Molecular, Genetic and Lifecourse Epidemiology (Wellcome Trust)

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Run by Faculty of Health Sciences
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Start date September/October 2020

Programme overview

Our ability to fully exploit new molecular and genetic technologies in epidemiology depends on a new generation of interdisciplinary scientists who can harness the benefits of these technologies in exciting and productive ways. This innovative four-year PhD programme equips students with the knowledge and technical skills to achieve this.

For applicants with a background in science, maths or population science, this programme offers generous funding from the Wellcome Trust and a distinctive cross-disciplinary approach. The first year is designed to offer you opportunities to investigate core subject areas, such as epidemiology and biostatistics, before you embark on your research study.

The programme will give you the opportunity to undertake research training tailored to your needs through a series of intensive short courses, and you will benefit from supervision by highly regarded academics in a dynamic research environment.

Fees for 2020/21

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

UK/EU: full-time
Overseas: full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Bench fees: For postgraduate research students who are not funded by UK Research Councils or (specific) UK charities, it is usual to charge a bench fee. A bench fee covers the costs of laboratory consumables, specialist equipment and other relevant costs (e.g. training) for the duration of the programme. The bench fee charged can vary considerably depending on the nature of the programme being undertaken. Details of specific bench fee charges can be provided on request and will made clear in the offer letter sent to applicants.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

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 2020/21

This programme is fully funded by the Wellcome Trust. The trust provides funding to cover PhD programme fees at UK/EU student rate, research expenses, a stipend for living expenses, contribution towards travel and a contribution towards transferable skills training.

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

Programme structure

Year one

The first year involves two or three mini-projects with different supervisors. You will also be offered training through subject-specific short courses and generic skills sessions. The mini-projects are based in the following areas:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics and bioinformatics
  • Molecular/genetic laboratory skills

These mini-projects allow you to study a range of research areas with different supervisors, enabling you to develop your research skills and to make an informed plan at the end of your first year for your main PhD thesis project. 

Years two to four

Your main PhD project is carried out during this three-year period. You may attend additional short courses during this time. Your final PhD thesis will be submitted at the end of year four.

Entry requirements

You will have a good honours (minimum requirement is a 2:1) or master's degree in a relevant discipline. As this is a multi-disciplinary programme degrees may be in a range of science subjects, but the applicant should be able to demonstrate in their research statement how they will apply this to molecular, genetic or lifecourse epidemiology.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile B
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Research in the Department of Population Health Sciences contributes to significant healthcare improvements and policy change around the world. It is collaborative and multi-disciplinary, with staff coming from a wide range of academic disciplines and clinical specialties. Further information can be found on our research web pages. PhD projects offered for this programme will relate to at least one of the research themes in the department, but must have a primary focus on molecular, genetic or lifecourse epidemiology.


Our graduates are most likely to find post-doctoral research positions within leading universities. A number of our graduates have been successful in securing their own independent post-doctoral fellowship funding both within Bristol and elsewhere. Other potential destinations include the NHS and industry, particularly the pharmaceutical industry.

Staff profiles

Further details of the current supervisors and their interests are available on the programme website.

How to apply
Application deadline:

Studentships are typically advertised from October each year, with a deadline in December. Successful applicants will be offered a studentship to start the following September/October. Please see the programme website for further details and specific dates.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa 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

  • Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care:
  • 50% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 36% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 12% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 2% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

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.

Open days and visits

Find out more about opportunities to visit Bristol.

Register to attend our postgraduate open day, 20 November 2019.

Get in touch

Sharen O'Keefe Postgraduate Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 7274 Email:

Bristol Medical School
University of Bristol
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
Bristol BS8 2PS


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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