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Best Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Aiman Rathore - May 11, 2022


If you are looking to jump into the biotechnology field, a great specialty to consider is bioinformatics, a hybrid field that combines biology and computer science, as there is a high demand for people to fill bioinformatics master’s degree jobs. You can qualify for a position in this field by obtaining one of the best bioinformatics master’s degrees.

A master’s degree in bioinformatics involves learning how to create and use statistical and computational models for the purpose of mapping and analyzing biological and genomic data. Finding the best master’s degrees in bioinformatics can be challenging, especially with the overwhelming number of choices. Read below as we tell you more about bioinformatics master’s degrees, along with the institutions’ information you’ll need to get started.

Where Can I Get a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics?

Some of the best schools to get a bioinformatics master’s degree are Arizona State University, Drexel University, and University of Texas at San Antonio. There are many other viable options to get a master’s degree in bioinformatics, some of which we’ll discuss later in this article.

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What Schools Offer the Best Bioinformatics Master’s Degrees?

  • Arizona State University
  • Drexel University
  • Penn State University
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Johns Hopkins University

What Are the Admission Requirements for a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics?

The admission requirements for a bioinformatics master’s degree program include the completion of a bachelor’s degree in biology, computer science, or any other related field. An essay question, a statement of purpose, or a motivation letter detailing your research interests is usually required to get into a master’s degree in bioinformatics. Most schools also ask for letters of recommendation and a professional resume.

Some universities ask for your GMAT or GRE test scores, while other institutes may have a minimum grade requirement of B+ in core subjects like biology, biochemistry, and molecular cell biology. A TOEFL score of 79 on the online test is also required for international students who need to show proof of English language proficiency.

Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in biology or computer science or other science-related disciplines
  • Letters of recommendation
  • GRE/GMAT test scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (if applicable)
  • Minimum grade requirement of B+ in core subjects
  • Statement of purpose
  • Professional resume

How to Get a Bioinformatics Master’s Degree

You get a bioinformatics master’s degree by fulfilling all of the graduation requirements such as completing the minimum number of credits as well as the minimum GPA. You’ll also likely need to write a thesis as the culmination of your studies or take a seminar or internship.

How Many Credits Do You Need for a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics?

You need a minimum of 30 credits for a master’s degree in bioinformatics, usually about nine credits each semester for four semesters. All colleges and universities have a slightly different set of qualifications to complete a master’s degree in bioinformatics, but common requirements include finishing core courses in bioinformatics, statistics, and research ethics, as well as writing a thesis.

Bioinformatics Degree Requirements

  • Minimum 30 graduate credits
  • 17 to 24 credits in core classes
  • 6 to 13 credits in electives
  • Lower-level classes in biology, data analysis, and statistics
  • Upper-level classes such as genomic sequencing technologies, artificial intelligence, and clinical metabolomics
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Thesis, seminar, or internship

Best Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Arizona State University Master of Science in Biological Data Science Higher Learning Commission
Carnegie Mellon University Master of Science in Computational Biology Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Drexel University Master of Science in Bioinformatics Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Georgetown University Master of Science in Bioinformatics Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Master of Science in Bioinformatics Higher Learning Commission
Johns Hopkins University Master of Science in Bioinformatics Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Penn State University Master of Science in Bioinformatics and Genomics Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Rochester Institute of Technology Master of Science in Bioinformatics Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of Delaware Professional Science Master’s in Bioinformatics Middle States Commission on Higher Education
The University of Texas at San Antonio Master of Science in Biotechnology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Best Schools for Bioinformatics: Top Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Programs

Now that we’ve listed the best schools for bioinformatics and the top bioinformatics master’s degree study programs, let’s do a deep dive into each school and its respective program.

1

Arizona State University

Glendale, AZ

Founded in 1885, Arizona State University (ASU) is known for its plethora of programs, with more than 350 undergraduate, over 450 graduate and certificate, and close to 300 online programs. ASU had a total graduate enrollment of 25,179 students in the fall semester of 2021 , an increase of 8.4 percent from the previous year.

Master’s of Science in Biological Data Science

This master’s program is designed for data scientists who want to focus on biological data, as well as biologists who want to learn computational methods for handling large biological data sets. Aside from the required core subjects in statistics and biology, you’ll need to complete two labs through the campus immersion program, as well as a thesis.

