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PhD in Biomedical Science

This 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


Programme overview

Degree awarded: Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Science

Length of study: Applicants can apply for a 3-year or 4-year programme

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.

Fees: Find information about fees for research degrees here.

Funding: We welcome self-funded students and those holding or applying for scholarships. Some of our projects are offered with full funding - see our Projects section for details about this. Find more information on funding for postgraduate courses here.

Projects: A description of available projects can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.

Start dates: Start date options are 1 Oct & 1 Jan

Policy on Research Degrees: The Policy on Research Degrees sets out University policy on research degree programmes. 

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.

If you have any questions, please contact - this is the central contact for the MSc by Research and PhD in Biomedical Sciences. 

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, Computer Science, Environment and Geography, Psychology, Health Sciences, The School of Physics, Engineering, and Technology (PET) and Hull York Medical School (HYMS), as partners in the York Biomedical Research Institute (YBRI).

How to apply

Please review the lists of university-funded and self-funded research projects available at the bottom of this page. Once you have chosen your project, make a note of its title and the name of the supervisors and submit your application using this form

You will need the following documents ready to upload - make sure you follow our guidance on preparing these documents:

  • 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. Find more guidance for writing a personal statement here.
  • Your CV (curriculum vitae). The CV should be approximately two pages long and should include this information.

If you would like to propose your own research project, rather than applying for one of the projects advertised below, please include the names of the YBRI academic staff (max 3) who you would like to review your application in the Research Proposal section of the form.


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.

The York Graduate Research School (YGRS) connects more than 2,000 postgraduate researchers (PGRs) across all disciplines and brings together the support you need to make the most of your research project.


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.


EPSRC Mobility DTP in Leadership and Excellence in Circular, Resource-efficient, Sustainable Manufacturing

One of a number of pilot programmes aimed at widening participation in Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) doctoral training, specifically those from industry and other non-academic backgrounds.

  • Funding: Four years' fees at the UK rate, maintenance stipend/salary contribution, and a Research Training Support Grant
  • Academic year: 2023/24
  • Open to: Students from the UK; non-UK applicants can also be considered for a limited number of places
  • Number available: Two

NERC Panorama DTP

PANORAMA equips its postgraduate students with the skills necessary to understand the complex interactions within the Earth system, so they can contribute to the development of scientific, policy and industrial solutions for the national and global scale problems we face in coming decades.

  • Funding: Tuition fees and annual stipend
  • Academic year: 2024/25
  • Open to: International (including EU) and UK (home) students

Wild Prizes and Bursaries

These awards provide financial support to students from outside the UK starting a postgraduate research course in Chemistry.

  • Funding: One-time £2,000 Wild Prize or up to £2,000 per year Wild Bursary
  • Academic year: 2024/25
  • Application deadline: Wednesday 31 July 2024, 12pm BST
  • Open to: International (including EU) students

There are no scholarships or funding opportunities to show here right now. You may still be able to find a funding option that you are eligible for on our research degree funding pages.

Meet our students

Hi I’m Jess, a first year PhD student in Biomedical science researching the development of an osteoarthritis drug screening tool using mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). I am studying this as there are currently no disease modifying drugs currently available for osteoarthritis despite it being one of the most disabling musculoskeletal degenerative disorders, effecting around 500 million people globally with this expected to continue to increase. Being a part of the BMS cohort at York is great because there are always other people around to support you, bounce ideas off with when you’re stuck on something and need a different perspective or even just to grab a coffee with. Having this community is very important to me and was one of my priorities to have when I was looking for a PhD.

If you have any questions about what its like to do a PhD at York in BMS feel free to drop me a message on twitter (@jesspetts).

Hello everyone! I'm Imran and I'm a 2nd year BMS PhD student working with Prof. Gavin Thomas in Biology at York. My project focusses on the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA, specifically studying a membrane protein in this bug as a potential route by which antibiotics enter the cell.

I'm hoping the insights from this work will inform the design of new drugs to attack the bacteria more effectively. I chose to be part of BMS here at York because I wanted to work on a multidisciplinary project, combining fields I'm interested in like biochemistry and medical microbiology. I've enjoyed being part of a varied community of postgraduates working across different fields, all with a shared interest in medical science.


Projects available for entry

See the sections below for information on our funded and self-funded projects currently available for entry. Learn more about the types of postgraduate training available on the University of York's research degrees page. 


Funded projects for 2024 entry

The Discovery Medicine North (DiMeN) partnership programme is open for applications yearly between November and December. Read more about the DiMeN programme below.

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 2024 are closed for applications.


Self-funded projects for 2024 entry

We welcome applications at any time from those who are able to fund their own studies. You can start the programme on either 1 October or 1 January. Please see the projects currently open for applications listed below. Our YBRI academics list provides details of the research interests of all members.


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