Computational Cell Biophysics MRes

London, Bloomsbury

The MRes in Computational Cell Biophysics trains students to understand how core concepts in physics, maths and computational biology can accelerate cell biology research. 

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
All applicants: 20 Dec 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Computational Cell Biophysics is a research-focused MRes programme at the interface of physics and biology, designed to train students to become interdisciplinary scientists. Students will be embedded in world-leading research labs, gaining conceptual and quantitative understandings of areas of physics, maths and computer science, and learning to apply these tools to address complex questions in cell biology.

Who this course is for

This programme is designed for students with a physics or mathematics background with a keen interest in biology, and for life sciences students who wish to explore the physical aspects of cells.

What this course will give you

Interdisciplinary approaches are recognised as essential to address complex global challenges and drive forward scientific innovation. The MRes Computational Cell Biophysics offers a unique approach at the interface between physics, maths, computer science and biology, to address key questions in the field. Students will take part in lab-based research projects in world-leading research groups. They will be equipped with the tools to problem-solve using innovative cross-disciplinary approaches, including machine learning, coding, big data analysis and advanced imaging. Students will also learn to communicate across disciplines and to develop broad and inclusive understandings of complex problems.  

The foundation of your career

It is anticipated that graduates of the programme would be well prepared for PhD programmes, research positions in academia and industry and other jobs including science policy, journalism or start-up companies.


Interdisciplinary programmes inevitably enable the cross-fertilisation of career paths. The knowledge, skills and practical experience students will receive during this MRes programme will be applicable across businesses and industries. Students graduating from the programme will be confident communicators, comfortable collaborating with people from a wide range of disciplines and have a flexible approach to problem solving. This will enable them to transition through different careers and take advantage of new and evolving employment opportunities. Significantly, they will have an excellent understanding of big data management and how it informs AI in our society. This is a critical skill at a time where big data is shaping the modern world. They will be competitive for careers in new and growing industries like sustainability and renewable energy, information security, forensic science, health services and much more.


Networking opportunities exist throughout the programme with the internationally-recognised senior investigators at UCL that teach on the MRes modules and act as hosts for the biophysics laboratory projects; through interactions with alumni of the programme and UCL-based PhD students, and through industrial collaborators. Networking opportunities prepare graduates of the MRes for applications to PhD programmes, or for science-related jobs in academia and industry.

Teaching and learning

The MRes in Computational Cell Biophysics is designed as an inclusive programme with a strong research culture and employs a wide variety of teaching and learning methods to suit a diverse student intake.

Modules and Assessments

The 120-credit LMCB0001 MRes Laboratory-Based Research Project in Biophysics is integral to the MRes, designed to give students an immersive and realistic experience of research science and to equip them with the necessary skills required to obtain and complete a PhD. Each project is co-supervised by two scientists, one from physical sciences and one from biological sciences. Students attend laboratory meetings for both research groups throughout the programme, thus increasing their exposure to different research environments and groups of scientists.

Students have two experienced programme tutors – one in the LMCB and one from IPLS/Physics, who meet with the students regularly throughout the programme.

The two core modules LMCB0002 Research Techniques in Cell Biology and Biophysics and LMCB0003 Computational Cell Biophysics include the following teaching and learning methods:

Lectures: Students will learn through research-led education from world-renowned interdisciplinary scientists principally from the LMCB, IPLS, Physics and Maths. Lectures are face-to-face and will be supplemented by Independent Study.

Online Exercises: Computer-based exercises have been designed to support and extend the students' understanding of the topics presented within the module in a flexible, student-centred fashion. Students can work at their own pace, fitting this aspect of their study around their laboratory research projects.

Presentation and Feedback: A key component of LMCB0003 Computational Cell Biophysics is for students to present the results of the exercises/research questions they’ve been set during the week to the whole class, in a dedicated 2-hour per week “feedback session”. This method of teaching is student-led and trains students in effective team-work, communication and presentation skills, but also in how to provide (and accept) critical feedback to peers, in a constructive manner.

Workshops and Tutorials: Numbers of students in workshops or tutorials are kept small so that all students get the attention they need, the opportunity to ask questions and receive the support they need in a non-threatening environment.

