Graduate School
Contact Us

admissions enquiries
+44(0) 113 343 1418

Research (PhD) admissions enquiries
+44(0) 113 343 8186


Take a look at the Step up to Masters Website which will introduce you to the Faculty, the staff, the masters programmes and our support mechanisms.

Practical and intellectual training at the forefront of biological researchDr Aysha Divan

The University of Leeds was ranked 4th for biological sciences by the leading scientific journal ‘Nature', following the most recent independent UK government audit of research quality (2008 Research Assessment Exercise), based on the numbers of staff producing research that was “world leading" or "internationally excellent”. It is our aim to expose students to teaching from those people best qualified to develop their intellect and their practical skills. To achieve this, Masters students in the Graduate School receive additional teaching from colleagues in industry, non-government organisations and charities.

Masters teaching is quite different from the undergraduate teaching that you may have experienced to date. We have very few examinations, relying almost entirely on continual assessment. There is certainly no ‘9 to 5’ routine, and you work intensively in our modern, well-equipped facilities over a full 12 month period. Entry to our programmes is very competitive, and we select students across the world. Our outstanding reputation has also attracted staff from many different countries to Leeds.

We take personal development and career opportunities very seriously. Our students leave Leeds with intellectual and practical skills that equip them to work in the biological sciences around the world. This includes research work in industry and government laboratories, consultancy, conservation work and also further study for PhD degrees.

We are sure you will enjoy your time at Leeds and we are looking forward to helping you along with your career goals!

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help in any way.

Dr Aysha Divan
Director of Taught Graduate Student Education
Faculty of Biological Sciences Student Education Office


An outstanding scientific education

We provide students with the very best learning resources and academic support possible, and our teaching draws on the world class research base of the University of Leeds and highly-qualified professionals from industry, non-government organisations and charities.

Bioscience students in the labAll our Masters programmes contain core skills courses, specialised subject-specific courses and research projects.

Plus our more ecological Masters programmes contain field courses. Very few of our courses contain unseen examinations, and most are assessed entirely by continual assessment exercises.

Core Skills

Our core skills courses include topics that enable you to learn efficiently, to improve your study and research skills and to perform well in the world of work after graduation (e.g. communication skills, professional development, enterprise, experimental planning). They also give you the skills needed to cope with the subject-specific courses and your independent research project (e.g. practical techniques in molecular biology in the MSc Bioscience programmes, use of statistics in ecological research in the MSc/MRes Biodiversity and Conservation programmes). They are all taught in a very practical way, with exercises carried out in our modern, well-equipped laboratories, in the field or on computer, and with additional teaching in workshops and seminars.

Specialist modules

These cover the entire range of subjects within the programmes that we offer. We teach across a range of areas, from molecular biology and microbiology to whole systems biology and ecology. Specialist modules range from " Topics in Cancer Biology" in MSc Human Disease and Therapy and "Computational Biology of Genomic Systems" in MSc Bioinformatics and Genomics to "Habitat Restoration" on our Biodiversity and Conservation programmes. Module information appears under the "course structure" tab for each individual programme.


All our Masters students carry out at least one original research project. The entire period from May to September is devoted to project work, and students are able to work with professional research groups within the faculty, many of them internationally renowned. The projects are carried out within our superbly equipped research laboratories, in industrial research laboratories or in the field.

Field research projects are undertaken by students on the Biodiversity and Conservation programmes and are often in association with conservation bodies and government agencies. Approximately half the projects are carried out in the UK, the rest overseas - from Ecuador to Indonesia and New Zealand to the Azores.

Field courses

Students working in the field: Africa 2010MSc/MRes Biodiversity and Conservation students receive much of their teaching in the field. Leeds has a large number of temperate ecosystems within close range, and many of these are visited in the specialist subject-specific courses. To give exposure to a bigger range of ecosystems there are also residential field courses available in other parts of the world.

Independently reviewed teaching standards

The standard of our teaching is very high, as is expected of a leading “Russell Group” university. UK universities operate a system of external examiners to ensure standards are maintained, and all of our Masters programmes have an external examiner from another university. We are subjected to regular audit of our teaching standards called the Student Academic Experience Review. There are also regular meetings of a Student:Staff Forum, where student representatives from each of the degree programmes can raise issues with staff, and our modules are assessed by student feedback.

Student support

All our students are assigned a personal tutor to guide them during their time at Leeds. The programme leader is also responsible for helping students achieve their academic goals. The staff in the Student Education Office give a friendly welcome to all our new students, and help them feel at home when they arrive here.


Our students have access to all the facilities you would expect from a leading university.


Research laboratories in the Faculty of Biologoiical Sciences, University of LeedsOur laboratories are modern and well-equipped. Practical work in the core skills modules and the specialised subject-specific modules is carried out in teaching laboratories in scheduled sessions.

Masters research projects are carried out in our state-of-the-art research laboratories or in the field, in the case of the Biodiversity and Conservation projects.

