Graduate School

Research Degrees

The Faculty of Biological Sciences Graduate School is home to some 200-300 PhD and 100 Masters students, studying subjects across the full spectrum of biology from ecosystems to molecular machines.

We offer training programmes that will equip you for future scientific careers in academia, industry and other sectors.

Download our research flyer to help you get started.

Many of our programmes of study have excellent connections with employers. In the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) the majority of our research was judged by independent experts to be" internationally excellent" or "world leading", and we were ranked 4th in the UK by the leading scientific journal "Nature".

PhD students discuss their findings

People in Science Field research
Our research postgraduates are members of the Leeds research community and through their work make a significant contribution to Faculty research. The reports on our RAE submissions noted our excellent training programmes for research students, and a large percentage of the research outputs submitted to the RAE had PhD student authors.

Leeds students benefit from an excellent international research training environment and our many graduates have gone on to rewarding careers, both in the UK and overseas. University of Leeds graduates have an excellent reputation amongst employers: The University is among a group of ten universities targeted by the largest number of top employers over the period 2012 - 13, according to the influential High Fliers report published today. Employers including IBM, HSBC, Google and the Civil Service all contributed to the research.


We hope to welcome you here to study in the future.

Professor Michelle Peckham
Director of the Faculty of Biological Sciences Graduate School

Research Degree Types

We offer two types of research degree: PhD and MSc by Research.

Brain Scan image PhD

Full-time PhD study can either last 3 or 4 years, depending on experience and funding. 3 year PhDs have an optional 12 months of overtime, which is usually spent away from the institution and used to write up the work.  4 year PhDs do not have overtime and the duration of the PhD will be spent at the institution. 

Part-time PhDs are also available and last 5 years, with 2 years of overtime.

We currently have PhD students supported by BBSRC, Wellcome Trust, NERC and Marie Curie, but it is also possible to enter a PhD as a self-funding student. We also welcome applications from students with sponsorship. 

PhD students in FBS benefit from an extensive programme of support and training and access to excellent facilities.

MSc Bioscience students in teaching labMasters degrees

There are two routes to Masters (MSc) degrees, Research Masters and Taught Masters. The former comprises a single research project carried out over an entire academic year, with no taught elements but some generic skills training. It is ideal for students who are focussed on improving their practical skills and obtaining important research experience. The latter will have taught modules delivering advanced skills along with a shorter research project. Both Masters degrees can be useful for a variety of career paths and securing PhD places.

  • MSc by Research

This is a 12 month programme with no taught content; instead you will work on a research project and write a thesis from your results. Like a PhD, you will have a supervisor who is based in your chosen field. An MSc by Research will develop your academic and practical skills and can be an excellent option if you want to explore your area of interest further but feel that a PhD is not the right choice at this time. MSc by Research students go on to PhD study or to work in industry.

  • Taught masters

Please refer to our Taught Masters web section for detailed information about options available.

Research Degree Fees

Fees for entry in 2014-15 are £3,975 for Home/EU students and £16,500 for overseas students. 

Fees for entry in 2015-16 are £4,100 for Home/EU students and £17,500 for overseas students. 

In addition to the academic fee some, but not all, projects may require a bench fee to cover specific additional costs associated with the nature of that particular research area. This varies depending on the nature of the project; please consult your supervisor.   

Entry Requirements

 In the lab (A. Olympiou. Pressure)Entry requirements:

BSc degree with 2.1 or above in a related subject (applicants with 2.2 and an MSc at merit or higher will also be eligible). Applicants from outside the UK/Ireland will also have to meet the English Language requirements below.

English Language requirement for non-native speakers of English:

IELTS: 6.0 overall, with not less than 5.5 in any part.

TOEFL iBT: Total overall score of 87 with a minimum score required in each section - Listening 20, Reading 20, Speaking 22, Writing 21.

University of Leeds Language Centre

The University of Leeds Language Centre provides a range of English for Academic Purposes Pre-sessional courses which are designed to help international students develop the necessary language and academic study skills required for successful study on a research degree programme at the University of Leeds. Courses are offered throughout the year with starting dates in September, January, April, July or August.

For further information, please visit us online or contact the Language Centre via e-mail:

How to Apply

Plant Science PhD students in Professor Foyer's labGetting started: identifying your project

  • Think about what you've enjoyed in your degree, and what topics or areas interest you most. Use the Browse Supervisors page to identify people working in those fields. Each member of staff has an individual profile, with more information about their research work and details of available projects.
  • PhD and MSc projects are often part of a wider context of ongoing research within the faculty. To find out more about the vital work happening in FBS, see our Research and Innovation pages. This is a good way of discovering areas of work you may not have previously considered.

Apply online for PhD Making your application:

Please apply online using the online application form for research degrees, i.e. PhD and MSc by research. If you are applying for funding, additional forms may also be required.

Please note:

  • Please include a CV and transcripts if possible.
  • We do not require a research proposal for applications at this stage
  • Your application will be processed faster if you nominate up to 3 supervisors when you submit your form.
  • If you are applying to a funded project, please specify this in the “Funding” section. Alternatively please state if you are seeking a scholarship, already hold a scholarship or intend to self-fund.
  • Please contact your referees and ask them to submit their references and reference form directly to the Graduate School.

We accept applications throughout the year, however most funding opportunities have deadlines, including University scholarships and any funded projects.

International applicants who hold their own funding can make their initial application through our online international form which is specifically tailored to meet these requirements. Do not use this form if you are seeking funding from the University of Leeds.

VParkinson Tower, University of Leeds isit Us

You are welcome to visit the University of Leeds and the Faculty of Biological Sciences. Please contact the Graduate School office for more information.

The Graduate School Office is open for general enquiries during office hours, but unfortunately individual members of staff are not available except by prior appointment.

If you do need to discuss a particular project with a member of staff, please organise a mutually convenient appointment in advance. Contact details can be found on our faculty staff page.

Contact Us

Faculty of Biological Sciences Graduate School PhD Admissions

Contact: Mrs Martha Smith
Tel: +44(0) 113 34 38186

By post:

Postgraduate Admissions
Faculty of Biological Sciences Graduate School
Garstang Building
University of Leeds

How to find us

We are located near the city centre and the local signposting can be a bit tricky, so please allow plenty of time to get here. The Faculty of Biological Sciences is located in the southern part of the University of Leeds campus. Look out for the green and white signposts on campus to help you find your way.


Inspiring minds

Postgraduate Open Day

Friday 6th February 2015

Find out about postgraduate taught courses and research opportunities in one of the UK’s leading centres for biological and biomedical sciences.

The day is open to prospective postgraduate students and includes the opportunity to:

  • hear about postgraduate study and research opportunities at Leeds
  • take a campus tour and view our outstanding facilities
  • chat to current students about their postgraduate experiences
  • visit our information fair on advice on our postgraduate courses, how to apply, fees and funding, accommodation and careers support

Book your place