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.

Is this the course 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.

Read more

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 Linux operating systems

  • Installing and learning basic Linux commands
  • Drawing simple “bash” scripts
  • Installing (bioinformatics) tools 

Knowledge of Linux is necessary to be able to follow the course units BIT02, BIT04, BIT05, BIT06 and BIT09 .

1A 48 5

BIT02 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

BIT03 Structural bioinformatics

  • Fundamentals of nucleic acid and protein structures 
  • Molecular visualization in PyMOL 
  • Protein structure validation, studying protein function and interaction, structure prediction and docking 
1A 48 5

BIT04 Databases and data management

  • Basic database system structures and manipulations of databases (MySQL and MongoDB)
  • Principle to retrieve data from public databases (eg. Ensembl)
  • Version control of scripts using GIT
  • Data management according to the FAIR principles
1B 48 5

BIT05 Scripting

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

BIT06 Comparative genomic analysis

  • Introduction to bioinformatics (sequence) databases
  • Aligning sequences and phylogenetic tree construction
  • (Natural) genetic variation
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 Unit Descriptions for All English-taught semester programmes (if not available yet for the upcoming academic year please select the current year)
Next to ‘Taal’ select ‘English’
Next to ‘Opleiding’ select ‘Bachelor in de bio-informatica – BANABA BIT’

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 Machine Learning

  • Preprocessing of biological datasets
  • Classifying and clustering of data
  • Neural networks and deep learning

Knowledge of Python is necessary to be able to follow the course unit BIT07. 

2C 48 5

BIT08 Data analysis, visualization and biostatistics using R

  • Basics of R
  • Data analysis and visualization
  • Statistical testing
2C 48 5

BIT09 High throughput analysis

  • High throughput technologies 
  • Next generation sequencing (NGS) pipeline 
  • Differential expression analysis in R 

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

Basic knowledge of R is necessary to be able to follow the course unit BIT09 (second part 2C)

1B + 2C 48 5

BIT10 Systems biology

  • Construction and simulation of biochemical networks
  • Construction and analysis of gene regulatory and/or protein interaction networks
2C 48 5

BIT11 Traineeship

The final step in the advanced bachelor of bioinformatics 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 (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.

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

Course Unit Descriptions for All English-taught semester programmes (if not available yet for the upcoming academic year please select the current year)
Next to ‘Taal’ select ‘English’
Next to ‘Opleiding’ select ‘Bachelor in de bio-informatica – BANABA BIT’

Prerequisites

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

We strongly recommend a profound knowledge of molecular biology on a bachelor level in order to have enough background to follow the different course units.

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

When enrolling in spring semester and choosing to follow BIT07 Machine learning, basic knowledge for working with Python (course unit BIT05) is required. Additionally, for BIT09 High throughput analysis, experience with working in a Linux environment (course unit BIT01) is required. 

The 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 can 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 (minimum 150 GB of free solid state disk drive 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.

Howest applies a very strict policy on the use of legal software, therefore in most bioinformatics course units open source software is installed and used. 

Timing and location

Both semesters take place in Bruges.

Address of the campus:

Howest Brugge Station - BST5
Rijselstraat 5, 8200 Brugge (Sint-Michiels), Belgium

Read more about the timing of our Exchange semesters