PhD/MPhil Structural Biology

Year of entry: 2020

Overview

Degree awarded
PhD/MPhil
Duration
3-4 years PhD, 1-2 years MPhil
Entry requirements
We require applicants to hold, or be about to obtain, an Upper Second class Honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in a related subject area for entry to a PhD programme. A Lower Second class Honours degree may be considered if applicants also hold a Master's degree with a Merit classification.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
See full guidance on how to choose a project and submit an application on our website . You should then complete the online application form to apply for this programme. Ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, or this may delay the processing of your application.

Applications must be submitted online well in advance of your anticipated start date (6 weeks for Home/EU, 12 weeks for overseas).  We cannot accept late applications without prior agreement via the Doctoral Academy.

Application deadlines

Home/EU applicants:

September entry - apply by 15 July

January entry - apply by 15 November

April entry - apply by 15 February

Overseas applicants:

September entry - apply by 1 st week of June

January entry - apply by 1 st week of October

April entry - apply by 1 st week of January

Programme options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
PhD Y Y N N
MPhil Y Y N N

Programme overview

  • Learn from some of Europe's leading researchers while undertaking your own project.
  • Access some of the best research facilities in the world at both the University and in hospitals around Greater Manchester.
  • Undergo training in transferable skills critical to developing early-stage researchers and professionals through the Doctoral Academy's training programme.
  • Conduct research at a university ranked 7th in the UK (QS World University Rankings 2018).

Open days

Attending an open day is a great way to find out what undertaking postgraduate research at Manchester is like. Find out about our  upcoming open days .

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2020, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): Standard £TBA, Low £9,000, Medium £16,000, High £21,000
    International students (per annum): Standard £24,000, Low £25,000, Medium £31,500, High £36,500
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): Standard £TBA, Low £4,500, Medium £8,000, High £10,500
    International students (per annum): Standard £12,000, Low £12,500, Medium £15,750, High £18,250

Contact details

School/Faculty
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
Contact name
Admissions
Telephone
+44 (0)161 275 5608
Email
Website
https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/
School/Faculty
Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

Programmes in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of programmes in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We require applicants to hold, or be about to obtain, an Upper Second class Honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in a related subject area for entry to a PhD programme. A Lower Second class Honours degree may be considered if applicants also hold a Master's degree with a Merit classification.

English language

For applicants whose first language is not English, or if you have not studied recently in the UK, you  must  supply an official IELTS or TOEFL transcript to support your application, or provide a date on which you will be taking a test.

If your IELTS or TOEFL expires before the start of your programme, you will need to take another official English test before we can issue you with a CAS for your visa application. This is a requirement of UKVI.

We require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall or TOEFL (iBT) 90.

Each component of the English test should meet the minimum requirement of IELTS 5.5 in all components or 22 in TOEFL (iBT). For the  writing component  in IELTS we expect that you have achieved a minimum of 6.0.

For more information about English language tests see  English language requirements .

Please contact us at  admissions.doctoralacademy@manchester.ac.uk  for further information.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements, including English language, see  entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

See full guidance on how to choose a project and submit an application on our website . You should then complete the online application form to apply for this programme. Ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, or this may delay the processing of your application.

Applications must be submitted online well in advance of your anticipated start date (6 weeks for Home/EU, 12 weeks for overseas).  We cannot accept late applications without prior agreement via the Doctoral Academy.

Application deadlines

Home/EU applicants:

September entry - apply by 15 July

January entry - apply by 15 November

April entry - apply by 15 February

Overseas applicants:

September entry - apply by 1 st week of June

January entry - apply by 1 st week of October

April entry - apply by 1 st week of January

Advice to applicants

In addition to the formal online application, candidates should send all supporting documents (CV, transcripts, certificates, confirmation of funding, English language ability (if applicable), references and a personal statement).

About the personal statement   

We recommend that your personal statement summarises:

  • any research experience and your interests;
  • your motivation for postgraduate research study;
  • why you want to do a postgraduate research degree in Manchester;
  • your career development to date;
  • your future career plans;
  • other supporting information: recent publications if any or other research training and experience.

If you have completed a research project during your undergraduate/master's study, please give a short description of the work you undertook, including the following details:

  • the research problem
  • your key findings
  • techniques acquired and skills learned.

This information is especially important for applicants from overseas, so we can fully assess your practical background and experience alongside your academic qualifications. Failure to include this information may delay the processing of your application.

See further guidance on how to choose a project and submit an application  on our website  .

Interview requirements

Candidates will be required to attend an interview with their prospective supervisor as well as a Postgraduate Tutor. If it is not possible for you to attend in person, we are able to interview by Skype/video conferencing.

Disclosure and Barring Service check

Depending on the project you undertake, you may be required to undertake DBS screening.  We will notify of you this requirement if appropriate.

Programme details

Programme description

Our PhD/MPhil Structural Biology programme enables you to undertake a research project that will improve understanding of Structural Biology.

Structural biology is a rapidly developing area of biology that is aimed at determining the three-dimensional structures of biologically-important macromolecules such as proteins, DNA and RNA and their complexes (i.e. ribosomes, nucleosomes).

Structural biology developed as a field alongside molecular biology in the 1950s and 1960s and almost everyone knows some of the pioneers in this field - Hodgkin, Wilkins, Watson, Crick who determined the structure of DNA. Less widely known are the pioneers of protein structure determination, Nobel Prize winners - Kendrew and Perutz.

Recent developments in computational analysis and the availability of state-of-the-art instrumentation mean that high-resolution structures are now obtained routinely using X-ray diffraction and high resolution cryo-electron microscopy, allowing to reveal structural details of large complexes as well as individual proteins in a faster and more reliable manner.

Structural biology is crucial for the pharmaceutical industry, where identifying drug binding sites to target proteins is a key step in drug development of new medicines and treatments.

Structural biology is also essential in biotechnology where knowing the structure of enzymes allows a better understanding of their mechanism of action and provides a rational basis for redesigning them to optimise their activity or even change it to produce a novel product of commercial interest.

At The University of Manchester we have a superb infrastructure to undertake structural biology projects, which includes state-of-the-art facilities for cryo-electron microscopy, crystallisation robots, X-ray diffraction, NMR spectroscopy and computational analysis.

Structural biology is a multidisciplinary area and pursuing a postgraduate research degree in this subject will allow you to develop skills in biology, biochemistry, biophysics and computer science, as well as the opportunity to undergo rigorous multidisciplinary training.

If you are fortunate, just like Kendrew and Perutz, you will have the unique experience of being the first person on the planet to visualise the new structure of a protein or macromolecule and to have the first insights into its mechanism of action and how it interacts with other molecules to regulate an essential biological process.

Alternatively, your project may generate the structural information needed to design a new drug that will be used to treat human diseases such as tuberculosis or cancer, or to design a new protein to optimise a process in biotechnology. 

Special features

Training and development

All of our postgraduate research students attend the Doctoral Academy Training Programme delivered by the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development (CARD).

The programme provides key transferable skills in areas such as commercial awareness, academic writing and public engagement. This training equips our postgraduates 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.

See the  training and development  page for more information.

Teaching and learning

PhD/MPhil programmes are based on individual research projects that last three to four years (PhD) or one year (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 the 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, EU 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 study at Manchester on the   Doctoral Academy Blog .

Facilities

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: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

Your postgraduate research degree will open up a range of career opportunities after you graduate. Find out more on the  Careers  page.