Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

Doctoral Programmes

  • The Department of Biological and Medical Sciences has around 40 research students, researching in the broad subject areas of Cell and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Science and Environmental Biology. Some students conduct much of their research outside the Department - for instance in local hospital or industrial laboratories - while others work full time in the Department’s own, well equipped research laboratories or in the field.

    Each student has a supervisory team, usually of two, who give support and direction throughout their programme. In addition, students are supported by members of the postgraduate tutor team and by a structured training programme.

    Key features of the programme are:

    A mixture of funded and self/ externally funded places. Studentships, funded by the Professor Nigel Groome studentship scheme, Research Councils and industry, are advertised annually (usually in February/ March) on, and on the Department website. In addition to these funded places, the Department also welcomes applications from those who have external funding or are able to self-fund, either as full time or part-time students. The  Doctoral Programmes lead has considerable experience of work with research students and is available to advise on all aspects of applications. They are welcomed in the areas identified on the  Department research web site.

    Induction, support and training. The Department provides a structured induction and welcome to postgraduate studies for all new students. This is followed by a combination of Department and University events and an individual programme of additional study agreed with the supervisors and postgraduate tutors. Students can access lectures, seminars and practical training from a range of  courses at postgraduate level in biotechnology, conservation and environment.

    The Department takes a structured and pro-active approach to supporting the success of our students, with regular assessment points including written reports and supportive interviews where the views of people outside the supervisory team are given. We also encourage all our students to present their work on a regular basis. All research groups have regular group meetings (often at lunchtime) where students present their work to peers and these form a central part of the development of research.

    Opportunities to develop teaching skills and gain a qualification. All students have the opportunity to develop teaching skills in a University that values its teaching reputation highly. You can attend the University’s Associate Teachers Course, which will prepare you for teaching laboratories and small groups and can lead to a 20 Credit M-level qualification ‘Learning and Teaching in Higher Education’. On successful completion, you may apply for recognition as an Associate of the Higher Education Academy (AHEA).

    The University provides excellent dedicated support and advice for internationals and free in-sessional English language and culture courses are provided by Oxford Brookes International. Pre-sessional courses can often lead on to the early stages of PhD study - so that students can become familiar with language related to the subject as well as gaining skills and knowledge.

    High-profile research events. Our Research Forum, run weekly in semester, provides a lunch-time opportunity to hear talks from external speakers and from researchers and fellow students on the wide range of research topics covered by the Department. Our annual Postgraduate Symposium gives opportunities for substantial presentations with all our research staff and students attending. Substantial prize awards are available for the best posters and talks. We also hold an annual Research Lecture, with a distinguished outside speaker.

    Support for students to attend conferences. We expect all our research students to present at national and international conferences and we will provide support and training to help you do this. We support many students to attend conferences, either financially or by giving help in applying for grant aid - for instance from learned societies and charities.

    Career support for graduates. Much of our training is aimed at helping you achieve excellence in your research degree. In addition, we help students identify the skills that are appropriate for further employment and explore their career aims. We are proud of the fact that many of our students go on to postdoctoral research posts. However, if research turns out not to be your long term career aim, we will support you to identify likely areas of employment and to identify and develop the skills that you will need. We also aim to keep strong links with our alumni and support them as their careers develop.