by post to our recruitment team. These must be signed, on letterheaded paper, or supplied with your referee’s business card.
  • Transcripts: To verify your education, we ask you to submit your previous academic transcripts, either in notarized form or sent directly from your previous institution.
  • Evidence of language (if applicable): If English is not your first language, you will need to also supply an up-to-date English language certificate which meets the entry criteria – as detailed in our standard entry requirements section.

If you would like any feedback or advice about your application, our Recruitment team would be happy to help. You can fill out a request for information or call +44 (0)800 032 7101.

Further information on how to apply online can be found here.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

In order to be eligible for the online MSc Bioinformatics, you will need to possess (or be predicted to obtain) an upper second-class degree or postgraduate diploma in life sciences, biomedical sciences, mathematics, computer science or another relevant quantitative subject from a UK university OR an equivalent qualification from a recognised institution. Select your country from the drop down below for details on equivalent qualification levels.

Alternatively, you may also be eligible with one of the following, if you also have an A in A-level mathematics:

  • 2.2 in the above listed subjects plus 3–5 years of relevant work experience
  • 3.0 in the above listed subjects plus 5–7 years of relevant work experience
  • 8 years or more of relevant work experience

Standard English language requirements also apply. If English is not your first language, you must also have an up-to-date English language test certificate. We accept Academic IELTS certificates with a grade of 6.5 and no less than 6.0 in any band. 

Other forms of English language certificates are accepted. Please discuss this with a recruitment coordinator. 

Mathematics for Data Science Pre-sessional Bootcamp

To accompany the support offered to the under-represented groups that the AI and Data Science Conversion Masters Scholarship will benefit, we are offering a Mathematics for Data Science Pre-sessional Bootcamp to successful awardees. This pre-sessional course provides an alternative means of entry for those who may not meet the standard Maths entry requirement of the courses.

Admission to this bootcamp is made as part of your scholarship application.

Apply now  

International Requirements

What is it like to study for an MSc online?

Distance learning involves a whole lot more than just putting campus programmes online. All of our online programmes have been purpose-built from the ground up to harness the full power of the technologies available. The format is ideally suited to working professionals who are balancing their careers and personal commitments alongside their studies. 

Our Online MSc Bioinformatics is delivered by our multidisciplinary initiative, the  Centre for Computational Biology, and is uniquely placed to support those eager to get ahead in this fast-growing industry.

Exploring a diverse range of subjects from scientific communication and health data analytics to applied metabolomics and advanced (omics) technologies, the curriculum is designed to help health, data science and life science professionals communicate more effectively with data.

You’ll experience real-world examples through a combination of mini-case studies and group projects, which will draw on connections with institutions across the globe. You’ll collaborate with students from different backgrounds, further enriching your experience and helping you to make use of data in new and inventive ways.

Discover more with data

This online programme covers the essential topics related to bioinformatics, starting with introductory modules, followed by applied and advanced modules to gradually build your knowledge throughout this unique multidisciplinary programme.

Rather than simply reading lecture transcripts and sending in assignments, the University of Birmingham’s online students engage with the curriculum directly using:

  • Video: accessing content at any time and from any device
  • Interactive assignments: actively participating in learning exercises
  • Real-life case studies: gain skills you can apply to your organisation immediately
  • Peer interaction: connect with peers, professors and tutors online
  • Digital resources: rely on support for any of your admissions, enrolment, technology or career needs

Module structure

  • Be taught by our internationally respected course leaders.
  • Communicate and network with fellow students in forums.
  • Undertake assignments (including reports, essays, presentations, quizzes, exams and group work), with deadlines structured at reasonable intervals to help guide you through your student journey.

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Career opportunities: Online MSc Bioinformatics

Lead the future of health services innovation

Between 2020 and 2027 the global bioinformatics market is expected to grow by 13.4% (compound annual growth rate),1 as bioinformatics and data science become key drivers for new clinical and biological services.

Led by active researchers in bioinformatics and linked to institutions and partnerships globally, the programme content is grounded in the real world. This helps you develop the practical skills you need to further your career in this expanding area of expertise.

After graduating, a large proportion of students go on to study a PhD or undertake research for pharmaceutical companies, governmental institutions and medical publications. Other potential roles for graduates include bioinformatician, bioinformatics analyst, pharmaceutical scientist, biostatistician, medical data scientist and medical AI architect.

Unlock your career in bioinformatics

We want to ensure that you can progress in this competitive environment and have designed our course  with a practical approach and cross-disciplinary subject matter. It is this experience that will give you a commanding position when it comes to taking advantage of the career opportunities available in this growing area. 

Find out more about your career outlook by requesting information today.

Why choose the University of Birmingham for your MSc?

  • Top-20 in the UK for Biological Science2
  • A world top-100 university3
  • Leading UK provider of distance and blended learning
  • Immersive online learning experience

Find out more about the Online MSc Bioinformatics.


  1. Allied Market Research (2019) Bioinformatics Market by Technology & Services
  2. QS World University Rankings (2023)
  3. QS World University Rankings (2024)

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