PhD study and Masters by Research
A research degree involves carrying out an in-depth study of a particular topic. In the School of Biosciences we offer one type of degree: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). A PhD is the highest qualification a university can award and offers a challenging and exciting opportunity to work at the cutting-edge of research; Exeter provides a very supportive environment in which to pursue research.
Research degrees involve an extensive investigation of a particular topic, but the PhD is only awarded when the results of your investigation make an original contribution to knowledge in the field. The results of your research will normally be assessed by a written thesis and oral examination.
You will need to pinpoint the area in which you wish to undertake your research and identify academics who are undertaking similar research here who can offer supervision in your chosen field. Find out about the individual staff members in Biosciences, their research interests, publications and current projects in our Biosciences staff profiles area. You can read more about the Research groups within Biosciences.
If you feel a research degree is the right path for you, we recommend reading about the specifics of following a research degree at our campuses on our PhD in Exeter and PhD in Cornwall webpages, where you can also find out how to make first contact with the School and discuss your interests.
Further information about research degrees
Find out more about Research degrees at the University of Exeter on our Postgraduate Study website.
Masters by Research
The School of Biosciences now offers a Masters by Research programme, enabling students with an interest in pursuing further qualification the opportunity to develop their research skills and metrology through full-time supervised research.
25 year old Erika Newton is the first Biosciences student to have completed both her undergraduate degree and PhD at the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus. Dr Newton’s PhD involved spending much of her time up on the cliffs of Prussia Cove. Her thesis focused on the wild cabbage, which grows in Britain’s coastal regions. She compared the ways in which varieties growing in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset have evolved to deter the white butterfly lava and aphids that feed on them. Originally from Berkshire, she was attracted to a study that would allow her to spend much of her time outside in beautiful locations. She said "Cornwall is a great place for a ecology study like mine. I was very lucky to have the perfect site for my fieldwork just half an hour away. Prussia Cove is a beautiful place to work, which made it so much easier to be out there in all weathers!”
Dr Newton has a research post with the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus until October 2009. She then hopes to continue her academic career in Europe. She has already had two papers based on her research published in the academic journals Oecologia and Ecological Entomology.