Postgraduate research in medicine

Discover why so many postgraduate students choose to study at St Andrews, from the strength of our reputation through to the support the University offers all students. All PhD students become part of St Leonards college on joining the University. See more about St Leonards college and student life.

The scale of the University allows us to compete successfully for private and public funding for our path-breaking research while being small enough to provide individual attention to everyone who chooses to study here. See the current prospectus for PhD study.

The School also welcomes applications from suitable self-funded candidates to undertake a one-year Master of Science by Research degree (MSc (Res)) to engage in a full-time research project and write a dissertation. It is an excellent opportunity to spend a shorter time in a research environment either for a standalone degree or as preparation for a PhD.

Postgraduate visiting days

There are plenty of opportunities to visit the University of St Andrews. We hold visiting days throughout the year to offer prospective postgraduate students a chance to experience the University’s unique atmosphere and see for themselves the quality of the teaching on offer.
See upcoming postgraduate visiting days.

PhD and Postgraduate research opportunities

View current opportunities

MSc (Res) opportunities

View current opportunities


Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3508

PhD student biographies

Sam Warne

Sam Warne is the recipient of a three-year PhD studentship funded by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (UKRI/ESRC), on a collaborative, interdisciplinary project between the School of Medicine and the School of Psychology and Neuroscience. Supervised by Prof. Gozde Ozakinci, Prof. James Ainge and Dr Andrew Williams, the project evaluates the impact of a workplace physical activity programme on physical fitness, mental wellbeing and cognitive functioning.

"My PhD is all about trying to increase physical activity levels, which is something I'm really passionate about, and I'm so grateful to have supervisors that believe in the project and have been massively supportive throughout my time here so far. I've found everyone in the University to be really friendly and approachable, and have managed to get advice and ideas from people even over a lunchtime coffee. The support networks available are great and have enabled me to really push myself to develop, and even led to me presenting at national conferences. I also absolutely love the town itself, as I'm a huge golf fan and love the homely feel of St Andrews as a whole!" 

A student standing in a sentrybox.

Marianna Leite De Avellar

Marianna Leite De Avellar is the recipient of a three-year PhD funded by World-Leading Scholarship. She is supervised by Dr Robert Hammond, Professor Ifor Samuel and Professor Stephen Gillespie.

"My project is on development of Antimicrobial Photodynamic Therapy, in a joint program in Medicine and Physics. The opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary project has been challenging but also very rewarding. I have access to state-of-the-art facilities in both Schools, which is helping me to develop my research skills and broadening my views on different aspects of both disciplines. The level of supervision and support from staff helps me to feel confident and to be more independent on my research. I can definitely count with the help of colleagues from my research groups, which helped me a lot in the new environment and adaptation. The University has a very welcoming environment and ensure to make all students aware of the wellbeing and mental health support available."

A PhD student smiling at the camera

Josie Murray

Josie Murray is the recipient of a four and a half-year fellowship PhD in Multimorbidity funded by the Wellcome Trust. Supervised by Dr Veronica O’Carroll, Dr Virginia Hernandez-Santiago and Professor Frank Sullivan, Josie is using mixed methods to explore the impact of Interprofessional Collaborative Practice on health and healthcare outcomes in people living with Multimorbidity in the School of Medicine.

“I was firstly attracted to St Andrews due to its offering the topic in the Multimorbidity programme for Healthcare Professionals which I was interested in. As a Consultant in Public Health, I was also attracted recent expansion of the School of Medicine within public health research.  Furthermore the quality of support offered to me as a prospective candidate was also impressive from the outset. I had also had previous dealings with St. Andrews staff, while working in NHS Fife, and Public Health Scotland which had all been positive. Since starting, I have found my supervisors team and department to be really friendly.

The opportunities for development and training here are numerous. I also love the beautiful scenery both on campus and on my journey to the school, as well as the delicious food served in the café to keep me going throughout the day!  Studying here has enabled me to pursue a career in healthcare research while maintaining my clinical role as a public health consultant working in communicable disease control.”

A head-and-shoulders photo of a student smiling at the camera

Hazem Abdullah

Hazem Abdullah is the recipient of a 3 year PhD funded by the St Andrews Sanctuary Scholarship. He is supervised by Professor David Harrison, Dr Mustafa Elshani, Dr Alison Dickson and Dr Tim Kendall.

"As a medical graduate, I was always keen on pursuing postgraduate studies to combine both clinical and research aspects to achieve the best patient outcome. My current research focuses on a relevantly new tissue culture methodology called organoids which reflects a better picture of cancer progression and treatment. With access to one of the most advanced facilities in the UK, I have been learning new skills every day. The school of medicine provides a very friendly environment to help reach your goals and with the help of the fellow researchers, you will never feel alone."

A passport style photo of a student smiling at the camera

Current PhD and PGR Opportunities

Click here to see any current posts available in the School of Medicine for research degrees