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Course content

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

  • Q-TOF-MS with electrospray and imaging MALDI options along with LC and associated equipment for proteomic analysis
  • synaption mobility mass spectrometer
  • single cell recording electrophysiology laboratory
  • real time PCR
  • flow cytometer with cell sorter
  • cell culture facilities for bacterial and mammalian cells
  • confocal microscopy suite
  • DNA microarray scanner
  • biacore facility
  • NMR

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

  • you can complete fieldwork or laboratory work in your home country, in an area directly linked to your professional or career development interests
  • access to local facilities and supervisory support in your home country combined with the expert supervisory guidance of our academic staff
  • short, intensive periods of face-to-face working with a dedicated supervisory team in Sheffield, while enjoying the educational, social and cultural benefits of studying in the UK

Course structure

Research training

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:

  • critical analysis and evaluation of technical written material
  • information retrieval and storage
  • research presentation, report writing and refereeing
  • quantitative methods and appropriate IT skills
  • project planning and management
  • research ethics, including online epigeum training

Bioscience Forum

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.

Visit the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre MPhil Research Degree page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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