Postgraduate study

Molecular Plant Sciences

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Molecular Plant Sciences

With world-class facilities and lively collaborations, our Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences provides you with the ideal environment in which to pursue postgraduate research.

We’re one of the most active university departments for plant sciences in the UK, hosting one of the country’s few plant-based research and teaching institutes.

Each of our 11 research groups makes vital contributions to new discoveries. You’ll be able to choose from a broad range of topics, applying multidisciplinary approaches – from computational biology to molecular genetics and cell biology – and to subjects ranging from plant growth, development and evolution to plant pathogen interactions and biotechnology.

Broad scope

We offer a wide range of research interests, including plant biotechnology, developmental biology; speciation and natural variation (making use of our strong connections with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh); circadian clocks and photobiology; bio-imaging; biochemistry and cell biology; and molecular plant pathology.

Substantial investment has been made in ensuring the equipment and facilities you’ll use are as good as those anywhere in the world.

You’ll work in purpose-built laboratories and specialist facilities for plant growth, including a high-throughput Arabidopsis genetics facility, a suite of biochemistry equipment, more than 700m2 of controlled environment growth rooms and 2,200m2 of glasshouses, including a modern category three containment glasshouse.

Our strong links with the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology, SynthSys, and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh give you access to an even broader range of facilities and expertise.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject. You should have some research experience and be able to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the field you propose to study.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section
  • PTE(A): total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Most laboratories require a bench fee of up to £2,000 per year. This cost can be covered in Research Council studentships.

  • Postgraduate Programme Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 7366
  • Email: gradbiol@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Biological Sciences
  • Mary Bruck Building
  • Colin Maclaurin Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3DW

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

To discuss your PhD proposal, you should identify potential supervisors from the School of Biological Sciences.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Programme Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 7366
  • Email: gradbiol@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Biological Sciences
  • Mary Bruck Building
  • Colin Maclaurin Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3DW