Master of Science in Bioinformatics (MSc)

Overview

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary program that combines the application of computer technology to the management and analysis of biological data. The result is that computers are being used to organize data generated from experiments into databases, develop new algorithms and software, and use this software for the interpretation and analysis of the data into meaningful biological information. For the past ten years, our M.Sc. program has been training students to organize, visualize, analyze and interpret biological data. Students have access to world renowned bioinformaticians at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the BC Cancer Agency, and have exposure to the latest technologies to develop their skills.

Strategic Program Objectives:

  • To build on British Columbia's reputation and excellence in bioinformatics.
  • To integrate bioinformatics into basic biology to further current research excellence in other life science sectors of the province.
  • To foster collaborations locally, nationally and internationally.

What makes the program unique?

The Bioinformatics M.Sc. program integrates academic centres in computer science, statistics, molecular biology, and biotechnology, with translational groups at hospitals and at the clinical interface. The innovative partnership among the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the BC Cancer Agency allows students access to top experts in the field of bioinformatics, exposure to original research and opportunities to complete significant practical work on real bioinformatics problems. Internships allow student mobility between Canadian and international universities, institutions and industries to further enhance collaborations among Canadian high-technology research groups in both the private and public sectors. Students have done research in various locations over the years such as the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and Mexico, Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Moscow, European Bioinformatics Institute at Cambridge, National University of Singapore and the National Institute of Genetics in Japan.

Quick Facts

Degree
Master of Science
Subject
Health and Medicine
Mode of delivery
On campus
Specialization
Bioinformatics
Program Components
Coursework + Thesis required
Faculty
Faculty of Science

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Meet a UBC representative

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

webinar
Date: Thursday, 23 August 2018
Time: 09:00 to 10:00
Join our Graduate Student Ambassadors Samuel Adenyanju (MSc Forestry, Nigeria), Federico Andrade (PhD Public Health, Colombia), Maria Angélica Guerrero (MA Educational Studies, Colombia), Xining (Linda) Yang (PhD Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, China) and Dorine Akwiri (Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Kenya) who will be available to answer questions about their experiences at UBC, including topics such as accommodation, moving to a new city/province/country and settling in, making friends, being an international student, and more. This session is open to participants interested in different programs across all faculties at UBC. Please note that we will not be able to provide answers to questions regarding application or admissions policies or any that involve specific personal information.

Research Information

Program Components

Students who secure an NSERC-CREATE scholarship will undertake a 3-4 month internship that may be local, within Canada or at an international University or Institution.

Research Facilities

Bioinformatics faculty are spread throughout the UBC campus, as well as off-campus at the BC Cancer Research Centre or hospital research labs and Institutions.

Application Notes

Students must secure a supervisor before they can be admitted into the program. As well, they must meet the minimum admission requirements set out by Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies at UBC.

Requirements

Document Requirements

CV, Official transcripts, three letters of reference, Official English exam scores (if required)

TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement

100
22
21
22
21

IELTS Overall Score Requirement

7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5

Supervisor commitment required prior to application?

Yes

Prior degree requirements

Applicants must have a Life-Sciences degree, with significant experience in a quantitative science OR a Computer Science/Math/Engineering/Physics degree with significant experience in Life Sciences. Although work experience may be taken into consideration if the degree is outside these areas.

Funding Sources

All students accepted by a faculty member and enrolled in the program will be paid a minimum stipend of $22,000/year.  Applicants who are interested in the organization and management of data, the development of algorithms and software, and application of these approaches to questions in wide-ranging areas of biology may consider the NSERC-CREATE funded Training Program in High-Dimensional Bioinformatics that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities.

Career Options

As biological data sets increase exponentially in both size and complexity, bioinformatics tools have central importance in fields and industries ranging from environmental management, forestry, aquaculture, and bio-fuels to personalized medicine, drug development, preventative medicine and gene therapy. Individuals who can analyze and interpret large data sets or "big data" are highly sought after by both public and private sector employers. Academic positions are also available at universities and research institutions, for those who continue their studies toward a PhD degree in Bioinformatics. Recent graduates have taken positions at local research institutions and biotechnology companies, a gaming company in California, a computer software company in Japan, and a chemical company in Montreal. Those looking to further their academic career have entered medical school, or are pursuing a PhD degrees in Australia, Cambridge, Oxford, and locally at UBC and SFU.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20172016201520142013
Applications7026132122
Offers10961312
New registrations9851312
Total enrolment2325252918

