Research course

Biological Sciences

University of Portsmouth · School of Biological Sciences

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Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate include a good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry

February, October

Course content

If you want to continue to be immersed in the biological sciences, and further your career with a postgraduate research degree, get started at Portsmouth.
We're exploring topics ranging from the evolution of life on Earth, to the huge ecological consequences of human activity, to the growing danger posed by antibiotic resistance. By studying for a postgraduate research degree with us, you'll play a part in our mission to turn our expertise into impact. You'll also become a part of our research community and engage in research projects supervised by academics who are specialists in their fields.
You'll work in modern laboratories with some of the latest equipment contributing to our world-class research. 72% of our research outputs in the area of Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences – which includes Biological Sciences – were classed as world leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
You'll get the opportunity to work across research disciplines including molecular, micro, marine and environmental biology. Your research may also be closely linked to Biomedical Science and Pharmacy, Geography, and Earth and Environmental Science.
What you'll experience
When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.
You'll have access to our biophysical laboratories including equipment such as 600 MHz NMR spectrometer with cryo-probe, X-ray diffractometer, confocal-laser scanning, and transmission electron microscopes. You can also use our extensive facilities for bacterial growth and protein purification.
You can also access facilities for Synchrotron Radiation at the Diamond Light Source (Harwell) and ESRF (Grenoble), Neutron Scattering facilities at Institute Laue-Langevin (Grenoble) and protein expression facilities at OPPF (Harwell).
At our Institute of Marine Sciences, you can use the following facilities:
  • Aquarium rooms with temperature-controlled flow-through sea water system
  • Shallow water research and testing platform
  • Quarantine facilities for non-native species
  • Experimentally-controlled temperature rooms
  • Molecular, general and sediment laboratories
Work experience and career planning
Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.
Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.
What you'll study
Research areas

  • Taxonomy and systematics – identifying and naming organisms, and determining their evolutionary relationship to other organisms
  • Functional morphology – analysing and comparing how organisms function
  • Genetics – the diversity of genes and their evolution
  • Autecology – the interaction of an organism with its environment
  • Synecology – the interactions of populations of organisms within an environment
  • Ecology and conservation
  • Ecotoxicology and pollution
  • Plant sciences
  • Animal sciences (zoology)
  • Ecophysiology
  • Climate change

  • Biofilms
  • Environmental microbiology
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Biosurfactant fermentation
  • Bioprocess development
  • Biosynthesis of nanomaterials
  • Biorefinery

  • Cell and stem cell biology
  • Embryonic development
  • Genetics
  • Epigenetics
  • Molecular biology
  • Evolution
  • Ageing
  • Animal behaviour
  • Aquaculture
  • Biotechnology and biofuels
  • Cetaceans
  • Climate change
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Fisheries protection
  • Impacts of pollutants (e.g. metals, pharmaceuticals, microplastics)
  • Marine conservation and restoration
  • Mangrove ecology
  • Marine microbiology
  • Marine aquarium trade
  • Ocean acidification
  • Underwater video and remote sensing
  • Structural biology
  • Physical biochemistry
  • Synthetic biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Molecular enzymology

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Research Team - Faculty of Science
+44 (0)23 9284 2994