Goal of the programme
Life Sciences is one of the strategic research fields at the University of Helsinki. The multidisciplinary Master’s Programme in Life Science Informatics (LSI) integrates research excellence and research infrastructures in the Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences (HiLIFE).
The Master’s Programme is offered by the Faculty of Science. Teaching is offered in co-operation with the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences. As a student, you will gain access to active research communities on three campuses: Kumpula, Viikki, and Meilahti. The unique combination of study opportunities tailored from the offering of the three campuses provides an attractive educational profile. The LSI programme is designed for students with a background in mathematics, computer science and statistics, as well as for students with these disciplines as a minor in their bachelor’s degree, with their major being, for example, ecology, evolutionary biology or genetics. As a graduate of the LSI programme you will:
- Have first class knowledge and capabilities for a career in life science research and in expert duties in the public and private sectors
- Competence to work as a member of a group of experts
- Have understanding of the regulatory and ethical aspects of scientific research
- Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills for employment in an international and interdisciplinary professional setting
- Understand the general principles of mathematical modelling, computational, probabilistic and statistical analysis of biological data, and be an expert in one specific specialisation area of the LSI programme
- Understand the logical reasoning behind experimental sciences and be able to critically assess research-based information
- Have mastered scientific research, making systematic use of investigation or experimentation to discover new knowledge
- Have the ability to report results in a clear and understandable manner for different target groups
- Have good opportunities to continue your studies for a doctoral degree
Further information about the studies on the Master’s programme website.
Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees. You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees. Find out more about the Be 1* of the Best Scholarship Programme.
Information on the languages of instruction
All teaching is in English.
The Life Science Informatics Master’s Programme has six specialisation areas, each anchored in its own research group or groups.
Algorithmic bioinformatics with the Algorithms research groups. This specialisation area educates you to be an algorithm expert who can turn biological questions into appropriate challenges for computational data analysis. In addition to the tailored algorithm studies for analysing molecular biology measurement data, the curriculum includes general algorithm and machine learning studies offered by the Master’s Programmes in Computer Science and Data Science.
Applied bioinformatics, jointly with The Institute of Biotechnology and Genetics and molecular biosciences Bioinformatics has become an integral part of biological research, where innovative computational approaches are often required to achieve high-impact findings in an increasingly data-dense environment. Studies in applied bioinformatics prepare you for a post as a bioinformatics expert in a genomics research lab, working with processing, analysing and interpreting Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) data, and working with integrated analysis of genomic and other biological data, and population genetics.
Biomathematics with the Biomathematics research group, focusing on mathematical modelling and analysis of biological phenomena and processes. The research covers a wide spectrum of topics ranging from problems at the molecular level to the structure of populations. To tackle these problems, the research group uses a variety of modelling approaches, most importantly ordinary and partial differential equations, integral equations and stochastic processes. A successful analysis of the models requires the study of pure research in, for instance, the theory of infinite dimensional dynamical systems; such research is also carried out by the group.
Biostatistics and bioinformatics is offered jointly by the Mathematics and statistics master´s programme and the research groups Statistical and Translational Genetics, Computational Genomics and Computational Systems Medicine in FIMM. Topics and themes cover statistical, especially Bayesian and statistical learning methodologies for the life sciences, with research focusing on modelling and analysis of biological phenomena and processes. The research covers a wide spectrum of collaborative topics in various biomedical disciplines. In particular, research and teaching address questions of population genetics, phylogenetic inference, genome-wide association studies and epidemiology of complex diseases.
Eco-evolutionary Informatics with Ecology and evolutionary biology, in which several researchers and teachers have a background in mathematics, statistics and computer science. Ecology studies the distribution and abundance of species, and their interactions with other species and the environment. Evolutionary biology studies processes supporting biodiversity on different levels from genes to populations and ecosystems. These sciences have a key role in responding to global environmental challenges. Mathematical and statistical modelling, computer science and bioinformatics have an important role in research and teaching.
Systems biology and medicinewith Faculty of Medicine. The goal of this specialization area is to teach computational approaches that allow interpretation of high-throughput biomedical data obtained from patients.
Selection of the study track
During the first three study periods, each specialization area gives an introductory course and at the beginning of the Spring semester the student is assumed to have decided his/her own study direction.
Studies amount to 120 credits (ECTS), which can be completed in two years according to a personal study plan.
- 85 credits of advanced studies from the specialisation area, including a Master’s thesis, 30 credits
- 35 credits of other studies chosen from the programme or from other programmes (e.g. computer science, mathematics and statistics, genetics, ecology and evolutionary biology)
The programme includes a mandatory Master´s thesis, a scientific research project. The project can be theoretical or practical in nature, including biological or medical data-analysis from an ongoing research project. The resulting thesis is a written work that demonstrates your ability for scientific reasoning and your familiarity with the relevant scientific literature. You will be appointed a supervisor who will hold regular meetings with you to ensure that your thesis work is proceeding smoothly and on schedule. The thesis is worth 30 credits (ECTS), corresponding to full-time studies during one semester. Although the thesis is an independent work, it is often done as part of a research group.
