Triangle

Research overview

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

Our Pharmacology and Drug Discovery grouping is made up of the following available PhD and MRes courses:

  • Pharmacology 
  • Clinical Chemistry 
  • Cell Signalling 
  • Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Discovery 

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, here are some examples of the research we already conduct within the Pharmacology and Drug Discovery fields:

  • Understanding the genetic basis of Alzheimer's disease
  • Molecular Pharmacology and Cell Biology of Cell Surface Receptors: molecular pharmacology, regulation and signalling of G-protein-coupled receptors and tyrosine kinase-linked receptors.
  • 'Cross-Talk' Between Different Intracellular Pathways: synergistic interactions between G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs); interactions between GPCRs and tyrosine kinase receptors; cross-cascade signalling of proteins involved in gene transcription.
  • Single molecule analysis of ligand-receptor interactions using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy: research on the development of fluorescent ligands for GPCRs.
  • Use of bimolecular fluorescence complementation to investigate protein-protein interactions: investigation of receptor trafficking and receptor-effector interactions

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 3-4 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.

Pharmacology

Pharmacology is concerned with the studying the effects of drugs on the body, as well as the effects of the body on the drugs. 

We hold significant grant funding in these strategic areas (Wellcome funding PhD programme in Drug Discovery and Team Science) and are about to launch new BSc degree in Pharmacology, supported by colleagues from across a wide range of research areas an expertise (academia and industry).

We are equipped and staffed to help support any pharmacology research you may wish to undertake with us.

Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Discovery

Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Discovery is concerned with the molecular basis of pharmacology and discovering new drugs and therapeutics to tackle today's pharmaceutical needs. We are equipped and staffed to help support any Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Discovery research you may wish to undertake with us.

We are part of a world leading centre of excellence (COMPARE) which has great reputation for collaboration in areas of drug discovery, as well as reputation for positive research culture/team science.

We are actively involved in a number of projects addressing the genetics of Alzheimer's disease. The success of these approaches is evidenced by the 90 plus papers published in the last five years.

We have run a number of LOAD, sEOAD, LBD and PCA samples on custom designed NeuroChip and are currently using this data to generate polygenic risk scores. We have access to GWAS, NGS and chip data from thousands of samples and this continues to be a rich resource to inform our future studies. We have also started to RNASeq from different brain regions in diseased and non-diseased tissue.

In the future expansion of these types of study will empower us to use a systems approach to understand the pathogenesis of AD.

Our aim is to utilise the advances being made in molecular genetics and cell biology to study the regulation of cell signalling pathways in healthy and diseased human tissues.

The major research themes within the group are:

  • Molecular Pharmacology and Cell Biology of Cell Surface Receptors: molecular pharmacology, regulation and signalling of G-protein-coupled receptors and tyrosine kinase-linked receptors.
  • 'Cross-Talk' Between Different Intracellular Pathways: synergistic interactions between G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs); interactions between GPCRs and tyrosine kinase receptors; cross-cascade signalling of proteins involved in gene transcription.
  • Single molecule analysis of ligand-receptor interactions using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy: research on the development of fluorescent ligands for GPCRs.
  • Use of bimolecular fluorescence complementation to investigate protein-protein interactions: investigation of receptor trafficking and receptor-effector interactions

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

QualificationPhDMRes
Degree

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.

British Honours degree of at least 2:2 or equivalent.

Where an applicant has below a 2.2 but detailed significant work experience, the School will take the application for consideration.

Additional information

Research proposal

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

References

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) 

Research proposal

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

References

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) 

QualificationPhDMRes
Degree

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.

Undergraduate degree of at least 2:2 or equivalent.

Where an applicant has below a 2.2 but detailed significant work experience, the School will take the application for consideration.

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.

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

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

Additional information

Research proposal

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

References

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) 

Research proposal

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

References

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) 

IELTS6.5 (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 minimum6.5 (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.

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.

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.

Applying

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 2021
  • 1 December 2021
  • 1 February 2022
  • 1 April 2022
  • 1 July 2022
How to apply

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply

Fees

QualificationPhDMRes
Home / UK£4,625 per year£9,250
International£38,000 per year£26,500

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

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 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.

Funding

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

Support

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

Careers

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.

94.9% of postgraduates from the School of Life Sciences secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £21,400 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates who were available for employment, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • Life sciences at Nottingham were ranked 9th in the UK for research power
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 20 October 2021. 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.