Master of Bioinformatics (Leuven)

Master of Science

Molecular biology is in the midst of a technological revolution. 60 years ago, scientists elucidated the structure of DNA. 15 years ago, they successfully sequenced the human genome after a massive international effort. Today, we can sequence a human genome for €1,000 – and generate terabytes of data in the process. The impact on most areas of biology, ecology, biotechnology, genetics, pharmacy, or medicine is staggering.


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What is the Master of Bioinformatics all about?


Bioinformaticians are distinguished by their ability to formulate biologically relevant questions, design and implement the appropriate solution by managing and analysing high-throughput molecular biological and sequence data, and interpret the obtained results.




This interdisciplinary two-year programme focuses on acquiring

  • basic background knowledge in diverse disciplines belonging to the field of bioinformatics, including statistics, molecular biology and computer science
  • expert knowledge in the field of bioinformatics
  • programming skills
  • engineering skills

The 120-credit programme consists of a reorientation package (one semester), a common package (two semesters) and a thesis.

The Master of Bioinformatics is embedded in a strong bioinformatics research community in KU Leuven, who monthly meet at the Bioinformatics Interest Group. Bioinformatics research groups are spread over the Arenberg and Gasthuisberg campus and are located in the research departments of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M2S), Electrical Engineering (ESAT), Human Genetics, Microbiology and Immunology (REGA), Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Chemistry and Biology. Several of these bioinformatics research groups are also associated with the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB).


Application deadline for 2017-2018

1 March 2017 (for non-EEA citizens) 
1 June 2017 (for EEA citizens) 

KU Leuven uses an online application system. You can download and submit your application form via Students with a Flemish degree can consult

Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for the 2017-2018 academic year will be determined in the spring of 2017. Please consult the website for the most recent information:



Are you looking to broaden your horizons? There are ample opportunities to conduct part of your master's thesis research at various partner institutions abroad. In addition, European residents can undertake their master's thesis research at a European or other partner university within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. The Faculty also welcomes initiatives of students who want to do a work placement in a company or organization abroad, as well as exchange programmes with partner universities.

More information: 



This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Is this the right programme for me? 

Are you a biochemist or molecular biologist with a keen interest in mathematics and programming? Are you a mathematician or statistician and want to apply your knowledge to complex biological questions? Do you want to develop new methods that can be used by doctors, biologists and biotechnology engineers? Then this is the right program for you!



Learning outcomes Master of Bioinformatics

The student
1  Possesses a broad knowledge of the principles of genetics, biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology that underlie the model systems, the experimental techniques, and the generation of data that are analyzed and modeled in bioinformatics.

2   Possesses a broad knowledge of the basic mathematical disciplines (linear algebra, calculus, dynamical systems) that underlie mathematical and statistical modeling in bioinformatics.

3  Masters the concepts and techniques from information technology (database management, structured and object-oriented programming, semantic web technology) for the management and analysis of large amounts of complex and distributed biological and biomedical data.

4  Masters the concepts and techniques from machine learning and frequentist and Bayesian statistics that are used to analyze and model complex omics data.

5   Has acquired knowledge of the core methods of computational biology (such as sequence analysis, phylogenetic analysis, quantitative genetics, protein modeling, array analysis).

6  Has advanced interdisciplinary skills to communicate with experts in life sciences, applied mathematics, statistics, and computer science to formalize complex biological problems into appropriate data management and data analysis strategies.

7  Can - in collaboration with these experts - design complex omics experiments and analyze them independently.

8  Can independently collect and manage data from specialized literature and public databases and critically analyze and interpret this data to solve complex research questions, as well as develop tools to support these processes.

9  Investigates and understands interaction with other relevant science domains and integrate them within the context of more advanced ideas and practical applications and problem solving.

10  Demonstrates critical consideration of and reflection on known and new theories, models or interpretation within the specialty; and can efficiently adapt to the rapid evolution the life sciences, and especially in omics techniques, by quickly learning or developing new analysis strategies and incorporating them into the learned competences.

11  Presents personal research, thoughts, ideas, and opinions of proposals within professional activities in a suitable way, both written and orally, to peers and to a general public.

12  Develop and execute original scientific research and/or apply innovative ideas within research units.

Career paths

Bioinformaticians find careers in the life sciences domain in the broadest sense: industry, the academic world, health care, etc. The expanding need for bioinformatics in biological and medical research ensures a large variety of job opportunities in fundamental and applied research. 60% of our graduates start a PhD after graduation.


At Cartagenia, we work on a daily basis with diagnostic genetics labs that rely on clinical informatics tools to make sense of the vast amounts of data resulting from routine genetic testing. As one of the scientific founders, I have witnessed from the onset how important it is to translate complex bioinformatics methods into everyday tools that work in the hands of laboratory technicians, directors, and clinical geneticists. The MSc in Bioinformatics at Leuven has been essential to learning and speaking the language of “both sides” – translating the challenges on both the biomedical and clinical sides into statistical and informatics tools, and building tools that solve them.

(A Belgian graduate with a background in computer science, cofounder and Marketing Director of Cartagenia, a spin-off of KU Leuven)

Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Kasteelpark Arenberg 20
3001 LEUVEN, Belgium
tel. + 32 16 37 77 12 or + 32 16 37 91 33

Study Advice Service
Naamsestraat 80 box 5415
3000 LEUVEN, Belgium
To contact us, please complete the contact form on our website.

Visit the faculty website.

Master of Bioinformatics (Leuven)

In the context of the wellbeing law certain data must be stored for each student and they must be informed timely on the subject of:

  • the risks to which the student is exposed during the study programme (practicals, traineeships, master's theses,…)
  • the associated preventive measures for each risk, such as medical follow-up, personal protective equipment and instructions.
The risks and preventive measures are collected in the HSE-file for students. Through this link you can consult the HSE-file. The HSE-file will be used for traineeships and/or master’s theses. For more information about traineeships, we refer to the following site: traineeship.. For questions, please contact the HSE Department.