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PhD in Biomedical Science

This three or four-year PhD programme provides an opportunity for outstanding graduates with an interest in biomedical science, the area of basic science which focuses on the study of fundamental biological processes involved in health and disease. Spanning a wide variety of disciplines in the life and physical sciences, biomedical research employs cross-disciplinary approaches with the overall aim to understand and treat disease.

Studying across a range of disciplines you will have access to tailored York Biomedical Research Institute (YBRI) doctoral training activities focussed on the biomedical sciences and the core YBRI themes:

  • Immunology, haematology and infection
  • Molecular and cellular medicine
  • Neuroscience


  • Degree awarded: Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Science
  • Entry requirements: We require applicants to hold, or expect to gain, at least an Upper Second class Honours degree (or equivalent) in a related subject area for entry into this PhD programme.
  • Funding: We welcome self-funded students and those holding or applying for scholarships. Some projects are offered with full-funding.  Information on funding for postgraduate courses.
  • Projects: A description of available projects can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.
  • How to apply: Once you have chosen your project, make a note of its title and the name of the supervisors. Please follow our step-by-step guidance to submit your application.  You will need the following documents ready to upload:
    • Your academic transcript/s
    • A short (one page) personal statement to explain your background, relevant experience, research interests and why the project/s you have selected appeal to you. You should also explain your motivation for applying to the biomedical sciences programme. More guidance can be found here.
    • Your CV (curriculum vitae). The CV should be approximately two pages long and should include:
      • Your contact details (please do not include your photo or any personal information that is not directly relevant to the application, such as your date of birth, nationality, gender, marital status etc.)
      • A short statement of academic interests (2-3 sentences)
      • Your education, including: name of the programme and institution, degrees held or ongoing, dates and (expected) classification or overall mark, relevant modules covered 
      • Further details of research experience: this can include undergraduate projects, summer projects, or experience obtained in the workplace. Include project title, supervisor/s, dates, and a short description of the work undertaken and the main findings (2-3 sentences).
      • Other work experience, volunteering experience and training courses that are relevant to the application
      • Research skills, computer skills and any other relevant skills (for example, transferable skills)
      • Scientific publications: list any peer-reviewed research papers, reviews, book chapters etc. you have contributed to. Make sure to reference the publications so they can be easily and unambiguously traced.
      • Attendance and/or presentation at local, national or international conferences, including titles of any oral or poster presentations
      • Any other relevant information 
      • Contact details for two independent academic references

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. For more information see our Postgraduate English language requirements.

Programme description

York’s PhD in Biomedical Science aims to bring students from all over the world to our first-class research facilities. Over a three or four-year period you will develop and execute a significant body of research in your chosen field that will contribute to the development of new knowledge. 

Areas of PhD research fall within, but are not limited to, the diverse biomedical portfolio of our academic staff, neuroscience, molecular and cellular medicine, immunology, haematology and infection. 

Working under the supervision of world-leading, research-active supervisors, you will be encouraged to contribute substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas or approaches as you pursue research in biomedical science at an advanced level. 

The PhD in Biomedical Science has the following contributing departments; Biology, Chemistry, Electronic Engineering, Health Sciences, Physics and Hull York Medical School (HYMS), as partners in the York Biomedical Research Institute (YBRI).

Special features

Training and cohort-building programme: A dedicated Biomedical Science training and cohort-building programme will draw on the training offered by the collaborating departments, whilst offering the students on the PhD programme additional training and opportunities to promote collaboration and networking across the programme.

Cohort activities will include: a monthly journal club, an annual research symposium, and other cross-departmental YBRI seminars and events.


All new research students are offered mentorship from within the existing research student community. For those new to York, mentors work in the same research area. Those who have previously studied at York will be offered a mentor working in a different research area. The mentor partnership is a means to explore options and understand more about working as a research student at the University of York.

PhD projects for 2023 entry

Funded projects:

York Graduate Research School (YGRS) PhD Scholarships

York Graduate Research School is offering up to six fully-funded PhD scholarships for UK candidates who self-identify as being from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background.  More information and how to apply is on the YGRS PhD Scholarships page


MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership

Discovery Medicine North

Utilising the combined expertise of five world-leading institutions, the Discovery Medicine North (DiMeN) partnership will train the next generation of researchers to tackle the major health problems facing the population.

The partner institutions (Universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and York) are core members of the Northern Health Sciences Alliance, which confronts stark North-South disparities in the rates of chronic disease, poor health and early death in a population of >15 million.

The partnership provides up to 40 fully-funded studentships per year and delivers training for the next generation of biomedical researchers.


DiMeN uses existing and emerging strengths to deliver a unique, flexible, student-centred programme of training, that combines gateway training and cohort building events with access to advanced level Masters modules, bespoke doctoral level courses, and world class facilities across the partnership.

This partnership draws on expertise of over 1000 experienced supervisors, who collectively sustain high rates of successful doctoral degree completion.

As a DiMeN PhD student, you will benefit from:

  • Joining our DiMeN researcher community of PhD students from across the North of England
  • The support of at least two supervisors, ensuring excellent supervision and a cross-disciplinary approach to your research project.
  • In depth specialist training in a range of areas relevant to your project, including Bioinformatics and computational biology
  • Opportunities to access to bespoke training in a variety of areas including media and impact, quantitative skills, leadership and a vast range of careers sessions
  • Core training events throughout the programme, bringing you together with fellow students to develop your skills in every aspect of being a successful researcher
  • Opportunities to develop industrial knowledge and commercial impact skills, plus the generic skills all researchers require to succeed – communication, time management, teamwork and critical thinking.

Projects for entry in 2023 have now closed. Applications will open later this year. 

Self-funded projects:

We welcome applications at any time from those who are able to fund their own studies. Please see the projects listed below. Our YBRI academics list provides details of the research interests of all members.


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