Research course

Molecular and Cellular Biology

University of Birmingham · School of Biosciences

Entry requirements

Applicants should be of a high calibre with a first or upper second class Hons. degree. International and EU students are welcomed with equivalent qualifications.

Months of entry


Course content

This programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path.
The programme aims to provide training in the practical aspects that underlie research science in this field. To achieve this aim the course contains a very high level of hands-on research, as it is our view there is no better training than lab experience.
Programme content
Two-thirds of the programme is taken up by two 20-week research projects, which are undertaken in different laboratories and with different supervisors. A very wide range of research topics falling within the scope of molecular and cellular biology is available within the School; this range extends from structural biology at one extreme to multicellular systems at the other.
In addition to this direct research experience, there are two compulsory taught modules which provide training in:
  • Science Funding and Enterprise Skills in Biosciences
  • Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology
These modules cover the basic principles underlying scientific research methods and the design of biological/biochemical experiments, and discussion of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology. In addition, the science funding and enterprise module provides the skills required to obtain funding for sciences. This includes grant and business case writing and scientific presentation skills. You can also take courses to develop general research skills arranged through the Biosciences Graduate Research School.
The taught modules consist of a combination of seminars and lectures. The lab work that is carried out during the course is student-led. You will be able to choose areas of molecular and cellular biology that fit with your career aspirations.
The two taught modules are assessed via examination, essays and oral presentations. The two research projects are assessed via written thesis and an oral examination.
Skills gained
This programme offers the following advantages:
  • Broad training in the skills and techniques of contemporary research in molecular and cellular biology
  • The opportunity to experience research in at least two different areas
  • Increased breadth and experience, which will enhance subsequent employability
The course will also enable you to:
  • Conduct and fund independent research
  • Present research results in an appropriate manner both written and orally
  • Have an appreciation and knowledge of the use of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology
  • Build and develop scientific research projects in the public and private sector
Those who perform effectively in the MRes often continue at Birmingham to a PhD; however, the MRes also provides a very good qualification to move into research and a wide range of professions.

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days (Friday 3 November 2015 and Friday 4 March 2016). Register to attend at:

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit:

Department specialisms

Molecular and Cellular Biology; Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Information for international students

International students are urged to contact the British Council/Educational Office in their own countries for funding opportunities.

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,121 FT - £2,061 PT
International students
£17,910 FT

Please visit:

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005