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We have 44 Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships



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Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 44 Behavioural Biology 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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Predators and lowland wading birds: from models to management

This project will give conservation organisations knowledge and tools to conserve key endangered bird species by creating the first multispecies bird-predator model to predict predation impacts and the effectiveness of alternative management regimes to minimise these impacts. Read more

Evolution of chemosensory behaviours in Drosophilids

Research environment. Our lab and the Department of Biology offer a friendly and stimulating work environment, with excellent conditions in terms of infrastructure, know-how, and collaboration. 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 non-invasive biomarkers of health and welfare, to assess the impact of anthropogenic disturbance in an endangered non-human primate. . Read more

Forging a Digital Twin of the Gut-Brain Axis

Our guts shape how we think, and our minds shape how our guts work. Intestinal tracks of all animals, including humans, contain massive numbers of neurons which are essentially brains unto themselves. Read more
Last chance to apply

Short and long-term genetic and behavioural consequences of traumatic brain injury in fruit flies

General background . How many fingers am I holding up? What day of the week is it? Follow my finger? These three questions are designed to test your sensory, memory and motor neural abilities following an accident; all three systems are affected by a severe deceleration of your brain. Read more
Last chance to apply

Understanding the role of pigmentation in retinal and vision development

Establishing structure-function correlations in vision development  . The aim of this project is to develop methods to study the relationship between pigmentation and vision development in humans and zebrafish.  . Read more
Last chance to apply

Identifying the neurogenetic network underlying visually-driven sleep

General background. Sleep is a behavioural quiescence widely observed in the animal kingdom. During sleep, an animal’s motor activity, as well as their responsiveness to environmental stimuli, are largely reduced. Read more

Self-funded MSc R- Effects of age on disease defence strategies in ants

Group living offers favourable conditions for the spread of infectious diseases, because high population densities and frequent social contacts facilitate pathogen transmission. Read more

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