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Biological Sciences (MSc by Research)

2022-23 (also available for 2023-24)

This course is eligible for Master's loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

1 October 2022

16 January 2023

17 April 2023

Duration

The maximum duration for a full-time MSc by Research is 1 year (12 months) or part-time is 2 years (24 months) with an optional submission pending (writing up period) of 4 months.

Sometimes it may be possible to mix periods of both full-time and part-time study.

If studying on a part-time basis, you must establish close links with the University and spend normally not less than an average of 10 working days per year in the university, excluding participation in activities associated with enrolment, re-registration and progression monitoring. You are also expected to dedicate 17.5 hours per week to the research.

Application deadlines

For October 2022

10 June 2022 for International and Scholarship students

1 July 2022 for Home students

For January 2023

21 October 2022 for International and Scholarship students

18 November 2022 for Home students

For April 2023

27 January 2023 for International and Scholarship students

24 February 2023 for Home students

About the research degree

A Master's by Research (MSc) allows you to undertake a one year (full-time) research degree. It contains little or no formal taught component. This type of study gives you the chance to explore a research topic over a shorter time than a more in-depth doctoral programme.

Research Master's students choose a specific project to work on and have a greater degree of independence in their work than is the case with a taught Master’s course.

You’ll be expected to work to an approved programme which you will develop in conjunction with your supervisor within the first few months of starting your studies. Whilst undertaking the research project you will also have the opportunity to develop your research skills by taking part in training courses and events.

At the end of the project you write up your findings in the form of a short thesis of around 25,000 words, which will then be examined.

On successful completion, you will be awarded your degree and if you have enjoyed this taste of research you may then decide to apply for the full research doctoral degree (PhD).

You will be appointed a main supervisor who will normally be part of a supervisory team, comprising up to three members. The research supervisor will advise and support you on your project.

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirements for enrolment on a MSc by Research is an upper second honours degree (2.1) from a UK university or a qualification of an equivalent standard, in a discipline appropriate to that of the proposed programme to be followed.

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 6.5 overall with no element lower than 6.0, or equivalent will be considered acceptable. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.

Why choose Huddersfield?


There are many reasons to choose the University of Huddersfield and here are just five of them:

 

  1. We were named University of the Year by Times Higher Education in 2013.
  2. Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of permanent teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Authority.
  3. Our courses have been accredited by 41 professional bodies.
  4. 94.6% of our postgraduate students go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating.
  5. We have world-leading applied research groups in Biomedical Sciences, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities.

 

What can I research?

There are several research topics available for this degree. See below examples of research areas including an outline of the topics, the supervisor, funding information and eligibility criteria:

Outline

Pillwort (Pilularia globulifera) is an aquatic fern that lives on pond edge habitats in the UK and Western Europe. Throughout its range pillwort is undergoing a rapid decline and, despite the UK harbouring a substantial proportion of the species total population, it is considered to be a Priority Species in the 2007 UK Biodiversity Action Plan. It has been recognised that conservation planning for pillwort would be greatly aided with knowledge of genetic diversity, both across the whole UK population and within localised populations. In particular, the identification of gene flow levels between populations will provide an insight into the capacity of pillwort for re-colonising suitable habitats or show if translocation is required to establish new colonies. Genotyping of plants to be used in translocations will be of importance to minimise in-breeding and maximise genetic diversity in newly established colonies. This project aims to sequence the genomes of pillwort from multiple local sites in order to determine gene flow between populations, as well as to identify genetic markers suitable for population studies across the species’ known range.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Using human disorders of keratinisation as a model, the role of differential gene expression for the function of the epidermis will be studied. Rare skin diseases are genetically and pathophysiologically heterogeneous; disturbed keratinisation based on altered keratinocyte differentiation is a major mechanism of these disorders. Using the example of autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis, we want to study these mechanisms to understand the role of differential gene expression in the etiology of skin diseases and reveal signalling pathways involved. Keratinocytes will be analysed in primary and organotypic cell culture and their alterations characterised. Transient and permanent gene knockdown will be used to generate skin disease models, expression levels of candidate genes, especially genes involved in the epidermal lipid metabolism, will be monitored, and gene expression profiles investigated.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