Master’s of Science in Biological Data Science Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $17,234/year (in-state); 29,718/year (out-of-state)
  • Required Credits: 32 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years at 9 credits each semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 66%

Master’s of Science in Biological Data Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0 minimum
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $70
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology, mathematics, or related field
  • Other Requirements: Statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and professional resume

Applying to Arizona State University (ASU)

  1. Fill out and send your graduate admission application
  2. Send your official transcripts to ASU and look for a possible scholarship
  3. Write and send your statement of purpose
  4. Make sure your two letters of recommendation have been sent
  5. Attach your personal resume with the application package
2

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Mellon University is a private institution founded in 1900 when Andrew Carnegie and Andrew W. Mellon merged Carnegie Institute of Technology and Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. The school, which has 80 majors for its 13,519 students, is well known for its STEM programs and entrepreneurial alumni, which have made more than 400 startups over the past 10 years amassing more than $7 billion in follow-on funding.

Master’s of Science in Computational Biology

The Master of Science in Computational Biology program at Carnegie Mellon University trains bioinformatics students in biology, data sciences, and computer science through classes in those subjects, in addition to machine learning, statistics, chemistry, and biomedical engineering. This is a joint program offered by the Computational Biology Department and the Department of Biological Sciences.

Master’s of Science in Computational Biology Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $2181 per credit
  • Required Credits: 48-51 credits
  • Program Length: 3 or 4 semesters
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 93%

Master’s of Science in Computational Biology  Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirements
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional)
  • Application Fee: $125
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s in a related field and proven biological or specialized knowledge
  • Other Requirements: Statement of purpose, resume, and 3 letters of recommendation. If you’re a non-native English speaker, you need to submit either TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo’s English Test

Applying to Carnegie Mellon

  1. Attach your unofficial copies of transcripts to your online application and look for a scholarship
  2. Send your GRE test scores (optional)
  3. Write a convincing two-page statement of purpose
  4. Send three academic or professional letters of recommendation
  5. Fill out the rest of the information on your application and submit
3

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

This Philadelphia-based private institution was founded in 1891 as a research university at the R1-level with more than 75 areas of study. Within those, there are over 200 degree programs for its 23,217 students worldwide, 8,850 of them being professional and graduate students. Drexel University is known for its co-op education, meaning that in addition to education in-class, students are also paired with employers to get on-the-job training before they even graduate.

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics

The Master of Science in Bioinformatics at Drexel University is taught through the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems and gives you the resources to succeed in careers in healthcare, biotech, biomedical sciences and research, and pharmaceuticals. The program covers core subjects of data analysis, genomic sequencing technologies, genetic diseases, and systems biology.

After completing the courses for your Certificate in Bioinformatics, you’ll need to choose two out of the three elective certificates, which include a Certificate in Computational Data Science, Certificate in Drug Discovery and Development, or a Certificate in Neurotechnologies and Neuro systems.

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,342/credit
  • Required Credits: 45 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional)
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree in sciences or engineering
  • Other Requirements: 500-word essay, 2 letters of recommendation, resume

Applying to Drexel University

  1. Fill out your online application
  2. Send your official transcripts directly to Drexel with all other application materials
  3. Send your GRE scores (optional)
  4. Write a 500-word essay explaining your motivation for the program
  5. Attach your resume and two letters of recommendation
4

Georgetown University

Washington DC

As the first Catholic and Jesuit university in the US, Georgetown University is a private research university that was founded way back in 1789 by Bishop John Caroll. While the student population is 19,371, the school boasts a student-to-teacher ratio of 11 to one across its 56 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs.

Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics

This interdisciplinary bioinformatics master’s program will set you up for success in a career in systems, molecular, or computational biology, medical informatics, biotechnology, or bioinformatics. In addition to your typical core and elective courses, which include molecular biology, machine learning, sequencing data analysis, and clinical metabolomics, you’ll also be required to complete a 16-week internship in an academic setting.

Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $2,280/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 2 or 3 semesters
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 94%

Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional but recommended)
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree with foundational skills
  • Other Requirements: 2 letters of recommendation, statement of purpose

Applying to Georgetown University

  1. Fill out the online application form
  2. Send official transcripts to the university
  3. Submit GRE test scores
  4. Attach a statement of purpose to the application
  5. Give two letters of recommendation
5

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was founded in 1969 as a collaborative institute between Indiana University and Purdue University. IUPUI offers 500-plus programs for its 27,690 students and is well-known for its research, having been awarded more than 2,000 research grants in 2020 alone between its 109 research centers and institutes.

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics

In this master’s program, bioinformatics students are taught to analyze large amounts of biological data, apply critical thinking, and use computational skills for developing applications. This program is excellent for inspiring analysts in bioinformatics or clinical data, data engineers, or quality managers. You’ll take classes pertaining to bioinformatics in biological database management, statistics, biomedical analytics, programming, and machine learning in addition to either a thesis or final project.

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $384/credit (in-state); $577/credit (out-of-state)
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 52%

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics  Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (optional)
  • Application Fee: $70
  • Minimum Education: Relevant bachelor’s degree with foundational skilled
  • Other Requirements: Introductory level of knowledge in computing or biology, resume, personal statement, 3 letters of recommendation

Applying to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

  1. Fill out and submit your online application
  2. Send your official academic records and resume to the university
  3. Send your GRE test scores (optional)
  4. Submit three letters of recommendation and your personal statement
  5. Receive decision and send out additional documents for final review
6

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MA

Rated as one of US News & World Report ’s top 10 universities in the nation, this school’s student body is a majority of graduate students, with 22,559 grad students versus its 6,331 undergraduate student population. Founded in 1876 by the school’s eponymous founder with an aim to forge a path in public health, the university became the nation’s first endowed school of public health, founded during the 1918 influenza epidemic. It is world-renowned today for its innovative and revolutionary medical research.

Master’s of Science in Biotechnology

With such an eclectic set of courses, Johns Hopkins preps its graduate students for the best jobs in biotech, medicine, law, or public health. After taking your core classes in database systems, epigenetics, algorithms, and molecular biology, you’ll take electives in computer sciences and biotechnology.

Master of Science in Bioinformatics Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition and Fees: $58,720/year
  • Required Credits: 36-42 credits
  • Program Length: 16-24 months
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 94%

Master of Science in Bioinformatics Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Other Requirements: 2 or 3 letters of recommendation, college transcripts, statement of purpose

Applying to Johns Hopkins University

  1. Fill out the online application
  2. Send in unofficial transcripts
  3. Submit two or three letters of recommendation
  4. Write a statement of purpose
  5. Pay the application fee
7

Penn State University

State College, PA

Founded in the year 1855, Penn State University (PSU) is a prestigious public university that was originally an agricultural science school. Since then, it has grown to offer more than 97 study programs with over 740,000 students and an award for many of its fields such as business, engineering, earth sciences, and criminology.

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics and Genomics

Your required classes, of which you’ll take 18 credits, include genomics, data-driven life sciences, molecular evolution, statistical analysis, and regression methods. After completing your coursework, you’ll either craft a thesis or participate in an internship and write a scholarly paper afterward. Bioinformatics students receive real-world experience solving real-world problems and research training in computational methods, functional genomics, and biomedical informatics for a future in industries like biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics and Genomics Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,024/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years at 9 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 73%

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics and Genomics Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum (2.5 recommended)
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree in a related field
  • Other Requirements: Letters of recommendation, professional resume, essay answers to program-specific questions

Applying to Penn State University

  1. Fill out your online graduate application form
  2. Add three letters of recommendation from references
  3. Attach copies of your official transcripts
  4. Answer program-specific questions about research interests
  5. Pay the non-refundable fee and submit the application
  6. See what kind of scholarship you might be able to get
8

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester, NY

With 78 bachelor’s and 73 master’s degree programs, this circa 1829 university fosters the academic growth of more than 19,000 students per year. It is known for the accessibility of its education, being internationally renowned as a university accommodating those that are deaf and hard of hearing.

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics

When studying Bioinformatics at Rochester Institute of Technology as a full-time student, your first year of study will involve ethics in bioinformatics, a seminar, database management, and computational statistics for a total of 26 credits. Your second year will consist entirely of your research and thesis for the remaining four credits. To gain real-world experience while still completing your master’s degree, you can complete co-ops in the workforce with one of the school’s many alumni researchers, software engineers, innovation consultants, and business intelligence developers.

