As a school, we believe that part of our mission is to train the next generation of life scientists. We take great pride in the standard of our postgraduate provision and offer both three- and four-year PhD programmes. It is also possible to pursue a one-year master's by research (MScR). Competition for places on our postgraduate programmes is high, but we believe that we offer a unique and nurturing environment for talented students.

You will receive extensive research training that covers methodology, critical interpretation and problem-solving, as well as transferable skills training in communication, presentation, teamwork, time management and teaching. You will also be encouraged to participate in personal development planning, which is considered a valuable adjunct of your professional development. Training is also available in enterprise and entrepreneurship.

You will have access to the world-class Wolfson Bioimaging Facility and GW4 high-resolution cryoEM facility, which provides a suite of state-of-the-art light and electron microscopes. In addition, the Proteomics Facility offers bespoke proteomics services for researchers.

Entry requirements

A first or upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in a biomedical science discipline is required for entry to the PhD programme. We may consider MSc by research applications from candidates with a lower second-class degree (or international equivalent).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£4,758 per year
UK: part-time
£2,379 per year
Overseas: full-time
£26,000 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Bench fees

For postgraduate research students who are not funded by UK Research Councils or (specific) UK charities, it is usual to charge a bench fee. A bench fee covers the costs of laboratory consumables, specialist equipment and other relevant costs (such as training) for the duration of the programme. The bench fee charged can vary considerably depending on the nature of the programme being undertaken. Details of specific bench fee charges can be provided on request and will be made clear in the offer letter sent to applicants.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

Funding to support postgraduate studentships is provided by the BBSRC, BHF, MRC and the Wellcome Trust (eligibility criteria apply). A limited number of University scholarships are also available for exceptional UK, EU and overseas students, although international students are often self-funded or supported by funds from their own governments.

Details about funded places and scholarships are listed on the Faculty of Life Sciences website.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Most of our postgraduate students become highly productive researchers, publishing in leading peer-reviewed biomedical journals. Over 75 per cent of our students go on to postdoctoral research in academia and industry.

Other students use the transferable skills gained during their study to enter postgraduate-level employment, including publishing, management and administration. We are committed to promoting the advancement of women and under-represented minorities in science, engineering and technology.

Meet our supervisors

The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.


Research groups

Research in the school covers all aspects of modern biochemistry and this is reflected in the wide range of postgraduate projects available.

The school has an international reputation in cell biology, and enjoys an association with the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility and GW4 high-resolution cryoEM facility, which houses the state-of-the-art light and electron microscopes. Our work in this area of dynamic molecular cell biology covers intracellular trafficking, cell shape and movement, and the control of cell death and proliferation.

We have also earned an international reputation for our research in structural biology and biophysics, including rational drug design, mathematical modelling of protein structure and folding, pioneering work on the interactions between DNA and proteins, and structural biology of complex systems including membrane proteins and complexes. Synthetic biology is another key area of active research within the school, which is supported by the BrisSynBio Centre and the Bristol BioDesign Institute - world-class flagships for multi-disciplinary studies in this area.

The fundamental research supported by the school is often translated into practical applications aimed at understanding disease mechanisms and improving human health. Our research has made significant contributions towards understanding cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, malaria, neurodegenerative diseases, and many other aspects of clinical research.

Contact us


Faculty Education Team