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We have 40 Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships



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Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 40 Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

During a PhD in Behavioural Biology, you would have the opportunity to conduct research into the biology underpinning certain behaviours. Whether you’re investigating a link between a specific disease and behaviour or understanding how an environmental trigger affects the physiological response, you’ll most likely be in a laboratory for the majority of your work.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Behavioural Biology?

Studying a Behavioural Biology PhD, you’ll gain wide-ranging ability in the laboratory but also valuable experience working with participants – a skill that many other Biology-based PhD projects don’t involve. Since you’ll work with people directly, you’ll also develop a deep understanding of the ethical implications of your work and the studies conducted in the literature.

Some typical research topics in Behavioural Biology include:

  • Circadian rhythm and what affects this
  • The link between a specific disease and behaviour
  • The brain and communication
  • An animal’s brain and behaviour
  • Evolution of mechanisms in response to environmental pressure
  • How environment affects healthy systems e.g., the immune system

Generally, PhD programmes in Behavioural Biology are advertised with full funding attached. These are either three-year programmes or a four-year doctoral training programme. Since the project is advertised, the scope and key aim of the project is pre-determined by the supervisor, but you’ll shape the remainder of the project.

Proposing your own research in Behavioural Biology is uncommon as you must find a supervisor with research goals that align with yours, and that has the necessary equipment you’ll need. It can also be a headache finding adequate funding to cover bench fees alongside your PhD fees.

In a normal day, you’ll be in the laboratory performing experiments on samples or on participants, analysing past data, and talking though your results with your supervisor and colleagues. To be awarded your PhD, you’ll have significantly contributed to your field through a thesis of around 60,000 words and to have defended your work during your viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Behavioural Biology PhD programmes involve a Masters in Behavioural Science, Biology, Zoology and Psychology with at least a Merit or Distinction. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Behavioural Science funding options

The Research Council responsible for funding Behavioural Science PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s uncommon for Behavioural Science PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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Circadian Rhythms and Ageing

About the Project. A fully funded PhD position for 3 years is available starting in October 2023 within the School of Pharmacy, University of Kent. Read more

Can behavioural and physiological plasticity help animals to survive in a changing environment?

This PhD project aims to gather crucial information for predicting the ability and requirements of wildlife to cope within anthropogenically-modified environments, using the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) as a model species. Read more

Health and wellbeing in an endangered non-human primate across an anthropogenic gradient

Project summary. This exciting opportunity integrates conservation management and animal wellbeing, using thermography and other non-invasive biomarkers of health and welfare, to assess the impact of anthropogenic disturbance in an endangered non-human primate. Read more

A social-ecological study of large herbivore grazing in a national park

This joint interdisciplinary research project between University of Reading and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust will explore the ecology and management of large herbivore grazing in the New Forest National Park. Read more

MScR - Determining the genetic and circadian basis of bipolar disorder using Drosophila

Circadian rhythms and sleep are evolutionarily conserved from fruit flies (Drosophila) and are fundamental as well as vital to biology and health (Jagannath et al., 2017; Menet and Rosbash, 2011). Read more

Improving welfare of fish in the ornamental trade

Fish are the most numerous UK pet, with many millions shipped live to the UK each year. Transport from international breeders to UK retailers can be a problem for fish welfare, with ethical and economic costs. Read more

Evolution of the honeybee waggle dance

The honeybee waggle dance is among the most sophisticated communication systems in the animal kingdom, but we still do not understand why it has failed to evolve in even a single other social insect. Read more

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