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $2,257/credit (less than 12 credits); $27,008/semester (fixed rate for 12 to 18 credits per semester)
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1 year at 14 credits per semester and 1 year at 4 credits total
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 71%

Master’s of Science in Bioinformatics Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement (3.2 recommended)
  • Standardized Tests: GRE (only required for students who earned their bachelor’s degrees internationally)
  • Application Fee: $65
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s in biology, biotechnology, computer science, or related discipline
  • Other Requirements: Professional resume, personal statement, 2 letters of recommendation

Applying to Rochester Institute of Technology

  1. Fill out the online application form
  2. Submit official transcripts of previous studies
  3. Attach three letters of recommendation from references
  4. Attach your personal statement and resume to the application
  5. Pay your non-refundable application fee and submit everything
9

University of Delaware

Newark, DE

The University of Delaware (UD) is a public university founded in 1743 and has since become a land-, sea-, and space-grant university. It boasts a large enrollment of 23,613 students, alongside 150 undergraduate and 250 graduate and post-baccalaureate programs. It also maintains an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to one, with an average class size of 35.

Master of Science in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (BICB-MS)

Whether you want to pursue a career in government, academia, or law, UD’s master’s degree program provides the resources needed for you to handle a future of rigorous bioinformatic research. In addition to your six-credit thesis, you’ll take 24 credits of your core and elective classes, such as ethics, bioinformatics, computational biology, biomedicine, and artificial intelligence, in addition to three semesters of seminars. You can choose the Computational Sciences Concentration or the Life Sciences Concentration.

Master of Science in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (BICB-MS) Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $950/credit
  • Required Credits: 31 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at approximately 8 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 82%

Master of Science in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (BICB-MS) Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $75
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor’s in a science or engineering discipline
  • Other Requirements: 3 letters of recommendation, a resume, application essay

Applying to the University of Delaware

  1. Fill out your online application
  2. Upload the required transcripts
  3. Attach the letters of recommendation
  4. Write the answer to your essay question
  5. Add your resume, pay your application fee, and submit
10

The University of Texas at San Antonio

San Antonio, TX

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is a research-oriented public university founded in the year 1969 with 100 graduate programs for its 4,783 graduate students. According to US News & World Report , UTSA is one of the top performers in social mobility and is best-known for its business, computer science, and cyber security advanced study programs.

Master’s of Science in Biotechnology

As bioinformatics falls under the umbrella of biotechnology, University of Texas at San Antonio’s graduate program covers the foundation of biotech. This academic program also focuses on biochemistry, immunology, and molecular and cell biology.You can choose whether you want to take the thesis or non-thesis version of the degree program. UTSA is partnered with UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine, which has a Bioinformatics Division within their Population Health Sciences department.

Master’s of Science in Biotechnology Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition and Fees: $1,040.22/credit
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at nine credits per semester
  • Learning Format: In person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 46%

Master’s of Science in Biotechnology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 3.0
  • Standardized Tests: GRE
  • Application Fee: $70
  • Minimum Education: A bachelor of science in biology or a related field
  • Other Requirements: 2 letters of recommendation, personal statement discussing future career plans, and at least a “B” in upper-level biology and biochemistry classes

Applying to The University of Texas at San Antonio

  1. Complete your graduate school application
  2. Send official transcripts to the university
  3. Submit two letters of recommendation
  4. Send your GRE scores to the university
  5. Write a personal statement

What Is a Bioinformatics Master’s Degree?

A bioinformatics master’s degree is a relatively new and interdisciplinary graduate program that combines the advanced study of data sciences, biology, and computational models. A master’s degree program in bioinformatics program allows you to pivot into many fields including computational sciences, data sciences, and life sciences. These fields of education allow you to work in pharmaceuticals, government, academia, or law.

At the master’s level, a degree in bioinformatics offers experience solving real-world problems, often through co-op educational programs in bioinformatics where students are placed in jobs in the workforce for credits. Bioinformatics students are taught the application of their learned foundational skills and quantitative skills by mapping out and interpreting large pieces of biological data.

