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bnfoguy 02-11-2014 08:06 PM

Graduate School Advice

I am currently applying to M.Sc. programs in Bioinformatics and so far I have been accepted at the University of Saarland in Germany and the Bonn-Aachen International Center for Technology as well as the Technical University of Munich (Biomedical Computing). My question is: To work as a bioinformatician in the future does a Ph.D. help or can I stop at an M.Sc. degree?

In addition if anyone can give me a review of the University of Saarland or the Bonn-Aachen center would be highly helpful.



SNPsaurus 02-11-2014 10:01 PM

The University of Oregon has a Masters in Bioinformatics program (intensive summer immersive experience, fall classes, then internships in companies and core facilties). The students have a high rate of placement without PhDs, although some continue on and get the advanced degree.

rskr 02-12-2014 04:08 AM

I think a PhD in bioinformatics is unnecessary, though some might pipe up and say they derived enormous benefit from putting together a piecemeal thesis analyzing other peoples data. However, it seems in the field there are many fewer bioinformatics PI's, and fewer bioinformatics grants than one might expect, which is usually what a PhD program is geared towards. It really depends on your background and situation, do you need a Visa, etc...

Stroehli 02-12-2014 05:22 AM

Both the University of Munich and the University of Saarland are well-renowned in the German bioinformatic community. I personally haven't heard of the Bonn-Achen center, so I cannot say anything about that.

I just finished my Masters in Bioinformatics at the Free University Berlin. From the next semester on the whole Masters course will be held in English. That would be another good option for you if you intend to study in Germany. A lot of the courses are very theoretical/methodical though (but I think that will be the case for Munich as well). Take a look at the courses that are offered and see what your preferences are. Do you want to work more applied or more methodically?

Plus, Berlin is by far the nicest of the three cities :) And cheaper to live than in Munich.

Regarding the question if to do a PhD or not:
I see a lot of job openings that require a PhD. I think you will definitely have more options with a PhD. If you want to become a PI then you will have to do a PhD. I personally decided to do one now. I think an additional three years are also a great opportunity to gain so much experience in a field and really specialize. But as already said, it really depends what you want to do.

If you have any more questions regarding bioinformatics in Germany (or Germany in general) feel free to PM me.


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