Research course

Structural Biology

The University of Manchester · Faculty of Life Sciences

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, an Upper Second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a related subject area. A Lower Second class Honours degree may be considered if applicants also hold a Masters degree with a Merit classification.

Months of entry

January, September, July, April

Course content

Structural biology is a rapidly developing area of biology that is aimed at determining the beautiful three-dimensional structures of biologically-important molecules such as proteins, DNA and RNA.

Structural biology developed as a field alongside molecular biology in the 1950s and 1960s and almost everyone knows some of the pioneers in this field - Hodgkin, Wilkins Watson, Crick who determined the structure of DNA. Less widely known are the pioneers of protein structure determination - Kendrew and Perutz.

Developments in computer software and instrumentation mean that structural biology is rapidly expanding and soon structure determination for some proteins will be a routine operation.

The spectacular recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy of biological macromolecules mean that structures of large complexes can be obtained in days rather than the years that were previously needed.

Structural biology is crucial for the drug industry for identifying drug binding sites in target proteins. It is also used for drug optimisation where the structure of the protein/drug complex is studied.

Structural biology is also vital in biotechnology where the knowing the structure of enzymes allows their mechanism of action to be determined and their activity to be optimised or even changed to produce a novel product.

Information for international students

International applicants interested in this research area is can also consider the 4 year International PhD programme .

This unique programme will enable you to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning, whilst also carrying out independent research.

Fees and funding

Funded programmes and projects are promoted throughout the year. Funding is available through UK Research Councils, charities and industry. We also have other internal awards and scholarships for the most outstanding applicants.

For more information on available funding, please visit the funding opportunities page.

Qualification and course duration


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


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

+44 (0)161 275 5608