School of Biomedical Sciences

MPhil/PhD Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical Sciences (SBS) is one of three schools within the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Plymouth. By studying for an MPhil, ResM, or PhD degree at SBS, you will be joining a dynamic research community of students, academics and staff that are doing their bit to tackle some of the greatest problems impacting science and society. We at SBS look forward to hearing from you!

Entry requirements

All applicants must meet the entry criteria for a Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry research degree which are:

  • if English is not your first language you will need to provide evidence of English language proficiency with an IELTS score of 7.0 or above (with no less than 6.5 in any section)
  • 2.1 or above classification in a 1st degree or equivalent
  • two satisfactory academic references
  • evidence of funding for the duration of your course.

If you do not have a masters level qualification, we recommend you consider applying for our MSc Biomedical Science programme. 

For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Fees, costs and funding

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. MPhil/PhD Biomedical Sciences is in Band 2 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

The first step in the application process is for you to tell us about your area of interest so that we can help you identify potential main supervisor(s). You can identify potential research areas of interest by browsing our school’s research groups. Once we have recommended a potential supervisor, your application can be sent to them for consideration.

After a potential supervisor has been identified, in order to formally apply, please complete the online application form and ensure you upload the following documents:

  • a brief research proposal and personal statement
  • an up to date CV which includes dates with all gaps accounted for and the location of your activities
  • two academic references
  • a copy of your highest qualification certificate and final transcript of grades
  • information on how you meet our English language requirement, which is 7.0 academic IELTS overall score with at least 6.5 in each component test area.
  • if a non-UK national, a copy of the information page of your passport
  • copies of any UK visas you previously held
  • information on how you intend to pay your fees.

Please note our application deadlines. Overseas applicants must submit their application 4.5 months prior to the proposed programme start date. For Home/EU applicants the deadline is 2.5 months prior to the proposed programme start date. There are three possible start dates per year, 1 October, 1 January and 1 April.

Biomedical sciences at Plymouth

This full time or part time doctoral programme is suitable for people who have a particular research question or topic in mind, and wish to explore this through independent study in order to produce an original contribution to the subject. If you aspire to a research career this is the most appropriate research degree to undertake.

You will be guided by a small supervisory team of academic experts under the direction of a Director of Studies. Even if you already have a masters degree, you will be registered as a ‘MPhil/PhD’ candidate. Via the confirmation of route status no later than 15 months (21 months for part time students) into your programme, you can apply to transfer to the PhD route, based on your progress to date.

You will be expected to fully engage with skills development and training and to present your research in a range of scholarly contexts.

Your PhD will be assessed via submission of either a written thesis (approximately 80,000 words), or one that combines critical writing with artistic, creative and/or professional practice, and a viva voce (an oral examination).

For full details of what doing a PhD entails at the University of Plymouth, please visit our postgraduate research degrees pages.

During your studies you will learn from our internationally recognised academic scientists in a diverse range of areas of scientific exploration arranged into three main research themes: Cancer, Clinical Neuroscience and the Three I's – Infection, Immunity and Inflammation.

Within these areas, our scientists are exploring a diverse area of topics, from how the mitochondrial energy generators of the cell work and what happens when they go wrong, to how accumulation of archaic viral genomes within our cells can be used to target cancer.

Our scientists are also interested in the genetic causes of neurological disease, and others are studying infectious diseases ranging from malaria to Ebola virus and MERS-CoV.

We believe that the true impact of science is felt only by translation of ideas from the bench into the real world. Consistent with this underlying philosophy, translation of scientific discoveries by our dynamic scientists has led to the creation of multiple spin-out companies from the school addressing inflammatory diseases, bacterial antibiotic resistance, and vaccines against deadly infectious diseases, including bovine tuberculosis.

Our scientists ranked first for research outputs in Clinical Medicine in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. Their capacity has been further enhanced by the newly constructed Derriford Research Facility, a £17 million investment into the University’s biomedical research infrastructure, which will provide additional state-of-the-art laboratories for the Faculty's researchers and our partners. Finally, our receipt of the SWAN Silver Award highlights our belief in strength through diversity. Knowing that everyone brings their our unique toolbox to answer scientific questions in their own individual way.


Learn about our varied research topics within the Biomedical Research Group, which include:

Non-invasive pre-natal testing, new targets for cancer treatment, understanding macrophages, combating sepsis and self-disseminating vaccines.

Discover more about the Biomedical Research Group