Molecular Cell Biology PhD

The Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology (LMCB) at UCL is a Medical Research Council funded institute dedicated to research aimed at understanding the molecular and cellular basis of cell behaviour relevant to human disease.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 4 years

Tuition Fees (2015/16)

£4,635 (FT)
£21,530 (FT)

Application deadlines

All applicants:
4 January 2015

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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:


The four year Molecular Cell Biology PhD programme provides a broad in-depth training in fundamental aspects of biomedical science. The programme also provides the opportunity to carry out cutting edge research in an internationally competitive environment.

Research areas

The programme offers possible research projects in areas such as:
  • Cell Signalling/Transcription
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Membrane Trafficking
  • Growth Control
  • Developmental Biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Immunology
  • Human Disease
  • Clinical Session


Six MRC studentships are available to UK/EU students.

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 graduates have secured positions as research fellows and postdoctoral researchers at leading UK universities including Cambridge and UCL and for overseas organisations such as Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center, USA and the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The Institute of Cancer Research (2012)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Cancer Research UK (2011)
  • Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Freiburg (2011)
  • Career Development Fellow, Medical Research Council (2010)


UCL has established a link between the LMCB graduate programme and the Cell Biology (Tetrad) graduate programme at the University of California San Fransisco (UCSF). The link will allow members of the LMCB graduate programme to undertake short rotation and collaborative projects in laboratories at UCSF, the selection will be based on scientific merit. The scheme aims to extend the academic experience and technical expertise of LMCB and UCSF Cell Biology graduate students, promoting the mobility of young scientists, removing cultural barriers and providing international experience for students in both programmes.


The first year group shares tutorials, practical courses and informal discussion meetings. In addition, there are about 30 other students in the LMCB, and students also participate in the wider graduate student social life at UCL. We also arrange for the first year students to attend the annual meeting of the British Society for Cell Biology/Developmental Biology, and expect attendance at international meetings in subsequent years.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The goals of our training are to produce scientists who have explored one area and one level of analysis in great depth, but who are familiar with the full scope of molecular and cell biology. They should be able to move from one level to another in a critical and creative manner. We also try to develop an appreciation for translational research that bears on human disease.

Graduate students spend four years in the Programme and are entirely supported by an MRC grant. During their first year, students have a free choice of three laboratories from the groups within the LMCB plus additional participating labs from other departments in UCL, and spend three months in each, working on research projects. They also participate in twice weekly tutorials that are designed to broaden their understanding of the various areas of molecular cell biology as well as developmental biology, neurobiology, immunology and the cell biology of disease.

Towards the end of their first year, students select a supervisor and lab in which they will carry out their three-year thesis project. We provide a course specifically designed to offer training in fundamental aspects of molecular and cell biology, as well as an opportunity to carry out cutting-edge research in a vibrant and internationally competitive environment.

Student / staff ratios › 100 staff › 18 taught students › 36 research students

Department: Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

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.

Who can apply?

Application deadlines

All applicants
Interviews will take place on 25 January.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now


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