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Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 23 Behavioural Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

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I am a self funded student


We have 23 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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Harnessing the social transmission of microbiota to improve health and immunity

Commercial partner: . Reckitt UK. , Slough. Social transmission of disease-causing microbes has long been recognised, and person-to-person social contact has recently attracted much negative societal attention for its role in spreading disadvantageous microbes during the COVID19 pandemic. Read more

Epigenetic ageing in insects

Ageing is the combination of DNA, cellular and organ damage leading to a decline in function and increased chance of dying. Aging is a complex process influenced by many environmental and genetic components. Read more

Project at Cranfield University: Optimizing UK landscapes for agroecosystem resilience

Project description. Biodiversity loss is an existential threat to global food security, and agriculture plays a pivotal role in the protection of species for agroecosystem resilience. Read more

The evolution of mating systems and parental care: phylogenetic analyses

Mating systems and parental care are some of the most variable social traits. The project uses vertebrate diversity to understand the evolution of breeding system variation in fishes, amphibians, reptiles birds and mammals. Read more

Intertemporal Processes in Neurocognitive Development

Join a programme of work that aims to build conceptual and empirical bridges between the physiological, psychological, and cultural influences on human adolescent development. Read more

Solitary and social bees’ cognition: is there a difference?

Applications are invited for a self-funded PhD project to investigate cognitive skills in solitary and social bees. The supervisors will be Dr Gema Martin-Ordas and Dr Mario Vallejo-Marin (University of Stirling). Read more

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