Bioinformatics and Computational Biology represent a new interface field at the intersection of Biology and Computer Science, constituting an integrative scientific area, aiming to disclose fundamental biological mechanisms, both at the cellular and molecular and at the macro dimensions, including organisms, populations or species to ecosystems and biomes, and addressing issues related to genetics, systems biology, omics, pathology, ecology, evolution, epidemiology, among others. In order to meet this ambition, the curricular structure of this master's degree is organized so that the students acquire knowledge and competences transversal to mathematics, computation, biochemistry and biology, these last two fields through a computer perspective. The interdisciplinary character of this master degree is sustained through a comprehensive set of curricular objectives that include:
- Understanding the structure of biological databases and developing skills in their use, such as NCBI, GenBank, UniProt, Protein Data Bank, KEGG, BioCyc, REACTOME, BRENDA, SABIO-RK, JASPAR, ChEBI among others.
- Acquire knowledge and skills regarding the basic mechanisms of Molecular Biology - such as gene expression and regulation, gene-gene and gene-protein interaction networks;
- Understanding the basic algorithms of bioinformatics (of probabilistic nature and others);
- Acquisition of competences to create and programming of bioinformatics algorithms;
- Understanding the usefulness of bioinformatics tools and computational biology to tackle biological phenomenology;
- Competences in the three-dimensional modeling of proteins and biological molecules, and in the computational simulation of their properties, with emphasis on their applications in biotechnological related areas, particularly in health sciences;
- Competences and skills in the manipulation of large databases of chemical compounds with potential bioactive activity and their modelling in order to convert them into new drugs.
The cycle of studies consists of:
- A specialization course consisting of an organized set of curricular units corresponding to 60 ECTS credits. It confers a Specialization in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology;
- Two optional curricular units (6 ECTS each), a Dissertation Project and a Dissertation (both scientific, original and specially made for this purpose). This training corresponds to 60 out of the total 120 ECTS of the cycle of studies and will allow, after passing the public defense of the dissertation, to obtain a master's degree in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.
Time schedule and language
This cycle of studies has a weekly schedule distributed along the academic year. Rights and duties of working-students are safeguard by the regulations of the University of Porto for the 2nd cycles. It is expected that this 2nd cycle might interest foreigner students, so classes can be in English. Furthermore, some elements of the teaching staff who are not fluent in Portuguese teach in English.
The master's degree in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology aims to train professionals skilled for innovation and creation of scientific knowledge, in its fundamental and applied aspects, in the emerging interface between computer science and biology. At the end of the study cycle, trainees will be qualified to integrate multidisciplinary research teams, but will also provide a cluster of specialized professionals capable to enhance the competitive potential of technology-based enterprises, therefore fit to face current societal challenges in innovation and development, particularly in health technologies, biotechnology, environment, the food and pharmaceutical industries.
- Bachelor's degree in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics or related fields, with a minimum grade of 12 (of a 20 points grade scale). Candidates should possess a minimum of 72 ECTS in Biology and Biochemistry, or in the scientific areas of Mathematics and Computer Science.
- Candidates shown to possess a relevant academic, scientific or professional curricula, which the Scientific Committee of the Course consider to meet the necessary requirements to complete this cycle of studies, may be admitted to this master’s course.
Note - For candidates who do not hold a bachelor´s degree at the time of the application, but who meet the conditions to complete their bachelor’s degree by the date of enrollment in the study cycle, can apply, considering that they provide the curricular grade average at the application date (which must be at least of 12 points out of a 20 points grade scale).
Criteria for Selection and Ranking
- Bachelor’s degree grade* or average of the curricular units at the time of application weighted for the ECTS.
- Adequacy of the candidate to the cycle of studies - Scored with 1 to 3 values for bachelor’s in Biology and Biochemistry taking into account the number of ECTS carried out in the area of Computer Science or Mathematics; 3 to 4 values for bachelor’s in Computer Science, Mathematics or Physics, depending on the number of ECTS they complete in the area of biological sciences; 0 to 1 value for other degrees or related areas, depending on the number of ECTS held in the area of Computer Science or Mathematics
- Curricular Evaluation - weighted with 0 to 4 values depending on the academic and scientific curriculum of the candidate, taking into account the previous postgraduate training by considering the number of ECTS carried out in the areas of Computer Science and Mathematics, and the candidate's scientific curriculum, evaluated through Scopus bibliometric indicators, communications in scientific meetings, participation in research projects, professional experience and other information considered relevant by the Scientific Committee of the Course.
* Bachelor’s degree grade* - average of the grades obtained in the curricular units, weighted by the credits ECTS or by the respective number of training hours. The applications should include official Certificates with the all the curricular units completed, and their ECTS or number of training hourly.
- Grade average of the set of curricular units that define the minimum of 72 ECTS of the areas used to determine the curricular profile of the candidate (Biology / Biochemistry or Mathematics / Computer Science).
- Higher grade of one of the curricular units of the complementary area (Biology / Biochemistry or Mathematics / Computer Science) used to determine the curricular profile of the candidate, i.e. defined by a minimum of 72 ECTS in Biology / Biochemistry or Mathematics / Computer Science.