Biosciences PhD/MPhil


Fact file

PhD 3/4 years full-time/MPhil 2 years full-time. Part-time available. Please see University's Quality Manual
Entry requirements

PhD 2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject.

MPhil 2:2 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject. Applicants holding other qualifications may also be accepted.

6.0 (no less than 5.5. in any element). If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
Please contact the school
Sutton Bonington
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Other requirements

Research overview

 The school has five research subject groups: agricultural and environmental sciences, animal sciences, food sciences, nutritional sciences, and plant and crop sciences. Research at the school includes laboratory science, field studies, human surveys and computer modelling approaches.

Agricultural Systems Management

Agricultural Systems Management focuses on improving agricultural production systems, enhancing agricultural sustainability and addressing issues of food security whilst protecting the environment. 

Visit the agricultural systems management webpage for further information. 

Animal Sciences

We have an international reputation for research in animal development, reproduction and biotechnology. We are world leaders for research in epigenetics in the study of animals as models for human disease, reproduction, development and nutrition. Neurosciences is another of our core activities with a particular focus on the mechanisms that underpin chronic pain. Our expertise in dietary effects on animal product quality (meat, milk and oocytes) is recognised globally.

The Centre for Applied Bioethics is one of the few UK Research Units focusing on animal and food ethics.

Visit the animal sciences webpage for further information

Environmental Sciences

Environmental sciences encompasses a broad range of interests including fundamental studies of ecosystem processes such as microbiology and antimicrobial resistance, soil science and geochemistry and environmental processes related to soil, air and water pollution, and computer modelling.

Visit the environmental sciences webpage for further information.

Food Sciences

Our research encompasses all levels of food and beverage production contributing to understanding and controlling quality and safety, starting with raw materials though processing to consumer preference and subsequent effects on the body. We have established industry links with large multinationals and small local manufacturers. We are internationally renowned for research on the fundamental understanding of food structure and flavour delivery and its perception. Major research interests are: flavour science; food microbiology and safety; food structure; bioenergy. The group hosts the (BBSRC) National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics.

The brewing science group is a centre of excellence for brewing technologies and research, delivering education, qualifications and consultancy.

Visit the food sciences webpage for further information.

Nutritional Sciences

Nutritional Sciences is internationally renowned for research on diet and health, metabolism ageing and disease and global food security. Our core research themes are: developmental origins of disease, food allergy, prevention or utilisation of food waste and efficient meat production. External collaboration with academic institutes and industrial partners promotes knowledge transfer and use of our research in clinical or commercial environments.

Our research comprises a multidisciplinary team with skills in modern molecular techniques, biochemistry, physiology, dietetics and health psychology.

Visit the nutritional sciences webpages for further information.

Plant and Crop Sciences

Plant and Crop Sciences is internationally acclaimed as a centre for fundamental and applied research underpinning our understanding of agriculture, food production and quality, and the natural environment. Our research is centred on important crop plants including wheat, rice, brassicas and tomato. In addition, fundamental research on developmental processes uses the model plant Arabidopsis. Plant and Crop Sciences hosts the Nottingham Arabidopsis Stock Centre (NASC) and plays a major part in the Centre for Plant Integrative Biology (CPIB).

We also have close research and teaching links with colleagues in the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham's campus in Malaysia.

Visit the plant and crop sciences webpage for further information.



 The School of Biosciences is one of the strongest teaching and research centres for fundamental and applied biological and food science in the UK.

The school is based at Sutton Bonington campus has its own halls of residence, sports centre and social amenities, student guild and wide range of clubs and societies. The campus benefits from state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities dedicated to the study of biosciences, including purpose-built plant and food science buildings; many specialised laboratories; a 24-hour learning resource centre; university farm and a new dairy centre. 

IT facilities

We have an Information Services Learning Resource Centre (ISCRA) comprising a suite of computer resource areas, which is open 24-hours per day via the University smart card. All PC workstations are connected to the University’s data network, and through Joint Academic Network (JANET) to the Internet. 


Research support

The school believes that formal training and guidance are critical components of the postgraduate experience and have developed procedures to ensure that both specific and generic training are available and that postgraduates avail themselves of these opportunities. Specific (project-related) training is provided by the supervisors and other staff within the school. Students can expect to have frequent contact with their supervisors, often on a weekly or even daily basis, and there is a formal requirement for at least 10 recorded meeting per year.

The Graduate School has prime responsibility for the delivery of the generic skills training and has a dedicated training team who provide a comprehensive generic research training programme comprising over 80 different courses. These courses include IT training, presentation skills, intellectual property rights, business studies, career management, research skills and techniques, the research environment and management and courses for students involved in teaching and demonstrating. Courses for students in their final year include writing their thesis and preparing for the viva and CV writing and interview skills. These courses are all designed to enhance the professional and personal skills of the student. Students select which courses to incorporate into their training plans following discussion of their training needs with relevant staff.

The Graduate School operates from the main campus of the University, in a dedicated and well equipped centre or ‘hub’ to provide central coordination, communication and leadership of postgraduate training. However, there is a dedicated postgraduate centre on the Sutton Bonington campus, where the School of Bioscience is located. 

A number of University support services exist to assist you during your time at Nottingham and beyond. The Students' Union are a particularly important source of support.


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. Details of research supervisors at the University can be found on our research A to Z.


UK/EU students

The University Graduate School operates two schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research, these are, the Graduate School Travel Prize and Universitas 21 funding. The Graduate School also holds a list of other sources of funding. Studentship opportunities are also available.

International students

International Students (outside the European Union) are advised to apply early (October – February) in the academic year to ensure consideration for available scholarships (ORS, International Office). However, as competition for international scholarships is very fierce students are advised also to seek out scholarship opportunities from within their own countries, or agencies such as the World Bank, British Council or ACU. Please see the International Office website for postgraduate funding opportunities for international applicants.

International Students should contact their nearest British Council Office or embassy for advice on financial assistance.

DFID Awards are available for international applicants from developing countries. See the Association of Commonwealth Universities web pages International applicants for information on DFID awards.

Government loans for doctoral study

The Government plans to introduce doctoral student loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes from 2018. Applicants must ordinarily live in England and more details are expected to be announced in due course.

Doctoral training programmes

Linked to research councils, doctoral training programmes offer funding opportunities connected to our research priorities.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Visit the school page for additional opportunities.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 97% of postgraduates in the School of Biosciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,828 with the highest being £29,800*

*Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers** and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career. 

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service. 

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

** The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.


Related courses

No related courses

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Dr Dov Stekel, Associate Professor
School of Biosciences
The University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
LE12 5RD

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