MSc Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences

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Faculty Faculty of Biomedical Sciences
Awards available MSc
Programme length One year full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Open to international students Yes
Start date September 2017

Programme overview

Biophysics provides structural and mechanistic insights into the biological world and uses this knowledge to create solutions for major global problems, such as food production, climate change, environmental damage and drug production. It spans the distance between the vast complexity of biological systems and the relative simplicity of the physical laws that govern the universe.

Our Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences MSc provides interdisciplinary training by bringing together concepts from chemistry, physics and the life sciences. It is taught by staff actively pursuing research in these areas and from members of BrisSynBio, a flagship centre for synthetic biology research in the UK.

The programme gives you an opportunity to gain knowledge and practical experience by studying molecular interactions and mechanisms at the level of the cell to the single molecule. Topics for study include molecular structure determination, dynamic molecular mechanisms, molecular simulation, molecular design and single-molecule technologies. You can also choose an additional unit that reflects your personal interests, allowing you to broaden your knowledge of biomedical subjects whilst focusing on biophysics. You will also learn about the commercialisation of research outcomes, including intellectual property, setting up a business, getting investment, marketing and legal issues.

Graduates from this programme will be well-prepared for a PhD programme in biophysics or related fields. Additionally, the numerical, problem-solving, research and communication skills gained on this programme are highly desired by employers in a variety of industries.

Robust evidence is the cornerstone of science and on this programme you will gain research experience in laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including atomic force and electron microscopy, biological and chemical NMR, x-ray crystallography and mass spectrometry.

Your learning will be supported throughout the programme in regular, small-group tutorials.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees

UK/EU
£9,900
Overseas
£18,800

Additional fees

Bench fee
£2000

Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2017/18

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

Core units

  • Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences I: The unit begins with a short series of lectures that introduce the general area of molecular life sciences for the non-specialist. The remaining lectures cover a variety of molecular spectroscopies, molecular structure determination, an introduction to systems approaches using proteomics, and the mechanistic characterisation of biomolecules using a variety of biophysical techniques.
  • Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences II: The unit describes highly specialised techniques at the interface of physics, chemistry and the life sciences. This includes techniques for studying biomolecules at the level of a single-molecule, synthetic biology, bioinformatics and molecular simulations.
  • Core Skills: A series of practical classes, lecture-based teaching sessions, and tutorials that prepare you for the practical project, provide a foundation for further studies and develop a range of transferable skills.
  • Literary Project: An extended essay on a subject chosen from an extensive list covering the topics described above. You work independently under the guidance of a member of staff.
  • Project Proposal and Research Project: You work independently under the guidance of a member of staff to produce a written project proposal. This is followed by a 12-week research project investigating your chosen topic. The research project forms the basis for a dissertation.

Lecture-based option

You will study one lecture-based unit from:

  • Cancer Biology: Explorations of the cellular and molecular basis of human carcinogenesis, illustrating current research areas and including descriptions of techniques.
  • Cardiovascular Research: Modern research in four areas of cardiovascular physiology: physiology of the heart, physiology of blood vessels, cardiovascular homeostasis and molecular methods in cardiovascular medicine. Emphasis is placed on the use of molecular systems approaches.
  • The Dynamic Cell: Covers a variety of topics within the general area of intracellular dynamics and cell motility. Explorations of the movement of proteins and organelles within cells and the movement of cells themselves.
  • Infection, Immunology and Immunity: Lectures on the nature of the immune response, its role in controlling infectious disease (especially at mucosal surfaces) and the mechanisms underlying autoimmune diseases.
  • Neuroscience: Brain structure and function in the main areas of neuroscience research including sleep, pain, memory and psychiatric disorders.
  • Pharmacology: Emphasis on a number of key areas of modern pharmacology, including the electrophysiology of neurones, with particular reference to the biophysical and molecular basis of membrane function, ion transport, channels and receptors.

Entry requirements

A lower second-class honours degree in biochemistry, biophysics, life sciences, chemistry, physics or an equivalent subject, plus a minimum grade B in A-level Chemistry (or equivalent qualification).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile B
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Careers

Typically, biophysics careers are laboratory-based, conducting original research within academia, a government agency or private industry, although the transferable skills gained on the course are ideal for many other careers outside of science, including business and finance.

How to apply
Application deadline:

We welcome applications at any time of year. Early application is advised as places may fill quickly.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.

Joyce

REF 2014 results

  • 33% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 51% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 15% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 1474 Email: fbs-pg-admissions@bristol.ac.uk

Graduate School Office
Biomedical Sciences Building
University Walk
Bristol
BS8 1TD
United Kingdom http://www.bristol.ac.uk/biomedical-sciences/gradschool/programmes/biophysics/

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Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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