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Master's Thesis in Bioinformatics

In the Master’s program in bioinformatics, you must do a 30 ECTS Master’s thesis. You must start your 30 ECTS thesis no later than February 1 (or September 1) a year and a half after commencement of your studies (i.e. February 2021 for students admitted in summer 2019, or September 2021 for students admitted in winter 2020). You must complete your thesis (including the exam) no later than June 30 the same year, if you started on February 1 (or January 31 the following year, if you started on September 1).

You can read the course description for the MSc thesis project at:


You can read some general information and advice about Master’s thesis work at:


You can see abstracts of (some) Master's theses from BiRC at:


Thesis contract

Before you start your thesis, you must make a thesis contract. The thesis contract must be completed and approved by January 15 (or August 15). You can read about how to submit the contract on the above www page. As part of the thesis contract, you must attach a pdf file containing project description, project goals, activity plan, and supervision plan. This is very much like what you have to describe for a Project in Bioinformatics. At BiRC, you should use the following template for this description.

Problem statement, activity plan, and supervision plan (in docx format)

When formulating the thesis project, you should keep in mind that it should cover 30 ECTS of work, i.e. full-time work for the entire semester and the following exam period. Group projects should of course cover this for every group member.

Choosing a topic

Before you can make a thesis contract, and commence your thesis work, you must (of course) chose a topic and a supervisor. The supervisor must be a tenured researcher associated to BiRC, but you can also have one or more co-supervisors.

When choosing a thesis topic, it is a good idea to think about the classes and projects that you have done during your Master’s studies, and what kind of work do you like? Contact potential supervisors as early as possible to discuss your wishes and ideas. Remember that you are always welcome to come by our offices and discuss. You can also ask potential supervisors for examples of thesis’s that they have supervised in order to get a better idea of how a thesis can look.

Also, we plan an information meeting for students that focus on thesis and project work every Fall. Below are the slides from the last such information meeting.

Slides from MSc info meeting (November 2023)

Ten simple rules for writing a great MSc thesis at BiRC (November 2022)

The slides also contain good advice about how to organize your thesis work. The above www page also contains some advice.

Group projects: It is possible to do the thesis project as a group project. Each group member must fill out individual contracts stating the other groups members. A group hand in a single thesis, but each group member is examined individually. In general, we very much encourage group assignments as it for many students is motivating to work together in a group, and to have group member to discuss and solve the many the details of a thesis project together with.

Projects involving external collaborators: It is possible to do a project that involves external collaboration, e.g. with people from industry, or from other university departments. Such collaborators will be associated to your thesis as co-supervisors. In the thesis contract, it is possible to indicate that the thesis project is done in collaboration with an industrial partner, if an NDA has been signed, and if the final thesis report must be made public available.


The thesis report presents the completed work and can be written in Danish or English. The report must contain an English summary/abstract. The summary/abstract is included in the assessment, and the assessment places emphasis on the academic content, as well as the student’s spelling and writing skills. The extent of the thesis report is agreed with the supervisor, but is typically about 50-60 pages excluding frontpage, table of content and appendices. If the MSc thesis is done as a group project provided, the report must be done in such a way that the group members can be assessed individually. This means that you can either (1) do a joint report in which everyone is equally responsible for all parts of the report, or (2) do a joint report, where it is stated (fx in the table of content) who of you has done the individual parts of the report and is responsible for them. See https://studerende.au.dk/en/studies/subject-portals/bioinformatics/masters-thesis/masters-thesis/ under "Group assignment" for details.

Hand in

In your thesis contract, you state the hand in date. This can between June 1 and 15 (or January 1 and 15), earlier dates are also possible. The exact date is (of course) decided in collaboration with your supervisor. You hand in your thesis via Digital Exam (like you are used to for Projects in Bioinformatics).


The thesis exam is 60 min oral exam. It starts with a 30 min presentation from you about your thesis work followed by a 30 min discussion between you, the examiner (your supervisor), and an external examiner. Your presentation is based upon a question that you get from your supervisor one week before the exam. The exam must be held before June 30 (or January 31). In principle, the exam can be held from the day after you hand in your thesis. The exact date is decided upon by your supervisor, and often depends on the availability of external examiners. The final grade reflects an overall assessment of your report, your presentation, and your discussion.

If you have any questions about thesis work, then you are always welcome to ask!