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University of Bristol Postgraduate Programmes

University of Bristol

Since Bristol was founded in 1876, we’ve had a reputation for doing things a little differently. Bristol was the first institute of higher education in the UK to admit women on an equal basis with men. More recently, in 2019, we became the first UK university to declare a climate emergency.

Bristol is one of the top ten universities in the UK (QS World University Rankings 2022). We’re a member of the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities and one of the country's top five for research (THE analysis of REF 2014).

We welcome students and staff from over 150 countries, creating an exciting and diverse community.

University of Bristol Postgraduate Programmes

Our programmes

We offer PhD projects in a wide range of subject areas across our six faculties: Arts, Engineering, Health Sciences, Life Sciences, Science, and Social Sciences and Law.

The University also offers a range of funded doctoral training centres and partnerships. These bring together renowned staff with diverse areas of expertise and industry partners. You will develop the skills, knowledge and confidence you need in preparation for a successful career in academia or industry.

Living in Bristol

Our University is at the heart of Bristol, a historic, lively and green city in the south-west of England. Bristol is less than two hours from London, while also being close to beautiful countryside in Somerset, Devon, and Wales. We've got a lively arts and music scene, sustainable credentials and a thriving modern economy. It's the perfect place for postgraduate study.

Explore our beautiful city campus with our 360-degree virtual tour. You can also visit Bristol for a guided tour with one of our current postgraduates.


The University's outstanding reputation makes our students highly attractive to employers. Bristol is ranked joint seventh in the UK for graduate employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022).

A postgraduate degree from Bristol can equip you with the skills and experience to help you go further in your professional field. Our strong industry connections mean you’ll be well prepared for your future career. The Careers Service offers expert advice and events specifically for postgraduates.

University of Bristol Postgraduate Programmes

Bristol Doctoral College

Bristol Doctoral College provides information, guidance and resources to research students throughout their degree. We support the research community through collaborative events, interactive workshops and engagement opportunities.


The University is continually investing in facilities and technology for our students. In recent years we have committed around £700 million to campus development projects. These ambitious plans will transform our campuses, buildings and facilities and enhance your university experience.


Bristol receives funding for doctoral education from a wide range of sources. We also have one of the largest concentrations of funded doctoral training centres and partnerships in the UK. These often offer full scholarships for three to four years.

Visit the Bristol Doctoral website for for the latest finance information and to search for funding.

Academic Units

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The School provides a unique environment for interdisciplinary research in animal health and welfare, including biostatiscial and mathematical approaches, attracting both biology and veterinary graduates. Internationally recognised research groups (including Animal Behaviour & Welfare; Infection & Immunity) provide the framework for this environment, and encompass research from molecular and cellular to whole organism level. There are strong research programmes in each area and active interdisciplinary collaboration, e.g. a recent VTRI programme bringing together immunologists, microbiologists, behavioural scientists and stress physiologists to train vets in research on the interface between animal welfare and disease. Students receive training in state of the art techniques including immune spectratyping, flow cytometry, behavioural and cognitive testing, DNA cloning and other molecular genetic techniques.

The Animal Behaviour & Welfare group is the largest of its kind in the world. Current research includes pioneering studies of domestic animal cognition and novel approaches to assessing animal emotion, influential work modelling the dynamics of group behaviour, studies investigating the perception of pain in broiler chickens, and development with subsequent knowledge transfer to industry, of validated 'in situ' welfare assessment tools. Collaboration with the other research groups, and with external colleagues, gives a comprehensive training in behavioural, cognitive, physiological, epidemiological and veterinary techniques. We have a growing biostatistics and mathematical modelling group which provides a more sophisticated quantitative approach to our research questions.

Infection & Immunity focuses on mucosal immunology and bacterial molecular pathogenesis. A major focus of the infection biology group is the response of host animals and zoonotic pathogens (e.g. Salmonella, Campylobacter) to the environment, how these are affected by host stress, and how these affect host-pathogen interactions at molecular level. A special interest is invasive disease which leads to food contamination and is a major threat to public health. The mucosal immunology group researches the induction and regulation of immunological responses at mucosal surfaces, the immunopathogenesis of infectious diseases, and immune development and susceptibility to infection in young animals. It is widely recognised as the leading international centre in Europe.

