UCL Graduate degrees


Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology - Wellcome Trust PhD

This unique programme offers opportunities to study at UCL, Birkbeck College and the Francis Crick Institute. Students are exposed to a wide range of training in structural and molecular biology, chemical biology and computational biology, to equip students with the tools necessary to address important problems in biomedicine.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Full time: 4 years

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 4 January 2019

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: £5,275 (FT)
Overseas: £24,450 (FT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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:


It is difficult to envisage modern research in molecular and cellular biology, and in microbiology, without strong computational, structural, and chemical biology components. In the era of ever expanding biological complexity, computational biology is crucial in making sense of the data. Similarly, structural biology and biophysics provide essential insights into the molecular mechanisms presiding over biological processes. In turn, the chemical information provided by 3-dimensional structures can be exploited in the design of small molecule reagents which are valuable cell and molecular biology tools.

Research areas

Research projects undertaken by our postgraduate students have a strong multi-disciplinary component. Research activities within the department can be broadly grouped into the following research areas:

  • Computational biolgy
  • Chemical biology
  • Molecular cell biology and microbiology 
  • Structural biology and molecular biophysics.

More information can be found on the department website: Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology - Wellcome Trust PhD

Degree structure

Students choose from a range of taught modules in disciplines that compliment their undergraduate degree. For example, a student with a degree in molecular biology will choose modules in computational and chemical biology. 

Students carry out three rotation projects in their first year, each in a different discipline. These rotations inform their choice of project and supervisor for the remaining three years of their PhD. 

Students are expected to submit a thesis for examination within 4 years. 


Successful applicants will receive a four-year Wellcome Trust PhD studentship including a tax-free maintenance stipend of £22,278 per annum (2018/19 rate) and tuition fees paid in full at the home/EU rate. For full details see the Wellcome Trust website.

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


Please see the Wellcome Trust website for destination details of Wellcome Trust PhD students.


We place a strong emphasis on high-quality student training, interdisciplinary approaches to research, and 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 experise that they develop, as well as their strong understanding of fundamental biological processes. They are also successful in gaining positions in other professions which, in addition to a scientific background, benefit from our students' presentational, communication, numerical and data analysis skills (e.g. clinical trials, knowledge transfer and teaching).


ISMB provides a truly international environment as many of our academic and research staff have joined UCL following a career path via 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 have the opportunity to interact with guest speakers over an informal lunch. ISMB research retreats and research symposia provide another avenue for students to network and establish contacts of importance for their future research and career development.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme offers students the opportunity to undertake cross-disciplinary research in world-class institutes. The four-year structure comprises intensive training together with the opportunity for short projects in all three disciplines in the first year.

UCL and Birkbeck are located in Bloomsbury, in the heart of London. This provides an excellent opportunity to join in the professional and social life of the capital.

Department: Structural & Molecular Biology

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
4 January 2019

Instructions on applying for this programme can be found here.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Contact information