Research course


University of Edinburgh · School of Engineering and Electronics
PhDMPhilMSc by research

Entry requirements

To study at postgraduate level you should have a first degree in an appropriate subject or relevant qualifications and experience. Confirm with the School to find out whether there are specific entry requirements for this programme. If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English: IELTS Academic module: 6.5 (with score no lower than 6.0 in each section); TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (with no score lower than 20 in each section); PTE: 61 (with no score lower than 56 in each section); CPE: Grade C; CAE: Grade B.

Months of entry


Course content

The Institute for Bioengineering (IBioE) is a highly interdisciplinary research area that forges connections between engineering, physical sciences, biology and medicine. It aims to research and develop innovative diagnostic, therapeutic and real-time monitoring biomedical devices and technologies.

Research profile

Leading research areas include:

  • assistive technologies for stem cell medicine
  • medical diagnostics and biosensing
  • synthetic biology and industrial biotechnology

Within assistive technologies for stem cell medicine, research focuses on engineering approaches to assist in the provision of stem cells (SCs) for regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Examples of this area include 3D stem cell printing technologies for organ regeneration and tackling the challenges of ex vivo expansion of artificial blood from human stem cells.

IBioE is also actively pursuing the emerging area of synthetic biology and industrial biotechnology. This, for example, includes a Scottish Enterprise funded project on developing automated microfluidic handling system for genome segment assembly in collaboration with a leading synthetic biology company-GinkoBioworks in Boston.

Training and support

Students are strongly encouraged and trained to present their research at conferences and in journal papers during the course of their PhD.

Students are also encouraged to attend transferable skills courses provided by the University and to participate in external courses provided by organisations such as the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

PhD candidates pursue their research projects under continuous guidance, resulting in a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge. You will be linked to two academic supervisors, and one industrial supervisor if the project is industrially sponsored.

Research opportunities

We offer a comprehensive range of exciting research opportunities through a choice of postgraduate research degrees: MSc by Research, MPhil and PhD.

Masters by Research

An MSc by Research is based on a research project tailored to a candidate’s interests. It lasts one year full time or two years part time. The project can be a shorter alternative to an MPhil or PhD, or a precursor to either – including the option of an MSc project expanding into MPhil or doctorate work as it evolves. It can also be a mechanism for industry to collaborate with the School.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree resembles a PhD but generally takes two years instead of three and does not carry the same requirement for original contribution to knowledge. You pursue your individual research project under supervision, submitting your thesis at the end of the project.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

As a PhD candidate you pursue a research project under continuous guidance, resulting in a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge. In the School of Engineering you will be linked to two academic supervisors and one industrial supervisor if the project is industrially sponsored.

Department specialisms

Assistive technologies for stem cell medicine. Medical diagnostics and biosensing. Synthetic biology and industrial biotechnology.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
part time
72 months


full time
24 months
part time
48 months

MSc by research

full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Graduate School Administrator
+44 (0)131 651 7213