Doing a PhD in Biomedical Sciences

What does a PhD in Biomedical Sciences Involve?

At the core of a Biomedical Sciences PhD project is the ability to develop the skills required to carry out research into the science of the human body and the causes and treatments of the diseases affecting the body.

Biomedical Science research at university can cover a wide range of project areas including cancer biology, cardiovascular science, cell pathology, medical microbiology and immunology. Other research topic focuses include dermatology, diabetes, kidney disease and diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.

A key motivator for the university is to help convert postgraduate research students into leading scientists of the future. As such, many institutions place a great emphasis on building a status of scientific excellence, giving PhD students access to state-of-the-art facilities and building a pathway for scientists to develop careers in sectors within and outside academia.

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How long does it take to get a PhD in Biomedical Sciences?

Typically, it will take you 3 years of full-time research to earn a Biomedical Science PhD. The duration of a part-time PhD will be around 6 years. Often, PhD students are first registered as MPhil students before carrying out their upgrade viva and their registered status to PhD student. In some institutions, the degree programme offered may incorporate an additional/preliminary first year in which taught courses are delivered to prepare the student for the research work to come.

What are the typical entry requirements for a PhD in Biomedical Sciences?

Most universities will require you to have a minimum of a 2:1 undergraduate degree from a UK university or the equivalent grade from an institution outside of the UK. The degree will need to have been in a field that’s relevant to Biomedical Sciences. You may still be eligible to apply if you have a grade lower than a 2:1, if you also hold a Master’s degree.

You’ll need to provide the university with evidence of your English language proficiency if English is not your first language. Typically, a minimum IELTS test score of 6.5 is needed to gain entry to research programmes however this may be higher from one university to another.

How much does a Biomedical Sciences PhD cost?

In a UK university, UK based postgraduate research students should expect to incur annual tuition fees in the region of £4,500/year. With a full-time PhD lasting 3 years, this equates to £13,500 in fees. This is on the basis that you’re studying full time; part time students should expect to pay lower fees, with some variability between institutions about how this is calculated.

For international students (including now EU students), the annual tuition fee costs around £23,500/year, equating to £70,500 over the span of 3 years.

As with all PhDs, potential students will need to consider living costs and any bench fees that may be expected by their particular project or graduate school.

What can you do with a PhD in Biomedical Sciences?

Many Biomedical Sciences PhDs continue on with postgraduate study by becoming post-doctoral researchers, teaching fellows and research fellows within university or clinical settings, such as local NHS hospitals. Others develop successful careers within the pharmaceutical industry or move into research and development within the private sector.

Specific job roles that graduates could go into include becoming biomedical scientists, microbiologist, toxicologist or clinical scientists.

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