This project will explore the effect of man-made phenolic chemicals on the terminal step of haem catabolism that can lead to brain death in animals. This will be achieved by in vitro spectrophotometric and HPLC assays with a variety of environmental pollutants to determine if they are antagonists of Phase II bilirubin glucuronidation. Computer based analysis using 3D modelling will also be used to predict interactions.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Superwarfarins such as brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, difethialone and flocoumafen are a class of compounds like the anticoagulant drug warfarin that are used as pesticides worldwide. Unfortunately poisoning of humans and non-target animals by these compounds is an escalating problem in many countries since the 1970s. This project will explore the toxicological impact of superwarfarins in both terrestrial and aquatic organisms using in vitro and in vivo systems.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Transposable elements (TEs) are genetic parasites that drive their own replication within their host’s genome. Their replication results in genomic conflict with their hosts – with elements attempting to proliferate in the genome, while hosts attempt to suppress this increase. Studies in multicellular organisms have shown that codon choice in TEs has not evolved in order to facilitate efficient protein translation. A surprising recent study however has shown that codon choice in some unicellular eukaryotes has been optimised to increase both translational efficiency and accuracy. This project aims to investigate codon choice in bacteria and archaea in order to determine if natural selection or mutational pressure act to influence codon bias in their TE genes.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Transposable elements (TEs) are genetic parasites that drive their own replication within their host’s genome. Their replication results in genomic conflict with their hosts – with elements attempting to proliferate in the genome, while hosts attempt to suppress this increase. To date TEs have mainly been studied in the multicellular animals, plants and fungi, however a small number of studies in unicellular eukaryotes indicate that TEs evolve under different evolutionary pressures in single celled organisms. This project aims to uncover evolutionary traits in TEs from choanoflagellates and other eukaryotic groups related to animals. There will be a focus of the horizontal transfer of TEs between species, as well as the role of codon choice in the translation of TE proteins.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Transposable elements (TEs) are genetic parasites that drive their own replication within their host’s genome. Their replication results in genomic conflict with their hosts – with elements attempting to proliferate in the genome, while hosts attempt to suppress this increase. To date TEs have mainly been studied in the multicellular animals, plants and fungi, however a small number of studies in unicellular eukaryotes indicate that TEs evolve under different evolutionary pressures in single celled organisms. This project aims to uncover evolutionary traits in TEs from unicellular eukaryotes. There will be a focus of the horizontal transfer of TEs between species, as well as the role of codon choice in the translation of TE proteins.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

The project will explore the evolution of vitamin K epoxide reductases (VKORs) and vitamin K dependent proteins that are involved in coagulation and bone development in higher animals in evolutionary diverse organisms. It will involve HPLC and spectrophotometric assays of VKORs in different organisms using various substrates and effect of antagonists (pharmaceuticals and pesticides) on organisms. Bioinformatic investigation will be carried out on VKOR and vitamin K dependent proteins.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

The choanoflagellates are a group of unicellular eukaryotes known to be the closest relative of animals. Gene sequences from RNA-Seq transcriptome data are over-turning our views on how different groups of choanoflagellate species are related to each other. Through comparative genomics we can also gain a better understanding on the evolution of important traits such as multicellularity, protein translation, RNAi and virus-like genetic parasites. This project aims to generate robust and reliable evolutionary trees to test current ideas on choanoflagellate evolution. The use of reliable trees will allow a more accurate reconstruction of trait evolution in choanoflagellates and in the last common ancestor of choanoflagellates and animals.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

