UBC and SFU have partnered in the administration, delivery and funding of bioinformatics training at the MSc and PhD level. The partnership extends to admissions procedures, the core curriculum, and the awarding of scholarships.

However, each university has its own degree-granting programs with different requirements. Students will choose UBC or SFU largely on the basis their identified faculty sponsor.

At UBC, students are in the Graduate Program in Bioinformatics. For UBC inquiries, please contact Sharon Ruschkowski.

At SFU, students are accepted through Molecular Biology and Biochemistry program  (email: or the School of Computing Science (email:

The rest of this page focuses on the common features of the programs.


M.Sc. Program

Most students will complete their coursework during their first year. There are two mandatory core courses, delivered jointly by SFU and UBC faculty:

This discussion-based bioinformatics course will expose students to the latest developments in Bioinformatics analysis and algorithms. It will run in conjunction with the VanBUG Seminar Series, in which the students will have the opportunity to meet and discuss their work with guest speakers, both local and international scientists.

The problem-based learning course will develop students’ ability to exchange ideas in small groups focused on real but simplified problems in bioinformatics. Problems will be carefully selected to cover all aspects of bioinformatics research. The core curriculum requires that a student have a strong background in bioinformatics. In addition, it is highly recommended that the student has taken MBB 659/BIOF 501A.

Each department and university has their own requirements for their graduate students. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of the requirements for their particular program.

UBC electives

SFU electives

Note: Students are allowed to take courses at either university, through a Western Dean’s Agreement form. Please ask program coordinator for more information.

Mandatory Professional Development Courses:
Students must take two professional development workshops before they graduate. These workshops address topics such as interviewing skills, presentation skills, TA workshops, etc.

At UBC, professional development courses/workshops can be taken through the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and at Graduate Studies Pathways to Success.

Students can also find workshops offered through MITACS-STEP program and the Center for Drug Research and Development.

At SFU, please visit for a list of offerings.