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Run by Faculty of Health Sciences
Awards available PhD, MD, MSc by research
Programme length PhD: Three or four years full-time, or PT equivalent
MScR: One year full-time, or PT equivalent.
Both have an additional optional year to write up.

MD: Two years full-time (plus three optional years to write up), or PT equivalent.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
By agreement with supervisor; maximum period of study for part-time PhD is seven years and MScR is three years. Minimum period of study for part-time MD is four years and maximum is seven years.
Start date Not fixed.

This research degree is also available via distance learning.

Programme overview

Research within the Centre for Applied Anatomy (CAA) is internationally recognised and focuses on cancer biology, developmental biology and neuroendocrinology.

The CAA has excellent facilities, including the Vesalius Centre, which houses a state-of-the-art clinical anatomy suite with opportunities to use unfixed human tissue for both research and training purposes. This centre provides a wide range of opportunities for translational research (eg in the design and evaluation of medical implants or surgical procedures), strengthening links with the Bristol Medical School and School of Veterinary Sciences. The centre also has access to the Wolfson Bioimaging Facility.

Fees for 2020/21

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

UK/EU: full-time
UK/EU: part-time
Overseas: full-time (Non-clinical)
Overseas: full-time (Clinical)
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

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

Entry requirements

For the PhD, an upper second-class honours degree or MSc is required. For the MD, we require applicants to have completed the MBChB.

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 C
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

Cancer Biology Research studies the dynamic interaction of cancer cells with normal (non-cancerous) epithelial cells and fibroblasts. Cancer cells surround and attack normal epithelial cells, whereas fibroblasts restrict distribution and movement of cancer cells; the cause and consequence of these interactions are investigated.

Developmental Biology Research investigates the molecular mechanisms that underlie macrophage migration in vivo, with particular interest in how these immune cells prioritise competing cues (eg damage signals released from wounds) as well as the guidance cues that direct their developmental dispersal during embryogenesis and the presence of bacterial infection.

Neuroendocrinology Research is concentrated in two main areas, which include the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying the control of fertility and the neurobiology of stress responses. A multi-animal model strategy is used in combination with hypothalamic and pituitary cell lines to study the topics from in-vivo systems to molecular level.


Students who completed this programme have progressed to careers in scientific research, academia, clinical research, scientific patents and scientific writing.

Staff profiles

Cancer Biology group

Dr Nobue Itasaki, (Senior Lecturer), Cancer cell dynamics in micro-environment: interactions with non-cancerous epithelial cells and with fibroblasts.  

Neuroendocrine group

Dr Allison Fulford, (Senior Teaching Fellow), Functional neuroanatomy of stress responses; in-vitro and in-vivo approaches; Neurobiology of stress and adaptive behaviour; the role of neuromodulatory peptides.

Dr Domingo Tortonese, (Senior Lecturer), Neuroendocrine control of fertility.

Dr Julie Townsend, (Senior Teaching Fellow), Paracrine mechanisms underlying the intra-pituitary regulation of fertility.

How to apply
Application deadline:

We welcome applications at any time of year.

Get in touch

Ms Allison Maggs Senior Postgraduate Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 428 2752 Email:

Dr Domingo Tortonese Director of Graduate Studies Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 8332

Faculty of Health Sciences
1st Floor 5 Tyndall Avenue
School website: Centre for Applied Anatomy

Open days and visits

Find out how to attend one of our upcoming online events.

International students

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

Bristol Doctoral College

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

REF 2014 results

  • Clinical Medicine:
  • 31% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 48% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 20% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 1% 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.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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