Biochemistry and Physiology PhD

I have enthusiastic supervisors who are always more than happy to listen and guide me through my PhD. The University also offers a variety of workshops, such as help with writing scientific papers or reviews, which have proved really useful.

Pamela Farshim PhD Developmental Neuropharmacology

Why choose this course?

The School of Biosciences and Medicine is home to a vibrant research community and has well-established collaborations with industry and clinical practice.

Our academics are engaged in world-leading discovery and translational research to improve human and animal health.

We use biochemical and molecular techniques to tackle a wide range of problems, including cancer, vaccine biology, diet, infectious diseases, sleep, addiction and cardiovascular disease.

What you will study

Research facilities and equipment

The Department of Biochemical Sciences uses the Faculty core technology programme that supports equipment-intensive research technologies and promotes their use in multidisciplinary research.

This includes facilities for transcriptomics, bioinformatics, proteomics, metabolomics, advanced microscopy and fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Our human studies are supported by a state-of the- art clinical trials facility within our Clinical Research Centre where we perform first-in-man trials of experimental medicines and vaccines.

We also have all the standard analytical and project-specific equipment you would expect for research in biochemistry and physiology, including that for cell culture, biochemistry, electrophysiology and molecular biology.

PhD overview

As a PhD student at Surrey, you’ll receive individual tuition in your specialist field, as well as tailored research training. We specialise in studies employing an integrated systems biology approach encompassing clinical, laboratory and computational investigation.

Close links with industry and clinical practice are encouraged, and many of our projects are directly sponsored by industry.

At the core of our PhD programmes are the regular meetings that you will have with your supervisors. In the first year, you will – with the guidance and support of your supervisors – lay the foundations of your research by learning techniques, planning the structure of your work and starting to gather data, based on an agreed timetable.

Your supervisors will guide you on how to present at conferences and on the process of getting research data published.

PhD students are initially registered for a probationary period and proceed to full PhD registration after one year, subject to a successful confirmation report and viva voce exam. The research towards a PhD normally takes approximately three years, with a further year to write the PhD thesis and take the viva voce exam.

Research areas

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Computational and systems biology
  • Sleep, chronobiology and addiction
  • Nutrition, metabolism and diabetes
  • Exercise and musculo-skeletal health
  • Physical activity and vascular function

Recent projects include, but are not limited to:

  • The influence of diet on brain development
  • The role of oxytocin in drug addiction
  • The influence of food and light on biological rhythms and sleep
  • Mechanisms of anti-cancer drug resistance
  • In silico modelling of drug action


Every year we offer a number of funded studentships. These are advertised on the Faculty Studentships and Scholarships page as and when they become available.

Research award

All postgraduate researchers are eligible for the University’s Postgraduate Student of the Year award.

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 30-48 months October, April
PhD Part-time 60-96 months October, April

Entry Requirements

Candidates should have a good honours degree (upper second) in an appropriate discipline, but prior experience in research or industry may be acceptable. Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, independent study is essential, as is a good command of the English language. Please contact the Department of Biochemical Sciences to discuss your experience and qualifications

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 7.0

IELTS minimum by component: 6.5

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4195 £20,000
Part-time £2100 £10,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College supports researcher excellence and employability across the doctoral and early career stages of the researcher journey.

Find out more

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

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