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The Department of Biology research has been judged world leading in biochemistry, chronic disease, microbiology, plant biology and ecology and it is competitive internationally in all fields of investigation. With a commitment to interdisciplinary research, our research is arranged in eight foci that use state of the art technology to address three global challenges facing humanity.

Our almost 70 principal investigators are supported by current grants totalling £55 million. Every step of our research is carried out with the indispensable help of postgraduate students. No matter which area of Biology you specialise in, you will be working alongside some of the world’s biggest names in their respective fields, at the cutting edge of scientific exploration.

We have around 120 research students, and we take good care of them. As a research student you can expect:
-A supervisor who directs your research and training
-Your supervisor to spend at least 1 hour per week with you
-A Thesis Advisory Panel of 2 other staff to monitor progress and offer advice
-A progress meeting with your supervisor every 2 months
-A Thesis Advisory Panel meeting every 6 months for which you prepare a report
-A programme of training in research and transferable skills tailored to your needs
-Opportunities to attend seminars by leading scientists from around the world, and to present your own work through posters and talks


All our research students benefit from a balanced programme of training in broader research-related skills that enhance their career prospects. This is tailored to individual needs, taking into account previous experience and future career aims.
-General courses for all students include project planning, writing and presentation, ethics, media, etc.
-Specific courses for individual needs might include advanced science training through our Masters modules in bioinformatics, etc.
-All students are expected to attend a UK GRAD school or similar intensive residential course.
-York Biology employs a Graduate Skills Coordinator who oversees this provision and develops it to meet the needs of all our students.
-Each student has a training record and needs to spend about two weeks each year on training activities
-Our programme is designed to meet and exceed the requirements of the UK research councils.


A research degree is internationally recognised as a demonstration that you have the skills, intellect and motivation to carry out original research and present it convincingly. It is more or less essential to have a research degree if you plan a career as an independent researcher with responsibility for your own research programme, whether in academia, research institutes, or industry. In this case, the next stage will probably be a postdoctoral position where you will broaden your research experience and perhaps do some teaching and help to supervise other staff and students.

A lifetime of research is not for everyone, though, and there are many other careers in which the skills you develop during your research degree will certainly not be wasted. You will have learnt to think rigorously for yourself, to find information and teach yourself what you need to know, to present your case convincingly in writing and to an audience, to meet deadlines, and to plan your work effectively on short and long timescales. Employers of all kinds recognise and value skills like these.


All research students have access to:
-Modern, well-equipped research labs
-Your own desk in a write-up area outside the lab
-The Technology Facility – a very special feature of York – with advanced equipment and expert staff to help you use it; all research students get an annual allowance to use the TF for training and research
-Catering and social areas on site to meet your friends and keep yourself going through those late-running experiments.

Visit the Biology - MSc by Research page on the University of York website for more details!




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