Life Science Informatics (B-IT)

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Mar 1, 2024
114 place StudyQA ranking:5456 Duration:2 years

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The programme is distinguished by its international orientation, its focus on both natural sciences and IT competence, and its high level of integration of research and teaching. The programme is characterised by a significant number of research lab courses embedded in both basic and applied research at the participating Fraunhofer Institutes of Applied Information Technology (FIT) and for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI) in cooperation with regional industry.
The Master's programme in Life Science Informatics consists of three main blocks:
  • computer science and mathematics for natural scientists
  • basic principles of life science informatics
  • biology of the cell and systems biology
Major topics include:
  • biomedical database systems
  • management and retrieval of information
  • data mining and machine learning
  • statistical genetics
  • drug design
  • medical imaging and visualisation
  • computational neuroscience
  • computational modelling of regulatory and metabolics networks
  • systems biology and computational systems biology
  • analysis of micro arrays
Special courses and internships on information retrieval and data mining provide a special focus on (or within) the important application domain of biomedical information systems.
The programme also includes training designed to sensitise students to the ethical implications of emerging biotechnologies. The final six months of the programme are dedicated to the Master's thesis, which can be completed in cooperation with partners in the industry.

Educational organisation

The course contents are structured according to the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). The programme consists of three semesters with lectures/lab work, and a Master's thesis which is written in the final, fourth semester. Lectures are usually accompanied by course assignments which have to be successfully completed by the students. Lab work is a substantial part of the programme. Several of the courses are mandatory; many electives are offered in the later semesters.
The programme emphasises the students' early exposure to eminent scientists. Therefore, courses and lecture series with guest researchers who are prominent in their respective fields are offered to students in order to broaden their horizons.
One example of how this is achieved is the LSI's International Lecture Series. Every summer semester, students have the opportunity to discuss current topics from the field of life science informatics with a range of highly experienced, international researchers.

Study abroad unit(s)

Studies abroad are optional.


Optional: in industry and academia, industry workshops within the programme

Forms of assessment

Students earn credit points for each successfully completed course. For lectures, this means that the final exam has to be passed at the end of the semester. If course assignments are given, successful completion of the course assignments is a prerequisite for taking the exam. Lab work is evaluated individually. The Master's thesis is graded independently by two professors. The final grades are computed as the average of all grades obtained during the programme.

Course objectives

The course programme aims at educating talented and highly motivated men and women for leadership in the post-genomic era. The Master's degree in Life Science Informatics provides the qualifications required for the management of large projects in all fields of life sciences, ranging from molecular biology to pharmaceutical drug design to computational neurobiology.
With an MSc degree in Life Science Informatics, graduates will be well prepared for typical tasks when working in applied data analysis and data modelling, industrial functional genomics, drug development and pharmacology.
This interdisciplinary programme will educate participants to successfully master the novel technical and economic challenges at the crossroads of biotechnology, medicine, pharmaceutics and computer science.
A doctoral degree can also be pursued within the B-IT Research School, which is taught entirely in English and also offers a combined Master/PhD track for outstanding Master's students.

Language requirements

Candidates must be able to speak and write English fluently (TOEFL 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, iBT 80 or IELTS 6.0). A basic command of the German language is recommended. German courses for foreign students are offered at the Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology (B-IT) and at the University of Bonn (

Academic requirements

Candidates must hold a first degree awarded by an internationally recognised, university-level institution (Bachelor of Science or Engineering) in biology, medicine, pharmaceutics or computer science, or another closely related discipline. Candidates should have performed well above average in their undergraduate studies. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is strongly recommended.
In particular, applicants must have knowledge equivalent to a one-year course in each of the following subjects: analysis, linear algebra, fundamentals of biochemistry, theoretical biology, in the areas programming, data structures and algorithms, computer organisation and design, fundamentals of theoretical computer science, molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, neurobiology, biodiversity, microbiology and pharmacology.

Enrolment fees

Students have to pay an enrolment fee of about 270 EUR per semester to the Students' Union, which supports student activities and provides free public transport in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Costs of living

We recommend a budget of around 800 EUR per month for accommodation, cost of living, health insurance, books, and miscellaneous expenses.

Job opportunities

A work-study programme for qualified students (paid on a stipend basis) is administered by the cooperating Fraunhofer Institutes.
With a strong focus on biomedical research, the University of Bonn and the University Hospital offer several interesting opportunities to work closely with experimental researchers. In addition, the ABCD region (Aachen, Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf) is home to many prospective employers, including global players such as Bayer, as well as many highly specialised, medium-sized companies such as Grünenthal.

Funding opportunities within the university

The B-IT work-study programme is aimed at excellent applicants. It is offered by B-IT. Applicants for the B-IT work-study programme - who should have performed far above average - will be chosen from all incoming applications every year. Selected students will join the group of a professor and will be integrated seamlessly into ongoing research from the very beginning of their studies in life science informatics. Early exposure to research will complement their research-oriented studies in the Master's programme in Life Science Informatics and will offer them the opportunity to gain research experience at an early stage of their studies.

Arrival support

The Coordination Team of Life Science Informatics provides arrival and accommodation support, if necessary.

Services and support for international students

Students are assisted during their studies by the Coordination Team of Life Science Informatics with regard to communication with authorities, in cases of personal or learning problems, and in the smooth integration of incoming students into the running programme.


Accommodation is available from 150 EUR to 350 EUR. Availability of accommodation is good. There are several student dorms in Bonn with excellent access to public transport.
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