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Neuroscience (Life Sciences) MPhil

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Programme description

The MPhil is a one-year research degree where students get the opportunity to study a specific research project. The MPhil degree can act as a stand-alone degree for applicants who would like to gain experience in a specific area, or can be linked to a PhD programme. Rather than register on a direct entry 3 or 4 year PhD, some postgraduates may first register on a one-year MPhil programme. Subsequently students may then wish to transfer on to a full PhD programme with a further 2 or 3 years of study.

Neuroscientists in the Faculty interact to deliver a wide range of projects focused on research into the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal regulation and neurodegeneration in the CNS and PNS. A major focus is to understand processes of neurodegeneration in order to uncover aetiology and/or treat the common diseases of the nervous system, for example Alzheimers, Parkinsons disease and stroke. There are also several groups studying how the brain controls complex behaviours such as feeding and sleeping. In vivo and in vitro techniques are used and include primary neuronal cell culture, patch-clamp recording, ion flux Imaging, receptor binding assays and imaging of GFP- fusion proteins. There is a significant level of collaboration with clinicians and major links with large and small pharmaceutical companies. Drug discovery programmes and neuroscience- based spin out companies are being set up and encouraged through interaction with Manchester Biotech, which is ideally positioned adjacent to the Faculty. General areas of neuroscience research include:

  • The Basal Ganglia & Movement Disorders 
  • Actions of Cytokines & Growth Factors in the Brain 
  • Cell Biology of Neuronal Regulation & Neurodegeneration 
  • Molecular Basis of Ion Channel Function 
  • Peripheral & Diabetic Neuropathy 
  • Comparative Neuroendocrinology 
  • Neuronal Control of Biological Clocks
  • Regulation of Body Weight & Feeding

Coursework and assessment

All research degree programmes are based on supportive supervision in an outstanding research environment. As well as a supervisor each PhD student also has an advisor who is available to oversee the progression of the student and provide additional support during their research degree.

The Faculty of Life Sciences is proud to have one of the largest and most innovative training and development programmes for postgraduate students in Europe, which has undergone continual development over the past 10-15 years. The Graduate Training Programme (GTP) is a series of compulsory and optional workshops, seminars, and skills training modules that are designed to complement a student's research laboratory training. Every student benefits not only from the outstanding academic environment, but also from the opportunity to acquire a broad and individualised range of personal and transferable skills that are of great value in future careers. For more information about the Graduate Training Programme please see the skills development page on the Faculty of Life Sciences website.

Each year the postgraduate community is joined by all members of the Faculty of Life Sciences to formally celebrate their substantial research achievements at the Faculty Research Symposium. During this important day in the Faculty calendar, a selection of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers present their work, through talks and posters, to their peers, academic and support staff and invited guests. This event  provides all of our postgraduates with an important opportunity to showcase their research.

Scholarships and bursaries

Each year the Faculty of Life Sciences has a number of studentships on offer to eligible UK/EU applicants. These studentships are funded by awards from UK research councils (i.e. BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, ESRC, AHRC). Studentships are linked to specific PhD projects and are available for applicants to work in the laboratories of named principal investigators. Each year the list of funded PhD projects varies. In addition, throughout the year other studentships may be available through charities, internal funds and some industry-sponsored awards.

The Faculty endeavors to assisting academically excellent international students who wish to undertake a research degree within biological or life science. The Faculty has a number of different scholarship options available to international students.

Applicants are advised to check the Faculty postgraduate web pages for lists of current funding opportunities and eligibility criteria.


The Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester comprises 250 independent research groups, and is one of the largest and best biology research groupings in Europe. The Faculty's research encompasses the entire spread of life sciences from the molecule to cell to organism to population.

The Faculty occupies a series of superb new buildings, each of which incorporates an enviable collection of equipment core facilities. These include analytical research facilities, bioimaging facility, bioinformatics facility, biomolecular analysis and mass spectrometry facilities, microarray facility, botanical experimental grounds, electron microscopy facility, fermentation facility, flow cytometry facility, histology facility, mammalian transgenic technologies facility, nuclear magnetic resonance facility, and x-ray crystallography facility.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: