Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Skills in Bioinformatics for Biologists (28)
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
External Examiners
  • Dr Jane Wellens (Head of Graduate School - University of Nottingham)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment A written summary report of the module material (~ 4000 words), which is expected to be in the context of the student's research topic and reflective.  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of the report.  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Confidently demonstrate an understanding of the concepts covered and apply the acquired critical analysis skills to the appropriate design and bioinformatics analysis of Biological experiments within their field of research.
2. Critically evaluate the application of specific bioinformatics / statistical techniques to research problems in Biological sciences.
3. Demonstrate critical academic evaluation skills relevant to the specific chosen module, including writing reflective summaries of this topic in the context of the student's research topic.

Brief description

Bioinformatics skills become increasingly important for postgraduate students and have been highlighted by IBERS PG students as an area for which more training should be provided. This module addresses this by providing PG students with a Bioinformatics module that allows the students to select the topic most relevant to their work from a range of existing modules.


This module aims to provide PhD students with knowledge and skills most relevant to their research project. By selecting the most appropriate training module (in agreement with their research supervisors), the students will develop subject specific skills that will facilitate the progression of their research project.


Students will take one of the modules currently offered as part of the MSc Statistics for Computational Biology run jointly between Mathematics, Computer Science, and Biological Sciences (with the exception of MAM5120 and MAM5220; see A17). The students will need to attend a pre-session which, amongst others, will include a brief overview of the different modules on offer as part of PGM2810 and provide students with an overview of the wider bioinformatics related resources available. Modules to choose from have been identified following discussion between the IBERS postgraduate committee and members of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at IBERS and IMPaCS and include:

BRM4700/4720: "Introduction to Concepts in Biology". This module aims to build an understanding of key topics in modern biological research to promote meaningful collaborations with life scientists. Suitable: For postgraduates with a non-biological background; such as mathematicians or computer scientists involved in interdisciplinary collaborative projects with biologists. Course delivery mostly in the form of Lectures and Tutorials.

CSM0120: "Programming for Scientists". This module will, using the Python programming language, teach the basics of programming and how to manipulate and organise data, including those from biological sciences. Suitable: For those postgraduates with a background in biological sciences for which the development of basic programming skills would facilitate the advancement of their project. Course delivery mostly in the form of Lectures, Tutorials and Practicals.

CSM6420: "Machine Learning for Intelligent Systems". This module will equip postgraduates with the main concepts in Machine Learning. Suitable: Only for those postgraduates requiring machine learning skills to advance their project. Course delivery mostly in the form of Lectures, seminar-based discussions on scientific papers, and tutorials.

For postgraduates from a non-biological background, such as mathematicians or computer scientists involved in interdisciplinary collaborative projects with biologists, there is also the choice of two relevant IBERS undergraduate modules:

BR20620: "Applied Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics". This module develops a better understanding of the many molecular methodologies that are utilized in current research. Course delivery is in the form of Lectures (30x1 hour), Practicals (6x3 hours) and Field Trip (1x4 hours).

BR31420: "Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics". This module is an integrated series of lectures, seminars and workshops covering the modern discipline of Functional Genomics. Course delivery is in the form of Lectures (24x1 hour) and workshops (6x2 hours).

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Inherent to the subject of the module; details will depend on module selection
Communication Students will develop effective listening skills for the lectures. Students will develop effective written communication skills by writing the module summary report, which will be assessed. Further communication and literacy problem solving skills developed will be module dependent.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will develop their ability to devise and monitor time management, learning and performance skills throughout the module via attending lectures, tutorials, practicals etc. Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials. The coursework will provide an opportunity for students to explore their own learning styles and preferences, and identify their needs and barriers to learning.
Information Technology n general, students will develop skills in accessing the web for information sources. Further details will depend on module selection.
Personal Development and Career planning All modules convey theoretical and applied skills which are critical for a career in any area of biological science.
Problem solving Students will develop skills and gain experience in identifying and using appropriate bioinformatics related analysis techniques in their research projects. Further problem solving skills developed will be module dependent.
Research skills Key research skills are developed by training in the theory and application of bioinformatics analysis and the critical evaluation of data. Further problem solving skills developed will be module dependent.
Subject Specific Skills Depending on choices in section B4
Team work Developed indirectly by contribution to group discussions.


This module is at CQFW Level 7