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Biosciences (MRes)

The MRes helps to improve your research skills and may enable you to undertake a research project in the laboratory of an internationally-renowned scientist.

The Master of Research (MRes) in Biosciences is a one-year programme designed to provide a valuable postgraduate qualification that enables individuals who wish to improve their research skills to undertake a research project in the laboratory of an internationally-renowned scientist. The programme would be ideal for someone thinking of undertaking a PhD but wishing to learn more about research. It also offers the award of a postgraduate certificate thus maximising accessibility to individuals working in industry or higher education, both at home or abroad.

Programme aims

The programme’s overall aims are to provide postgraduates and individuals from industry, from both home and overseas, with the opportunity to undertake research training at two distinct academic levels. This will enable the acquisition of essential skills, techniques and experience necessary to become a more competent, employable researcher.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time
Qualification MRes
Full-time duration 1 year
Start dates September

The programme consists of two stages:

Stage 1

Stage 1 is taken between September and January.

Students complete taught modules totalling 60 credits, which can lead to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate in Biosciences.

All modules listed below are compulsory.

Research Techniques in Biosciences (20 credits)

Aim of the module is to understand the major research disciplines in modern biosciences. Assessment is a portfolio of literature-based research and practical exercises during the course such as DNA technology, field and population sampling, stem cell biology and neuroscience technology.

Data Handling and Statistics (20 credits)

To train students in logical thinking and critical analysis of numerical data. Students study aspects of both statistical analysis and bioinformatics. Assessment is based on several assignments completed during term and a submitted mini-project.

Key Skills in Research Practice (20 credits)

To provide knowledge, understanding and experience of a range of foundation skills necessary to be a professional scientist. Assessments range from writing an article, presenting a poster, writing a grant proposal and submitting a portfolio.

A full description of each Stage 1 module can be requested by email.

Stage 2

Stage 2 takes place between February and September.

Students must complete a practical project (100 credits).

The overall project structure for the Practical Project in Biosciences is a single piece of work held over 8 months of the MRes programme starting from February and finishing in September.

The project will be selected by the student in combination with academic staff in one of the School’s divisions.

Students also present a poster and give a talk on their research (20 credits).

Our research organisation is centred on four divisions. Each is led by a leading researcher running dynamic research programmes.

  • Molecular biosciences: This innovative division focuses on the molecular mechanisms underpinning biological function.
  • Neuroscience: The neuroscience division pursues a broad range of neurobiological research, spanning from molecular to behavioural levels.
  • Organisms and environment: This division focuses on the biology of whole organisms and their roles and interactions in changing ecosystems, in infection and health, and at the population genetic level.
  • Biomedicine: We focus on the molecular mechanisms of normal and disease systems and the processes that drive repair and regeneration.

Career prospects in this field are generally excellent, with graduating students mainly following paths either into research or industry.

If you are interested in working in industry, many of our graduating MRes students achieve excellent employment opportunities within organisations in roles such as laboratory technicians, teachers, consultants, nature conservationists and research technicians.

Approximately 55 – 65% of our MRes students go on to do a PhD. In terms of research, we have many areas that require PhD students, and the MRes will provide you with an excellent platform if this is your chosen career path.


Master's Excellence Scholarships

Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree.

Find out more.

Alumni Discount Scheme

Available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's programme in 2022/23.

Find out more.

See our latest PhD studentships and projects and find out more about other funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.


Approximately 20-25 students per academic session.

The equivalent of a undergraduate degree at level 2:2 (or higher) in a relevant biological, biomedical or bio-molecular science subject.

Applications will also be considered from candidates who have a minimum of 5 years relevant commercial experience who only wish to undertake Stage 1 of the Programme (Postgraduate Certificate).

Please note that applicants must upload two written references with their application – these are required for all candidates. Although the application form asks candidates to fill in a research proposal, please note that we do not require candidates to complete this at this stage. However, in order to submit the form you must write ‘N/A’ in the text box.

All successful candidates will be expected to take part in an interview, either face-to-face or via Skype.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must either have obtained an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each element, or have a recognised English qualification.

Please read our English language requirements for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

Rhian Watkins

Rhian Watkins

Administrative Officer

+44 (0)29 2087 4865


Apply now
See the range of PhD studentships and projects currently available.

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