Biosciences and Medicine PHD
Why choose this course
Our School of Biosciences and Medicine is home to a first-class research community and has well-established connections with industry and clinical practice.
Research within the School fully embraces the ‘bench to bedside’ concept, ranging from molecular and computational studies through to clinical trials. We have a strong interdisciplinary set of research sections and centres which interact with each other, other parts of the University, and with external collaborators.
Our research is truly international, with Surrey academics and students coming from around the globe. Many ongoing research projects involve active collaborations with international researchers and institutions.
The University is home to a Doctoral College and a vibrant researcher development programme that supports postgraduate research students and other research trainees. We also have careers advisers dedicated to the support of postgraduate research students and research trainees.
Our academics are engaged in world-leading discovery and applied research to improve human and animal health, and are frequently published in top academic journals such as Nature, Lancet, and the British Medical Journal. The research in bioscience and medicine is an important part of our Faculty’s interdisciplinary programme of ‘One Health’. As such, our researchers are part of a strong collaborative and interdisciplinary group that includes links to Surrey Health Partners. We’re also regularly featured in the media as experts in the field.
In the 2018 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES), 95 per cent of Surrey students in biosciences and medicine gave positive responses regarding supervision.
What you will study
The biological and medical sciences form an extremely fast-paced area of research that is becoming increasingly relevant in modern society. Our School’s areas of research expertise include:
- Cardiovascular sciences. Strengths include: blood coagulation, cardiac cell signalling pathways, gene therapy, role of cardiac fibroblasts, tissue engineering.
- Immunology. Strengths include: B cell development and function, macrophage function, peroxisomal function in the immune system, T cell function in ageing.
- Medicine. Strengths include: cancer, critical care, diabetes, primary care and clinical informatics, laparoscopic surgery.
- Microbiology. Strengths include: computational modelling and systems biology, mechanisms controlling gene regulation through protein translation, molecular and metabolic network analysis, neglected and emerging tropical diseases, bacteria and virus-host interactions.
- Nutrition and food science. Strengths include: metabolic physiology, diabetes, vitamin D, selenium and other micronutrients.
- Sleep and biological rhythms. World class expertise in human, animal, cellular and molecular approaches to this interdisciplinary area.
- Sports and exercise science. This is a new research area that benefits from use of the state-of-the-art Human Performance Institute in the new £36m Surrey Sports Park
- Statistical Multi-Omics. Leading international research dedicated to dissecting the genetic architecture of complex human diseases including: type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression, high blood pressure and Parkinson's disease.
As a postgraduate research student at Surrey you will develop multiple aspects of your scientific understanding and personal development. This includes a deep and critical knowledge of your own research field, laboratory and/or analytical skills relevant to your project, a general awareness of contemporary biomedical research, application of independent analytical thought, presentation and communication skills, and the ability to solve academic and practical problems.
Most postgraduate research projects in biosciences and medicine will involve a substantial degree of laboratory work, which is necessary to generate the data that underpins the final thesis. However, some research areas will be primarily or entirely related to the analysis of existing scientific or clinical data sets. All projects within biosciences and medicine will require statistical analysis of data. Some projects will be entirely conducted at Surrey, whereas others will involve collaboration with other institutions that may be in the UK or international.
The exact nature of the programme structure will vary according to the details of the project you undertake. However, a confirmation process is undertaken by all postgraduate research students in order to formally assess progress. The confirmation usually occurs between 12 - 15 months for full-time students and 24 - 30 months for part-time students. It requires submission of a written report and successful completion of an oral examination.
In addition to the confirmation process students you will have six-monthly progress reviews with your supervisors. These meetings will reflect upon your progress over the previous six months, discuss successes and challenges, and set targets for the next six months. The progress reviews will be monitored by Postgraduate Research Directors and recorded in the individual file of each student.
As a postgraduate research student you will have at least two supervisors. The primary role of the supervisors is to provide you with academic guidance and tuition throughout your project. Supervisors will have scientific expertise relevant to your research project and help you develop skills in experimental design, conduct and analysis. Supervisors will also be able to provide some level of pastoral support and advice, or be able to refer you to more specialist support where necessary.
You will be required to have one formal meeting with your supervisors every month, and can expect to have more frequent meetings between the formal monthly ones. The frequency of these meetings will depend upon the nature of your project and stage of your project.
The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate Careers and Employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.
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).
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
- Discerning host-pathogen (viruses and bacteria) interactions in health and disease
- Computational approaches to modelling biological systems
- Developing the molecular and physiological bases of circadian rhythms, sleep, immunity and cardiovascular disease
- Defining the nutritional value of micro- and macro-nutrients
- Dissecting the molecular basis of and innovative ways to treat cancer, especially of the prostate
- Improving disease surveillance and health outcome measurements
- Quantum biology
- How is quantum coherence maintained in biological energy harvesting?
- The impact of biological noise in quantum coherence
- Combining multi-omic data analysis methods to increase understanding of key diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Our academic staff
See a full list of all our academic staff within the School of Biosciences and Medicine.
Our School of Biosciences and Medicine is home to world-class specialist facilities.
Clinical sciences and human physiology researchers benefit from use of the Clinical Research Centre, Surrey Clinical Trials Unit, Surrey Human Performance Institute, and links with the Royal Surrey County Hospital.
Molecular and cellular science researchers can access a broad range of modern facilities including: bioinformatics, imaging and flow cytometry, metabolomics, phenomics, stable isotope analysis, and transcriptomics.
Applicants are expected to hold 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.
View entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6 in each individual category.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Selection is based on applicants meeting the expected entry requirements, assessment of application, successful interview and suitable references where required.
For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).
Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.