Using human disorders of keratinisation as a model, the role of keratinocyte adhesion for the function of the epidermis will be studied. Rare genetic skin diseases are pathophysiologically heterogeneous; disturbed cell adhesion based on faulty protease pathways is major mechanism of these disorders. We want to study these mechanisms to understand the importance of proteases and protease inhibitors in the etiology of skin diseases and reveal signalling pathways involved in these processes. Keratinocytes will be analysed in primary and organotypic cell culture and their alterations characterised in particular disorders.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

The aim of the project is an efficient and targeted transport of functional proteins into the viable epidermis. Using the genetic skin disease congenital chthyosis as an example, the importance of specific gene expression systems will be studied. Congenital ichthyosis can be caused by deficiency of ransglutaminase 1, an enzyme involved in the final steps of keratinocyte differentiation in the skin. The efficacy of treatments with recombinant nzyme produced in different cells, such as E. coli, insect or mammalian cells, will be assessed. Enzyme activity has to be determined and cell lines, primary keratinocytes and skin models have to be treated and characterised regarding protein uptake, subcellular localisation, morphology, and biological availability.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £4,000-£8,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

Outline

It is well established that aging is a progressive deterioration of an organism’s cellular structures and homeostatic mechanisms, with an increasing decline with age in an organism’s ability to correctly perform normal cellular functions. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage arising from respiration-associated reactive oxygen species or inaccurate mtDNA replication and repair is linked with normal and premature aging, and other age-associated degenerative disorders affecting healthspan.

Little is known of how mitochondria repair the damage to their DNA, and in particular, the roles of lesion bypassing DNA polymerases, several of which may be targeted to the mitochondria. Some DNA polymerases may exhibit either protective or mutagenic effects on mtDNA, suggesting their deregulation could influence not only cancer development, but mitochondrial aging and hence normal life- and healthspan.

We will study these DNA polymerases to assess how they influence mtDNA integrity in human cells using in vivo and in vitro approaches, and also if they influence organismal lifespan with the Caenorhabditis elegans worm model system. The project brings together UK and international laboratories in the fields of genome integrity, metabolism, C. elegans and oxidative DNA repair.

Funding

Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.

Deadline

Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th

Supervisors

How to apply

To find out more about the research we conduct, take a look at our Research, Innovation and Skills webpages, where you will find information on each research area. To find out about our staff visit ‘Our experts’ which features profiles of all our academic staff.

You should enter the project title and supervisor in the online application form.

No research proposal is necessary in your application.

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

Researcher Environment

The University of Huddersfield has a thriving research community made up of over 1,350 postgraduate research students. We have students studying on a part-time and full-time basis from all over the world with around 43% from overseas and 57% from the UK.

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through undertaking research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills which are current and relevant to your specialist area.

Find out more about our research staff and centres

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

When you are offered a place on a research degree, your offer will include confirmation of your supervisory team, and the topic you will be researching.

Whilst the University will use reasonable efforts to ensure your supervisory team remains the same, sometimes it may be necessary to make changes to your team for reasons outside the University’s control, for example if your supervisor leaves the University, or suffers from long term illness. Where this is the case, we will discuss these difficulties with you and seek to either put in place a new supervisory team, or help you to transfer to another research facility, in accordance with our Student Protection Plan.

Changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, for example the University being unable to access its buildings due to fire, flood or pandemic, or the University no longer being able to provide specialist equipment. Where this is the case, we will discuss these issues with you and agree any necessary changes.

Your research project is likely to evolve as you work on it and these minor changes are a natural and expected part of your study. However, we may need to make more significant changes to your topic of research during the course of your studies, either because your area of interest has changed, or because for reasons outside the University’s control we can no longer support your research. If this is the case, we will discuss any changes in topic with you and agree these in writing. If you are an international student, changing topics may affect your visa or ATAS clearance and if this is the case we will discuss this with you before any changes are agreed.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by the University’s Terms and Conditions and a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, along with the Student Protection Plan, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.