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Structural Biology (PhD)

Structural Biology Overview

Year of entry: 2017

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Overview

Degree awarded
PhD/MPhil
Duration
3-4 years PhD, 1-2 years MPhil
Entry requirements
Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, an Upper Second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a related subject area. A Lower Second class Honours degree may be considered if applicants also hold a Masters degree with a Merit classification.

Full entry requirements

Contact email
Contact telephone
+44 (0)161 275 5608
How to apply

Apply online

On the online application form, select PhD or MPhil for this programme and follow the instructions on our How to Apply page.

Applications must be submitted online well in advance of your anticipated start date (6 weeks for home/EU, 12 weeks for overseas). We cannot accept late applications without prior agreement via the Doctoral Academy.

Home/EU applicants:

April 2017 - submission no later than 15 February 2017

September 2017 - submission no later than 15 July 2017

Overseas applicants:

April 2017 - submission in January 2017

September 2017 - submission no later than 1st June 2017

Programme options

Full-timePart-timeFull-time distance learningPart-time distance learning
PhDYYNN
MPhilYYNN

Programme description

Structural biology is a rapidly developing area of biology that is aimed at determining the beautiful three-dimensional structures of biologically-important molecules such as proteins, DNA and RNA.

Structural biology developed as a field alongside molecular biology in the 1950s and 1960s and almost everyone knows some of the pioneers in this field - Hodgkin, Wilkins Watson, Crick who determined the structure of DNA. Less widely known are the pioneers of protein structure determination - Kendrew and Perutz.

Developments in computer software and instrumentation mean that structural biology is rapidly expanding and soon structure determination for some proteins will be a routine operation.

The spectacular recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy of biological macromolecules mean that structures of large complexes can be obtained in days rather than the years that were previously needed.

Structural biology is crucial for the drug industry for identifying drug binding sites in target proteins. It is also used for drug optimisation where the structure of the protein/drug complex is studied.

Structural biology is also vital in biotechnology where the knowing the structure of enzymes allows their mechanism of action to be determined and their activity to be optimised or even changed to produce a novel product.

At The University of Manchester, infrastructure for structural biology is superb and includes state-of-the-art facilities for cryo-electron microscopy, crystallisation robots, X-ray generators, NMR and computation.

Structural biology is a multidisciplinary area and pursuing a postgraduate research degree in this subject will allow you to develop skills in biology, biochemistry, biophysics and computer science, as well as the opportunity to undergo  rigorous multidisciplinary training.

If you are fortunate, just like Kendrew and Perutz, you will have the unique experience of being the first person on the planet to visualise the structure of a protein or macromolecule and to have the first insights into its mechanism of action.

Alternatively, your project may generate the structural information needed to design a new drug that will be used to treat human disease or to design a new protein to optimise a process in biotechnology. 

About our PhD and MPhil degrees

PhD/MPhil programmes are based on individual research projects that last three to four years (PhD) or one to two years (MPhil), working with a specific Primary Supervisor and Co-Supervisor(s).

Applicants are specifically matched with a Primary Supervisor and individual project based on their research interests and background.

Training and development

All of our postgraduate research students attend the Doctoral Academy Training Programme delivered by the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development (CARD).

The programme provides key transferable skills in areas such as commercial awareness, academic writing and public engagement. This training equips our postgraduates with the tools to progress beyond their research degree into influential positions within academia, industry and consultancy.

The emphasis is on enhancing skills critical to developing early-stage researchers and professionals, whether they relate to effective communication, disseminating research findings and project management skills.

See the training and development page for more information.

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2017, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): Standard £4,195, Low £8,250, Medium £14,500, High £19,500
    International students (per annum): Standard £21,000, Low £23,000, Medium £28,500, High £33,500
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): Standard £2,098, Low £4,125, Medium £7,250, High £9,750
    International students (per annum): Standard £10,500, Low £11,500, Medium £14,250, High £16,750