The Master of Life Science Informatics degree provides excellent opportunities to apply and perform postgraduate studies either at the University of Helsinki, at other universities in Finland, or abroad. As a graduate, you might also find employment, for example, in health sector enterprises, such as bioindustry.
You may apply if you meet the following three requirements:
- You have completed by 31 July 2019 a first-cycle degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree) or second-cycle degree (e.g., master’s degree) or a postgraduate degree in Finland or abroad.
- You have completed or will complete studies required for the master’s programme by 11 January 2019. Below are more details concerning applicable studies.
- You are able to demonstrate your proficiency in English, Finnish or Swedish (Updated 18/12/2018: Finnish and Swedish added). For further instructions on demonstrating your language skills, see the section “Required enclosures”.
If you are currently or have previously been a student at the University of Helsinki, please note the following rules.
If you have refugee status or are in a refugee-like situation, and you do not have the official documents to prove your eligibility to apply for higher education, you can still apply to the University of Helsinki.
You may be admitted if
- You prove your eligibility (see above) by the deadline
- You submit the application and the required attachments within the specified deadline. The application form is open from 3 December 2018 (8:00h Finnish time) to 11 January 2019 (15:00h Finnish time). Read more about what will happen after the application period.
- You have a first-cycle degree in mathematics, statistics or computer science, or a first-cycle degree in an applied field of the Master’s Programme in Life Science Informatics or another applicable degree.
- You have completed 25 credits in one, and 15 credits in another of the following fields: mathematics, statistics and computer science.
Please note: even if the degree you are using as grounds for application is not completed during the application round, you must have a sufficient amount of applicable studies completed by 11 January 2019.
Together with their application, applicants must submit officially certified copies of certificates on all previously completed studies that serve as the basis for their application.
The applicability of the field and the sufficiency of the completed studies will be evaluated in conjunction with admission. The University of Helsinki does not provide any preliminary evaluation on the suitability of the applicant’s previous studies.
Choosing the language of your Master’s degree
In the Master’s Programme in Life Science Informatics, you can choose the language of your degree to be Finnish, Swedish or English. This means that even though most of the teaching will be offered in English, you can answer examination questions and write course assignments and your Master’s thesis in the language that you select as the language of the degree. Please note that you can apply to pursue this Master’s programme in one language only and you must demonstrate your language skills accordingly. You must select the language of your degree when submitting your application.
Factors affecting admissions
Your success in the selection process will be influenced by the evaluation of your academic performance; the focus will be on the amount, quality and grades of completed studies that are applicable to the programme, your motivation letter, and the study plan contained in it.
In the admission procedure, your application will be scored in the following three categories:
- Applicability of your previous studies
- Academic performance in the studies serving as the grounds for your application
- Your motivation letter (as part of the application form)
When evaluating the applicability of completed studies, the focus will be on the mastery of the most important mathematical concepts and computational methods behind the fields within life science informatics. This evaluation will be based on the analysis provided by the applicants on the application form of their previous studies in key subfields such as mathematical analysis, linear algebra, probability calculus, inferential statistics, programming, programming languages, algorithms and data structures, the operation of computers, and operating systems. Studies in one or several applied areas of life science informatics will be considered a merit. For the evaluation of studies in this applied area, if any, applicants must in their motivation letter justify how studies in the applied area and life science informatics support each other.
The motivation letter and analysis of previous studies form part of the admission criteria and when writing them you must answer the provided questions. They are part of the application form.
If several applicants have completed studies applicable to the programme, but not all can be accommodated in the programme’s quota, the applicants will be compared against each other, and the most qualified will be admitted. The programmes need not fill their student quotas to the maximum.
If in this round of admissions you are applying for more than one Master’s programme at the Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, you must rank them in order of preference on your application form. If you could be admitted to more than one programme, you can only be admitted to the one you have ranked the highest.
The Master’s programme admits no more than 15 students regardless of their selected language of degree and application option.
Applicants will be informed of the results of the student selection by 12 April 2019 at the latest. Please note the one study place per term provision if you are applying for more than one study programme in spring 2019.
Study right to be awarded
If you are admitted, you will be granted the right to pursue the degree of Master of Science in the Master’s Programme in Life Science Informatics.
Statistics on applicants can be found on the University’s webpage.
The application must be accompanied by the following documents, and the documents must be submitted as instructed below:
- Official photocopy of the degree certificate/diploma
- Official transcript
- Diploma supplement (if available)
- Certificate of language proficiency
- Authorised translations into English, Finnish or Swedish
- A photocopy of your passport, your official identity card or your Finnish residence permit card
- Motivation letter and study plan (to be filled in on the application form)
1) Read carefully the instructions on application enclosures and their submission.
2) You must demonstrate your proficiency in English. Read the instructions on proving your language skills.
3) If the degree serving as grounds for application to the programme is still incomplete, you need not submit a degree certificate/diploma with the application documents. If you are admitted, the admission decision will be conditional, and you will receive instructions with your letter of admission for submitting the official degree certificate/diploma. NB! The final degree certificate/diploma must be presented by 14 August 2019 at the latest.
|Due date||11.1.2019, 15:00|
Admission Services, University of Helsinki
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