A higher degree by research involves training in research methods and a laboratory based high level scientific investigation. The nature of the work and the time it takes to finish the research means a research degree is demanding and needs great commitment.
Your research takes place with the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre (BMRC). The BMRC has been established for over 15 years. We have over 40 postgraduate students enrolled on MPhil/PhD programmes, as well as a number of postdoctoral research assistants. This provides an active and stimulating research environment.
Whilst studying, postgraduate students are encouraged and supported to present their latest research findings at national and international conferences as part of the BMRC. You must present your results in a thesis, explain the methods used in your research and defend them in a viva voce examination.
To get an MPhil you must critically investigate and evaluate an approved topic and display an understanding of suitable research methods.
BMRC staff work in collaboration with UK and international scientists as well as clinical colleagues at a number of UK hospitals.
We have a broad range of facilities including
In the 2008 RAE Assessment, the BMRC was submitted under Unit of Assessment 12 - Allied Health Professions and Studies - which included 21 staff from BMRC and eight from the Centre for Health and Social Care. 65 per cent of the research in the joint submission was considered to be internationally recognised. When measured by the quality of its research and weighted by the number of staff submitted in this unit of assessment, Sheffield Hallam University was rated 16th out of the 42 post-92 universities who submitted (figure obtained from Research Professional). In terms of the publications submitted for consideration by the RAE panel, 75 per cent of these were of an international standard.
Evidence of the growth in research activity in the BMRC between RAE 2001 and RAE 2008 is the doubling of the number of staff returned in 2008 compared with 2001 and a three-fold increase in income. We currently have six postdoctoral researchers and 40 PhD students in BMRC, with 30 successful PhD awards being made during the period 2008-13.
Split MPhil option for international students
A split MPhil is a research degree programme for international students wishing to study from their home country university. You register for a Sheffield Hallam University MPhil degree and spend some time studying in Sheffield but are substantially based in your home country.
The balance of study between Sheffield Hallam and the overseas university is agreed between you and your supervisors, depending on the needs of your research programme, but will not exceed three months per annum in UK.
The benefits for students studying on the split scheme include
When you begin your research, we allocate you a director of studies and a supervisor. Regular meetings between you and your supervisors are scheduled, with targets set for written and oral presentation of research progress.
The research courses include:
University student induction
We designed this to give you the information you need to successfully begin your research at the University.
Research methods module
This module develops generic research skills including:
You have to attend relevant seminars from the Bioscience Forum series.
Thesis followed by viva voce examination.
Research degrees are a vital qualification for most academic careers, and for professional specialisation and development in an existing or planned career.
In the last 10-15 years the study of plant sciences has been revolutionised by the development of new tools and technologies which have allowed unprecedented progress in the study of plant biology - knowledge which is being applied to develop sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges of the 21st century.
This programme provides training in modern molecular aspects of plant science. Teaching is delivered by academics from the University’s Centre for Plant Sciences (CPS) and is often related to their areas of expertise and current research projects.
You’ll benefit from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging alongside the range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular sciences. You’ll explore the key topic areas of molecular biology; structural biology; cell imaging and flow cytometry; high throughput techniques; and transgenic organisms.
You’ll study in a stimulating environment which houses cutting-edge facilities. The CPS laboratories feature a state-of-the-art plant growth unit, including tissue culture suites with culture rooms, growth rooms and cabinets alongside glass-houses to meet a range of growth requirements.
You’ll gain an overview of a range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular sciences through the investigation of five topic areas: molecular biology; structural biology; cell imaging and flow cytometry; high throughput techniques; and transgenic organisms. You’ll also conduct an extended practical investigation in the form of a laboratory-based project, involving practical training in a range of modern molecular biology and protein engineering techniques such as gene cloning, PCR, mutagenesis, protein expression, protein purification and analysis.
A module on plant biotechnology will address topics such as the engineering of plants, development of stress-tolerant crop varieties and techniques for gene expression and gene silencing. You’ll have the opportunity to benefit from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and their importance for transgene integration and biotechnological applications; biogenesis of mitochondria, chloroplast and peroxisomes; and the biosynthesis, structure and function of plant cell walls. You’ll also explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging and their relative advantages and disadvantages for analysing protein and cellular function.
In the final part of the course you'll work on an independent laboratory-based research project related to your course options. You’ll receive extensive training in experimental design, the practical use of advanced techniques and technologies, data analysis and interpretation, and will be assigned a research project supervisor who will support and guide you through your project.
We provide the very best learning resources and academic support and our teaching draws on the University’s world-class research base and highly-qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.
You’ll experience wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.
Through your research project and specialist plant science and biotechnology modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a scientist who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.
We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.
The strong research element of the Plant Science and Biotechnology MSc, along with the specialist and generic skills you develop, mean you’re equipped for a wide range of careers.
Our graduates work in diverse posts, ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.
Links with industry
We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advise us on what they look for in graduates and on employability-related skills within our programmes.
We collaborate with a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial sectors. Many of these are represented on our Industrial Advisory Board. They include:
Industrial research placements
Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.
A substantial proportion of our graduates undertake further study at Leeds or elsewhere. Recent graduates have gone on to:
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.