Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary area of study which draws upon both computing and the life sciences. It is concerned with the development of technologies for storing, extracting, organising, analysing, interpreting & utilising biological information.

The major areas of bioinformatics include:
  • storage and retrieval of biological data such as nucleic acid and protein sequence and structure;
  • data analysis and mining in areas such as sequence alignment, structural analysis, phylogeny, metabolic pathways and signalling, gene expression;
  • graphical representation of complex biological data;
  • high performance computing techniques to support the areas above.
Bioinformatics graduates have strengths in computing techniques, life sciences, and biotechnology which equips them for a wide range of careers. Graduates may find employment with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies; companies in the information and communications technology sector; and public and private research organisations.

Studying Bioinformatics and Bioinformatics Engineering at UNSW

The study of Bioinformatics at UNSW is primarily through the School of Computer Science and Engineering which offers both a Bioinformatics major for the Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Engineering (Bioinformatics Engineering). The focus of the BSc (Bioinformatics) is on the use of bioinformatics tools in order to achieve biological discovery. The BE (Bioinformatics Engineering) adds an emphasis on the design and construction of bioinformatics tools and software systems to process large amounts go biological data.

Both programs include the same strong scientific foundations across biology, mathematics and computer science. However the BSc (Bioinformatics) allows deeper coverage of the biology whereas the BE (Bioinformatics Engineering) includes several courses focusing on the engineering of bioinformatics software systems, including both advanced computer science courses (algorithms, databases) and practical bioinformatics engineering design workshops where students get hands-on experience in designing and implementing complex software systems.

The school also offers an Honours program in Computational Biology which allows graduates from the BSc (Bioinformatics) to deepen their study of computer science and computational methods and apply these to a bioinformatics research project.

It is also possible to study Bioinformatics within a combined degree program. The School also offers postgraduate programs.

Bioinformatics can be studied as 

Specialisation Stream Type Stream
Bioinformatics Engineering Major BINFAH3764

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