Our Department has research links with the UK Environment Agency, British Antarctic Survey, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Miami, English Nature, RSPB and local conservation bodies.
Our campus facilities include a simulated, controlled environment tidal mesocosm, extensive algal and microbiological culture facilities including anaerobic culture facilities, and many controlled environment cabinets for plants, microbes and insect. There are extensive facilities for molecular ecology and we have a state-of-the-art, six compartment controlled light, humidity, CO2 and temperature glasshouse with more than 20 controlled environment chambers housed in a purpose designed space on the ground floor.
We also offer an MPhil and a Masters by dissertation in this subject.
Please note, part-time research study is also available.
Why study PhD Marine Biology at Essex?
Our School of Biological Sciences has an international reputation for our outstanding record of teaching and research. We are a large school with friendly and supportive staff, in our 2010 National Student Satisfaction Survey we were ranked third in the UK for the subject area ‘biology and related sciences’.
We have a range of research groups working on important international and national problems using cutting-edge techniques. The quality of our work is reflected in the large number of publications in high profile academic journals, such as Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy USA, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Cell, Plant Cell, Limnology and Oceanography, and Environmental Microbiology. In addition, several of our staff have active leadership roles in learned societies and are editors of leading biological science journals.
Key to the success of all research and teaching within a university is sufficient resources. Our School of Biological Sciences is well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, centrally resourced by technical/post-doctoral staff who provide a service to all our staff and students. Recent investment has provided modern facilities for imaging biological systems, transcriptomics, proteomics and bioinformatics.
We have a new study room for our postgraduate research students. This has been designed in collaboration with our postgraduates, and allows all our PhD students to have office space as well as a dedicated bench space in our research laboratories. This provides a focal point for our postgraduates, facilitating good communication and a strong sense of community.
You can apply until:
Always verify the dates on the programme website.
Your research degree gives you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. You develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. A PhD can open doors to many careers.
Within our School of Biological Sciences, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
How you will study
The aim of undertaking your PhD within our School of Biological Sciences is to train independent researchers who can critically assess other research work, and have a comprehensive knowledge of at least one area of biology.
Our PhD programme is usually three to four years duration and all our students are initially registered as Mphil/PhD students, then transferred to the PhD in the first half of their second year of study if they have made satisfactory progress. In your second and third years, you work towards your PhD.
Finalising your PhD
Within our School of Biological Sciences, you must attend two formal supervisory board meetings each year where you submit literature reviews and research reports to the Board members prior to the meeting. At these meetings, such documents are discussed with you and your progress is assessed.
Your PhD thesis is generally completed within three to four years and has a maximum length of 80,000 words. Great importance is given to the completion of PhDs within a four-year period from the time of initial registration. Your Mphil is usually completed in two years, with a maximum thesis length of 50,000 words. Your MSc by Dissertation is usually completed in one year, with a maximum thesis length of 30,000 words.
Seminars and conferences
Within our School of Biological Sciences, you are expected to attend departmental and research group seminars, and give research seminars about your studies in research group meetings. A Graduate Forum, organised by our graduate students, is held each September and you present your research, either as a poster or an oral presentation, with prizes awarded for the best.
You are encouraged, and funded, to attend national and international conferences on your research areas and, during the later stages of your PhD, expected to present your work at such conferences.
You need the following IELTS score:
The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.Take IELTS test
StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more
For research study within our School of Biological Sciences, we normally require a good honours or Masters degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
However, if you do not have a Masters degree, we also offer a four-year integrated PhD, where your first year is spent doing a Masters before embarking on your research. This preparatory year ensures you develop your knowledge before embarking on your independent research.If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.
For up-to-date information on funding opportunities at Essex, please visit: www.essex.ac.uk/funding.
StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
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