Specialised scientific facilities

As you would expect at a major international research faculty, we have a huge array of facilities at our disposal . We have around 28,000 m2 of laboratories, research and teaching facilities located in the Astbury, Miall, Manton, Garstang and Worsley buildings

MSc Bioscience student in the Plant Centre Our research laboratories are equipped with millions of pounds worth of specialist scientific equipment including specilist facilties for:

Library facilities

The University of Leeds Library is one of the major academic research libraries of the United Kingdom, attracting students and scholars from around the world. You will have access to books, electronic e-books, and online journals 24 hours a day every day.

Computing facilities

There is a dedicated Masters computer cluster within the faculty. This is open 24 hours a day. All faculty buildings are wireless networked, and the university facilities can be accessed from off campus. We make full use of information technology in our teaching, including delivery of course information, supplementary notes, assessment exercises through a computer-based virtual learning environment. More about computing facilities at the University of Leeds.

Masters Team

More than 60 members of Faculty staff teach on our Masters courses, plus we make extensive use of staff from other parts of the University covering specialised topics such as careers advice and professional colleagues from outside of the university, giving students contact with world-leading researchers, specialists in developing professional skills and practitioners from industry, government and non-government organisations.

Director of Taught Graduate Student Education
Dr Aysha Divan

Dr Aysha Divan is Director of Taught Graduate Student Education within the Student Education Office and is responsible for Masters teaching within the faculty.

The Student Education Office team aims to provide an experience whereby Masters students are guided by internationally recognised experts in how to think rationally, how to question contemporary ideas and how to carry out practical research in modern aspects of the biological sciences, Dr Divan explains:

“Our Masters students are taught by renowned academics who tell them about up-to-the-minute developments in their research specialities, who teach them how to think clearly and logically and to question conventional wisdom.We have outstanding facilities and students have access to these throughout the time that they are with us. When someone graduates with a Masters degree from the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds they will have the ability to be an independent scientist able to work in the forefront of the biological sciences, and able to help solve problems of importance to mankind worldwide.”

Prof Michelle Peckham, Bioscience, Dr Steve Compton, BiodiversityProgramme Leaders

Each of our Masters programmes has a programme leader, who is responsible for its development, organisation and management. The programme leaders, all academic members of staff, take responsibility for ensuring that the academic experience of students on our programmes is first-class. They work with the Director of Taught Graduate Student Education to ensure that the programmes remain up to date, and are continually developing. Visit the individual programme web sections to find out more about the team for each individual course :

Student Education Office

Our office is staffed by dedicated professionals who look after the administration of our programmes and courses. You will come across them at all stages of your time here, from the admissions process through to receiving your course marks. The office staff will make you feel welcome, and will help you feel at home whichever part of the world you come from.

Student Support

Starting out at Leeds

  • Before you arrive in Leeds, we will be in regular contact with you by email. We will forward important information and updates.
  • For some courses there may be the opportunity to engage in social networking with other students if you wish, so that you can make friends before you arrive here.
  • In your first week we introduce you to life in Leeds, life at the University of Leeds, and to the staff who will be teaching you. We give you guidance on the modules on offer and help you decide which ones to choose.
  • We have social events in the first few weeks at Leeds to help you make friends and settle in.

Personal development

Leeds for Life offers personal development opportunities which can help enhance career and job prospects.We believe that Leeds graduates should be going out into the world and making an impact in whatever field they choose. Teaching of professional skills is a key component of all our Masters programmes, and we ensure that we help you with your ongoing personal development. In addition to gaining highly specialised scientific knowledge and expertise in a wide range of modern techniques used in the biological sciences, you should leave with the ability to fit into the workplace in the global economy. We know that the subject knowledge and training we provide is excellent, but we are also trying to produce well-rounded graduates who have the skills, experience and confidence to succeed in a challenging job market.

Leeds for Life

Our ‘Leeds for Life’ scheme offers a significant personal develoment opportunity for all students; an opportunity not widely available at other universities. "Leeds for Life" helps all students from the very beginning of their time here to recognise and develop the qualities they are gaining from the whole of their University of Leeds experience - both from academic studies and the huge range of co-curricular opportunities on offer.

Personal tutors

All Masters students are assigned a personal tutor, whom they meet in timetabled individual meetings to discuss their progress and personal development. Additionally, the programme leader, the lecturers and the staff of the Graduate School Office are available to give advice and help. Personal tutoring is well-established within the Faculty and we have received special recognition from the Students' Union for the high quality of our personal tutoring.

Biological Sciences Careers Fair 2010. MSc Bioscience students meet Graduates Yorkshire Careers advice and skills training

Skills training forms the basis of our core skills modules. This helps equip our graduates for future careers. Careers advice is covered in the core skills modules and also by personal tutors. We work closely with the University Careers Centre to support our students with information and opportunities. The University’s recent “employer review” score was a magnificent 99 out of 100 (World University League Tables November 2009).

Industrial and professional links

Many of our projects are undertaken with organisations outside of the University. We are developing formal links between industrial and non-government partners and the MSc Bioscience courses,via our Bioscience Employer Engagement Officer so that more students can benefit from doing their project in a professional laboratory away from the campus. We have close links with charities and government conservation bodies on our MSc/MRes Biodiversity and Conservation programmes, and we have lectures and workshops from staff of Environmental Consultancies, Natural England, the Environment Agency and other organisations.

