The South West Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (SWBio DTP) is led by the University of Bristol, together with the Universities of Bath, Cardiff and Exeter, alongside Rothamsted Research. This partnership also includes the following collaborative partners; Marine Biological Association (MBA), Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Swansea University, UCB Pharma, University of the West of England (UWE) and SETsquared Bristol.

These institutions represent a distinctive group of bioscience research staff and students, with established international, national and regional networks, and widely recognised research excellence. As research leaders, we have a strong track record in advancing knowledge through high-quality research and teaching, in partnership with industry and the government.

The programme particularly aims to provide students with outstanding interdisciplinary research training within the following themes:

  • advancing the frontiers of bioscience discovery;
  • bioscience for sustainable agriculture and food;
  • bioscience for an integrated understanding of health.

Importantly this research training is also underpinned by transformative technologies, allowing you to expand the boundaries of your research through innovative tools, technologies and approaches.

You will be recruited to a broad, interdisciplinary project, supported by a multidisciplinary supervisory team, with many cross-institutional PhD projects available that build on the expertise of each of our partners. There are also opportunities to:

  • apply your research in an industrial setting through our projects with an industrial partner (DTP CASE studentships).
  • undertake research jointly with some of our core and collaborative partners (Standard DTP studentships with a collaborative partner).

Some projects will also offer working with other national/international researchers, as well as fieldwork opportunities.

Further information can be found on the SWBio DTP website.

Programme structure

In the first year, we provide a broad awareness of the fundamental research approaches in life sciences and how they can be applied to real-life situations through taught units and rotation projects. You will complete three co-localised taught units and two rotation projects.

You will need to successfully complete the first year to be able to progress into your second year of studies. An MRes exit route is available at the end of year one should this be required.

The remaining three years will be more like a conventional PhD, with academic progression monitored by your registered university. You will be taking on full-time research and are likely to be based in the research group of your main supervisor.

You will also have the opportunity to attend a number of SWBio DTP cohort activities held across the partnership, such as student conferences, workshops, research theme activities and outreach events where you will get the chance to meet other students from the partnership, giving you access to a multidisciplinary and supportive network.

Students must submit their thesis by the end of year four.

Professional Internships for Postgraduate Students (PIPS)

You will also take part in a three-month full-time placement (or part-time equivalent) outside of an academic research environment. Placements are intended to broaden the scope of your employability after your PhD. Placement examples include working in policy, science communication, charities, industry and publishing.

PIPS is optional for CASE studentships as these projects will involve an industrial placement with the CASE partner.

Entry requirements

Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a first or upper second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. Applicants with a lower second class degree will be considered if they also have a master's degree or have significant relevant non-academic experience.

In addition, due to the mathematical component of the taught course in the first year and the quantitative emphasis in our projects, a minimum of grade B in A-level Maths or equivalent qualification or experience is required.

Equivalent Maths qualifications/experience:

  • Physics A-level (grade B and above);
  • Undertaking units as part of your degree that have a significant mathematical component (for example, maths, statistics, or bioinformatics).

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
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.

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

Home students

Fully-funded studentships are available for home students. To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the required residency criteria set out by the UK government.

Further information can be found on the University of Bristol website https://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/fee-status/

International students

If you do not meet the above criteria, you will be classed as an international student.

A limited number (up to 30%) of UKRI fully-funded studentships are available through the SWBio DTP, that applicants who would be classed as international students are eligible for.

Please note, these studentships do not cover the costs associated with obtaining a visa (including healthcare surcharge) or relocating to the UK. Please ensure you review the details relating to obtaining a visa before applying.

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

Career prospects

Students who complete this programme are likely to enter research careers within academia or industry, or careers in non-governmental organisations (NGOs), teaching, public engagement or government.

Research groups

A wide range of research projects are advertised each year. These are hosted across many schools.

Contact us