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Structural Biophysics (PhD)

PhD 3-4 years (full-time) / opportunities available (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

About Research at the School

Research is currently aligned with four themes comprising Visual Neuroscience, Retinal Degeneration & Ageing, Structural Biophysics and Visual Rehabilitation. This breadth of research enables a truly multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach to the investigation of vision and visual disorders. Students are drawn from a wide variety of scientific backgrounds, including Psychology, Physics, Biology, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Zoology etc., as well as Optometry.

Research Environment

The School appreciates the importance of a supportive and encouraging environment for postgraduate students. All research students have dedicated computer and desk space in an office shared with other students. Regular meetings with the respective PhD supervisory team ensure that satisfactory progress is maintained. The School provides a diverse programme of transferrable skills training, which complements the University Graduate College Programme. Part of the personal development of postgraduate research students includes the ability to present research findings. To this end, the School provides funding for each postgraduate student to attend at least one major national/ international conference, in addition to the frequent opportunities for each student to present their work to peers at School research group meetings, the School seminar series and the annual School research poster competition.

Programme Aims

To provide opportunities to acquire knowledge and expertise for post doctoral/lectureship positions in neuroscience, molecular biology, molecular genetics, cell biology and vision science as well as for research positions in industry, the Health Service, scientific informatics and science writing.

Special Features

Programme Description

A PhD by research at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences is based around a specific, well-defined research topic. All students have regular meetings with their supervisory team, as well as an advisor who is not directly involved with the project, and is able to objectively monitor the progress of the research, and to provide independent guidance. In addition to the core research topic, the School provides a diverse programme of transferrable skills training, which complements the University Graduate College Programme.

Research Areas

Skills Acquired

This course aims to provide the graduate with a skillset, which will advance them towards the goal of becoming an independent researcher. In addition to research project specific skills, graduates can expect to develop transferrable research skills in areas such as study design, statistical analysis, scientific writing, research governance and ethics, and presentation of research findings. The School seminar series provides the opportunity for graduates to widen their general understanding of Vision Research. There are also opportunities to develop teaching skills, through supervision of the undergraduate course, and the University Graduate College provides courses addressing diverse aspects of generic skills training, such as computing skills, time management, rapid reading, and careers planning.

Career Prospects

Those who successfully gain their research degree generally find employment commensurate with their academic achievement within six months of graduation. Positions include postdoctorate or lectureships within Universities, senior appointments within NHS Trusts, professional service appointments within major optometric companies, pharmaceutical, and other industry employment such as Novartis, Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Entry Requirements

Suitable for graduates in biology, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, optometry, mathematics or any relevant scientific discipline.

A First or Upper Second class UK Honours degree, Masters degree, or equivalent is required.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be asked to provide evidence of English Language proficieny via or equivalent to IELTS 6.5.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.  In addition, depending on the nature of the project, bench fees may be required.

Next intake: The University has four entry points for research degrees: 1 October, 1 January, 1 April, or 1 July

School Contact

Name: Dr Jon Erichsen  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 6163 

Fax: +44 (0)29 2087 4859 


School Website:

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