After graduation

Graduation isn't the end of the story by any means. We are in regular contact with more than 150,000 alumni in over 175 countries.

Join our online alumni community after graduation and enjoy strong friendships and supportive networking opportunities long after you have left us.

Scientific Societies

Scientific societies run a range of activities such as organizing conferences, publishing or sponsoring journals in their field and running workshops.  There are many benefits to joining a professional society, including:

  • newsletters with lots of interesting articles
  • scientific meeting and conference alerts in your research area
  • opportunities to apply for travel grants to attend conferences and workshops

UK Societies

  • Anatomical Society for teachers and researchers of anatomical subjects, including morphological aspects of cell biology, neuroscience and embryology as well as traditional medical and veterinary anatomy. Provide travel grants for PhD students to attend their meetings. About 6 meetings a year, some are in Europe.
  • Biochemical Society: Membership for anyone with an interest in Biochemistry. About 20 focussed meetings per year, and an annual symposium. Provide small grants to students to attend meetings. Provide travel grants to postdocs and exceptionally to PhD students to attend scientific meetings/workshops (must be in 3rdyear of PhD).
  • British Association for Psychopharmacology:The BAP is one of the largest national psychopharmacology associations in the world. It runs a summer research meeting for which financial support is available to undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral workers. It also offers a number of training courses in psychopharmacology suitable for both graduate students and postdoctoral workers.
  • British Association of Sports and Exercises (BASES): have an international travel scheme (up to £500) to present work at conferences in sports science related areas.
  • British Biophysical Society: Membership for anyone with interest in Biophysics. Run some meetings. Provide grants for students and postdocs (1st 3 years) to attend meetings associated with the BBS.
  • British Society for Cell Biology: Run two main meetings per year. (Spring and Autumn). Members get discounts on various books/journals. 'Honor Fell Travel awards for financial support for younger BSCB members at the start of their research careers to attend meetings, in UK, Europe and 'the rest of the world'.
  • British Society for Developmental Biology: Run meetings, and have travel grants for their own, and related meetings.
  • British Ecological Society: have a number of different grant schemes for travel, education, early career awards etc.
  • British Society for Animal Science: run schemes for summer placements, vacation scholarships, travelling fellowships (Stapleton Trust).
  • British Society for Immunology: Specialise in Immunology, run meetings.
  • British Society for Medical Mycology: Specialises in medical mycology. Sponsors meetings. Provide grants to members to help them attend meetings on medical mycology.
  • British Neuroscience Association: Have a bursary scheme for travel to meetings.
  • British Pharmacological Society: Concerned with research into drugs and they way they work. Small society, providing grants for students to attend BPS meetings.
  • British Phycological Society: Annual meeting in January, and funds for students to go to these meetings if presenting. Also run workshops.
  • British Society for Parasitology.: Runs meetings, and provides bursaries to go to these meetings, and for fieldwork studies.
  • Farm Woodland Forum: Forum that exchanges information about farming with trees. Funds travel awards for meetings about farming with Trees.
  • Genetics Society: Specialise in Genetics, Run meetings, Provide travel grants (up to £300, one per 3 years) for students and postdocs (within 2 years of viva).
  • Malacological Society (specialises in molluscs): Provide 5 travel awards up to £500 per annum, for research into molluscs.
  • Nutrition Society: can apply for travel grants after 2+ years membership. They run meetings, have a newsletter etc.
  • Physiological Society:run several meetings a year, and also have one meeting a year run by young physiologists for young physiologists. They have a bursary scheme for their meetings for young physiologists, and a travel grants scheme to attend meetings relevant to physiology.
  • Royal Microscopical Society: Has a bursary scheme and runs meetings.
  • Society for Experimental Biology: Run meetings (one big meeting per year). Run a travel scheme for students and early years postdoc researchers (first 3 years).
  • Society for General Microbiology: have grants to attend meetings of the SGM, and other scientific meetings for postgraduate and early years postdocs. They also have grants to help pay towards fees for UK grad school attendance, student society lectures, and research visits. Run one major annual meeting a year, and several other smaller meetings.
  • Society for Applied Microbiology: run 2 main meetings per year, and have a 'President's fund' to help fund attendance at meetings.

Also of interest:

  1. The Royal Society: Run meetings, fund fellowships, provide funding for collaborations and travel for postdocs. (Do not have a 'membership', but do have 'fellows' who are outstanding scientists that are nominated by other scientists before being elected a fellow).
  2. London and UK Chromatin clubs (see Joan Boyes for more details).
  3. Biosciences Federation: single authority, providing independent opinion on science policy. Run workshops on careers in Life Sciences

Other Societies:


  • EMBO: (European Molecular Biology Association). Fund lots of different fellowship schemes, courses and workshops.
  • ELSO: (European Life Scientist Organisation). Runs an annual meeting, and has interesting career development site.
  • European College of Sports Science
  • Phytochemical Society of Europe (chemistry and biochemistry of plants, agriculture). Provide bursaries to go to PSE sponsored meetings to cover registration costs for presenters (posters or talks).