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Anatomical model of a human heart

British Heart Foundation 4-year PhD

Complete an MRes in Year 1 before undertaking innovative PhD training in cardiovascular sciences.

Our British Heart Foundation (BHF) 4-year PhD programme provides tailored doctoral training for postgraduate students with an interest in cardiovascular sciences. Four fully-funded studentships are available annually.

Why undertake a BHF 4-year PhD?

  • Successful completion of the Year 1 will give you an MRes in Cardiovascular Sciences and help you choose the area you want to specialise in for the next three years.
  • Learn from principal investigators with world-leading expertise in the molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms underpinning cardiovascular function in health and disease, and translation to the clinic.
  • Discover how to take novel, interdisciplinary approaches to key research questions to better understand cardiovascular health and disease.
  • Choose from lab projects in areas including functional physiology, cell signalling, human genetics, in vivo disease modelling, informatics, bioengineering, computer modelling, novel delivery mechanisms, omics approaches, structure-function mechanisms, regenerative medicine and imaging.
  • Become an active member of the research group and develop your presentation skills, by participating in seminars, keynote lectures, external conferences and public engagement activities.
2018 student cohort


Taught units are combined with mini research projects in Year 1 to help you develop your knowledge and practical skills in various research methodologies and subject areas. The ultimate goal is to help you choose your final PhD project.

You will receive an MRes in Cardiovascular Sciences at the end of your first year before going on to start your three-year PhD project under supervision.


See the programme structure page for details of what you will cover and how you will be assessed.


Our trainees are based in our core facilities, known as the Biomedical Corridor, which comprises the Core Technology Facility (CTF), AV Hill and Smith Buildings. This means you will be immersed in a thriving environment consisting of flexible lab space, state-of-the-art equipment, conferencing facilities and dedicated write-up areas.

British Heart Foundation four year PhD student Alexandra Njegic

"The programme has provided me with an excellent insight into cardiovascular science and allowed me to tailor a PhD in which I have a genuine interest. In Year 1 you gain so much additional experience, meet new people and gain a broader knowledge of cardiovascular research."

Alexandra Njegic / British Heart Foundation PhD student

Funding and stipend

All entrants into this PhD programme receive prestigious funding through the British Heart Foundation to support their training.

Studentships cover the full MRes and PhD tuition fees at the UK rate, associated research expenses and an annual tax-free stipend (currently £19,919).

International applicant eligibility requirements

We aim to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK.

Funding for this programme will cover UK tuition fees and stipend. However, we are able to offer a limited number of scholarships that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants.

These full studentships for international applicants will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates due to the competitive nature of this scheme.


Making an application

Applicants for the 4-year PhD programme should hold (or expect to obtain) a minimum Upper Second class degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an associated biomedical/biological sciences subject.

If you wish to be considered for a British Heart Foundation PhD studentship and meet our eligibility criteria, you must complete a single online application.

Full details on eligibility and residence criteria are available on the How to apply page.

Application process

Please follow our instructions on how to apply for a British Heart Foundation PhD programme.

Key dates

  • Application deadline: 30 November 2021
  • Interviews: Week beginning 10 January 2022. We will confirm closer to the interviews if they will be conducted over Zoom.

Applications must be submitted by the deadline, as late applications will not be considered.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please ensure your application is complete and includes all required documentation.

Researcher in the lab

Student support

You will be provided with mentoring support from the Programme Director and a personal academic advisor who acts as an independent tutor.

The advisor is invaluable in providing guidance in areas such as approaches to research, techniques, critical analysis and career development. Both the Programme Director and the advisor will be directly involved in supporting you when you are selecting both your mini projects and final PhD project.


"I have presented my work at many different conferences across the world."

Maria Petkova / British Heart Foundation PhD student

Contact us

Queries regarding the application process can be sent to the Doctoral Academy Admissions Office.

Please contact the Doctoral Academy.


Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5608


Enquiries about the programme should be emailed to the BHF PhD Programme Director, Professor Elizabeth Cartwright.