Biological Sciences

Postgraduate research

PhD, MPhil and MSc by Research programmes are available in all our Institutes and Centres.

Watering plants

Our Graduate School offers PhD projects across the spectrum of biological sciences. Around 60 new PhD students start their research and training each year. We can also offer supervision for research projects agreed with a supervisor lasting a year (MSc by Research) or two years (MPhil).



As a research student you will be based in one of our Research Institutes, and will also be a member of the Graduate School of Biological Sciences.

Your training

We advertise a wide range of PhD projects each year in each of our six Research Institutes.

We can also provide supervision for shorter research projects leading to a one-year MSc by Research or a two-year MPhil. These options are most suitable for self-funding students who wish to develop their research experience.

Being a research student in the Graduate School of Biological Sciences will help you develop a wide range of professional and transferable skills to prepare you for your future career. All research students in the Graduate School of Biological Sciences are encouraged to take part in our comprehensive programme of training, as well as the broader training provided by the world-leading Institute for Academic Development.

Graduate School Training Overview

National and International Success

From 2012 we have been proud to be the lead department for the BBSRC funded EASTBIO Doctoral Training Partnership. In 2016 we were also delighted to launch a Wellcome Trust 4 Year PhD Programme in Hosts, Pathogens and Global Health. We are a partner department in the Edinburgh-led NERC E3 and MRC Precision Medicine Doctoral Training Partnerships.

We are ranked 5th in the UK and 26th in the world in the 2017 QS university rankings for Biological Sciences. Currently 84% of our research students go in to research roles in academia or industry as their first post-study career destination and we have former students working in all sorts of other exciting roles from policy development to environmental consultancy.

BBSRC EASTBIO Doctoral Training Partnership

Wellcome Trust PhD in Hosts, Pathogens & Global Health

NERC E3 Doctoral Training Partnership

MRC Precision Medicine Doctoral Training Partnership

Postgraduate Open Day

Discover if the School of Biological Sciences and the city of Edinburgh is right for you by attending an Open Day.

For the date and programme of the next Postgraduate Open Day, please follow the link to our Visit the University page.

Visit the University