Biosciences - BBSRC London Interdisciplinary Biosciences PhD Consortium PhD

The London interdisciplinary doctoral training programme is a first-class multi-institutional research environment delivering world-class research in BBSRC's priority areas. Adventurous and forward-looking projects, under-pinned by extensive and relevant postgraduate training, ensure our graduates are well equipped to enter the world of complex interdisciplinary bioscience research.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 4 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£4,635 (FT) £2,385 (PT)
£21,530 (FT) £21,530 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 22 January 2016

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold, or be expected to achieve, a first or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent (for example BA, BSc, MSci) or a Master's degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants must be confident using computers and show some evidence of numeracy (minimum GCSE Mathematics or Statistics or an equivalent, or alternatively a university degree module with a good grade).

All students whose first language must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of the English language is adequate for the programme.

The required evidence may be one of the following:

  • Substantial education or work experience conducted in English
  • A recently obtained acceptable English language qualification or test result

Our preferred English language qualification is the IELTS Academic Version and we require candidates to achieve the level of 'Good'.

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


Our project portfolio spans a wide range of fields of interest that encompass BBSRC priorities - for example: bioscience underpinning health, animal disease and welfare, plant biology, microbial systems, food security, genes and development, aging, STEM approaches to life sciences, molecular biosciences and industrial technology.

Research areas

This BBSRC programme delivers research training that supports the new cross-disciplinary landscape; providing mathematical and computational skills to understand and model biological processes and function, while maintaining at the core, training in world-class bioscience that underpins all living systems.

Degree structure

Year One


Students have an extensive two-week induction that features events at all of the consortium institutions and provides opportunities to explore, facilities, hear presentations and meet potential supervisors.


In the first year each student undertakes two four-month rotation projects (October-January, February-May).

All rotation projects represent a clearly defined and significant fraction of the work proposed for an entire PhD project.

At the end of each rotation students produce a 5000-word report and present their work. These presentation days also serve as a popular inter-cohort social event.


Friday afternoons are dedicated to the SysMIC course, an eLearning programme that delivers training techniques for interdisciplinary and systems biology reseachers.

In addition to SysMIC training students will choose between two further training courses.

PhD Project

From year two of the programme students are dedicated to their PhD projects.

Annual Retreat and Social Events

All students on the programme attend the annual retreat. This residential event allows students to present talks on their research, enjoy additional skills training, discuss career information and share updates on cutting-edge research and technical developments. The DTP facilities the event but the student organising committee plans all activities for each retreat.

Inter-cohort relations are further supported with annual Christmas parties, summers barbecues and other opportunities for interaction.

Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS)

All funded students take in the Professional Internship for PhD Students (PIPS) scheme. This involves a three-month work experience placement that can be undertaken with any organisation in the public or privates sectors in the UK or abroad according to student interest and a suitable agreement with the host. The only stipulation is that the work must be in an area demonstrably unrelated to the student's research project. The timing of the internships has a degree of flexibility, taking place during the second or third of the PhD, (months 18 to 36) which is considered to be the most beneficial time.


30 BBSRC Funded Studentships are available each year for UK and EU citizens who meet the BBSRC residency criteria.

Fully funded studentships cover tuition fees and pay a tax-free stipend in the region of £16,057 per annum (exact amount confirmed annually).

Candidates not eligible for fully funded BBSRC studentships may be eligible for fully funded Institutional Studentships (around five per year) or "fees-only" studentships. More details are available by contacting the Programme Administrator.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

SLMS Student Conference Fund

UK, EU, Overseas students

More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website


Recent doctoral graduates from the UCL Division of Biosciences have become researchers at leading UK universities and research centres including UCL, Cambridge, Oxford, King's College London, University of Manchester, the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK; or highly reputable international academic institutions such as Cornell University, Yale, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of the Western Cape. Others have begun their careers by joining the civil service and National Health Service or they have found senior roles in industry with companies such as Novartis, Cellzoe and Genzyme.


The DTP structure delivers high-quality student training and produces postdoctoral professionals who are comfortable contributing to the expanding range of complex interdisciplinary bioscience research projects in the public and private sectors. Furthermore graduates will be able to exploit their experience of mastering the complexities of cross-disciplinary bioscience research in other fields where large and complex projects and teams must be managed with competence.


The DTP consortium structure facilitates and promotes interdisciplinary, inter-institutional collaborations with up to 40% of projects on offer providing students with a multi-institutional co-supervisory team. Cohort wide training and development events, including student research seminars, workshops and an annual retreat, will ensure each individual is exposed to wide range of scientific research principles and practice and to contacts and networks important for their future research and career development.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Our partnership core (UCL and King's College London) brings together two major international institutions with a broad range of research relevant to BBSRC's remit. The Royal Veterinary College (RCV), Queen Mary (QMUL), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Birkbeck also bring specialist fields, in which they are world leaders to the programme.

By selecting the best elements available from each institution to contribute to the training programme, we offer a truly unique opportunity to our students and a range of over 120 research projects.

Student / staff ratios › 178 staff › 121 taught students › 289 research students

Department: Division of Biosciences

Degree reviews

Staff review

"I enjoy the continual interaction with people of a high intellectual calibre from many different disciplines. At UCL one is in the centre of things"

Dr Jonathan Chubb


Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Application deadlines

All applicants
22 January 2016
All applicants must complete a UCL graduate student application form.

Please ensure you attach your current CV and complete the personal statement in the online application form stating why you want to join the programme.

Deadline for all applications is 23 January 2015.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now


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