Facility Visits: Lectures/tutorials will be coupled with expert-led tours of some of UCL’s state-of-the-art research facilities.

Research Department Seminars: Using research department seminars as teaching and learning tools exposes students to ongoing, current, scientific research performed and presented by researchers of international renown.

Assessment types within the MRes programme are varied and depend, to some extent, on the optional 30-credit module(s) chosen by the student. For the compulsory components of the MRes, the Laboratory-Based Research Project in Biophysics, Research Techniques in Cell Biology and Biophysics and Computational Cell Biophysics, assessments are designed to build on previous work and to become more challenging (in content or experience) during the MRes programme.

Assessments include:

  1. A mini-grant application describing the research project.
  2. A project write-up in the format of a research paper. The student's co-supervisors decide on the journal most appropriate for the research project undertaken. The student then writes their masters thesis, in the form of a submission to that journal. This requires reading, understanding, and following the journals’ ‘Instructions to Authors’ and demands writing quality, figures, and diagrams of publication quality.
  3. An assessed laboratory meeting within the MRes host laboratory.
  4. Oral presentations of an online exercise for LMCB0003 Computational Cell Biophysics, before a small group of lecturers and students, and for the LMCB0001 MRes Laboratory-Based Research Project in Biophysics (before a departmental audience).
  5. A News & Views type article on a research seminar i.e a short (800–900 words) journalistic type news report that makes clear the advance being discussed, and communicates a sense of excitement, but provides a critical evaluation of the research concerned.
  6. A critical and comparative review of a research technique in Biophysics (2000 words), for a general non-specialist audience, that highlights recent research.
  7. An authoritative, comprehensive, and systematic review in the form of a Current Opinion in Cell Biology article. Written to help specialists keep up to date with a clear and readable synthesis on a Biophysics theme.
  8. Online coding exercises (LMCB0003 Computational Cell Biophysics). Feedback on student presentations of the online exercises will serve as formative assessments to help students with the preparation of the module’s summative assessment.
  9. Data analysis exercises.
  10. Website design. A collaborative formative assessment in which students researching the same theme construct a webpage on their topic of choice.

The three core modules of the programme LMCB0001 – MRes Laboratory-Based Research Project in Biophysics (120 credits), LMCB0002 – Research Techniques in Cell Biology and Biophysics (15 credits), and LMCB0003 – Computational Cell Biophysics (15 credits) represent a total of approximately 1024 contact hours and 476 hours of self-directed study. Students take an additional 30 credits worth of modules from a short recommended list which between them represent a further 300 hours of contact hours/hours of self-directed study.


September – October
UCL inductions and LMCB Director’s welcome.

Welcome from the MRes Computational Cell Biophysics Programme Director, Tutors and Administrator.

Presentations on Laboratory Safety, EDI, Outreach and Lab Sustainability.

Active Bystander Training, IT induction and introduction to the FLS Student Wellbeing Advisors.

Meet the MSci/PhD students social.

Presentation of research projects by host laboratories.

November – September
LMCB0001 MRes Laboratory-Based Research Project in Biophysics (120 Credit, Level 7)

Additional MRes components include:
LMCB0002 Research Techniques in Cell Biology and Biophysics (15 Credit, Level 7)
LMCB0003 Computational Cell Biophysics (15 Credit, Level 7)

PLUS 30 credits from a list of optional modules from the Divison of Biosciences but taught by and/or based at the LMCB:
CELL0016 – Advanced Molecular Cell Biology (15-Credit, Level 7/6, T1)
CELL0024 – Tissue Biology (15-Credit, Level 7/6, T1)
CELL0017 – Interdisciplinary Cell Biology (15-Credit, Level 6, T2)
CELL0022 – Advanced Practical Cell Biology (15-Credit, Level 6, T2)
PHOL0008 – Cell Signalling in Health and Disease (30-Credit, Level 7/6 T1/2)

Compulsory modules

MRes Laboratory-Based Research Project in Biophysics

Research Techniques in Cell Biology and Biophysics

Computational Cell Biophysics 

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MRes in Computational Cell Biophysics.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300
Tuition fees (2024/25) £37,500

Additional costs

Students will not face any additional costs. For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

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

Next steps

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Computational Cell Biophysics at graduate level
  • why you want to study Computational Cell Biophysics at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

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