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MRes Environmental and Biological Nanoscience

Start date
1 year full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Combined research and taught

£4,778 FT (UK students)
£27,360 FT (International Students)
More detail



Our Environmental and Biological Nanoscience MRes is a collaborative endeavour between the Environmental Health Science group in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Biosciences. The course is research focused, with a large project carried out in state-of-the-art laboratories.

This programme is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of nanoscience and its potential environmental and human health-related risk. It focuses on the fundamental and underpinning science but also discusses applications, synthesis and policy, and regulatory responses. The programme is research focused, with a large part devoted to an independent but supervised research project carried out in state-of-the-art-laboratories.

Please note: This programme was previously known as MRes Human and Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology and Nanoscience.

Key features of the programme are:

  • Coverage of nanoscience and its implications
  • Focused teaching and learning modules
  • Experimental, field based or modelling research project

The programme is a collaborative endeavour between the Environmental Health Science group in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Biosciences. Taught and research elements are undertaken concurrently.

As a young scientist and an aspiring academic, I think that Birmingham has given me ample opportunities to prepare myself for the years ahead. I have received scientific training in my field of research, organised and participated in national and international symposia and conferences, and written grant applications (albeit small ones). These, together with a plethora of other training opportunities (e.g. academic writing, conference management, public engagement and the impact of research on public policy), have enabled me to continue to pursue a career in science.

Pallavi Pant


The programme comprises a research project and a taught component:

Research project

The research component of the programme comprises a major project. Research may be based in the area of the extended literature review and/or the research methods module and requires a substantial piece of independent research upon which a written dissertation is based. The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Biosciences are heavily involved in research in nanosciences and its implications on environmental and human health, and have excellent facilities, which include research laboratories, field measurement instrumentation and powerful computers. For projects with other foci, supervision from other schools is also possible. The breadth and depth of expertise and equipment will enable major projects to include experimental laboratory studies, fieldwork and/or modelling and data analysis. The project is supervised by two members of academic staff with knowledge and understanding of the chosen research topic.

Taught component

Environmental and Biological Nanoscience
This module discusses the fundamentals of nanoscience, looking at the unique properties of the nanoscale. Synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials is discussed. Sources, transport and fate of nanomaterials are investigated, along with the relevant environmental processes. The background to the current UK and wider response to nanomaterials is discussed. An extended literature review is expected as part of this review. This broadly based activity is designed to give the student in-depth knowledge of a chosen area of research activity, as well as training in a number of generic skills such as literature searching, critical assessment of scientific literature, report writing and referencing. The extended literature review acts both as a means of formal assessment and a precursor to the major project.

Molecular and cellular mechanisms of (nanomaterial) Toxicology
The principles of toxicology will be covered with respect to the ways in which agents can gain access into biological systems, their biotransformation , disposition and excretion. Differences between molecules and nanomaterials will be highlighted. The mechanisms of adverse effects on biological systems will then be investigated in relation to cellular and genetic toxicity and the potential disease consequences. Particular emphasis will be on understanding the dose–response relationships, methods of assessment and prediction and specific studies on nanomaterials will be highlighted. A library project and an oral presentation to the student group is included.

Research Methods
Students learn key methods relevant to the conduct of research through a series of lectures and independent research exercises. The areas covered include statistical analysis, hypothesis generation, and research planning and project management. There are also research seminars within the School and University, which inform students of current research within the field of air pollution.

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees for 2024/25

  • UK students £4,778 FT only   
  • International students £27,360 FT only

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

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

For further information please contact Alternatively email

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

Our Standard Requirements

Candidates should possess one of the following:

  • At least a second-class Honours degree awarded by an approved university or institution in an appropriate subject
  • A degree without Honours, awarded by an approved university or institution in an appropriate subject, followed by at least two years appropriate postgraduate experience

International Requirements

International Students

English language requirements

Standard English language requirements apply (IELTS: 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any band)

  • IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: Academic 64 with no less than 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

The MRes consists of 180 credits in total. The research project comprises 120 credits and the taught component 60 credits.

Assessment Methods

A range of assessment methods will be used, with taught components assessed by exam, extended literature searches and essays, oral presentations and a written proposal. The research project is assessed by a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words.

This MRes is designed for those with interests in human and environmental health implications of nanoparticles and is recommended for those both in work and just leaving undergraduate education, with interests in nanoscience and its implications for health, safety and the environment. Manufactured nanoparticles and nanomaterials offer many potential socio-economic, health and environmental benefits as a result of the novel properties and behaviour that materials can exhibit when manufactured at the nanoscale. While the production of nanomaterials is undergoing exponential growth, their biological effects and environmental fate and behaviour are relatively unknown.