Research into heredity and diseases is no longer possible without programmers. If you are wondering how you can apply IT and biology skills to lifelike problems in health and disease, then the unique Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics in Bruges is something for you!

Bioinformatics is a new and spectacular field which uses methods from informatics to store and process molecular biological information (DNA, proteins, functions). In bioinformatics, molecular biology is combined with informatics and programming. Bioinformatics scientists are capable of retrieving the necessary information from databases and using these to make predictions. As a bioinformatician you will look for application possibilities of informatics within biological/biomedical laboratories.

  • Informatics scientist:
    application of informatics techniques to storage, organising and sharing (molecular biological) data 
  • Bioinformatics scientist: 
    data processing and (statistical) analysis by means of bioinformatics tools in a dry lab
  • Programmer:
    integration by scripting and automation of bioinformatics tools

In the course of the Bioinformatics programme, 3 roles are covered: the role of programmer, the role of informatics scientist and the role of bioinformatics scientist. You learn several programming languages like PHP, Python and R, and you use the most relevant databases from which you learn to process and interpret data. During the programme there is a special emphasis on the application of open source tools, both in a Windows and in a Linux environment. During the traineeship (without a bachelor’s thesis) a fourth role is addressed, that of the new young professional, in which the more generic competencies of a bachelor's training (such as working in team, clear communication, …) are pursued.

As the training progresses, you become more and more familiar with the processing of complex biological data, like the analysis of next generation sequencing data (NGS data) or the application of machine learning techniques and you are able to apply these within a professional framework.


lecture on bioinformatics howest

Your timetable

There are only a limited number of contact moments for each course unit in the distance learning programme.

Each course unit consists of 3 contact moments + an examination:

  • The contact moments take place every two weeks on the campus in Bruges (Belgium) from 6 PM to 8 PM CET. These contact moments (3 in total) can also be followed remotely via live streaming and are recorded.
  • After the contact moments, an examination is organized from 6 PM to 9 PM CET. For students who live far away from campus (e.g. abroad), we provide the possibility to also take the exams from home.
students in aula

The course units are organized sequentially and alternate between bioinformatics, informatics and programming courses. The next course only starts after the previous course was completed.

All study materials (including recordings of the daytime classes) are made available at the start of a course. This way you can process the study material at your own pace. Only the exam of each subject takes place at a set time, shortly after the contact moments.

Our new, powerful learning environment allows students who live far away from campus (e.g., abroad) to participate in all contact moments and take all exams from home. As a result, the programme can be followed completely remotely (@home)!

Bioinformatics via distance learning programme

If you are 21 years old and already working (or looking for a job) you can register for the bioinformatics via distance learning (@home) programme.

The @home training programme is particularly suitable for:

  • Employees within (biomedical/biological) laboratories who need an applied knowledge of bioinformatics.
  • Employees from other sectors who are looking for a new challenge within a future-proof field of work.
  • International students who are not able to come to the campus in Bruges, Belgium.

Roles within the programme


The informatics course units focus on the application of informatics techniques to organize our data in database systems. To analyze (biological) data, we learn to work on a Linux system, and to apply machine learning techniques in the context of big data. 


The bioinformatics course units provide an overview of tools and techniques for biological data processing and (statistical) analysis. You learn to process next-generation sequencing data, to analyze and compare molecular sequences in the context of evolution, to model the structures of biological macromolecules, and to analyze biological processes and pathways on the systems level. 


During the programme, several programming languages are covered. You learn to create a web interface for your (bioinformatics) analysis using HTML, CSS and PHP, to integrate and automate bioinformatics tools by means of scripting in Python, and to analyze and visualize biological data with the statistical programming language R.

Bioinformatics @home - 5 semesters (start 2023)

If you wish to start in September 2023, you can follow the @home program in 2.5 years or 5 semesters.

Check out the educational programme


Bioinformatics @home - 4 semesters (start 2024)

If you wish to start in September 2024, you can follow the @home program in 2 years or 4 semesters.

Check out the educational programme

For whom?

