PhD in biology

Research in the School of Biology spans a broad range of topics in the biological sciences, and offers a variety of opportunities for PhD research.

The School's research base is structured around individual research groups, each led by an experienced academic, an expert in his or her field. These research groups are organised into three interdisciplinary research centres, resulting in a highly collaborative approach to research and scholarship. 

The PhD programme

A Biology PhD is a research-based degree, with each student working closely with a designated principal supervisor who helps formulate the core research questions. Some PhD projects also involve additional supervisors from within the School or wider University, or from elsewhere.

During your studies, you will have regular meetings with your supervisors and a review committee to ensure that you are making effective progress towards completing your PhD studies. As part of this process, during your first year you are required to produce a comprehensive literature review after four months and an initial progress report after nine months, and to discuss these in face-to-face meetings with your review committee.

Satisfactory performance at the nine-month progress review meeting is essential to continuing as a PhD student. In subsequent years, your progress will be monitored at annual review meetings.

Full-time registered PhD students are expected to submit their PhD thesis for examination within four years. Examination takes the form of a viva voce, a lengthy oral exam conducted by two examiners, with one being from another institution (the external examiner) and an expert in your topic of research.