Biocomputing at Birkbeck

Programming is an essential skill for bioinformaticians. This Biocomputing short course focuses on Python, the most widely used programming language for bioinformatics. On this course you will learn about:

  • the core features of Python
  • how to write short scripts for handling biological data
  • more advanced topics such as regular expressions and how to write user-defined functions
  • specialist topics relevant to bioinformatics, such as Biopython
  • how to use Biopython to handle DNA and protein sequence data
  • how to set up a basic web server
  • how to create, access and modify a relational database using SQL
  • good programming practices
  • how to address practical challenges associated with larger-scale and collaborative programming tasks.

This course is primarily aimed at science graduates with an interest in computational biology who are keen to develop their programming skills. As the course teaches programming from scratch, no prior knowledge of programming is necessary or assumed. If you have some programming experience (especially in languages other than Python) you will still find the course stimulating as you can opt to work on harder problems provided alongside the easier ones.

This short course is assessed by open-book, limited-time, online tests (60%) and coursework tasks (40%).


Learn more here


Birkbeck was set up over 200 years ago to provide access to education to anyone who had the ability and drive to succeed, regardless of their circumstances or background. Today, we have one of the most diverse student bodies of any university in the country and we pride ourselves on the value that this brings to our learning community.

We’re experienced at providing flexible learning, on

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