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Biological and Medical Sciences

MPhil or PhD or Masters by Research

Key facts

Start dates

September 2022 / January 2023

Application deadline

Please allow at least four months between submitting your application and your expected start date, especially if you are an international student arranging a visa.



Course length

Full time: 1 - 3 years

Part time: 2 - 6 years

Funding status



The Department of Biological and Medical Sciences is a small and friendly department with around 40 research students. The department offers a structured training programme for all students, spanning the subject areas of Cell and Molecular Biology, Biomedical Science and Environmental Biology.

We have close partnerships with hospitals and local industry. Some of our students conduct much of their research within those placements, while others are based in the field or in the department’s own research laboratories. 

We welcome applications for projects relating to our research expertise. This covers three main themes:

  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Environmental biology.

You may register for a research degree on a full-time or part-time basis. Applications are welcome from part-time students in employment who wish to undertake a research project connected with their work. We also periodically advertise funded studentships.

Student in a lab

Research expertise

The Department of Biological and Medical Sciences is home to over 30 research groups and is organised into four overlapping themes, underpinned by our two research centres. Our research is funded by a range of sources including BBSRC, NERC, MRC, Wellcome, and the Leverhulme Trust.

Our long-standing reputation for research excellence is underpinned by expert supervision from internationally-recognised staff and comprehensive research skills training.

Degree routes

All students enrol as probationer research students. During the first year you will formally register your research proposal for one of the below routes. 

Learning and assessment

You will be supported by a supervisory team, usually two people, who are experts in their field and provide direction and support.

We take a structured and pro-active approach to supporting the success of our students. This includes regular assessment points involving written reports and supportive interviews (where the views of people outside the supervisory team are given).

We also encourage 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.

Student in a lab

After you graduate

Career prospects

Much of our training is aimed at helping you to achieve excellence in your research degree. We'll help you to identify the skills that are appropriate for further employment and explore your career aims.

We are proud of the fact that many of our students go on to postdoctoral research posts. If research is not your long term career aim, we'll support you to identify likely areas of employment and to develop the skills that you'll need.

We also aim to keep strong links with our alumni and support them as their careers develop.

How to apply

Entry requirements

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.

The minimum entry requirement for the degree of MPhil, or MPhil with transfer to PhD, is a first-class or upper second-class UK honours degree or equivalent qualification.

The normal entry requirement for a PhD is a Masters degree, or exceptionally a good honours degree/equivalent.

The normal entry requirement for a Masters by Research (MA, MSc, LLM) is a first-class or upper second-class UK honours degree or equivalent qualification.

English language requirements

Our requirement is IELTS: 6.5-7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking), depending on the subject. Please note that an IELTS certificate must be current; they are only valid for 2 years from issue. For further information about the test visit the IELTS website. Please note that we are unable to accept TOEFL qualifications.

However, there may be some exceptions. See UK Government visa information for more detail on the information.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Application process

We welcome initial enquiries. Please contact the Research Administrator ( and/or the relevant Postgraduate Tutor or Supervisor.

  1. If you have a research proposal in mind, explore our research groups and supervisory staff webpages, to identify the relevant research group/s for your research.
  2. Check the fees information on the university website. Oxford Brookes Alumni may be entitled to a discount on course fees.
  3. Email your CV and an outline of your area of interest to Give a brief explanation of how your studies will be funded.
  4. Once we have the initial information we will liaise with you as necessary and pass the information to the relevant Postgraduate Tutor/s, who will advise whether an application can be progressed. If this is possible we will invite you to submit an application through the university system.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees

Find out more about fees and funding opportunities by visiting our finance web pages: 

Fees increase by approximately 4% each year and apply to all MPhil, MPhil/PhD, PhD, MA by Research, MSc by Research and LLM by Research programmes.

If you have any questions about fees get in touch with the Research Degrees Team at