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Structural and Molecular Biology MPhil/PhD

The Research Department of Structural and Molecular Biology (SMB) conducts world-class research in the existing areas of modern biology, biotechnology and medicine while providing a vibrant and stimulating interdisciplinary postgraduate training and environment.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 3 years
  • Part-time: 5 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

UK/EU:
£4,770 (FT) £2,385 (PT)
Overseas:
£22,180 (FT) £11,090 (PT)

Application dates

Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed in Next steps, right) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in biochemistry, cell biology, chemical biology, molecular biology, physics, chemistry or similar subjects from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Our studentship places are limited and highly sought after; previous research experience would provide a competitive edge to prospective candidates.

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:

Overview

SMB is a diverse and well-funded research department investigating biological questions at the atomic, molecular, cellular, and organism levels. Research topics range from the structural biology of proteins, amphibian limb regeneration, regulation of drug metabolism and metabolic processes, uncovering of gene function in micro-organisms and signalling of transmembrane receptor to computer analysis of genomes and protein sequences.

Research areas

The majority of research projects undertaken by our postgraduate students have a strong multi-disciplinary component. However, research activities within the department could be broadly grouped into the following research areas:
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular cell biology and metabolism
  • Molecular microbiology
  • Structural biology and molecular biophysics.

Funding

Students interested in carrying out postgraduate research under the mentorship of an SMB member of staff could gain funding and scholarships through several available routes. There are four-year PhD programmes funded by the Wellcome Trust, MRC, BBSRC and NERC as well as BBSRC CASE (industrial collaboration) three- and four-year studentships. There may also be funding opportunities through individual research grants as well as through other programmes such as those offered by CoMPLEX.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) 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.

Careers

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

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Software Developer, G-Research (2012)
  • Research Scientist, Algenuity (2013)
  • Research Fellow, UCL (2011)
  • Scientist, MRC Technology (2011)
  • Lecturer, Mansowa University (2011)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford (2013)
  • Healthcare Scientist , Public Health England (2013)

Employability

We place a strong emphasis on high-quality student training, interdisciplinary approaches to research, and on providing students with a considerable range of opportunities to develop transferable skills. Our students are highly successful in obtaining research positions in academia and industry due to the range of technical expertise that they develop, as well as their deep understanding of fundamental biological processes. They are also successful in gaining positions in other professions where, in addition to a scientific background, our students are able to offer presentational, communication, numerical and data analysis skills (e.g. clinical trials, knowledge transfer and teaching).

Networking

SMB provides a truly international environment as many of our academic and research staff have joined UCL following a career path through other world-recognised research centres. Projects frequently include collaboration with researchers in the UK and abroad and the students are strongly encouraged to present their work at UK and international research conferences. We regularly host lectures by eminent scientists and students are able to interact with guest speakers over an informal lunch. ISMB research retreats and research symposia provide another opportunity for students to network and establish important contacts of importance for their future research and career development.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The department pursues its research aims through high-level external research funding, excellent new facilities, up-to-date equipment and state-of-the-art technologies, coupled with the recruitment of high-calibre staff. SMB maintains industrial contacts, and fosters close links within the extensive UCL and Bloomsbury scientific community. Furthermore, we have strong collaborations with investigators from other prestigious UK and international institutions.

Our postgraduate students benefit from the links that SMB has as a member of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology (ISMB), which has collaborations with the Department of Biological Sciences at Birkbeck, University of London and the UCL Centre for Chemical Biology.

Student / staff ratios › 52 staff including 38 postdocs › 78 research students

Department: Structural & Molecular Biology

Degree reviews

Alumni review

"My time at the Royal Free Hospital was an incredibly formative part of my life and in my academic career. The experiences I had in the Srai lab laid a fantastic foundation for the years ahead in academia."

Geoffrey Abbott

Biochemistry PhD ()
Professor and Vice Chair in Pharmacology, University of California, Irvine

Application and next steps

Applications

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

Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September. Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit (contact listed in Next steps, right) to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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