Modelling Biological Complexity MRes

The Modelling Biological Complexity MRes is designed for students who wish to develop the skills to apply mathematical, computational and physical science techniques to real biological problems. The programme provides a broad overview of the cutting edge research at the interface of the life, mathematical and physical sciences.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £4,500
  • Overseas Full-time: £21,700

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

Foundation courses use innovative teaching methods for interdisciplinary research to provide essential background knowledge in mathematical, computational and physical techniques and a broad introduction to core biological concepts and systems. A range of interdisciplinary research-driven projects follow in which students gain experience of different research techniques and a range of areas of biological interest.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

CoMPLEX is UCL's centre for interdisciplinary research in the life sciences. It brings together life and medical scientists with mathematicians, engineers, physical and computer scientists to tackle the challenges arising from complexity in biology and medicine.

CoMPLEX collaborates with 250+ supervisors from 40 UCL Departments and maintains strong links with leading UK/International research institutions, chartities and industrial partners e.g. CRUK, CRI (Paris Descartes), Microsoft Research and AstraZeneca. As a result CoMPLEX students have a vast range of projects to choose from and the opportunity to network with a plethora of scientific partners.

Peer-to-peer learning is a crucial part of the training, and students will take part in cohort activities, such as, mentoring events, Seminar Series, Outreach groups and an annual retreat.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of 4 compulsory modules: foundation courses module, transferable skills module (20%), case presentations module (40%) and a research (summer) project (40%).

Core Modules

  • Modelling Biological Complexity: Foundation Course (non credit bearing)
  • Transferable and Generic Skills
  • Case Presentations
  • Research (Summer) Project


  • There are no optional modules for this programme.


All students undertake an independent research (Summer) project, which culminates in a dissertation of up to 30,000 words, a short presentation and an oral examination.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, laboratory work, case presentations, seminars, tutorials and project work. Student performance is assessed by essays, case projects, oral and poster presentations, a computer programming and biological database task, web development, the research project and an end-of-year viva.

Further details available on subject website:


Studentships are available from CoMPLEX UCL, BBSRC, British Heart Foundation, EPSRC, MRC, Renishaw Plc., Child Health Research Appeal Trust, National Physical Laboratory, AstraZeneca, Annals of Human Genetrics and the Sacler Institute. Doctoral Training Centre Studentships provide full funding for four years (for UK and limited EU places).

Scholarships available for this department

Brown Family Bursary

This award is based on financial need.

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in any area of the mathematical, physical, computer, engineering or life sciences from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. For students from the life science, some mathematics experience is necessary (e.g. a minimum of an 'A' grade of A Level mathematics).

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Standard

How to apply

For deadlines visit Those applying for scholarship funding should take note of application deadlines. Overseas applicants, who wish to be considered for nomination for the Overseas Research Scholarship must apply within the first round.

Who can apply?

The programme is aimed at outstanding mathematics, engineering, computational, physics, life science and medical graduates who wish to gain the core skills needed for interdisciplinary research. The MRes is not a stand-alone programme and applicants are expected to commit themselves to the four-year integrated MRes plus PhD programme.


Students progress after passing the first year of the MRes onto an interdisciplinary PhD which can be drawn from across the biological scales that contribute to biological complexity.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Public Health England, Research Scientist in Multi Criteria Decision Analysis, 2009
  • John Higgins laboratory in the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Research Fellow, 2009
  • Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, BRC Statistical Modeller, 2008
  • Gloucester Research, London, Software Developer, 2007
  • Harvard Medical School, Research Fellow, 2008


Students go on to complete an interdisciplinary PhD within CoMPLEX. CoMPLEX has built upon relationship with partners within academia and industry, to develop our existing CoMPLEX programme. so that it continues to be designed specifically to provide training that meets market needs. Graduates have excellent publication outputs, this, together with CoMPLEX's international reputation means that graduates are and will continue to be recognised when entering the job market. 70% of recent graduates have taken up positions in researh Centres in the UK and abroad. As small number have pursued careers ins cience policy analysis, cyber security, science teaching, statistical and mathematical consultancy, technology consultancy, or in management and the financial sector.

Next steps


Centre Administrator

T: +44 (0)20 7679 4325/4323


Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology

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Student View

"Studying in an interdisciplinary setting allows me to experience a huge breadth of subjects and to work in different departments that would otherwise be inaccessible."

Jaspal Puri

Degree: Modelling Biological Complexity MRes/PhD

Alumni View

"I found my position at the Massachusetts General Hospital through a networking event organised by UCL. When I was a PhD student, my department organised a student exchange with the Systems Biology Department at Harvard University."

Lorette Noiret

Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2012