Studying for a PhD

Doing a PhD after obtaining a Bachelors or Masters degree offers the opportunity to specialise in a specific research area. PhD research is usually 3-4 years in length and encompasses research of a specific topic coupled with a generic training program to enhance the skills of every student. This includes training in communication, presentation and project management as well as entrepreneurial and enterprise training sessions. There is a cosmopolitan mix of students at the University of Reading with excellent working and social relationships. This often leads to students participating in competitions.


For example, 3 students and two postdoctoral researchers from the School of Biological Sciences and School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy beat off stiff competition from over 80 other groups from around the UK to win the BBSRC YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) in 2008: this led to a cash prize, a trip to Texas and several entrepreneurial dinners.

Two microbiology students from SBS recently won £6000 in a University Wide Dragons Den completion to start up a new company aimed at finding novel insecticides.

Interested in studying for a PhD - PhD student perspectives


"Doing my PhD in Reading has been a life experience. Here I managed to develop my scientific skills by working with the top class scientists in UK. The friendly, professional and exciting atmosphere constantly pushed myself to set new goals in my career and challenge my limits, making me, during these three years, a better scientist and a better man. Doing a PhD at the University of Reading is an experience that I recommend to everyone".

Federico Dorati 2007-2011 PhD Student



"I feel that by doing a PhD in Medical Microbiology you will be at the forefront of the research community within a department that focuses on a wide variety of projects based on several very different pathogens. One of the things I enjoy the most about studying here is the opportunity to take part in interdisciplinary research, something I think is important for an interesting and productive PhD. I think that the best element of studying here is the vast support structure and various training schemes in place to produce a thorough and well rounded set of skills for your future career."

Amie Waller 2008-2012 PhD student



"Receiving a PhD studentship to study at the University of Reading has been a fantastic opportunity to study my area of interest, whilst getting paid to do it. The FMSU department is world renowned and offers fantastic facilities and uses modern techniques to be at the forefront of scientific research. The staff and students are friendly, and there to support and encourage you through your studies, making you feel part of the family. Studying for a PhD has increased my knowledge and understanding of prebiotics, and I have learnt many scientific skills and techniques making me a more confident, self disciplined individual, open to learning new things."

Kerry O'Keeffe 2009-2012 PhD Student


Support for PhD students

All PhD students who study at Reading attend a compulsory course aimed at improving generic skills including communication and presentation, networking and critical appraisal of scientific works. Most departments hold a postgraduate symposium at which students usually present a poster or give an oral presentation. Students are usually trained in demonstrating so that they can help with practical classes and thus they gain valuable teaching skills.

Students are encouraged to join learned societies. The Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) and Microbiology Society provide support to PhD students in Microbiology by way of educational resources and financial funding to attend conferences and travel to other laboratories. Membership also opens up significant networking opportunities and the provision of newsletters.




Where do I get more information?


Page navigation

PhD opportunities

Many opportunities arise for PhD studentships and are advertised at departmental research pages and via and


Search Form

A-Z lists