The School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience has an international reputation for research excellence in cardiovascular biology,neuroscience, and cell signalling. The school is highly committed to training the next generation of scientists from both the UK and overseas, taking great pride in the standard of our postgraduate provision.

New students enter an exciting and diverse research environment in which we support and challenge our postgraduates to excel. All postgraduates receive extensive research and transferable skills training.

The school is well supported by programme and project grants, particularly from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation (BHF), enabling the school to provide a vibrant environment for research. We offer both three- or four-year PhD programmes and one-year Masters by Research (MScR) projects.

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 and MSc 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 available from the BBSRC, BHF, MRC and the Wellcome Trust (eligibility criteria apply and allocation is competitive). A limited number of University scholarships are also available. International students are often self-funded or supported by funds from their own governments. MScR studentships are usually self-funded. Self-funded projects usually also require a bench fee.

Details about funded studentships are listed on the Faculty of Life Sciences website.

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

Career prospects

The majority of our postgraduate students become highly productive researchers through the course of their studies, publishing in leading peer-reviewed biomedical journals. Most go on to post-doctoral research in academia and industry, both in the UK and abroad. Others use the significant transferable skills gained during their study to enter postgraduate-level employment including in publishing, project management, science communication and policy.

The school is committed to promoting the advancement of under represented groups in science, and we provide an environment that allows everyone to meet their full potential during their studies.

Meet our supervisors

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


Research groups

The School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience encompasses internationally-recognised research groups with interests extending from the whole animal, human disease models, cell signalling and neuropharmacology to cardiovascular/respiratory function, tissue repair and regeneration, synaptic plasticity and the study of sensory and sensorimotor systems in the intact brain. The diversity of this research is reflected in the wide range of postgraduate projects available.

A number of research groups use the world-class Wolfson Bioimaging Facility, which contains state-of-the-art light and electron microscopes. The school has strong links with the pharmaceutical industry and has forged collaborative research programmes with a number of companies. The school collaborates with clinical colleagues, aiming to translate our discoveries to the clinic to treat a wide array of diseases: from neurological and neuropathic disorders to cancer and cardiovascular disease.