Research course

Environmental Biology

The University of Manchester · Faculty of Life Sciences

Entry requirements

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 a Masters degree, or appropriate relevant work experience, may be acceptable. Please contact the Faculty of Life Sciences for further information. (Details below). For PhD study, a Masters degree is also required.

Months of entry

January, April, July, September

Course content

Animals, microorganisms and plants live in environments to which they have become adapted through millions of years of evolution. They often have to respond to changes which may be biotic or abiotic in nature, and, increasingly, to anthropogenic perturbations which have resulted in Global Environmental Change. In understanding how organisms respond and interact with one another in their natural and man-made habitats, a wide spectrum of approaches is employed ranging from molecular biology to population biology and community ecology. State-of-the-art facilities for 'controlled environment' are used to regulate climate variables and to study interactions between species. These include greenhouses, controlled environment rooms, whole animal facilities and insectaries. Research projects involve both laboratory and field studies including temperate and exotic habitats. Examples of areas of investigation include:

Seasonal & Hormonal Regulation of Animal Behaviour
Reproductive Strategies of Plants
Animal & Microbes and their Evolution
Pollution & Environmental Change
Plants, Pathogens & Weed Control
Soil Ecology & Mineralization
Evolutionary Genetics
Nutrient Dynamics & Aquatic Pollution
Biological Conservation & Biofilms

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.

Information for international students

Applicants whose first language is not English an IELTS score of 6.5, TOEFL 577 (paper based), TOEFL 233 (computer based) or TOEFL 90 (internet based) is required as a minimum.

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


part time
72-96 months
full time
36-48 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