Research course

Marine Biology

University of Essex · School of Biological Sciences
PhDMPhilMSc by research

Entry requirements

We offer many funding opportunities to support talented postgraduates, ranging from research council studentships and University scholarships to awards funded by charities and other external organisations. For more information, see:

PhD, MPhil, MSc by dissertation.

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

We offer supervision in all areas of staff expertise in marine biology. We have excellent facilities for marine and freshwater studies both in the laboratory and in the field as extensive marine and estuarine habitats of national and international ecological importance are located within a short distance of our Colchester Campus.

Our Department has research links with the UK Environment Agency, British Antarctic Survey, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Miami, English Nature, RSPB and local conservation bodies.

Our campus facilities include a simulated, controlled environment tidal mesocosm, extensive algal and microbiological culture facilities including anaerobic culture facilities, and many controlled environment cabinets for plants, microbes and insect. There are extensive facilities for molecular ecology and we have a state-of-the-art, six compartment controlled light, humidity, CO2 and temperature glasshouse with more than 20 controlled environment chambers housed in a purpose designed space on the ground floor.

We also offer an MPhil and a Masters by dissertation in this subject and part-time research study is also available.

Our School of Biological Sciences has an international reputation for our outstanding record of teaching and research. We are a large department with friendly and supportive staff, in our 2010 National Student Satisfaction Survey we were ranked third in the UK for the subject area 'biology and related sciences'.

We have a range of research groups working on important international and national problems using cutting-edge techniques. The quality of our work is reflected in the large number of publications in high profile academic journals, such as Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy USA, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Cell, Plant Cell, Limnology and Oceanography and Environmental Microbiology. In addition, several of our staff have active leadership roles in learned societies and are editors of leading biological science journals.

Department specialisms

Biochemistry and biophysics; bioinformatics and computational chemistry; cell and molecular biology; ecology; environmental chemistry; molecular medicine; molecular microbial ecology; photosynthesis, plant productivity and plant molecular biology.

Information for international students

IELTS 6.5.

Fees and funding

Some University of Essex studentships available.

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
36 months


part time
48 months
full time
24 months

MSc by research

part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Graduate Administrator
+44 (0)1206 873473