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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.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£4,770 (FT)
£23,020 (FT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016

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).

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: Standard

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:

Degree Information

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.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four compulsory modules: foundation courses module, transferable skills module (20%), three mini projects (40%) and a research (summer) project (40%).

Core Modules

  • Modelling Biological Complexity: Foundation Course (non credit bearing)
  • Transferable and Generic Skills
  • Mini projects
  • 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 15,000 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, mini projects, oral and poster presentations, a computer programming and biological database task, web development, the research project and an end-of-year viva.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Modelling Biological Complexity MRes


Studentships are available from CoMPLEX UCL, EPSRC and MRC. Doctoral Training Centre Studentships provide full funding for four years (for UK and limited EU places).

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.


£15,000 (1 year)
UK students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

MRC Advanced Course Masters

UK students

More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website


After passing the MRes, students are eligible to progress onto an interdisciplinary PhD which can be drawn from across the biological scales that contribute to biological complexity.

Top career destinations for this degree

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


Students are eligible to go on to complete an interdisciplinary PhD within CoMPLEX. CoMPLEX has built upon relationships 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 research Centres in the UK and abroad. As small number have pursued careers in science policy analysis, cyber security, science teaching, statistical and mathematical consultancy, technology consultancy, or in management and the financial sector.

Why 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, charities and industrial partners e.g. AstraZeneca, British Heart Foundation, CRUK, Francis Crick Institute, GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft Research and Renishaw. 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.

Student / staff ratios › 294 staff including 4 postdocs › 1 taught students › 45 research students

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

Degree reviews

Student review

"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

Modelling Biological Complexity MRes/PhD

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?

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 can be taken as a stand-alone programme or can be taken as the first year of the four-year integrated MRes plus PhD programme.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016
For deadlines visit www.ucl.ac.uk/complex/prospective 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.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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