Postgraduate study

Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry & Biotechnology

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Closely allied with the Institute of Cell Biology, our group studies the structure and impact of biomolecules, from their atomic structure and assembly into molecular machines, to studying how molecular signals are transduced in animals and plants.

We offer a combination of world-class facilities and training that sets us apart as one of the premier centres for this type of research in the UK. You’ll be supported by well-published staff who are leaders in their field and will benefit from a comprehensive programme of seminars, symposiums, distinguished visitors and social events.

Our groups investigate molecular structure using techniques such as biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray crystallography, computational structure prediction and cryo-electron microscopy. We also cover the full panoply of methods for protein production and biological characterisation.

The Institute of Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry & Biotechnology's labs are highly active in deciphering the molecular events that drive growth and development. By combining experimental and mathematical modelling approaches we are able to gain a more holistic ‘systems level’ understanding of molecular signalling.

A growing area of our research is the development of technologies that combine chemical library generation with proteomics and high-speed imaging methods to allow identification of new ligand-protein interactions.

Through links with the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, we aim to make a real impact on healthcare through drug discovery projects.

Your work will benefit from our strong links with a number of on-site research centres, including the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, SynthSys, the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology, the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions, and the Centre for Translational and Chemical Biology.

We offer outstanding laboratories, equipment and training, particularly in the areas of protein production and characterisation, cryo-EM and macromolecular X-ray crystallography, mass-spectrometry, robotised qPCR, real-time bioluminescent imaging and plant phenotyping.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent in a relevant subject. Typically, candidates have a good understanding of the field they propose to study, and at least some research experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

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