Research overview

Neuroscience degrees at Nottingham seek to answer the modern day problems that faces research into the brain and nervous system.

Your research degree is bespoke at the University of Nottingham, and allows you to choose your own area of interest to research.

Our supervisors in the school are at the forefront of research in their fields.  Utilising industry standard facilities, along with cutting edge equipment, and the guidance of our supervisors, you will advance the area of life sciences that interests you.

Your degree and research area is bespoke to you, however, you will have access to a superb range of methodologies, ranging from molecular to whole animal and human studies to investigate.

You can find our about our specific research in the course content section.

Post-graduate Community

Here in the School of Life Sciences we’re committed to supporting our students’ wellbeing to ensure that your experience studying with us is the best it can be. Whether you’re studying silk-weaving spiders or looking for new ways to fight infection, we want all of our students to feel part of our vibrant and diverse research community.

There are loads of opportunities to meet your fellow researchers and get involved with student activities and projects during your time at the University of Nottingham including:

Course content

PhD or MRes?

PhD programmes allow you to research a topic that interests them over the span of 3 to 4 years.  You will be required to submit a thesis on your work at the end of your research period and take part in a viva voce examination.  This is a fantastic opportunity to research an area that is unique to your interests, and help that field grow.

Masters by Research (MRes) programmes allow you to undertake a substantial amount of independent research while gaining 20 credits of transferable skills training over the span of 12 months. The programmes are flexible in nature and allow you to take some additional accredited taught credits, in consultation with your supervisor.

Defining my research area

If you have a particular research area you are interested in, you should start by emailing a relevant supervisor below and talking through your interests with them.  You can see further details on our MRes and PhD titles below.

After you have done your research you can contact a relevant supervisor.

Neuroscience degrees at Nottingham seek to answer the modern day problems that faces research into the brain and nervous system.

Some of the research areas we are interested in include:

  • Animal Models of Mental Disease: early environmental influences on brain neurochemistry and function in relation to mental disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, schizophrenia and depression, particularly the role of amine, amino acid and neuropeptide neurotransmission; neurogenesis during depression.

  • Drugs of Abuse: mechanisms of reward and aversive behaviour, with particular reference to cannabinoids. Neurotoxicity and metabolites of ecstasy (MDMA).
    Pain Mechanisms: the roles of GABA, vanilloid and cannabinoid receptor systems in models of chronic pain.

  • Neurodegeneration and Neurotoxicity: molecular mechanisms underlying chronic human neurodegenerative disorders, particularly the role of the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway; mechanisms of reactive metabolite generation in drug toxicity and validation of alternative methods; neurovascular damage mechanisms; embryotoxicity.

  • Hypothalamic Control of Puberty and Body Weight: the hypothalamic basis of energy metabolism; mechanisms involved in male reproductive maturation.

  • Molecular action of neurotoxins: role of astrocytes in maintaining neuronal and vascular function and their involvement in the vulnerability and resistance to natural and chemically-mediated neurodegeneration; effects of hypoglycaemia on brain function.

The Neuropathology branch of Neuroscience at Nottingham includes many research topics:

  • How adverse or early life events impact neurochemistry and contribute to cognitive and social dysfunction
  • Neurodevelopmental and cognitive disorders 
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • The genetics and causes of Alzheimer's disease 
  • Brain ageing and dementia
  • Post-stroke recovery and the influences that affect progress

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.


British Honours degree at least 2:1 or equivalent.

Applicants currently studying Masters in the UK will be accepted with a minimum average of 60% (Merit) in taught elements, if they have a 2:1 or equivalent at undergraduate level.


Undergraduate degree of at least 2:1 or equivalent.

Applicants currently studying Masters in the UK will be accepted with a minimum average of 60% (Merit) in taught elements, if they have a 2:1 or equivalent at undergraduate level.

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

IELTSIELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element) as a minimum Except all Virology programs, which requires IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.5 in any element) as a minimum
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Research Proposal

A research proposal is required. This should be worked on with your proposed supervisor.


You should have 2 references with at least one of them being an academic reference.

References from the proposed supervisor will be accepted if the applicant has only studied at Nottingham previously (for example as a UG student)


Please contact an appropriate supervisor from the contactable list with an idea of what you would like your research to focus on.  You can then follow the steps on the following page, working with your proposed supervisor to write your research proposal.

Start dates:

  • 1 October 2022
  • 1 December 2022
  • 1 February 2023
  • 1 April 2023
  • 1 July 2023
How to apply


Home / UK£5,100£5,100
International£22,600 for low-cost, £30,200 for lab-based, £35,750 for high-cost lab-based or £41,000 for exceptional technically intensive or specialised projects with high consumable costs. For details, contact£28,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

All students should factor in cost of living, as well as basic materials like log books, lab coat, PPE and stationary. Costs for consumables will vary depending on research.


There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

Where you will learn

Life sciences research facilities

Benefit from access to cutting edge technologies and lab spaces including:

  • Advanced microscopy and imaging suites, and microscopes including STEM, SRM SIM and confocal imaging
  • High-throughput sequencing facilities and Nanocentre technology
  • Human physiology facilities at the David Greenfield Human Physiology unit
  • Research only MRI systems at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre
  • Deep sequencing facilities and modern molecular genetics laboratories
  • Culture facilities as well as facilities for embryo dissection, cloning and in-situ hybridisation


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

83.3% of postgraduates from the School of Life Sciences secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £31,976.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

The University of Nottingham is ranked 7th in the UK for research power, according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • 100% of UoA24 (Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism) and 84% of the UoA5 (Biological Sciences) research submitted was judged to be "world-leading" (4*), or "Internationally Excellent" (3*) in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results.
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 01 August 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.