Everyone who holds a diploma of higher education testifying that the knowledge of molecular biology is present (at least) on a bachelor’s level (e.g. Biomedical Laboratory Science, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Biomedical Sciences ...) can join this Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics training programme. If you hold a foreign degree, the level must be equivalent to a European bachelor's degree.

  • Enrolment via a credit contract is possible if you don’t have the necessary prior knowledge of molecular biology.
  • No prior knowledge of computer science is required, but we do expect that, in general, you are able to use a computer fluently.

Books, laptop and (legal) software

All course units are accompanied by a written syllabus and/or presentations, which are made available free of charge via the electronic learning environment. You can then choose whether you want to print the study material or not. Therefore, you don’t have to buy books.

In many course units, we work in the Linux operating system, which we install as a virtual machine in Windows or Mac OS. This installation will not only require a decent amount of (fast) disk space, but also resources to run smoothly.

The laptop requirements can be found at the bottom of this webpage. You can choose to purchase a laptop via Howest or you can search for a laptop with similar specifications yourself.

When enrolling at Howest, each student pays for legal software. This software package includes, among other things, a license for Windows 11, multiple licenses for Microsoft Office and a license for antivirus software.

The bioinformatics software we use throughout the training programme is open source and therefore free of charge. This software is downloaded and installed during the lectures.

Like a lab technician with a white lab coat, a bioinformatician needs a good laptop!


What is distance learning?

Distance learning or @home is a training variant with a minimum of location-based learning and evaluation activities, in which the student is given maximum flexibility to achieve the intended learning outcomes. A reduced study load allows the student to combine this training programme with a (fulltime) job.

With the aid of a powerful learning environment and adjusted study material, such as recording, the student is supported in self-directed learning in the form of guided self-study. An overview of the course content is provided during the limited number of contact hours, after which the student depends on online support (via discussions, e-mail or chat) to progress through the course material.

Studenten Toerisme en Recreatiemanagement met lesgever aan de Broeltorens in Kortrijk

How to apply as an incoming international student

All information on nominations, applications and tutions can be found here.

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Saturday 6 May
FROM 10h TILL 16h
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Register now!

Have you decided? We look forward to welcoming you to our Howest community! 
You can find all information about registering via the link below.

Apply now

Studenten in pauze met koffie op de campus


Can't find what you're looking for or do you have any specific questions about this course? Do not hesitate to reach out! We would love to assist you further.

Mieke Demeyere
Mieke Demeyere

curriculum manager


In the case you buy a laptop through Howest, you can look here which laptop is recomended by your course. In the case you already own a laptop or wish to buy a new one yourself, it needs to qualify to the same specifications.

Would you like to study abroad for a semester? Or are you interested in an international internship? You can! You will discover all the opportunities to go abroad within Howest on this page. During your studies, we will work together to make your international adventure a reality!

Onze studenten Biomedische Laboratoriumtechnologie komen uit diverse (wetenschappelijke) richtingen, zowel ASO als TSO (soms ook KSO).

Studenten met een gelijkaardige voorkennis hebben in het verleden met succes het diploma Biomedische Laboratoriumtechnologie behaald. Veel hangt uiteraard af van je motivatie, inzet en capaciteiten.

In September, entry courses are organized to practice the practical skills in the lab and freshen up the basic knowledge of chemistry. With help of the digital catch-up course, you are able to utilise a lot exercises to practice your skills. You can request these starting at the 16th of August by mailing blt [at]

Indeed, during the reception day (the week before the start of the academic year) you can purchase your lab equipment on campus. The limited amount of books that you require can be purchased online. The only thing you need to purchase yourself, is the lab coat. You will need this starting from the first week of classes. Be sure to purchase this before the start of the academic year. The lab coat needs to meet the following requirements: acid resistance, long sleeves, long model (no hip model). The courses are offered via the electronic learning platform and can be printed at the school at an advantageous price.

The large majority of our students travel by bus, train, bike or car. Our campus is at walkingdistance from the train station of Bruges. The other group stays at student accommodation in Bruges (private owned or accommodation by Howest).