Course concept

In each course unit both theoretical and practical input is being given. In autumn semester, the course units are organised in two periods of six weeks, followed by an exam period.

In spring semester, the course units are organised in one period of six weeks, followed by an exam period and finalised with a traineeship. As spring semester is preceded by our autumn semester, some spring course units benefit from learning outcomes taught in autumn. If this is the case, this is specified (see Prerequisites ).

 

Note that if you are only interested in traineeship exchange, this is also an option (by means of a learning agreement traineeship, drawn up by your own institution).

If you should doubt about being eligible for this educational programme or if you have questions concerning your learning agreement study, please contact us.

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Is this the cours I'm looking for

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These international semesters are aimed both at bachelor students within the field of biomedical sciences as bachelor students within the field of bioinformatics. The programme focusses on the development of both theoretical and practical dry lab skills.

Within our educational programme we therefore focus on three different roles: bioinformatician, programmer and informatician; each course unit is assigned to one of these specific roles.

English-taught semesters, what are they?

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An English-taught semester is a coherent package of course units which a Howest Bachelor programme offers in English, as an option for semester exchange , to incoming students from its partner universities abroad, and as a study abroad option to other international students.

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Course overview autumn semester

In the schedule below a brief description is mentioned, for detailed information about our programme, objectives and learning goals we refer to the following pdf file.

COURSE UNIT Period Contact hours ECTS

BIT01 Web technologies

  • Introduction to programming (HTML, CSS, PHP)
  • Basic concepts of visualizing data through web based applications

This course unit serves as a basis for subsequent programming course units.

1A 48 5

BIT02 Linux operating systems

  • Installing and learning basic Linux commands
  • Drawing simple “bash” scripts
  • Installing popular bioinformatics tools (eg. BLAST, HMMR, …)
1A 48 5

BIT03 Comparative genomic analysis

  • Introduction to bioinformatics (sequence) databases
  • Aligning sequences and phylogenetic tree construction
  • (Natural) genetic variation
1A 48 5

BIT04 Scripting

  • Programming in Python
  • Scripting bioinformatics pipelines
1B 48 5

BIT05 Database technologies

  • Basic database system structures and manipulations of databases (MySQL and MongoDB)
  • Principle to retrieve data from public databases (eg. Ensembl)
1B 48 5

BIT06 Structural bioinformatics

  • Exploration of protein data bases
  • Visualisation of protein structures in PyMOL
  • Studying protein interactions
1B 48 5

English for exchange students - evening course (optional)
This English course provides exchange students with an intensive training in speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, all focused on their ongoing or upcoming academic experience. The lecturer will take the diversity of academic areas of the participants into account, by addressing a range of topics and choosing subjects that are relevant to the attending students wherever possible. The course aims at the B2 proficiency level and uses the IELTS methodology. We strongly recommended it to all exchange students who have not fully achieved the B2-level in English at the moment of application for their mobility project. For the more proficient students, we still see the course as a useful immersion experience.

1A + 1B
(no exam after 1A)
20 3

Course overview spring semester

In the schedule below a brief description is mentioned, for detailed information about our programme, objectives and learning goals we refer to the following pdf file.

COURSE UNIT Period Contact hours ECTS

BIT07 Biostatistics in R

  • Introduction to R (installation, data manipulations, …)
  • Statistical analysis of biological datasets in R
2C 48 5

BIT08 Data mining

  • Exploring and preprocessing biological datasets
  • Clustering of data
  • Constructing classification models
2C 48 5

BIT09 High throughput analysis

  • Analysis of high-throughput biological data
  • Constructing data analysis pipelines
2C 48 5

BIT10 Systems biology

  • Construction and simulation of biochemical networks
  • Construction and analysis of gene regulatory and/or protein interaction networks

Only possible to choose if enrolling both autumn (period 1B) + spring semester (period 2C)

1B + 2C 48 5

BIT11 Traineeship

The final step in the advanced bachelor programme is the actual experience in the work field: the traineeship. The objective is to apply several learning outcomes in work situations. Because of its size in duration and ECTS and as it is the ideal step-up in the work field, the traineeship is the perfect method to function as a bioinformatician in a complex authentic situation.

Only possible to choose if enrolling for all course units in both autumn + spring semester

2D   10

English for exchange students - evening course
This English course provides exchange students with an intensive training in speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, all focused on their ongoing or upcoming academic experience. The lecturer will take the diversity of academic areas of the participants into account, by addressing a range of topics and choosing subjects that are relevant to the attending students wherever possible. The course aims at the B2 proficiency level and uses the IELTS methodology. We strongly recommended it to all exchange students who have not fully achieved the B2-level in English at the moment of application for their mobility project. For the more proficient students, we still see the course as a useful immersion experience.

2C + 2D (no exam after 2C) 20 3

Prerequisites

Minimum 4 successfully completed semesters or an equivalent of 120 ECTS in a scientific Bachelor programme.

For both autumn and spring semester profound knowledge of molecular biology on a bachelor level is obligatory and must be shown in your transcript of records. 

When not enrolling for all autumn semester course units, experience with basic programming skills (course unit BIT01) and working in a Linux environment (course unit BIT02) is highly recommended in order to follow the following course units without problems: BIT04 Scripting, BIT05 Database Technologies.

When enrolling in spring semester and choosing to follow BIT09 High throughput analysis, experience with working in a Linux environment is obligatory as is having programming skills in R, unless you also enrol for BIT07 Biostatistics in R. 

Each applicant needs to prove that he/she fulfils these requirements by means of an official certificate, a survey of completed courses, transcripts of records or a signed letter from the sending university. An applicant will be asked to complete a technical test prior to enrolment to determine their level of knowledge of chosen topics. The English proficiency level we expect from incoming students is the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Foreign Languages (CEFR), in reading, writing, speaking and understanding skills. We expect applying students to provide proof of their proficiency in English in one of the following ways (Erasmus students provide the proof of their home university international coordinator):

A signed confirmation letter from the sending university, stating that the applicant’s language skills reach the B2 level and thus are sufficient to attend courses, participate in different types of classroom and examination activities. (Only valid for exchange students).

The results of a (free) online language test which can be related to the CEFR B2 level, such as Dialang, Testpodium or the Erasmus online language test. The online test should have been taken under the supervision of the sending institution. The result sheet needs to be stamped and signed by a staff member of the sending institution. (Only valid for exchange students)
An official certificate or score report referring to the European Framework or from one of the recognised language tests, e.g. TOEFL: paper based 550/internet based 79/ computer based 213 or IELTS: 5.5, no partial results below 5.

The following applicants are not required to document their language skills for study at Howest:

  • applicants from countries having English as their national language;
  • applicants attending a full-time degree programme at their home institution taught in English.

Howest reserves the right to contact the sending university to verify the information on language proficiency, or to contact the applicant for a telephone or Skype conversation in English. 

All students should bring their own laptop, with the following minimum requirements:

  • Windows, Mac or Linux operating system
  • i5 or i7 processor
  • at least 8 GB RAM (preferably 16 GB RAM)
  • sufficient disk space

More details can be found on www.howest.be/laptops

Non-exchange students can only attend the full programme as an advanced bachelor and need to have completed at least a full Bachelor degree programme, with profound knowledge of molecular biology at the time they start the courses at Howest.

The course overview above mentions any specific software necessary for the course unit. Howest applies a very strict policy on the use of legal software.