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Molecular Biology PhD

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Degree awarded
36-48 months (full-time), 72-96 months (part-time)
Entry requirements

The standard entry requirement for PhD study is a First or Upper Second class honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject. In certain circumstances, a Lower Second class honours degree supplemented by a Masters degree, or appropriate relevant work experience, may be acceptable.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Apply online

Programme options

Full-timePart-timeFull-time distance learningPart-time distance learning

Programme description

PhD programmes are based on individual research projects that last 3 or 4 years, working with a specific academic supervisor (principle investigators). Applicants are specifically matched with a principle investigator based on their research interests and background.

Molecular biology is fundamental to almost all research that studies microbial, animal and plant systems. Many research groups in the Faculty of Life Sciences are concerned with clinically related subjects including cancer, embryology, development, movement disorders, arthritis, bacterial pathogenesis, tissue injury and its repair. The unifying theme examines how genes are expressed and how they interact with other molecules to exert a biological effect. Fundamental studies of the mechanisms which control gene expression involve investigation of transcriptional and post-transcriptional events. Likewise, the study of cellular processes formulates an understanding of the roles of genes in effecting cellular mechanisms and organisation in living systems. In vitro and in vivo investigations exploit state-of-the-art technologies to visualise the activity of genes and gene products in real time. Model organisms such as C. elegans, mice, Drosophila and Arabidopsis are also used to understand the biological function of individual genes. Gene discovery is closely linked with our strengths in Bioinformatics. Examples of the breadth and diversity of molecular biology within the Faculty include:

  • Transcription Factors & Signal Transduction 
  • RNA Processing 
  • Apoptosis & Cell Fate 
  • Molecular Basis of Inherited Diseases 
  • Cell & Tissue Morphogenesis 
  • Cytoplasmic Inheritance 
  • Transgenic Technologies 
  • Biological Clocks


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2014, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): Low £6,800, Medium £13,450, High £18,450
    International students (per annum): Standard £18,000, Low £20,100, Medium £25,100, High £30,300
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): Low £3,350, Medium £6,500, High £9,050
    International students (per annum): Standard £9,000, Low £10,050, Medium £12,550, High £15,150

Please note for the majority of projects where experimentation requires further resource: higher fee bands (where quoted) will be charged rather than the base rate for supervision, administration and computational costs. The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive and, therefore, you will not be required to pay any additional bench fees or administration costs.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of the course for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees. Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your project.


Contact details

Academic department
Faculty of Life Sciences
+44 (0)161 275 5608
+44 (0)161 275 5657

Academic department overview

See: About the Faculty of Life Sciences.

Related subject areas