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Biology MPhil, PhD

Research ( full-time, part-time)

Cambridge

January, April, September

Apply online

For application deadlines visit our how to apply page.

Overview

As a postgraduate researcher you will join an interdisciplinary group, within the School of Life Sciences, which is well-connected with industry and fellow research institutions worldwide. PhD candidates are encouraged to take an active role in the School's research community in areas currently spanning global change ecology, conservation and animal behaviour and welfare.

Full description

Supervision and support

We’ll provide high-quality supervision formally and informally, so you can get the most from your programme – and we’ll fully involve you in our calendar of research meetings, seminars and workshops.

Our supervisory staff are recognised experts in their field. Their research expertise includes:

  • Dr Alvin Helden – Alvin is interested in the biodiversity of habitats in urban and agricultural areas and in restored ecosystems. He specialises in insects, particularly leafhoppers and other true bugs (Hemiptera).
  • Dr Andrew Smith – Andrew’s main areas of expertise are behavioural ecology and primate colour vision. His work looks at how animals, from aardvarks to goldfish, interact with each other and their environment.
  • Dr Çağlar Akçay – Çağlar is interested in the role communication plays in animal social behaviour, with a focus on the interaction of evolution and development of communication systems. His research is mostly focused on songbirds.
  • Dr Claudia Wascher – Claudia is experienced in social cognition and physiology, interested in the evolution of cooperation as well as costs and benefits of social behaviour.
  • Dr Dannielle Green – Dannielle is an ecologist interested in all aspects of ecology but her main research focus has been on examining how human activities affect the health of individual organisms and the biodiversity and functioning of marine habitats.
  • Dr Dawn Hawkins – Dawn has over 20 years’ experience in curriculum development and teaching whole organism biology and statistics in higher education.
  • Dr Hannah White – Hannah is macroecologist interested in how biodiversity is distributed in space and time. Her research often focuses on species traits and how these vary between ecological communities.
  • Dr Helen Wheeler – Helen is a wildlife ecologist, focused on vertebrate systems in northern, alpine and Arctic environments. Her research is interdisciplinary, exploring both ecological and social aspects of wildlife change.
  • Dr Jacob Dunn – Jacob is a behavioural ecologist, broadly interested in the biology and evolution of communication systems in humans and other animals (mostly primates).
  • Dr Jim Littlemore – Jim is an experienced Chartered ecologist with broad research interests in sustainable land management, recreation ecology, habitat restoration and novel ecological surveying methods for British fauna.
  • Dr Joseph Bailey – Joseph’s work explores the relationship between biodiversity and geodiversity (surface and subsurface materials, landforms, and processes) to advance ecological theory, biodiversity modelling, and practical conservation.
  • Dr Krishna Balasubramaniam – Krishna is a behavioural and infectious disease ecologist. He is interested in the ecology and evolution of animal social behaviour, human-wildlife interactions, and their effects on zoonotic microbes.
  • Dr Marian Bond – Marian has over 30 years' experience of working and teaching in animal behaviour and physiotherapy. She’s a fellow of the Society of Biology, a professional dog trainer and a PADI-certified Master Diver.
  • Dr Paty Celis – Paty’s research expertise is in evolutionary biology with a particular focus on behavioural and molecular ecology.
  • Dr Peter Brown – Peter’s key area of research is ladybird ecology. He’s joint scheme organiser of the UK Ladybird Survey and co-author of two recent books on ladybirds.
  • Dr Philip Pugh – Philip teaches on our BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation course. His recent research has centred on Antarctic biogeography, cladistics and multivariate analysis.
  • Dr Rachael Miller (Harrison) – Rachael is a comparative psychologist, broadly interested in the evolution of cognition and behaviour in humans and other animals (mostly birds), as well as applications of this research for animal conservation and welfare.
  • Dr Sarah J Hart – Sarah’s main areas of expertise are in forest entomology & mycology, chemical ecology and animal physiology & behaviour.
  • Dr Thomas Ings – Thomas is an ecologist whose research interests include pollinator behaviour, invertebrate community ecology and conservation. His key aim is to develop an understanding of how community structure is influenced by individual traits, including behaviour.

Where you'll research

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at ARU. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

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Fees & funding

Course fees

UK students, 2023/24 (per year)

£4,712

UK students, 2023/24 (part-time, per year)

£2,356

International students, 2023/24 (per year)

£15,000

International students, 2023/24 (part-time, per year)

£7,500

Bench fees

In some cases extra costs known as bench fees will be charged for a postgraduate research degree. These are to cover additional/exceptional costs directly related to a specific research project.

Some examples of these costs are (the list is not exhaustive): equipment hire, access costs to specialist equipment/workshops, volunteer expenses, specialist tissue/cell culture, specialist reagents or materials, specialist software, access to specialist databases, data collection costs, specialist media, recording or digital storage needs.

We charge bench fees in bands. They may apply for every year of your course. These bands are the same for full- and part-time students.

If you have to pay bench fees this will be made clear at your interview, and stated in your offer letter.

For 2021/22 the bench fee bands are:

  1. £500
  2. £1,000
  3. £2,000
  4. £4,000
  5. £8,000

PhD by Published Work

Initial registration: £1,300
Full registration: £4,000

Writing up fees 2021/22

Part time: £1,000

Full time: £1,800

How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us. Find out more about paying your fees.

Funding

For advice on the doctoral loan and other sources of funding, including ARU scholarships, visit our finance guide for postgraduate researchers.

You might also find The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding helpful.

ARU research

ARU's academic excellence was recognised in 2021, as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), an exercise which assesses the quality of academic research. Sixteen areas of our work were classed as generating world-leading research. The results showed that we're making a significant impact on the societies we live in.

Careers

There are opportunities in our field for you to combine studying with working in an area relevant to your future career. This is especially so given that Cambridge is a major centre internationally for conservation non-government organisations and bodies such as The Cambridge Conservation Forum.

You’ll also develop transferrable skills during your postgraduate research training, ranging from report-writing and presentation to statistical analysis and use of GIS packages.

Contact details

If you're interested in finding out more about research study opportunities, please email [email protected]

Entry requirements

MPhil or PhD with progression from MPhil: You’ll need a Bachelors degree or equivalent with first or upper second class honours, in a related subject area.

PhD: You’ll need a Masters degree or equivalent in a related subject area.

Please note we consider candidates for PhD with progression from MPhil in the first instance. If you want to be considered for direct entry to the PhD route then this can be discussed at interview if you are shortlisted. Please note you’ll also need to provide academic justification for this request. 

If English is not your first language, you'll require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component (or equivalent test). If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry. 

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the programme as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Contact our postgraduate research degree team for more information about studying a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate at ARU.

You'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your research programme.

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Get more information

UK applicants

01245 686868

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 683680

Enquire online