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Course options

  • Qualification

    PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

  • Location

    The University of Manchester

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    3 years

Course summary

Programme description

Our PhD/MPhil Structural Biology programme enables you to undertake a research project that will improve understanding of Structural Biology.

Structural biology is a rapidly developing area of biology that is aimed at determining the three-dimensional structures of biologically-important macromolecules such as proteins, DNA and RNA and their complexes (i.e. ribosomes, nucleosomes).

Structural biology developed as a field alongside molecular biology in the 1950s and 1960s and almost everyone knows some of the pioneers in this field - Hodgkin, Wilkins, Watson, Crick who determined the structure of DNA. Less widely known are the pioneers of protein structure determination, Nobel Prize winners - Kendrew and Perutz.

Recent developments in computational analysis and the availability of state-of-the-art instrumentation mean that high-resolution structures are now obtained routinely using X-ray diffraction and high resolution cryo-electron microscopy, allowing to reveal structural details of large complexes as well as individual proteins in a faster and more reliable manner.

Structural biology is crucial for the pharmaceutical industry, where identifying drug binding sites to target proteins is a key step in drug development of new medicines and treatments.

Structural biology is also essential in biotechnology where knowing the structure of enzymes allows a better understanding of their mechanism of action and provides a rational basis for redesigning them to optimise their activity or even change it to produce a novel product of commercial interest.

At The University of Manchester we have a superb infrastructure to undertake structural biology projects, which includes state-of-the-art facilities for cryo-electron microscopy, crystallisation robots, X-ray diffraction, NMR spectroscopy and computational analysis.

Structural biology is a multidisciplinary area and pursuing a postgraduate research degree in this subject will allow you to develop skills in biology, biochemistry, biophysics and computer science, as well as the opportunity to undergo rigorous multidisciplinary training.

If you are fortunate, just like Kendrew and Perutz, you will have the unique experience of being the first person on the planet to visualise the new structure of a protein or macromolecule and to have the first insights into its mechanism of action and how it interacts with other molecules to regulate an essential biological process.

Alternatively, your project may generate the structural information needed to design a new drug that will be used to treat human diseases such as tuberculosis or cancer, or to design a new protein to optimise a process in biotechnology.

Career opportunities

Your postgraduate research degree will open up a range of career opportunities after you graduate.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

Information not available

Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Manchester

  • University League Table


  • Campus address

    The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, England

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    17th out of 103 2

  • Entry standards

    / Max 240
    170 74%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    79 79%


  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5
    4.03 81%



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