Physical Sciences for Health PhD/Masters/MSc

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Physical Sciences for Health PhD/Masters/MSc

This is an interdisciplinary programme that draws on skills and expertise from across the spectrum of science, engineering and medicine at Birmingham. It is based in the Centre for Doctoral Training, set up through an EPSRC award to train high quality engineering and physical science graduate students in a multidisciplinary environment

Course fact file

Type of Course: Combined research and taught, doctoral research, taught

Study Options: Full time

Duration: 4 Years Full Time: Integrated PhD (taught and research)

Start date: September/October

Contact

Read FAQs for this programme

Admissions Tutor: Professor Mike Hannon

If you complete our contact form we will respond to your enquiry within two business days.

Alternatively, you can contact us on +44 (0)121 414 8808 or by email: 

sci-phy@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Details

First year

In the first year students follow a training programme that provides the necessary theoretical foundations, laboratory and practical skills for cross-disciplinary research at the Biomedical Interface. Six tailor-made taught modules and two mini-projects are combined with training in communication skills, public understanding of science and knowledge transfer. This training is an integral part of the PhD programme and is key preparation for the PhD thesis project. Students additionally receive an MSc for the year 1 studies.

Second, third and fourth years; PhD thesis research project

On attainment of a MSc award the students engage in their individual three-year PhD research projects. Each project involves three elements: a biological system, one or more imaging technologies, and advanced analysis of the system or image data generated. Each project has three supervisors, one for each of the three areas. One supervisor is the lead supervisor. The DTC provides both study and pastoral support, through dedicated staff and the peer network. The research and team coherence, actively developed in year one through a variety of group activities, continue to be nurtured in the subsequent years through regular pairings, seminars and other Centre-wide activities.

Integration between disciplines

On successful completion of year 1 the students engage in their individual PhD thesis research projects. Each project involves three elements: physical science and computer science applied to a biomedical challenge. Each project has three supervisors, a physical scientist, a computer scientist and a biomedic, one for each of the three areas. One supervisor is the lead supervisor. The CDT provides both study and pastoral support, through dedicated staff and the peer network. The research and team coherence, actively developed in year one through a variety of group activities, continue to be nurtured in the subsequent years through regular pairings, seminars and other Centre-wide activities.

Fully funded PhD places available

Each year the DTC will be able to provide between 10-15 fully funded EPSRC studentships (stipends, fees & bench fees) to UK students and possibly EU students. All candidates are advised to refer to the EPSRC website to check their status and eligibility for EPSRC studentships.

Non-EU Students are not eligible for EPSRC studentships but may secure their own finance or seek competitive scholarships from the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University. Up to ten elite scholarships are offered each year across all engineering and physical science disciplines. More information about postgraduate elite scholarship opportunities across the University of Birmingham is available from the Student Funding Office.

Related links

Research and Training Centre in Physical Sciences for Health

Why study this course

The focus of Physical Sciences for Health training is on equipping early stage researchers to be interdisciplinary scientists focused on addressing key health challenges. The training programme offers a real integration between the disciplines within the various individual research projects. The complementary research perspectives and skills brought by the participating academics will uniquely enable training to tackle challenging problems that could not otherwise be satisfactorily addressed and resolved. In this way the research and training are at the cutting-edge, leading to understanding and insights not accessible within a single scientific discipline.

  • Work with Diamond synchrotron facility 
  • Team-building residential courses in the Lake District
  • Entrepreneurship talent pool
  • Intellectual Property training
  • Exhibitions for Birmingham Science Museum, Thinktank
  • Practical experience in media contact
  • Presentations at international conferences
  • Teaching and training from over 75 academics across the University campus
  • Commercial exposure to a network of 20 partner companies

Fees and funding

Standard tuition fees for Postgraduate Research study apply.
Learn more about PG Research fees and funding.

In addition a bench fee of £7000.00 per annum is payable which covers research costs including consumables.

