Research Degrees

  • A research degree in the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences allows you to develop your skills and contribute to internationally recognised research including plant and animal biology, biomedical science, cell and molecular biology, conservation and the environment, supported by skilled staff and a vibrant, cross-discipline research student community.

    Underpinned by research areas in biomedical science, molecular cell and development biology and environmental biology, the department offers a wide range of research areas for you to study in and make an impact.

    The department offers high quality training and research facilities that can be accessed by both part-time and full-time students, and all research students become part of the University's Graduate College, which runs a  comprehensive programme of training sessions and workshops to give you the opportunity to acquire both research and transferable skills to advance your career. The department complements this with research methodology courses, seminars featuring eminent academics, and the opportunity to present work at the Annual Faculty Research Student Symposium.

  • What topics can I study?

    We welcome applications for projects where we can support you with a supervisory team with the most relevant research experience, in Biological and Medical Sciences our research is broadly classified under our research themes; biomedical science, molecular cell and development biology and environmental biology.

    To get an overview of the research and groups within the department, and the areas where we can support research degree projects, take a look at our Research Groups page.

  • In choosing to study at Oxford Brookes I pursued an exciting research opportunity with a well-established supervisor. My supervisory team became life-long colleagues: they were always keenly invested in my development as a researcher giving me guidance and the freedom to explore independent research avenues.

    Dr Chris Laing successful PhD student
    chrislaing
  • What Research Degree programmes are there?

    You may register for a research degree on a full-time or part-time basis and applications are welcome from part-time students in employment who wish to undertake a research project which is connected with their work. All students must be able to meet the University’s requirements for a research degree, which is to be able to devote a minimum of 35 hours per week (full-time) or 15 hours per week (part-time) to the programme of research.

  • Full-time: three years. Part-time: 4 years (min.); up to six years (max.)

    Undertaking a PhD involves:

    • critically investigating and evaluating an approved topic, resulting in an independent and original contribution to knowledge
    • demonstrating an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field
    • presenting and defending a substantial thesis by oral examination.

    Thesis: maximum 40,000 words

    Full-time: two years. Part-time: 3 years (min.); up to four years (max.)

    Undertaking an MPhil involves:

    • critically investigating and evaluating an approved topic
    • demonstrating an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field
    • presenting and defending a substantial thesis by oral examination.

    Thesis: maximum of 20,000 words

    Full-time: one year (maximum 2 years). Part-time: two years (max three years)

    This comprises both a taught and a research element. It is aimed at those who wish to undertake, at postgraduate level, a short research project with no original contribution. It is normally an end point in itself.

    All students enrol as Probationer Research Students and during the first year formally register their research proposal for one of the above routes.

  • Entry Requirements

    Full entry requirements can be found under Section 2 of the Research Degree Regulations (B6) available at  /regulations/

    To summarise:

    • The minimum entry requirement for the degree of MPhil, or MPhil transferring to PhD, is a first-class or upper second-class UK honours degree or equivalent qualification.
    • Before being accepted, self-funded students should provide evidence that they are able to fund adequately the whole of their research degree programme.
    • Applicants whose main language is not English must meet the  University's English language requirements.

    When can I apply?

    Research degrees normally start in September or January. You can apply at any time of year. Please allow at least four months between submitting your application and your expected start date so there is time to process your application, especially if you are an international student arranging a visa.