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Postgraduate research – University of Reading

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  • The forefront of discovery

    Work with our research intensive team towards new discoveries

Postgraduate research

As a PhD student at Reading you will have the opportunity to join international leaders in many aspects of Biology, from biomedicine to paleoecology.

"I undertook my PhD because of an interest in butterflies. Being able to walk through the campus meadows or woodland during the summer, surrounded by hundreds of butterflies, helps to remind me why I'm actually doing my PhD and that hopefully I'll be making a positive difference to the future of some of these species."

- Matthew Greenwell, PhD student

PhD research areas

Our School offers the following PhD degrees:

  • PhD in Biological Sciences (including ecology and evolution)
  • PhD in Biomedical Sciences (including microbiology and molecular and cellular medicine)
  • PhD in Biomedical Engineering
  • PhD in Cybernetics
  • PhD in Electronic Engineering

We offer supervision on a range of research topics aligned with our two research divisions: 'Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical Engineering' and 'Ecology and Evolutionary Biology'. We invite you to browse our extensive offering of PhD opportunities and to learn more about the innovative and diverse research being conducted in our School, so that you can find a PhD topic that matches your strengths and interests. We are also happy to consider applications from people who have proposed their own research topics.

Flexible study

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, or at a distance for students who live outside the UK.


Our PhD students are funded in a variety of ways. Some hold studentships which have been advertised by our academic supervisors, some hold studentships that they have secured from studentship programmes (e.g. with sponsorship from the government of their home country), and others are self-funded.

Particularly in the case for international students, there are sometimes opportunities for people to apply directly to funding sources (e.g. from the government of their home country). We welcome enquiries from prospective applicants during the preparation of your funding application, as in some cases, we may be able to help strengthen your application and improve your chances of being able to study with us.

Each year, the School of Biological Sciences is normally able to offer a number of PhD studentships which are awarded on a competitive basis. These studentships, when available, are advertised on our PhD Opportunities page so we encourage you to visit this page regularly.

The Graduate School also has more information about fees and funding, including studentship competitions that are coordinated by the University.


Join a vibrant community of PhD researchers

As a PhD student in the School of Biological Sciences, you will be joining a community of around 180 PhD students representing 36 nationalities from around the world. Our students are publishing in high-impact journals, presenting at international conferences, organising outreach and public engagement activities, and making a difference in society. Each year, students present their work at the SBS PhD symposium, where we highlight and celebrate the research and accomplishments of all our doctoral students.

Typically, students receive supervision in one-to-one or small group sessions with academic colleagues and fellow students who have similar research interests, and this provides opportunities to critique the latest research in your field and to discuss your own research project in more detail.

Watch Rodrigo Zenun Franco, Fairbrother lecturer

"I was fascinated by the multidisciplinary and cutting-edge research conducted at Reading."

Be part of the University's wider postgraduate community

When you join Reading as a postgraduate researcher, you will have access to a wide range of training and development opportunities, facilities, and english language support, and be able to meet and draw support from a community of researchers from across the University.

Contact us

The button below will open up a web form where you can submit a query. Please indicate that you are interested in Postgraduate Research in Biological Sciences. We would be happy to hear from you.

Apply for a PhD

For further information about the application process and a link to our online application system, use the button below.

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