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Master of Science in Life Sciences - Applied Computational Life Sciences

There is a growing need for experts who have specific knowledge in a scientific discipline combined with skills in data science, modelling and computation.

Programming, Algorithms, Data-Structures, Mathematical Modelling, Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, Data Bases, Data Architecture Systems, Handling and Visualising Data, Neural Networks and Deep Learning are the relevant Keywords. Those who master these contents have key qualifications for the future.

Become a data scientist and simulation expert!

Best prospects for a successful future!

«The specialisation in ACLS offers students the opportunity to explore the potential of digital developments, based on the core discipline from their Bachelor’s programme.»

Prof. Dr. Thomas Ott

«The programme offers international perspectives as a data scientist in a subject-specific environment, for example, as a bioinformatics specialist or a simulation expert. The programme allows students to further develop in the fields of IT and management.»

Dr. Manuel Gil

«The ZHAW offers a programme in an international environment with a familiar atmosphere. When possible, the Master’s thesis is completed in close collaboration with industry.»

Dr. Maria Anisimova

Master of Science in Applied Computational Life Sciences

Science and business are undergoing profound changes as a result of the developments of the digital revolution. Expertise in working with digital tools and large quantities of data are key supplementary skills for subject specialists. In this Master’s programme, you will acquire these supplementary skills and combine them with the subject-specific experience and knowledge gained in your Bachelor’s degree.

Your Background

Do you have a Bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields or in a related field?

Are you fascinated by the potential of digital technology? Then come and master up your degree by becoming a data scientist and simulation expert!

Interested persons with other backgrounds should contact the Program Advisor directly Dr. Manuel Gil

I have a Bachelor's degree in electronics and communication engineering. I have always been fascinated by life sciences, biotechnology in particular. I wanted to work in a interdisciplinary field between biology, engineering and technology. The specialisation Applied Computational Life Sciences offers exactly what I was looking for and much more, including machine learning courses.

Jithin Peechatt

In my Bachelor degree in biology at ETH Zurich I first heard about bioinformatics as part of genomics and systems biology courses. It soon became obvious to me that this is what I want to work in - an interdisciplinary field, using the power of computers to answer unsolved problems in biology. Not only the possibility to work together with an industry partner caught my attention but also the lecture concepts, which can be directly applied in the Master's Thesis interested me utterly which was the main reason, that I decided to apply for the Applied Computational Life Sciences program in the familial atmosphere of ZHAW.

Matteo Delucchi

When I had to decide on a vocation after school, I had two options: Natural sciences or computer science. I decided to take the first option. After my Bachelor in Chemistry, I worked for a few years in the pharmaceutical industry, where I was constantly creating Excel files in order to make my work easier. This is why I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Applied Computational Life Sciences, which unites my two passions. The courses I like the most are Programming, Mathematical Modelling and Machine Learning, because I can apply the skills I have learned in other scientific projects and they have similarities with practical laboratory work.

Ta Cam Phuong

Flexible Study Agreement

Before your studies begin, you decide on your personal educational goals, define the topic of your Master’s thesis and create your individual study plan together with your supervisor from the selection of available modules. Your personal study programme is based on your educational background, your interests and your objectives. You will be able to profit from close interaction with your supervisor both at the beginning and throughout your studies. The Study Agreement is a learning tool that defines the balance between independent learning, contact lessons and e-learning. It enables you to create your own contemporary learning context that incorporates a high degree of flexibility.

Studying Applied Computational Life Sciences

Structure at semester start in autumn:

Click with the mouse on the blue dots for more information.

Weekly structure:

Your Field of Interest

Are you interested in any of the following fields?

You can choose your thesis topic and your advisor based on your field of interest.  You will be placed in one of our specialisation tracks, which will prepare fully for your Master’s thesis in your field of interest.

Hand-On Master's Thesis

Your New Skills

News from the study

Your Future

This specialisation in Applied Computational Life Sciences lays the foundation for a career in a rapidly developing field of research and business. The programme provides essential knowledge in a field where science meets business, and opens up career paths in international companies, agile start-ups and research institutions.

As a graduate of this programme you will find a job that shapes the future.

Suitable students have the opportunity to be accepted onto our Data Science PhD programme run in collaboration with other Swiss universities.


The Master of Science in Life Sciences is a cooperative venture run by the ZHAW together with three other Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences:

As part of the cooperation modules, you will benefit from the expertise of all four partners, create an extensive network, and participate in interdisciplinary exchanges.

