Synthetic Biology (EPSRC and BBSRC Centre for Doctoral Training)

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Run by Faculty of Science Faculty of Biomedical Sciences Faculty of Engineering
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years 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

The Synthetic Biology Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) is a collaboration between the Universities of Bristol, Oxford and Warwick. It offers a four-year training programme leading to a PhD. The programme is designed for students with both physical and life sciences backgrounds.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


A bench fee may be charged depending on the research project

Fees quoted are provisional, 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

In total, 18 four-year studentships (for UK/EU students) are available across the three institutions each year, of which six are available at Bristol.

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

Programme structure

The first two terms are in Oxford, taught by staff from all three institutions, and devoted to acquiring the necessary theoretical and technical skills, through a combination of intensive lecture courses, practicals, seminars, project work and training in research and communication skills.

Over the third term and summer period at the end of the first year, students undertake two extended projects, each lasting about 10 weeks. These are similar in scope to a Master's level project and serve as both advanced training and to help students choose their research topic for the final three years of the course.

After completing these projects, students undertake their substantive PhD research projects in synthetic biology in their home participating university.

The Synthetic Biology CDT will produce internationally excellent researchers with key skills desired by prospective employers in the nascent field of synthetic biology.

Entry requirements

At least an upper second-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent) in physical sciences (eg engineering, physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics) or life sciences (eg biology, biochemistry, microbiology, plant sciences, medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences).

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile A
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.

Research groups

CDT students carrying out PhD projects at Bristol will join research groups associated with the BrisSynBio Research Centre.


Students graduating from the CDT will be ideally placed to progress to many different scientific-based jobs, including multi-disciplinary research in both academia and industry. There are strong links to diverse industrial partners, some of whom will sponsor PhD projects.

Staff profiles

For information about potential PhD supervisors across the three institutions please see SynBio CDT websites. For information about potential Bristol supervisors please see the BrisSynBio web pages.

How to apply
Application deadline:

The course is full for entry in September. The applications portal for entry in September 2018 will open in October and close on 12 January 2018.

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.


REF 2014 results

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

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Professor Claire Grierson Associate Director (Bristol lead) Phone: +44 (0) 117 394 1316 Email:

Diana Wilkins Executive Assistant Phone: +44 (0) 117 394 1316 Email:


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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