The School of Medicine offers research degrees in the medical disciplines such as cancer, immunology, infection, immunity, neurosciences, mental health and population medicine.

For well over 100 years The School of Medicine has been committed to the pursuit of improved health through education, research and engagement with the wider world.

Our commitment to research excellence is supported through strong research centres, groups and units working collaboratively in our modern facilities.

Carrying out work in our research divisions, our researchers are involved in cutting-edge science and world-class research in the field of medicine that have a real impact on people’s lives.

Who does a Higher Degree at the School of Medicine?

  • Biological Scientists
  • Computational Scientists and Bioinformaticians
  • Epidemiologists, Statisticians, Mathematicians
  • Psychologists, Social Scientists
  • Physical Scientists.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil, MD
Full-time duration PhD 3-4 years; MD 2 years; MPhil 1 year
Part-time duration PhD 5 years; MD 5 years; MPhil 2 year
Start dates January, April, July, October


Undertaking a PhD can be an exciting and rewarding opportunity to explore something in depth, amongst field-leading researchers with truly firstclass facilities. Candidates are required to make an original contribution to knowledge by conducting an independent research project.


The research project will usually have a clinical focus, but other aspects of medical and health care provision may form the basis of the research topic. Applicants are usually required to hold an MBBCH degree or equivalent. Candidates are usually registered with the General Medical Council.


MPhil is a stand-alone programme that allows candidates to undertake a research programme over one year. Sometimes, this can be an intermediate step before registering on a subsequent PhD programme; depending on how the project develops.

Skills developed

Students will benefit from gaining a range of transferable and professional skills during their research study. Depending on the project, these may include:

  • laboratory skills
  • statistical analysis
  • qualitative analysis
  • quantitative analysis
  • qualitative interviewing skills
  • focus group facilitation
  • presenting skills (scientists, the general public)
  • academic publication and grant writing.


Thesis (80,000 words for PhD, 60,000 words for MD, and 50,000 words for MPhil) and viva voce examination.

Our research is focused on interdisciplinary themes, each of which spans the spectrum from basic science to clinical practice in either hospital or community settings. Our key research themes include:

  • Cancer and Genetics
  • Infection and Immunity
  • Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences
  • Population Medicine.

Our underlying aim is to ensure the optimum ‘translation’ of fundamental knowledge to patient benefit.

Our approach brings together people, knowledge and skills from a range of disciplines. This approach is the key to our research strength and achievements.

Each of our research divisions embodies this philosophy.

Research areas

Cancer and Genetics

The programme will lead to a research degree in cancer and or genetics that could be used in a variety of academic, clinical and industrial settings.

Infection and Immunity

To offer a broad knowledge and expertise in in all aspects of immunological-based disease processes at the molecular and cellular level, with strengths in innate immunity, cancer immunology, T-cell biology and viral and bacterial infection.

Population Medicine

Division of Population Medicine postgraduate research programmes focus on Prevention and redesigning healthcare services.

Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

The Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences is one of the largest university Division of psychiatry in the UK, providing leadership in clinical practice, teaching and high quality, cutting-edge research across many areas of psychiatric practice.

Role of tissue-resident monocytes (Mtr) in would healing

We propose that tissue-resident monocytes (MTR), a novel immune cell subset, control the wound repair process and require a GW4 BioMed student to examine this hypothesis in vitro and in vivo under the supervision of experts in immune cell migration and tissue macrophages (Cardiff) and wound biology (Bristol).

Characterising Intra-host Spread of Clinical Human Cytomegalovirus

This project will use unique technologies and cutting-edge ‘omics’ techniques to dissect both the mechanisms and pathological consequences of how Cytomegalovirus spreads.

Development of Cytomegalovirus-Based Vectors in Cancer Vaccination

This project will develop cancer vaccines based on unique replication-deficient CMV vectors that are safe for use in humans. In combination with cutting-edge immune modulatory approaches, we will examine anti-cancer immune responses and protection induced by these vectors.

Integrative multi-omic study of progression to Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) affects up to 5% of the UK population and is now considered to be one of the main causes of cirrhosis. The student will develop a high-dimensional model to profile the pathogenic processes of NASH by using cutting-edge systems biology approaches.

MicroRNA regulation of kidney macrophage function in diabetic kidney disease

Macrophages are key to Diabetic Kidney Disease (the commonest cause of kidney failure) and also to kidney injury repair. This studentship will uncover the roles of microRNAs in specifying these macrophage phenotypes in the kidney, using state of the art techniques to study cells isolated from a mouse model and from human disease.

Stem Cell Exosomes; a system for initiating tissue repair and regeneration in diverse disease settings

This project will study exosomes as therapeutic alternative to cardiovascular progenitor cells (PCs) for vascular regeneration.

Innate immune recognition of needle-like structures from bacterial pathogens

This project aims to investigate, at the cellular and molecular level, the interactions of the type III secretion system (T3SS) “needle” proteins and “tip” complexes from Y. pestis and Shigella with the innate immune system in order to determine how these proteins subvert the host response to promote infection.

Defining the true extent of macrophage diversity in diseases such as infection, heart disease and cancer

Macrophages play important roles in diseases such as infection, cancer and heart disease but their true diversity and the specific roles of subsets remain unknown. We will use state-of-the-art technologies to understand what individual cells do in specific disease contexts building on our discoveries in tissues.

The PhD programme will equip students for a career in academic research/teaching, NHS clinical laboratories, and pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.


The School of Medicine awards a number of generous 3 year PhD studentships every year. These prestigious studentships will be awarded to the highest calibre applicants from across all relevant Divisions. Studentships will include UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend.

Funded projects are advertised throughout the year.

Name Deadline
PhD in Cancer Research: The Role of Protein Kinase C Epsilon in the Pathogenesis and Treatment Resistance of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia 16 January 2017
PhD in Cancer Research: Use of iTRAQ Mass Spectrometry to identify the mechanism of developmental disruption induced by RUNX1-ETO 16 January 2017
PhD in Immunology: Peptides derived from Yersinia pestis V antigen as novel therapeutic interventions for sepsis 1 December 2016
PhD in Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics 9 January 2017
PhD in Systems Immunology: A multiomics approach to understanding the impact of membrane attack on nucleated cells 13 January 2017

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Specifically funded PhD projects will be advertised with specific instructions on applications, otherwise prospective students are advised to contact potential supervisors.

Applications can be made at any time, but in addition there will be specific calls, which have associated instructions and deadlines.

A personal statement or covering letter should address how the applicant can contribute to the proposed project.

Admission process

Decisions will be made on the basis of your written application and the references received, and potential students may be interviewed as part of the admissions process.

Applicants should possess a minimum of an upper second class Honours degree, master's degree, or equivalent in a relevant subject. In some cases, a medical degree and/or relevant professional qualifications or experience are required.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS). Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

School of Medicine Research Degrees Office

Administrative contact


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