Film Master's programme Applied Computational Life Sciences

Film Mastervertiefung Applied Computational Life Sciences

Brochure Master's programme Applied Computational Sciences

At a glance

Degree / Title: Master of  Science (MSc) ZFH in Life Sciences with specialisation in Applied Computational Life Sciences
Duration: Full-time 3 semesters, part-time possible (recommendation 4-7 semesters)
Start of studies: twice a year in February (spring semester) and September (autumn semester). If you start in February we recommend to study in part-time due to the structure of the specialisation modules.
Cooperation: Some modules take place jointly with the universities of applied sciences BFH, FHNW and HES-SO.
Workload: 90 credits (ECTS), one credit point corresponds to 25 – 30 hours of work
Teaching locations: Wädenswil, Olten or Berne. Block weeks can also be held directly at partner universities.
Language: English 
Study fees: CHF 720.00 (EUR 650 / USD 730) per semester + additional study-related expenses ...»
Admission requirements / acceptance: University of Applied Sciences Bachelor's degree ...»

Registration deadlines: 30th April and 31st October ...»
Application deadline for the start of studies autumn 2020 extended to 31 July 2020.

Missed the deadline? Please contact the Registrar's Office Master Life Sciences,

Studies – Structure and Content

Your studies include different areas of competence plus a Master's thesis, with a total of 90 credits (ETCS).

Before commencing your studies, you will develop, together with the specialisation team and your supervisor, your personal training goals, define the topic for your Master's thesis and create your individual curriculum from the modules on offer.

The selected modules are recorded in your Individual Study Agreement (ISA).

Modules, topics and tracks

The study consists of different categories of modules::

1. Modules in the specialisation (Specialisation Skills):

2. Modules in combination with the MSc Life Sciences:

Module descriptions

Core Modules - 20 credits

This module group consists of the following 4 modules: Programming, Algorithms and Data Structures, Mathematical Modeling, Databases and Data Architecture Systems, Machine Learning and Data Analytics

Classes are usually held on Mondays and Tuesdays in Wädenswil.

Specialisation Track Modules - 10 credits

During two modules, you can deepen the thematic scope of your master's thesis. Classes are usually held on Monday and Tuesday in Wädenswil.

Master's thesis - 30 credits

On the basis of research you have carried out, you answer a specific question in this field and work out concrete solutions that are relevant for research, industry and society, often in co-operation with national and international partners. Through the thesis you not only demonstrate your knowledge and skills, but also expand the state of research in your specific field of scientific expertise.

Core Competencies – minimum 15 credits

Visualisation Core competencies «Management, Business and Society»
Visualisation Core competencies «Handling and Understanding Data»

These modules provide you with work-oriented skills. With these core competencies you acquire knowledge in the following areas: «Management, Business and Society» as well as «Handling and Understanding Data». Each module lasts half a semester – 2/3 of the lessons are held centrally in Olten and 1/3 consists of decentralised teaching (accompanied exercises, case studies etc.) directly in Wädenswil. You choose at least five from seven modules, of which all «Handling and Understanding Data»-modules are mandatory for the ACLS specialisation.

Cluster-specific modules – minimum 9 credits

Cluster-specific modules complement the specialisation modules. The specialisation Applied Computational Life Sciences is part of the group BECS (Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science). You choose modules out of the group BECS, two of which are mandatory modules. In addition you also can choose elective modules out of all other clusters (see list by the module descriptions).

Study models

The Master's programme in Life Sciences takes 3 full-time semesters and comprises 90 credits (ECTS). This corresponds to a workload of approximately 2,700 hours. This intensive workload requires good planning and organisation.

Part-time study opens up numerous ways to achieve the objectives of the programme - adapted to your personal circumstances and needs. We recommend that students do not engage in any additional professional activities that exceed a maximum workload of 50% of a full-time position. You should consult your specialisation team individually about this matter. For administrative questions, please contact the registrar's office.

How you structure your part-time studies should be discussed and determined before commencement thereof when creating your Individual Study Agreement (ISA).

Researching for Practice

During your studies, you will expand your personal skills profile, in terms of your technical and methodological expertise as well as your self-competence. The focus on the Master's thesis encourages creative approaches to problem solving, re-examination of perspectives and a combination of entrepreneurial and scientific thinking.

Work in the research group will help you develop teamwork skills, initiative, critical thinking and leadership skills. We promote independent, research-based learning in small classes with interactive lessons.

Do you have any questions?

Please contact us ...