How Important Is a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics?

A Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics is very important because a bachelor’s degree is not enough training for a job in biotechnology. Most relevant bachelor’s degrees are not focused enough to qualify for jobs within the industry. After achieving a master’s in bioinformatics, you can land some of the most high-paying jobs in the United States as a bioinformatician, a research scientist, or a bioinformatics analyst, to name a few.

What Types of Master’s Degrees Can You Get in Bioinformatics?

The types of master’s degrees you can get in bioinformatics are exclusively a Master’s of Science, but they can be done in-person, online, or through a hybrid format. One variation of a Master of Science in Bioinformatics is to pursue a co-op educational study program, which involves working in a professional environment as a part of your degree and gives you real-life experience even before you get your diploma.

Is it Better to Get a Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics?

It is better to get a master’s in bioinformatics because it teaches your real-world experience along with providing advanced education. You are more likely to get a higher position and higher salary with a master’s degree in bioinformatics than with a bachelor’s degree , alone.

A master’s degree in bioinformatics offers you different routes toward concentrating in a specific niche within the field of bioinformatics and biotechnology. For example, you can choose to do a concentration in computational biology applications, biological data science, or genomics.

What Is the Difference Between a Bioinformatics Master’s Degree and a Bioinformatics Certificate?

The difference between a bioinformatics master’s degree and a bioinformatics certificate is the level of knowledge that students acquire. A master’s bioinformatics degree program is of a much higher level of education, which means it’s more in-depth and rigorous and offers more courses and areas for specialization.

A master’s degree in bioinformatics is one step away from a PhD program , whereas a bioinformatics certificate is intended for a professional to build upon their foundational skills. A bioinformatics certificate takes less than a year for successful completion, while a master’s takes at least a year and a half, if not two years to complete.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics?

It costs an average of $19,314 to get a master’s degree in bioinformatics , according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The price of higher education depends upon which type of university you choose.

The in-state tuition for a master’s degree in bioinformatics at a public university is $11,495. It costs an average of $27,776 for a private non-profit school and $14,208 for a private for-profit school. It costs an average of $23,138 at private institutions to get a master’s in a bioinformatics degree program in bioinformatics. The 75th percentile for a master’s degree in bioinformatics at a non-profit institute can go as high as $44,667, according to NCES.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bioinformatics Master’s Degree?

It takes approximately two years to get a bioinformatics master’s degree. Often, students will take approximately nine credits per semester for four semesters, which typically excludes thesis or seminar credits. In addition to a thesis, this academic program in bioinformatics includes core credits, as well as elective credits.

Core credits generally take up around 17 credits, an internship is usually equivalent to one or two credits, while electives make up around 13 to 15 credits in a bioinformatics master’s degree program. Core subjects may include courses in applied mathematics, statistics, and database systems for biological data science.

How Hard Is It to Get a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics?

It is not very hard to get a master’s degree in bioinformatics if you have the right level of schooling prior to this degree. It’s an interdisciplinary master’s that requires prospective bioinformatics students to have a working knowledge of biology, mathematics, and statistics. So long as you are proficient in these STEM fields, it will not be difficult for you to get a master’s degree in bioinformatics.

Why Should You Get a Bioinformatics Master’s Degree?

You should get a bioinformatics master’s degree because it improves your chances of getting hired at high-paying bioinformatics jobs, as bioinformatics jobs pertaining to this degree are very in demand. For example, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for research scientists is projected to grow by 22 percent between 2020 and 2030.

What Courses Do You Need to Take in a Master’s Degree Program in Bioinformatics?

The courses that you need to take in a master’s degree program in bioinformatics include core courses in computational models, applied mathematics for biology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and programming courses for scientists.

Databases for Bioinformatics

This course familiarizes bioinformatics students with well-known databases in the bioinformatics field, as aspiring researchers can begin their work or find supporting data for their studies, through already-established research. You’ll learn the ins and outs of databases such as GenBank from the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), PIR from the Protein Information Resource, and SwissProt courtesy of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.

Applied Mathematics Techniques in Biology

Since effective studies use large amounts of data sets with many variables, all that data needs to be computed in a correct, orderly manner. This course will introduce you to mathematical modeling for areas like genomic sequencing, computational biology applications, and systems biology.

