UCL Division of Biosciences


Non-funded applicants

The application process for prospective Structural and Molecular Biology (SMB) PhD students will vary based on whether or not the student has funding and whether they are UK or international residents.

If you are interested in doing a PhD at UCL in SMB and do not have a studentship, you will need to follow a different process. This applies to self-funded students or those who wish to apply for personal funding from other funding bodies.

The first step is to determine your area of research and to identify a potential supervisor. These are the current research areas or themes within SMB:

1. Chromosomal and RNA Biology

2. Metabolism and Cancer

3. Membranes, Signalling and Trafficking

4. Protein folding in health and disease

5. Microbiology

6. Computational Biology, Bioinformatics and AI

Our staff page lists all of our Primary Investigators and contains links to their profiles.

Once you have chosen an area of interest and a potential supervisor please contact the supervisor and discuss your ideas. It is a good idea to put together a 1-2 page document describing the problem in which you are interested and the proposed solution. This problem can be based on a project that the lab is currently working on or it could be a new project which would fit into the remit of the lab. Your proposal should be sent to your prospective supervisor for feedback. 

You will need to complete a full UCL application form. 

Before completing the form we would suggest reviewing UCL's step-by-step guide to applying for graduate research study at UCL.

A sensible time of year to get in contact with potential supervisors and to apply to the University in a formal way is around Christmas.

Potential Sources of Funding 

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UCL Scholarships

UCL administers a range of scholarships for research students from the UK and overseas.


Charities and Trusts

Some large research charities have substantial budgets for scholarships and grants. These include the Wellcome Trust and the Leverhulme Trust. Turn 2 Us Grants database contains information on over 3,000 charities. This link will take you to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate funding online. Contact the Student Funding team at UCL for free access. 

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Government Loans

Some governments provide loans or financial support to students at PhD level, so it is worth checking with your home government whether there is any support available.

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International Students

Overseas students are able to apply for an Overseas Research Scholarship or a Graduate Research Scholarship. There are also Commonwealth Scholarships for those from Commonwealth countries and the China Scholarship Council-UCL Joint Research Scholarship.