Molecular and Cellular Biology MRes

MRes student in Biosciences laboratory

This masters programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Combined research and taught

Study Options: Full time

Duration: 1 year

Start date: September

Contact

Biosciences Graduate Research School
Tel:+44 (0)121 414 5891
Fax:+44 (0)121 414 5925
Email: biosciences-phd@bham.ac.uk

Details

This programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path.

The programme aims to provide training in the practical aspects that underlie research science in this field. To achieve this aim the course contains a very high level of hands-on research, as it is our view there is no better training than lab experience.

Programme content

Two-thirds of the programme is taken up by two 20-week research projects, which are undertaken in different laboratories and with different supervisors. A very wide range of research topics falling within the scope of molecular and cellular biology is available within the School; this range extends from structural biology at one extreme to multicellular systems at the other.

In addition to this direct research experience, there are two compulsory taught modules which provide training in:

  • Science Funding and Enterprise Skills in Biosciences
  • Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology

These modules cover the basic principles underlying scientific research methods and the design of biological/biochemical experiments, and discussion of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology. In addition, the science funding and enterprise module provides the skills required to obtain funding for sciences. This includes grant and business case writing and scientific presentation skills. You can also take courses to develop general research skills arranged through the Biosciences Graduate Research School.

The taught modules consist of a combination of seminars and lectures. The lab work that is carried out during the course is student-led. You will be able to choose areas of molecular and cellular biology that fit with your career aspirations.

Assessment

The two taught modules are assessed via examination, essays and oral presentations. The two research projects are assessed via written thesis and an oral examination. 

Skills gained

This programme offers the following advantages:

  • Broad training in the skills and techniques of contemporary research in molecular and cellular biology
  • The opportunity to experience research in at least two different areas
  • Increased breadth and experience, which will enhance subsequent employability 

The course will also enable you to:

  • Conduct and fund independent research 
  • Present research results in an appropriate manner both written and orally
  • Have an appreciation and knowledge of the use of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology
  • Build and develop scientific research projects in the public and private sector

Careers

Those who perform effectively in the MRes often continue at Birmingham to a PhD; however, the MRes also provides a very good qualification to move into research and a wide range of professions.

Related links

 School of Biosciences website

Why study this course

The School of Biosciences has an international reputation as a centre of excellence in the areas covered by this MRes degree.

This programme is designed to prepare students for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree. Applicants for the MRes programme should be of high calibre with first or 2.1 degrees.

Applications will be welcome from students with a background in Physics and Chemistry, as well as from those with a degree in Biochemistry, Biology or other Life Sciences.

Applications from overseas are welcome but note that no funding is available and applicants will have to raise their own funds. EU applicants are also welcome. No living costs can be provided 

Advantages of the programme are:

  • A broader training in the skills and techniques of contemporary research in molecular and cellular biology.
  • The chance to experience substantial research projects in two different areas.
  • A 'flying start' to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is the chosen career path, ensuring completion within three years. MRes students usually find it easy to secure funded PhD posts.
  • The promotion of self-management through the formulation and execution of a Personal Development Plan, ie an individually tailored programme.
  • The increased breadth and experience will make students more adaptable and enhance subsequent employability.
  • An exit point after one year with a recognised qualification for those who decide that further research training is not for them.

A very wide range of research topics falling within the scope of molecular and cellular biology is available with in the School; this range extends from structural biology at one extreme to multicellular systems at the other

Modules

Student writingThe programme consists of three major components comprising 180 credits over 44 weeks.

1. Direct Research Experience – [120 credits]

There will be two 18-week research projects to be undertaken in different laboratories, with different supervisors. The second project will normally be on a significantly different topic than the first project and will employ different techniques, which may be complementary. The objective is to gain some breath of experience in techniques. Each of the two projects will be assessed by a written report and an oral examination with an External Examiner. Lists of research project areas are sent out with application forms (see FindaPhd.com).

2. Training in Research Techniques – [30 credits]

A series of 10 (3 hour) lecture/demonstrations will cover a wide range of modern techniques including:

  • NMR Spectroscopy;
  • X-ray crystallography;
  • Microscopy and fluorescent cell sorting;
  • DNA/peptide/protein Synthesis and Sequencing;
  • Plant and animal cell culture;
  • Immuno-diagnostics;
  • Mass spectroscopy;
  • Reporter gene technology
  • Cell manipulation, transfection and micro-injection;
  • Protein expression and purification.

Assessment will comprise essays and oral presentations. For those who come to us with a physical sciences background, it may be recommended that third year Modules in Biochemistry or Biological sciences may replace attendance at some of the above.

3. Science Funding and Enterprise Skills in Biosciences [10 credits]

The module is taught as a 2 day intensive workshop in which a range of subjects are covered relating to:

  • How science is funded in the public and private sector 
  • Research councils and charities funding 
  • Project Planning 
  • Intelectual property 
  • Financial planning

Assessment take the form of a group work activity aimed at producing a grant proposal or business plan for a research project. This includes a oral presentation of the plan as well as an assessment of a critical review of another groups plan.

Fees and funding

Home students - Standard tuition fees apply

International students - Standard international tuition fees apply (research) - This programme is in Fee band B.

  • Home/EU students £3,996 FT only
  • International students £16,230 FT only

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. 

Find out about scholarships for intenational students.

For further information contact the School directly or get in touch with the Student Funding Office via the online enquiries system at www.studenthelp.bham.ac.uk

Entry requirements

A first- or upper second-class Honours degree. We would particularly welcome applications from those with a background in the physical sciences, as well as those with degrees in Biochemistry, Biology or other life sciences.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

English to IELTS 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in any band).

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Contact

Biosciences Graduate Research School
Tel:+44 (0)121 414 5891
Fax:+44 (0)121 414 5925
Email: biosciences-phd@bham.ac.uk

Learning and teaching

External interactions

In order to broaden experience and interaction with other groups several of the activities described above will be shared with students on the MRC-sponsored course in Molecular and Cellular Immunology and Oncology. We have formed partnerships with Glaxo-SK, Celltech, Hoffmann-La Roche and AgrEvo to ensure that students are made fully aware of the ethos and requirements of progressive industrial employers. This will involve both visits of senior industrial personnel to Birmingham for presentations and discussions and a visit to the Stevenage research facility of Glaxo-SK, where students will experience a mock job interview and give a short oral presentation.

Contact

Biosciences Graduate Research School
Tel:+44 (0)121 414 5891
Fax:+44 (0)121 414 5925
Email: biosciences-phd@bham.ac.uk