Research course

Adaptive Organismal Biology

The University of Manchester · Faculty of Life Sciences

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirement is a First or Upper Second class honours degree, or the overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject. In certain circumstances, a Lower Second class honours degree supplemented by appropriate relevant experience, may be acceptable.

Months of entry

January, April, July, September

Course content

The MPhil is a one-year research degree where students get the opportunity to study a specific research project. The MPhil degree can act as a stand-alone degree for applicants who would like to gain experience in a specific area, or can be linked to a PhD programme. Rather than register on a direct entry 3 or 4 year PhD, some postgraduates may first register on a one-year MPhil programme. Subsequently students may then wish to transfer on to a full PhD programme with a further 2 or 3 years of study.

PhD programmes are based on individual research projects that last 3 or 4 years, working with a specific academic supervisor (principle investigators). Applicants are specifically matched with a principle investigator based on their research interests and background.

Adaptive Organismal Biology seeks to understand the responses of complex biological systems to environmental challenges. Research involves comparative and model hopping approaches at whole organism, tissue, cell and gene expression levels. At The University of Manchester there are three main focuses of research within Adaptive Organismal Biology

The Integrative and Comparative Physiology group study torpor and lung surfactant in arousal of bats, sustainability of fish and reptile heart function in changing thermal environments and osmoregulatory physiology of fish migrating between sea and freshwater.
The Aquatic Integrative Biology group examine bioavailability and toxicology of aluminium in freshwater snails and crayfish, while developing novel techniques (eg Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy analysis) to resolve lake plankton population dynamics.
The Biomechanics group combines computational simulation analysis of bipedal movement in hominids, mechanical investigations of anti-herbivore defence in grasses and in vivo studies of respiratory movements in birds.

Information for international students

Students whose first language is not English require a minimum score of 6.5 IELTS, 577 TOEFL (paper), 233 TOEFL (computer), 90 TOEFL (internet).

Fees and funding

PhD funding is offered annually via Research Council studentships, and several studentships are available from charities, internal funds and some industrial sponsored awards. The eligibility criteria and level of the awards are subject to change so please check the Faculty of Life Sciences website for current information.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36-48 months
part time
72-96 months


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Faculty of Life Sciences Postgraduate Research Office
+44 (0) 161 275 5608
+44 (0) 161 275 5657