Postgraduate study

Anatomical Sciences (Biomedical Sciences) PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Anatomical sciences research encompasses a broad range of subjects and interests, with a common focus on understanding the underlying structure of the body in health or during disease (mainly human, but sometimes also comparative).

Our research interests and strengths at the University of Edinburgh span from high-resolution investigations of the human nervous system, through to tissue engineering (building new body parts), and anatomical education research.

Many of these areas engage multidisciplinary approaches, where anatomists work alongside clinicians, data scientists, engineers, chemists and educational theorists.

You will be locally supported by a well-established team of academic anatomists and technical support staff who have many years’ experience of mentoring PhD students working across a variety of research projects. Your research will be carried out under the supervision of an academic staff member (your ‘primary’ supervisor). In addition, you will be assigned a personal PhD thesis committee comprising your primary supervisor, one or more assistant supervisors and another academic staff member, who provide advice and mentoring, and monitor progress.

You will have the opportunity to attend training courses/events relevant to your specific research topic as well as benefiting from broader professional skills training (e.g. in data analysis, project planning, presentation, thesis writing), with the particular courses being decided in consultation with your supervisory team. There are monthly anatomy research meetings that you will be able to present at and attend (in addition to the opportunities provided by your host laboratory). There are also a variety of seminar series hosted by research centres both within the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences (which hosts the Anatomy group) and across the University that provide an ideal opportunity for postgraduates to learn about research developments across the broad span of life sciences. There are also opportunities for training and engagement in anatomy teaching and outreach.

All students are encouraged to present their findings at national and international conferences and to publish their findings, in advance of submission of their PhD theses for examination. Recent research from anatomy-based PhD students has been published in a wide variety of international journals (including Cell Reports, American Journal of Human Genetics, Neuron, Open Biology, Current Biology and Journal of Anatomy).

Find more about our teaching staff and their research interests.

You will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment to facilitate your research objectives. These are located both within the Central area campus and at the Little France campus where the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh is located. Extensive collaborations exist with the wider biomedical and clinical communities helping ensure you are supported in a world-class research environment.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject, for example in a biomedical or biological science 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

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

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.

Additional research costs will be set dependent on the nature of the specific research project, the amount will be advised during the application process.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDAnatomical Sciences (Biomedical Sciences)3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDAnatomical Sciences (Biomedical Sciences)6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences
  • 1 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JZ

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.

You must submit two references with your application.

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

Further information

  • Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences
  • 1 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JZ