Programming for Scientists

In order to organize your information into orderly data sets, you’ll often need to code your own programs. This course teaches you both object oriented, as well as top-down design programming. You’ll likely be required to learn Python for bioinformatics , alongside others.

Applied Cellular and Molecular Biology

With your prior undergraduate foundation in biology, you’ll build upon your foundational skill as well as learn the latest developments in experimental techniques and how to implement them into your own studies. You’ll be introduced to techniques such as therapeutics, proteomic and genomic analysis, and disease diagnosis.

Computational Genomics

Being that a large part of bioinformatics involves creating and analyzing biological data, this class teaches you to analyze information and programs related to genomic sequences, which involves the function, evolution, structure, mapping, and editing of genomes. Often, you’ll incorporate genomics into software that pertains to topics such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Continuing Education Paths for Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Graduates

After completing your bioinformatics master’s degree, you can take the academic route of getting a PhD degree or the career route, both of which will often involve research in the field of bioinformatics. The skills you’ll learn in your graduate bioinformatics program will prepare you for many high-paying jobs in fields such as biotech, health care, government, and pharmaceuticals.

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What to Look For in the Best Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Programs

The main things to look for in the best bioinformatics master’s degree programs is a high-quality curriculum, a good program reputation, exceptional faculty credentials, the opportunity for co-op programs, and high employment outcomes for graduates. Below we look at the importance of these variables.

Curriculum Content

A very important factor in a bioinformatics graduate degree program is the content of the curriculum. It should ensure you build upon your existing knowledge, strengthen any weak areas, and develop knowledge and skills that you’ve yet to learn. The curriculum should be relevant, of high quality, and meet the demands of your professional or academic goals.

Faculty Credentials

It is a good idea to check how accomplished the faculty is at a certain institution to make sure they are well-respected in the field of bioinformatics or the specific subjects they are teaching. Additionally, look into facultys’ research specializations, as their interests might mesh with your own, opening the possibility of an internship or seminar in that subject.

Program Reputation

Colleges and universities might have really good reputations, while their bioinformatics programs might be new and not as well established. So, even if a school is high-ranking in many areas, be sure to research its bioinformatics programs to ensure it meets your preferences and will serve the purpose you intend for it to.

Employment Outcomes

It is important to research whether or not your two-year graduate bioinformatics program is going to reap any monetary or career benefits. Pick a program that has a high rate of employment after graduation and see where alumni of those programs are working today.

Co-Op Programs

If you want to have real-life work experience in a bioinformatics-related field before graduating, see if prospective schools offer co-op study programs with work placement credits. Even if you end up getting a job you don’t like, it still takes you one step closer to finding your dream job.

What Is the Most Affordable Bioinformatics Master’s Degree?

The most affordable bioinformatics master’s degree programs are at Arizona State University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Arizona’s tuition for its bioinformatics program is $17,234 per year for in-state students and $29,718 for out-of-state students. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis charges only $384 per credit for in-state students and $577 per credit for out-of-state students, which would amount to only about $7,000 per year for in-state and $10,000 for out-of-state students.

Salary and Job Outlook for Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Graduates

An artistic rendering of a DNA double helix
Bioinformatics involves studying and analyzing complex biological data like genetic codes and genome sequencing.

After you graduate with a master’s in bioinformatics, biotechnology, or computational biology, you can earn a higher salary than your bachelor’s-level counterparts. You can start applying for bioinformatics jobs in different sectors of biotechnology like healthcare, biomedical informatics, government, and the pharmaceutical industry.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Bioinformatics Master’s Degree?

It is not very hard to get a job with a bioinformatics master’s degree. As projected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for bioinformatics scientists is on an exponential rise. The demand for research scientists is expected to grow 22 percent between 2020 to 2030 while 3,200 new jobs are projected to be added per year in this field.

What’s the Average Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Salary?

The average salary for someone with a bioinformatics master’s degree is $82,000, according to PayScale. You can earn higher or lower than this amount depending on your job title, organization, industry, and location. For example, a biological data scientist can earn up to $136,000 .

What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Bioinformatics Master’s Degree?