PhD students work in a large and interactive School in which they are exposed to researchers from different disciplines working together in the general area of animal health and welfare, and also to the wider context of their research through the work of clinical colleagues. Regular day-to-day contact between students and supervisors and a general 'open-door' policy ensure that students are able to seek help when required. They meet other staff and students through the course of their work and through regular Departmental seminar programmes in various themed areas (e.g. Infection & Immunity, Animal Behaviour & Welfare) with talks on a wide range of subjects by both national and international speakers. The research environment is well resourced and offers the students the possibility to link up with collaborating Schools within the University and external organisations to learn new techniques.

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Aerospace Engineering is one of the largest departments within the Faculty of Engineering at Bristol. It has been established for over 50 years and is regarded as a leading provider of aerospace research and teaching in the U.K.

Research Profiles:

The Bristol Physics Department is one of the leading Physics institutes in the United Kingdom with a growing international reputation in a wide range of research areas, including astrophysics, correlated electron systems, micro- and nanostructural materials, nanophysics and soft matter, particle physics and theoretical physics. The Department has approximately 100 teaching and research staff; a number that ensures a vibrant yet friendly atmosphere for all its members.

The 5A-rated Department is currently undergoing a major £44M investment programme designed to create a smart state-of-the-art research environment for both students and staff alike. This refurbishment will include an upgrade of all existing infrastructure as well as the construction of new facilities, such as a fully equipped clean room and a new materials laboratory. These exciting developments are in addition to several other major projects recently completed within the Department, such as the new £7M high performance computing centre, an e-Science access grid and a new £12M centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information. In brief, the Department has a bright future, a clear vision and a strong desire to carry out cutting-edge science across all major fields of Physics.

The Graduate School is an integral part of the Department and is responsible for providing students with a wide range of training in both academic and more generic skills. The School also co-ordinates an annual postgraduate conference in addition to several Away Days for the individual research groups that prove immensely popular amongst the students.

The Department takes in around 20 new PhD students per year and welcomes applications at any time. Funding is currently available through EPSRC DTA and STFC studentships, as well as through studentships available on individual research grants. The Department also welcomes applications from non-EC students seeking funding through University of Bristol Overseas Centenary Postgraduate Research Scholarships and Dorothy Hodgkin studentships. We also welcome many home government funded overseas scholarship students and we provide a dedicated travel budget for the use of such students to travel to conferences etc. Further details of current research areas can be found on the departmental website.

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Bristol's engineering heritage is world famous (Clifton Suspension Bridge, SS Great Britain, Concorde, …), and the city continues to be an international leader in engineering. Working at the heart of this local industry and with international standing, the Faculty of Engineering has attracted over £80 million in industrial and governmental research awards over the past five years, and has spent over £25 million on infrastructure and laboratory equipment that will keep it at the forefront of teaching and research.

Applications must be made online here:
Please read the ‘Before you apply’ section of this page for admissions statements, entry requirements and frequently asked questions. When you apply you will be asked to select a PhD programme by department, please select the department which best matches your research interests. Please also state the research group you are interested in working with in the ‘Research Details’ section of the application form.

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As a highly research-active 6*A-rated Department, our mission is to train the next generation of life scientists.

Research in the Department covers all aspects of modern biochemistry, and this is reflected in the wide range of postgraduate projects available. The Department has an international reputation in cell biology, and is probably the best equipped Department in the country for cell imaging techniques, with research centred around the MRC Cell Imaging Facility. Work in this theme covers intracellular trafficking, cell shape and movement, and the control of cell death and proliferation. The Department also has an international reputation for its research in Structural Biology, including rational drug design, mathematical modelling of protein structure and folding and pioneering work on the interactions between DNA and proteins.

These fundamental areas of research have practical applications, and the Department has a commitment to exploiting our basic science to contribute to human health. Work in the Department continues to make important contributions to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and malaria, as well as many other aspects of clinical research.

The Department of Biochemistry takes approximately 16 students onto its postgraduate course each year, offering both 3 and 4-year PhD courses. Over 90% of our intake graduate successfully with a PhD. Most students publish at least one research paper during their studies. The Department takes pride in the standard of its postgraduate programme. Over 75% of our students go on to postdoctoral research in Academia and Industry, both in the UK and abroad. Our remaining students use the transferable skills gained during their study to gain postgraduate level employment.

As a postgraduate student in the Department, our key goal is to teach you the research skills you need to pursue a career in science. We support this with a wide range of training in more generic skills, such as teamwork, problem solving and effectiveness. We also provide more specialised training opportunities, such as entrepreneurship, intellectual property or teaching. We are looking to produce well-rounded postgraduates, rather than research machines.

