Bioinformatics and BioComplexity


This Master's programme will bring together the intricate worlds of biology, computer and data sciences. Our programme is broad and interdisciplinary and involves the input from many Utrecht faculties and research institutes such as the Faculty of Science, the Hubrecht Institute, University Medical Centre Utrecht and the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology (for more information, see Utrecht Bioinformatics Center). It offers will be a deep-dive in bioinformatic data analysis, modelling and simulating biocomplexity. In two years, you will learn the theoretical basis and fundamental techniques relevant for bioinformatics and/or biocomplexity. Additionally, you will learn to apply, modify and redevelop these methods to answer complex biological research questions. We will use state of the art research directly from our large and lively community as the basis for our lectures, assignments and internships.

Bioinformatics and Biocomplexity combines the power of data to study life

Life is one of the most complex systems to study as it encompasses a multitude of interacting levels. These scale from the interacting atoms to the essential molecules, genes and proteins up to the interactions between cells, tissues, organisms and between organisms and their environment. In addition to this, living systems are typically spatially structured and very dynamic.

Examples are the propagation of nerve pulses along axons, and the intricate patterning processes occurring during multicellular development. Bioinformatics is used to analyse the multitude of biological 'big data' that originate from observations and experiments investigating living matter. Biocomplexity researchers develop mathematical and computational models to simulate these processes and thereby unravel the building blocks and interactions responsible for the observed dynamic behaviour. Therefore both bioinformatics and biocomplexity research are core to research in the life sciences, making it a very interdisciplinary trade.

Research and career prospects

Bioinformaticians and biocomplexity scientists can be found in many different laboratories, such as in the hospital to discover novel genes that cause a particular disease. Or, at research institutes and companies that study novel drug targets, explore ecological models or improve crop yield.

The career outlook for bioinformatics and biocomplexity students is excellent. Currently, the demand outweighs the supply. At the same time, it is difficult to provide a single definition of the 'bioinformatician and biocomplexity’. This area of expertise is diverse and interdisciplinary, and so are the job opportunities. According to the Researchcentrum voor Onderwijs en Arbeidsmarkt (ROA) the job market for bioinformatics is very good (Source: and ROA, 2019). Not only in the Netherlands, but also in Europe and even outside the EU, there is a high demand.

More information

Our community is large and lively, connecting the bioinformatics and biocomplexity research groups at the Utrecht campus, but we also have many connections throughout the Netherlands and abroad. You can visit us at where you can find more in-depth information on our community, research and much more.

Programme scheme

*Since 2018-2019, Introducing Life Sciences, together with the Life Sciences Seminars and Navigation Towards Personal Excellence, is part of the course Life Sciences Academy.

Major Research project
Mandatory theoretical courses
Elective component
Writing assignment
Life Sciences Academy*

Course list