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 76.19% based on 21 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 16 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 2.00 years and the maximum time is 4.00 years with an average of 2.76 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 9 March 2018]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 29 September 2017].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Accili, Eric (molecular mechanisms responsible for cellular pacemaking behavior )
  • Adams, Keith (Molecular evolution, genome evolution, and gene expression)
  • Aparicio, Samuel (Breast cancer, genome sequencing )
  • Birol, Inanc (bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, transcriptome analysis, next generation sequencing, cancer, Bioinformatics, sequence assembly, transcriptomics, gene regulation networks, high throughput informatics for big data)
  • Bohlmann, Jorg (plant biochemistry, forestry genomics, forest health, conifers, poplar, bark beetle, mountain pine beetle, natural products, secondary metabolites, terpenes, floral scent, grapevine, Conifer genomics Forest health genomics Mountain pine beetle, fungus, pine interactions and genomics Chemical ecology of conifer, insect interactions)
  • Bouchard-Cote, Alexandre (machine/statistical learning; mathematical side of the subject as well as in applications in linguistics and biology)
  • Brinkman, Ryan (Bioinformatics, flow cytometry, high throughput data analysis, data standars, GvHD biomarker identification, cluster identification)
  • Brooks-Wilson, Angela (human genetics, cancer genetics, cancer families, longevity, Super seniors, genetic susceptibility)
  • Brown, Carolyn Janet (Gene Regulation and Expression, Chromosomes: Structure / Organization, Applied Genetics, Epigenetic control of gene expression, X-chromosome inactivation, Long non-coding RNAs, XIST RNA, Genes escaping X-chromosome inactivation, DNA methylation)
  • Cherkasov, Artem (Drug design; Bioinformatics, Molecular modeling; Proteomics; Artificial intelligence; Antibiotics )
  • Cohen Freue, Gabriela (statistical genomics (focus in proteomics), robust estimation and inference, linear models with endogeneity )
  • Collins, Colin (translational genomics where mathematics, genomics, computer science, and clinical science converge in diagnostics and therapeutics)
  • Condon, Anne (Algorithms, Molecular Programming)
  • Daley, Denise (Complex Trait Genetics, Genetic Diseases, Asthma, Susceptibility Genes, Genetics of Aging, genetic epidemiology, statistical genetics, epigenetics, gene-gene and gene-environment interactions)
  • Eaves, Constance Jean (Normal and leukemic stem cells, normal and malignant breast stem cells)
  • Finlay, B Brett (Infectious agents, bacteria, microbial infections and how humans react to it)
  • Friedman, Jan Marshall (Genetics and Heredity, Developmental Genetics, Genomics, Application of whole genome sequencing to diagnose genetic disease, Clinical genomics, Neurofibromatosis, Birth defects epidemiology)
  • Garbi, Rafeef (Medical image computing)
  • Gardy, Jennifer (Genomics, Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases, Tuberculosis, Outbreaks)
  • Goldowitz, Daniel (Genetic basis of brain disease, neurobiology of autism, Huntingtong's gene, mouse/mice epigenetics, gene regulatory network)
  • Gsponer, Joerg (Protein-DNA, protein-RNA and protein-protein interactions)
  • Hallam, Steven (methanogenesis, methane oxidation, methyl coenzyme M reductase, metagenomics, environmental microbiology, genomics, proteomics, microbial ecology, systems biology, archaea, energy, bioinformatics, Microbial communities, construction and interpretation of environmental genomic libraries, generation of computational tools and workflows for taxonomic and functional binning, population genome assembly, and comparative community analysis, development and functional screens to interrogate environmental genomic libraries for bioactive small molecules and biocatalysis)
  • Hancock, Robert E (Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides, Host Defence Peptides and Innate Immunity, Functional Genomics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Regulation of Antibiotic Resistance, Array Data, Self-promoted uptake hypothesis)
  • Hayden, Michael (Genetic Diseases, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Huntington disease, Disease progression, Diabetes)
  • Haynes, Charles (Protein purification, recombinant proteins, molecular thermodynamics, biocompatible polymers)

Pages

Further Program Information

 

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January 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
12 July 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
29 September 2018
International Applicant Deadline
29 September 2018

September 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
17 September 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
08 March 2019
International Applicant Deadline
08 February 2019

Program Information

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