In return, we expect something from you - we are looking for bright, enthusiastic and highly-motivated students to join our postgraduate programme. Competition for places is high, but we believe we offer a unique environment for talented students. You can find more information about the Department and our postgraduate research, as well as how to apply for a PhD in the Department, on our website:

I hope you find something that interests you in our wide range of PhD projects, and I am happy to help with any enquiries you may have about PhD study here in Bristol Biochemistry.

With best wishes,

Professor Patty Kuwabara
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor

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Over 30 academic and senior research staff supervise the PhDs and MScs by Research of more than 60 graduate students in a wide range of biological disciplines.

Our research is distinctive in the range and depth of subject coverage. We have traditional strength in the biology of whole organisms and considerable expertise in the application of mathematical, molecular and biophysical methodologies to problems of behavioural, conservation, developmental, environmental and evolutionary biology. Research in the School is focussed in 3 main areas: Behaviour, Sensory and Neurobiology; Ecophysiology and Population Biology; Cell and Molecular Biology. In awarding the School a grade 5, the 2001 RAE panel report flagged our international excellence in Behaviour and Sensory Biology and the important discoveries made by several other groups.

An important feature of research in the School is the development of interdisciplinary collaborations. Examples within the School and the University include work linking: physiological ecology of vision, with behavioural ecology and work on UV vision in birds; bat biology with echolocation robotics; the development and application of modelling techniques; molecular techniques centred in plant physiology and environmental microbiology with taxonomic and evolutionary studies in animals.

The University Research Centre in Behavioural Biology fosters co-operation between those who carry out observational and experimental studies of animals in the field or lab, and theoreticians who model behavioural, ecological and evolutionary problems. The Centre is an interdisciplinary venture between the Biological Sciences, Mathematics and Veterinary Schools within the University, and fosters collaborative research and discussions between theoretician and empiricist, be they graduate students or leading experts in the field.

Many research programmes include field studies in a wide range of environments: marine, deep sea and coastal shelf; estuarine and freshwater; terrestrial-temperate, tropical rain forests, savanna and deserts.

Research is supported by BBSRC, MRC, NERC, the EC, the Royal Society, the Wellcome and Leverhulme Trusts, the Wolfson Foundation, DEFRA and other government agencies, and several other charities, and also by industry. There are strong collaborative links with other university departments and with several research institutes.

The School expects to have available about 15 postgraduate studentships per year.

Further details can be found at the School web site

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The School is part of the Faculty Biomedical Sciences and has excellent modern research facilities and wide research interests.

The School (assessed as 'Clinical Laboratory Science') achieved grade 5A in the Research Assessment Exercise of 2001, and as 'Molecular Bioscience' was awarded 24 out of a possible 24 by the Quality Assurance Agency for teaching in November 1999.

Further details of the School and details of available PhD projects and the research interests of potential advisors are available at the School's web site:

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The School offers a range of undergraduate honours degree programmes to meet the needs of a wide variety of careers. The programmes involve excellent professional training in chemistry, together with opportunities to spend a year studying abroad or working in the chemical industry. A distinctive feature of our undergraduate chemistry courses is that each includes a major final year research project, carried out as a member of the research group of a staff member.

We also have a flourishing Graduate School and welcome applications from the UK and overseas for our MSc and PhD programmes. The School's research covers a broad range of topics and this means that you will almost certainly be able to find an area of specialisation to suit your interests.

Bristol is a very pleasant city to live in, the University is among the best in the country, and in the School of Chemistry we aim to help students achieve their ambitions and to enjoy doing so. Further information can be found in various pages throughout this website, including opportunities for visiting the School. I hope you will find these pages interesting and informative, and that they will encourage you to find out more about what the School of Chemistry has to offer.

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The School of Geographical Sciences is a leading international centre for research and scholarship. It has been awarded the top 5* rating in every Government assessment of research excellence. The Graduate School is integral to this success and our postgraduate programmes bring together a large and vibrant graduate community. The School hosts three internationally-recognised groups (Glaciology, Hydrology and Global Environmental Change) that cover a broad spectrum of Physical Geography research. Together they provide a stimulating environment to answer fundamental questions about the dynamics of the Earth’s system.
The School provides high-quality dedicated work-space for its graduate students and PhD research students have their own suite of rooms in the newly refurbished offices just along from the School on University Road.
The graduate community has a strong international and interdisciplinary flavour, and offers an exceptional academic environment for postgraduate research.

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Research Profiles:

Refer to our website:

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The School of Experimental Psychology offers a variety of postgraduate degrees, from PhD to Masters to Diplomas.

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Other PhD Programmes