Postgraduate study

Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

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.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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

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 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 62 overall with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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:

Additional programme costs

Most laboratories require a bench fee of up to £5,000 per year. These costs may be covered in Research Council studentships

Further research costs may be required, depending on your project requirements.

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK's governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • 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.

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

  • Graduate School of Biological Sciences
  • Mary Bruck Building
  • Colin Maclaurin Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3DW