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Bioinformatics involves the development and application of IT-based solutions for analysing and handling biological and medical data, such as DNA sequences and protein structures. Today, bioinformatics plays an important role in most biological and medical discoveries and workflows concerned with molecular data, such as large-scale genome-sequencing projects. A successful bioinformatics solution combines theoretical and practical knowledge from several areas of science, which is what the two-year MSc in Bioinformatics programme at Aarhus University offers.
IT AND BIOLOGY COMBINED
The MSc in Bioinformatics programme is open to all students with a BSc degree in the natural, technical or health sciences with a significant content of biological and/or computational subjects, such as a BSc in bioinformatics, biology, molecular biology, mathematics, statistics or computer science. Students on the programme will be exposed to the many topics in bioinformatics through lectures, projects and exercise sessions; they will specialise in a bioinformatics subject during their thesis work, while also acquiring general competencies in bioinformatics and IT. Central classes include Learning from Genome Data, Tree of Life, Data Science in Bioinformatics, Medical Genome Analysis, Applied Programming, Algorithms in Bioinformatics, and Statistical Methods in Bioinformatics. Together these courses cover the core topics of bioinformatics, building upon biology, statistics and computer science.
TEACHING, RESEARCH, COLLABORATION
The teaching in the programme is greatly influenced by the bioinformatics research at Aarhus University, as all the lecturers are active researchers. Aarhus University has strong research groups within many areas of bioinformatics, e.g. evolutionary bioinformatics (studying how and in what way genomes or hereditary material in organisms develop over the course of time), and medical bioinformatics (studying the correlations between diseases and genetic factors).
Students will benefit from the down-to-earth, informal relationship between faculty and students. In their thesis project students will have every chance of becoming associated with a research group that will allow them to participate in the groups scientific discussions and projects. They thus have excellent opportunities for working on active research projects, or participating in collaborative projects with bioinformatics companies.
The MSc in Bioinformatics programme is both practical and research-oriented. It reflects the interests of the business community, research institutions and the public sector. Students obtain skills within the development of IT for analysing and handling data-intensive systems in general and biological and medical systems in particular. Graduates are thus extremely well placed to find employment as bioinformatics specialists in the biotechnology industry, or in other areas where computational skills in analysis of large amounts of data are essential. They are also attractive to the IT industry as software developers.
The Masters degree in bioinformatics counts as 120 ECTS credits and includes subjects in the bioinformatics subject area plus subjects from within the biology, mathematics and computer science fields of study. You specialise by participating in course activities and projects and by writing a thesis.
During your very first week, you structure your own individual study programme with the help of a teacher from the bioinformatics degree programme by choosing courses from a course catalogue. Your programme is based on your academic qualifications and interests and the subjects you studied for your Bachelors degree. The plan must be approved by the Board of Studies before you can enrol for examinations.
Forms of teaching
At the University of Aarhus, you are in close contact with researchers in a way that you rarely experience at other universities. The door to the professors office is always open if you need clarification of the study material, and you are encouraged to ask questions at lectures and during exercises. We make heavy demands on your academic skills and independence. In return, you gain considerable benefits in the form of academic challenges and scientific knowledge, in addition to broad competences.
The teaching at the university focuses on independence, critical thinking and collaboration. Part of the teaching is in the form of lectures that introduce new angles to the material compared with the textbooks. The theoretical and practical exercises take place in small groups where you study relevant issues in depth. Most bioinformatics students also spend a certain amount of time on project work in small groups in connection with the use or development of bioinformatics tools.
The varied forms of teaching, collaboration in groups and the opportunity for close scientific dialogue with the researchers provide you with general competences that are in great demand in the global job market. These competences include abstract, critical and independent thinking, analytical skills and strategic planning. You can use these skills in many contexts even in jobs you didnt know you were qualified for.