Scholarships and studentships
Fully funded studentships for UK and EU students (tax free stipend £13,726 in 2013-2014) are available for entry into an interdisciplinary 4 year PhD programme on Physical Sciences for Health.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. 

For further information contact the Centre directly via email psibs@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a 2:1 (Hons) degree in a related subject (Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, Natural Sciences, Computer Science, Engineering or Mathematics).

Please be aware that entry to our programmes is highly competitive: consequently we also consider the skills, attributes, motivation and potential for success of an individual when deciding to make an offer.

Learn more about entry requirements  

International students
We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements

Standard English language requirements apply

How to apply

Learn more about applying

Apply now

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

Read FAQs for this programme

Admissions Tutor: Professor Mike Hannon

If you complete our contact form we will respond to your enquiry within two business days.

Alternatively, you can contact us on +44 (0)121 414 8808 or by email: 

sci-phy@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Learning and teaching

First year: taught modules

In the first year students follow a training programme that provides the necessary theoretical foundations, laboratory and practical skills for cross-disciplinary research at the Biomedical Interface. Core material is taught by dedicated CDT staff while detailed applications in various areas are presented as seminars by the relevant specialists including other academic staff and our industrial partners. Our ethos throughout the programme is of individual support starting from year one.

First year: mini-projects

Each student undertakes two different mini-projects within the first year to practice core experimental and research skills. All projects involve three elements: physical science and computer/data analysis and is applied to a biomedical challenge.

PhD Thesis project

On completion of year 1 students engage in their individual PhD Thesis research projects (often chosen as a development of one of the mini-projects). In the same way as for mini-projects, each project involves a biological system, one or more physical sciences and significant computer analysis of data generated.

To ensure the students continue to develop a broad base of expertise, a ‘Buddy Scheme’ pairs each student with another student from different background and on a different project. The students also participate in CDT wide imaging workshops, and additional training courses (1 module per year) specific to their chosen research area.

All years

The stimulation of novel research is an important part of CDT activity. Seminars and workshops with internal and external academic and industrial speakers allow students to learn about new technologies and concepts at the interface of physical science, imaging and biomedicine. Sci-Phy students automatically become members of the University Graduate School which provides a variety of generic courses such as IT skills and presentation skills.

Contact

Read FAQs for this programme

Admissions Tutor: Professor Mike Hannon

If you complete our contact form we will respond to your enquiry within two business days.

Alternatively, you can contact us on +44 (0)121 414 8808 or by email: 

sci-phy@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Employability

The continuous advancement in the physical sciences and engineering is constantly enhancing the quality and complexity of imaging tools available to solve key biological challenges. Consequently, biological and biomedical scientists now have at their disposal a wide range of imaging devices at all levels of biological organisation, from molecules to the whole animal. Imaging has the capability to provide an enormous amount of information, hence recent moves to cell based assays in high throughput drug screening and the increasing use of in vivo imaging modalities in diagnostics.

In order to fully realise this potential and make new substantial and significant developments in the biomedical sciences, leading edge researchers must both understand the physical basis and current limitations of these technologies, and have a sound understanding of key biological questions to be addressed.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. 

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. 

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Range of Employers for PSIBS’s Graduates 

 

  • National Physics Laboratory
  • EPSRC
  • University College London
  • Price Waterhouse Cooper
  • Brunel University
  • University of Bremen
  • Herriott Watt
  • University of Birmingham 

Range of Occupations for Birmingham's PSIBS’s Graduates

 

  • Portfolio Manager
  • ORUK (Orthopaedic Research UK) Research Fellow
  • Research Associate in Photo acoustic Imaging instrumentation
  • Research Assistant in 3D-Massomics
  • Research Assistant in Surface and Nanoanalysis
  • Accountant

Visit the Careers section of the University website for further information

Contact

Read FAQs for this programme

Admissions Tutor: Professor Mike Hannon

If you complete our contact form we will respond to your enquiry within two business days.

Alternatively, you can contact us on +44 (0)121 414 8808 or by email: 

sci-phy@contacts.bham.ac.uk