Information for prospective doctoral researchers

The College of Medical & Dental Sciences is made up of five schools: Cancer Sciences, Clinical & Experimental Medicine, DentistryHealth and Population Sciences and Immunity and Infection

Each School has a Director of Graduate Studies responsible for managing graduate student matters within the School. Some Schools also have two or more Graduate Studies Co-ordinators who are responsible for day-to-day management of graduate research student issues. 

All Doctoral Researchers are automatically members of the University’s Graduate School, which aims to enhance the academic, social and residential facilities available to research students.  The Director of the Graduate Research School is Dr Brian Ford-Lloyd. 

Research Degree Programmes

The College MDS offers the following research degrees:

MRes...

The MRes is a 12 month programme comprising training in research with an emphasis on the acquisition of research skills. The programme comprises between 30 and 70 credits of taught modules from a notional 180 credits for the programme, together with one or more research report(s) or a thesis. The College offers an MRes in Biomedical Research with two pathways

These are 12 month pathways containing both taught and research elements.  The research element will comprise one or more theses or reports (up to a maximum of 15,000 words), amounting to 60% of the programme.  The remainder of the programme will involve specialist research training. An oral examination in an approved form shall normally be obligatory and a candidate’s performance on the programme shall be taken into account at each stage of assessment.

The MRes for the Molecular and Cellular Medicine normally forms the training year (year one) of a 1+3 PhD studentship. Please note the eligibility requirements before proceeding with an application.

The in vivo MRes is open to self funded applicants. 

MSc by Research...

The MSc by Research is normally of one year’s duration, in which the key activity is undertaking research, combined with appropriate research training (which may be credit-bearing). Registered Students must produce a thesis containing research work of merit. Candidates are expected to have an adequate knowledge of their field of study:  in many cases they may be asked to attend specified lecture programmes, seminars, etc in order to consolidate and broaden their understanding.

The word limit for a MSc by Research thesis is 30,000 words (excluding footnotes, appendices and bibliography)

In the College of MDS it is standard practice for a student to be enrolled on an MSc by Research during the first year of their PhD studies and upgraded to a PhD after satisfactory completion of their first year.

PhD...

The PhD is normally of three years’ duration (six years part-time) and is examined by research and thesis.

The degree of PhD is awarded to successful candidate after a period of advanced study (including training in research) in basic medical/dental sciences, a field of dentistry, medicine, nursing or physiotherapy, or in a related health area.  The study must culminate in the completion of original work of merit, all or a significant part of which must be worthy of publication in a learned journal.  

These studies are carried out over an extensive period under supervision.  The time spent by the candidate cannot be less than two years full-time, or its part-time equivalent, although in practice candidates are normally expected to take three years full-time or its part-time equivalent before they submit a thesis.  

Candidates are expected to have an adequate knowledge of the discipline within which their specific field of study falls:  in many cases they may be asked to attend specified lecture programmes, seminars, etc in order to consolidate and broaden their understanding.

It may be possible to submit for a PhD in less than years of full-time study (or six years part-time).  However, this is exceptional and will require the approval of the School and University at an early stage.

The word limit for a PhD thesis is 50,000 words (excluding footnotes, appendices and bibliography). 

MD...

Registration for the degree of MD is open to all applicants holding an MBChB or equivalent primary medical qualification and who hold an honorary or substantive appointment of the University of Birmingham (N.B. For these purposes a University Hospital Birmingham contract does not suffice). Such candidates should be carrying out their research in the Birmingham or one of its associated hospitals. External Registration (ie: when the research is being carried out outside of Birmingham and/or its associated hospitals) is not permitted.

The period of registration is a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years and is examined by research and thesis.

The degree is awarded to a successful candidate after a period of research normal in clinical medical sciences. The study must culminate in the completion of an original work of merit, all or a significant part of which must be worthy of publication in a learned journal. The Examiners will conduct a viva voce examination of the candidate based on the thesis.

The word limit for an MD thesis is 50,000 words (excluding footnotes, appendices and bibliography).

Any queries regarding eligibility for the degree of MD should be addressed in the first instance to Niki Windridge, Postgraduate Administrative Assistant - n.j.windridge@bham.ac.uk