PhD/MPhil Neuroscience / Programme details

Year of entry: 2024

Programme description

Research in the Division of Neuroscience aims to understand the development and function of the nervous system, and to develop better treatments for neurological disorders.

Around 20 groups focus their research on different, but complimentary, aspects of nervous system function. 

This extends from how neural circuits are organised, how circuits process sensory information, plan motor actions, store memories, and achieve cognitive function. We also investigate how these networks become dysfunctional in clinical disorders.

Through state-of-the-art techniques such as multi-channel electrophysiological recording, optogenetics, neuroimaging, neurogenetics and computational modelling, all of which are established in Manchester, we have powerful tools at our disposal.

We also exploit and integrate a wide range of model systems: from neuronal cell culture,  Drosophila , zebrafish, rodents and human brain tissue.

Our major research themes currently include:

  • Role of critical periods in developing circuits
  • Coding of sensory signals
  • Memory and learning
  • Phototransduction & circadian biology
  • Neuroinflammation
  • The neurobiological basis of, and novel treatments for, significant brain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, blindness, stroke, and epilepsy).

To search for specific project keywords, disciplines, topics and/or supervisors visit our research project pages.

Special features

Training and development

All of our postgraduate researchers attend the Doctoral Academy Training Programme delivered by the Researcher Development team . The programme provides key transferable skills and equips our postgraduate researchers with the tools to progress beyond their research degree into influential positions within academia, industry and consultancy. The emphasis is on enhancing skills critical to developing early-stage researchers and professionals, whether they relate to effective communication, disseminating research findings and project management skills.

Teaching and learning

PhD/MPhil programmes are based on individual research projects that last three to four years (PhD) or one to two years (MPhil), working with a specific Primary Supervisor and Co-Supervisor(s).

Applicants are specifically matched with a Primary Supervisor and individual project based on their research interests and background.

International applicants interested in this research area can also consider our PhD programme with integrated teaching certificate .

This unique programme will enable you to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning, whilst also carrying out independent research on your chosen project.

Scholarships and bursaries

Funded programmes and projects are promoted throughout the year. Funding is available through UK Research Councils, charities and industry. We also have other internal awards and scholarships for the most outstanding applicants from within the UK and overseas. 

For more information on available the types of funding we have available, please visit the  funded programmes  and  funding opportunities  pages.

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to undertake a postgraduate research degree at Manchester on the Doctoral Academy Blog and the support available through our Faculty Doctoral Academy.


You will have access to a range of  research and learning facilities  across the University and at some of our partner organisations.

Disability support

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