Prerequisites and programme variants

For whom?

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  • 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.
  • Students from secondary education with an interest in bioinformatics must enroll in e.g. the Biomedical Laboratory Science programme, so that first a bachelor’s degree is obtained; after which this Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics training programme can be started.
  • (International) students with a foreign diploma can also register for this programme. The admission requirements to enroll with a foreign diploma can be read in the education and examination regulations and are summarized below.

Programme variants

The Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics programme is offered both as a daytime programme and as an @home programme via distance learning. Both variants give rise to the same degree, but are organized in a different way.

If you have just completed a higher education training and/or you want to study full-time, the daytime programme in Bruges (Belgium) is something for you! If you want to combine studying with a job or you want to study from home, the @home programme via distance learning is more suitable!

Full-time daytime training

  • The training takes one academic year and uses a quad-semester system. In this system, there are 4 blocks or periods of 6 to 8 weeks each. 
  • In each block, 3 to 4 course units (called modules) are covered, followed by an examination period. 
  • In the last block, a traineeship – without a bachelor’s thesis – is performed, after which the traineeship subject is presented to a jury of the work field.
  • The lectures, workshops and examinations are organized on campus in Bruges, Belgium. 
  • The full-time daytime training is organized every year and starts in September. Due to sequentiality restrictions, it is not possible to start this programme in February. 
  Period Module ECTS
Semester 1 A BIT 01 Linux operating systems 5
BIT 02 Web technologies 5
BIT 03 Structural bioinformatics 5
B BIT 04 Databases and data management 5
BIT 05 Scripting 5
BIT 06 Comparative genomic analysis 5
BIT 09 High throughput analysis 5
Semester 2 C
BIT 07 Machine Learning 5
BIT 08 Data analysis, visualisation and biostatistics using R 5
BIT 10 Systems biology 5
D BIT 11 Traineeship in Belgium or abroad 10

At home programme via distance learning

  • The content of the @home programme is the same as the content of the daytime programme, but the courses are spread over two academic years.
  • The courses are organized sequentially. The next course unit only starts after the previous course unit has been completed. 
  • 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. 
  • The traineeship – without a bachelor’s thesis – takes place at the end of the second year, after which the traineeship subject is presented to a jury of the work field.
  • The @home programme only starts every two years. The next start is planned for September 2022.
  • For more information, you can visit the section “Bioinformatics @home via distance learning”.
Year 1
Semester 1 Semester 2
BIT 01 Linux operating systems BIT 02 Web technologies BIT 03 Structural bioinformatics BIT 04 Databases and data management BIT 05 Scripting BIT 06 Comparative genomic analysis


Year 2
Semester 3 Semester 4
BIT 07 Machine Learning BIT 08 Data analysis, visualisation and biostatistics using R BIT 09 High throughput analysis BIT 10 Systems biology BIT 11 Traineeship in Belgium or abroad

Colors indicate different roles:

Informatician Programmer Bioinformatician

Enrolment for international students

Because the Bioinformatics training programme is organized entirely in English, international students can also enroll, both for the daytime programme as for the @home programme. In this way, you can choose to follow the programme in Bruges (Belgium) or you can follow the programme from your home country.
Similar to students from Belgium, also foreign students need to already hold (at least) a bachelor’s degree and must have sufficient knowledge of molecular biology.

  • Therefore you should first contact us via so that we can check if you have the required background to apply for the Bioinformatics programme.

In addition, as a student with a foreign diploma, you must have a certified/legalized copy of your diploma and a proof of English proficiency (at least level B2 English).
In order to get admission to the Advanced Bachelor of Bioinformatics programme, you need to follow the admission procedure that you can find on The admission office at Howest will ask you to provide the following documents:

  • A certified/legalized copy of your diploma (overview)
  • An official translation of your diplomas in Dutch, English, French or German, if the original diploma is not issued in one of these languages
  • Proof of language requirement (unless you apply for conditional admission)
  • Color copy of identity card/passport (front- and backside)
  • For non-EEA students: proof of payment of  €100 application fee
  • For students of Republic of China: APS certificate
  • For students of Cameroon, Nigeria or Ghana: The institution where you have obtained your basic diploma must send us a copy of your diploma and transcripts under a stamped and sealed envelope.

After we have verified your knowledge of molecular biology, you can start your application via Besides the entry qualification, also the application deadline, application fee and tuition fee can be found on the website.

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.

“Like a lab scientist with a white lab coat, a bioinformatician needs a good laptop!”

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 on the Howest laptop project 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 10, 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.