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Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics

Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics

The world of molecular biology is evolving rapidly, mainly due to the increasing importance of NextGeneration Sequencing and big data, alongside traditional research methods.

The advanced bachelor’s degree in Bioinformatics will arm students and laboratory scientists with the necessary IT and programming knowledge to be able to work with these changes and thus continue to work in a futureproof manner.

In other words, this training will literally make you the laboratory scientist of the future.

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Pictures of the program

A picture says more than a thousand words. We'd like to give you a sneak preview of what awaits you.

Campus Brugge Station – BST5

Campus Brugge Station bevindt zich vlak bij het station van Brugge en op wandelafstand van alles waar de stad zo bekend om is: de Reien, de Grote Markt, de Burg of de vele winkeltjes, cafeetjes en koffiebars. Op de campus zitten trouwens bedrijven die er een lokaal huren – het werkveld is dus letterlijk vlakbij!


Rijselstraat 5, 8200 Brugge
+32 50 38 12 77
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Frequently asked questions

Degree, enrolment prerequisites and prior knowledge

What is bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is a recent and emerging discipline in which computer science techniques are applied within a biological (lab) environment. Partly due to the emergence of various high-throughput experimental methods and the need for automated analysis of biological data, bioinformatics has become indispensable in many laboratories.

What prior knowledge do I need to have?

You must have sufficient knowledge of molecular biology at least on a bachelor's level. You can also register for the programme with a master's degree or PhD, as long as molecular biology has been covered during your studies. 

What are the admission requirements to enrol as a foreign student?

In first instance, we ask you to provide us with a transcript of records proving you have sufficient knowledge of molecular biology. After we have verified this, the admission office at Howest will also verify your English proficiency (at least B2 level) and will check the certification/legalization of your foreign diploma

Do I already need to have a bachelor's degree? Can I start the study directly after secondary school?

A bachelor's degree is required to be able to start the programme. If you don’t have a bachelor's degree, we recommend that you first follow a programme with molecular biology, such as Biomedical Laboratory Science. 

Do I need prior knowledge of computer science?

No, for every informatics/programming course we start from scratch. We do expect that, in general, you are able to use a computer fluently

I have not seen molecular biology during my previous education. How can I still register for the programme?

If you have no prior knowledge of molecular biology, but do hold a bachelor's degree, you can register for the various course units with the help of credit contracts. At the end, you will receive proof that you have passed these course units, but you will not receive a diploma. 

Programme variants: daytime programme and at home

Can I follow the programme via distance learning?

Yes, if you are already working (or looking for a job), you can register for the distance learning (@home) programme.

What is the difference between the day course and the @home programme?

Both variants give rise to the same diploma, but are organised in a different way. The day course is a one-year full-time programme that takes place on the campus in Bruges, Belgium. The @home programme is spread over two academic years and has only a limited number of contact moments. Moreover, these can be followed entirely from home.

When I follow the @home programme, am I expected on campus?

The @home programme only has a limited number of contact moments (three moments/course unit) and contact hours (two hours/contact moment). These are organized on the campus, but can also be followed and/or watched afterwards via live streaming online. 

Can I take the exams from home in the @home programme?

Yes, for students who live far away from campus (e.g. abroad), we provide the possibility to take the exams from home. However, we do recommend taking the exams on campus – if possible – so that we can help if technical problems arise. 

How is the traineeship organized in the @home programme?

Preferably, the traineeship is carried out with the current employer. A project is proposed by the work placement and approved by the University of Applied Sciences. If it is not possible to carry out the traineeship at your work, we will search for an alternative traineeship together. If necessary, the traineeship can be phased over a longer period of time, reducing the number of hours per week. 

Content and organisation of the study programme

How are the lessons organized?

The lessons are an alternation of theoretical input with practical exercises (on the computer). During the lessons there is a lot of interaction between the lecturer and the students and the students are encouraged to actively participate and ask questions.

An example of the academic calendar and class schedule can be found here.

What does the class schedule look like (day course)?

The lessons are organized in four blocks of six weeks. During each block three to four course units will be taught. These are scheduled as half or full days. This gives you a total of three to four days of lessons per week. After six weeks you have two weeks of exams, after which new course units start. During the fourth and last block you have a traineeship of eight weeks

What does the class schedule look like (via distance learning)?

In the @home programme the course units are spread over two years. The courses are organized sequentially. For each course a contact moment is organized every two weeks, three in total. The next course unit only starts after the previous course unit has been completed. The traineeship takes place at the end of the second year. 

Will there be a lot of programming during the programme?

The course units are always an alternation of bioinformatics, informatics and programming courses. In this way only one programming course per block is dealt with. In the first block you get basic programming through web technologies, after that you learn to process and visualize data in R to finally acquire a solid foundation of Python. During these courses there will be a lot of exercises to familiarize yourself with the different programming languages. 

I have no experience with programming, is that a problem?

No, the programming course units always start from scratch, so that everyone can follow. In order to prepare yourself even better for the first programming course unit, you will receive a link to a self-study course after registration. This self-study course will allow you to get acquainted with some standard programming concepts and skills before the start of the lessons. 

Is there a bachelor's thesis?

No, the closing assessment of the Bioinformatics programme is a full-time traineeship which concludes with a presentation and defense in front of a jury. Because the programme is organized as an Advanced Bachelor, you don’t have to write another Bachelor's thesis.

Is it possible to follow this course elsewhere?

No, we are the only University of Applied Sciences offering a Bachelor of Bioinformatics in Belgium. The Bachelor of Bioinformatics is organized as a one-year Advanced Bachelor programme

What is the main difference between the Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics and Master of Bioinformatics?

The Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics is a practice-oriented programme in which we give you an overview of the most important bioinformatics tools and skills and teach you how to apply them. The Master of Bioinformatics is a theoretical programme that focuses on a fundamental understanding of how the various bioinformatics tools work, rather than applying them in practice. In order to enroll with a professional bachelor's degree for the Master's programme, you will first have to follow a bridging programme and only then will you be able to enroll for the two-year Master's programme. With a professional bachelor's degree (and knowledge of molecular biology) you can directly enroll for the one-year Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics

What's the biggest plus according to the students?

In particular the practical orientation of the programme is found to be very positive. The students experience the programme to be really hands-on.  

Study material and costs

Do I need to buy books or other study materials?

No, all course units are accompanied by a written syllabus and/or presentations. All study material is made available free of charge via the electronic learning environment. You can then choose whether you want to print the study material or not. Each student must be in possession of a personal laptop that meets the requirements of the study programme. 

What requirements does my laptop have to meet?

It is possible to purchase a laptop that meets the requirements via Howest (category Creative Communication User). Of course you can always look for a laptop that meets (most of) these guidelines yourself. Especially the processor, RAM memory and size of the SSD disk are important. 

How much does the programme cost?

The cost of the programme consists of three parts: a fixed administrative cost, a variable cost based on the number of credits taken and a cost for the compulsory software package of Howest (in the context of legal software).

For the next academic year (2020-2021), the cost of the day programme (60 credits) comes to €1.033,2 and for the @home programme (30 credits) to €652,2 (under reserve).

What software is included in Howest's software package?

The software package includes, among other things, a license for Windows 10, multiple licenses for Microsoft Office and a license for antivirus software.