Introduction to Python for Life Sciences (2023-I)

Course description

Nowadays almost all disciplines in medical and biological sciences have to deal with an increasing amount of data. Frequently Microsoft Excel was used to load and process such datasets. However, there are many examples where datasets get simply too large or structurally too complicated that another approach, using a programming language, is not only very much preferred but basically essential.

The aim of this course is to provide you with a basis in programming using the programming language Python. Using your own laptop, you will learn how to use basic functions and write scripts via the popular web-based interactive computing platform Jupyter Notebook.

Important: for this course you need to bring your own laptop.

Learning objectives

  • Installing Python and Jupyter Notebook, via Anaconda
  • Working with variables, lists and dictionaries
  • Use and design functions
  • Making figures
  • Open/close files and obtain the data
  • Be self-sufficient, using Anaconda, Jupyter and Python
  • Combining the above and practice the “logic” of ”step-by-step” programming/scripting

Instructional method

For this course you will work on their own laptop. The course starts with an email with the instruction on how to install the software followed by an online introduction lecture. Next will be a combination of self-study exercises and in-class lectures and hands-on questions and answers sessions.

At the end of the course a final assignment is given to test your progress. It is mandatory to attend the final assignment.


You will be trained by one of the professionals of Utrecht Bioinformatics Center, Utrecht University.

Group size            

25 to 35 participants

Number of credits                                 

3.0 EC

Course schedule

Mon06-02-202314:0015:00Introduction lecture, variables and loops
Tue07-02-202314:0017:00Lists and Dictionaries
Wed08-02-202314:0017:00Functions and Modules
Thu09-02-202314:0017:00File Handling
Fr10-02-202314:0017:00Plotting and Regex
Wed15-02-202314:0016:00Q & A
Fr17-02-202313:0016:00Final Assignment

Selfstudy: 19-09-2022, 20-09-2022, 22-09-2022

Study load

In addition to the scheduled sessions, you should take into account an extra study load of approximately 66 hours in total. This study load generally consists of exercises and assignments in preparation for the next session.

Course certificate                                

You will receive a course certificate after actively participating in all course sessions and and passing the Final Assignment.

Cancellation and No-show policy

This course is free for GSLS PhD candidates. However: free of charge does not mean free of responsibility. Once you have signed up for a course, we expect you to attend. For every late cancellation or no-show we have had to disappoint others who would have liked to attend. This is our policy:

  • You may cancel free of charge up to 4 weeks before the start of the course. After this date you can only cancel if you have a GSLS PhD candidate to replace you in the course. Send the name and contact information of your replacement to, at least 2 working days before the start of the course;
  • We expect that you actively attend the full course, but at least 80%. It is mandatory to attend the first session. If you are absent the first session you cannot follow the remaining of the course;
  • Not meeting the above requirements means you will be charged a no-show fee (€ 112). We will send the invoice after the course has ended. We are unable to make any exceptions, unless you have a valid reason (i.e., illness or death in the family 1st/2nd degree or partner). Your supervisor has to send an e-mail to indicating the reason.

Unfortunately we don’t offer this course for participants not part of the GSLS. Our courses tend to be fully booked by GSLS PhD candidates.

Start date and time
End date and time
Utrecht Science Park
Entrance fee
This course is free for GSLS PhD candidates

Registration for this course opens 2 months before the course start. You can register via our course portal. After opening, the portal shows how many spots are still available.

More information
PhD Course Centre