With a bioinformatics master’s degree, you can get jobs in a variety of sectors, including biotechnology, biomedical informatics, medical informatics, data science, software engineering, and molecular biology.

Bioinformatics Degree Jobs

  • Computational biologist
  • Computer and Information Research Scientists
  • Medical Scientists
  • Data Analyst
  • Biophysicist

Potential Careers With a Bioinformatics Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics?

You can make a significant amount of money with a master’s degree in bioinformatics immediately after graduating. Even new graduates can make between $70,000 to $130,000. These earnings, of course, only increase as you gain more experience and advance in your career.  Below, we’ll have a look at some of the highest-paying bioinformatics master’s degree jobs and their respective salaries.

Highest-Paying Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Jobs Average Salary
Bioinformatics Analyst $107,297
Bioinformatics Scientist $97,084
Biostatistician $77,665
Bioinformatician $73,808
Microbiologist $55,468

Best Jobs for Bioinformatics Master’s Degree Grads

The best jobs for bioinformatics master’s degree graduates include those of bioinformatics scientists, researchers, analysts, statisticians, and microbiologists. However, there are numerous other career paths that you can take with this degree.

1

Bioinformatics Analyst

Average Salary: $107,297

A bioinformatics analyst conducts research on large biological data sets to understand disease pathology and develop computational solutions for finding cures. To be a bioinformatics analyst you need a working biological knowledge of biotechnology, genetics, and physiology.

2

Bioinformatics Scientist

Average Salary: $97,084

In this position, you’ll combine your background knowledge in programming, statistics, and biology, which involves making software and coding scripts to sift through and organize data. You’ll be working on molecular data, troubleshooting database errors, and updating online databases and software as you work with other biologists and botanists.

3

Biostatistician

Average Salary: $77,665

Biostatisticians are trained to analyze biological data to research factors that affect health and other biological processes. A biostatistician applies their mathematical, statistical, and computational skills to collect, analyze, and map biological data.

4

Bioinformatician

Average Salary: $73,808

Bioinformaticians work on creating and developing big biological databases and study biological data to create computational software tools for the automation of the data mining and mapping process.

5

Microbiologist

Average Salary: $55,468

As a microbiologist, you will conduct research on biological data sets of viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae, and parasites to understand how they function, live, and grow. You will be conducting computational experiments to further the biological knowledge about diseases, diagnosis, and treatment related to the aforementioned living things.

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Is a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics Worth It?

Yes, a master’s degree in bioinformatics is definitely worth it. Throughout your program, you will build upon the knowledge gained in your undergraduate degree, leading to a more impressive and better-paying job upon graduation. With a high salary average and job outlook, now is the perfect time to find your niche as a bioinformatics scientist.

Most graduate bioinformatics programs also give students work experience through co-op learning, which would allow them to solve real-world problems and develop professional skills before even entering the workforce.

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Bioinformatics Master’s Degree FAQ

Why do we study bioinformatics?

We study bioinformatics because scientific and technological advancements rely on the organization and interpretation of data, which is performed by professionals in this field. Bioinformatics students and professionals combine their knowledge of biology, statistics, and computer programming to help with groundbreaking research like the Human Genome Project.

Does a Master of Science in Bioinformatics have a future?

Yes, getting a Master of Science in Bioinformatics has a future as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that computer and information research science are some of the highest-paying sectors in the United States, with a 22 percent projected growth between 2020 and 2030.

What is the difference between a master’s degree and a PhD in bioinformatics?

The difference between a master’s degree and a PhD in bioinformatics is that a master’s program is a two-year degree you take after finishing your bachelor’s degree, while a PhD is a more advanced degree that can only be pursued once you’ve completed your master’s degree.

Which Country is Best to Do a Masters in Bioinformatics?

The best country to do a master’s in bioinformatics is the United States. However, other countries that are influential to the bioinformatics discipline include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, China, Japan, and India.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Aiman Rathore

About the author: Aiman is a writer and content developer. Their writing credentials include a Master of Philosophy in English Literature, a Creative Writing Certificate from The Missing Slate, and Content Marketing, Email Marketing, and SEO Certifications from HubSpot Academy. Outside of work, they help run a charity school in Pakistan that provides primary education to children from underprivileged families.

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