Postgraduate Chemistry student

Multidisciplinary Physical Scientists for Next-Generation Biological, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research and Development 

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start date: October 2017
LocationSouth KensingtonWhite City
ECTS: 90 credits
This course is now open to applications for 2017 entry.

Chemical Biology is an emerging discipline that sits at the interface of traditional chemistry and biology, drawing on the tools and ideas of modern Physical Sciences and applying them to the solution of biological problems at the molecular level.

About the course


This is a discipline that is perfectly poised to address the next great challenge in biological science – to understand how gene products are used in and interact with the cellular environment.

The programme is run by the Institute of Chemical Biology’s Doctoral Training Centre.

The research element provides physical scientists with the ability to bridge disparate fields and gain the confidence to grapple with biomolecular research in a multidisciplinary environment.

Students can apply for a one-year stand-alone MRes course or a four-year programme (one year MRes followed by a three-year PhD).


Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

The MRes consists of a nine-month interdisciplinary research project, taught modules in advanced cell biology and biochemistry, practical laboratory experience of biomolecular techniques, specialist lectures in transferable skills and group discussion sessions.

In term one, you choose a research project after discussion with academic staff during the first two weeks of the course. Each research project has at least one physical and one life sciences supervisor. Under their guidance, you write a literature report and research proposal for submission at the end of term.

Core Taught Material

  • Cell biology
  • Chemical Biology and Enzymology
  • Analytical Tools and Techniques
  • Physical Techniques in Biology
  • Molecular Basis of Cancer
  • Theoretical Approaches to Biology
  • Imaging in Chemistry and Biology
  • Single Cell Technologies

You begin term two with an assessment on the core lecture modules undertaken in term one. You also begin your research project in the laboratory.

Continuing with your programme of taught material, you choose two modules from the options available, in discussion with your project supervisor.

You also attend Journal Club, which is an assessed transferable skills module that aims to develop presentation skills, whilst encouraging scientific debate, and providing the opportunity to broaden scientific knowledge.

At each Journal Club meeting you will work in a group and make a presentation about a seminal high impact paper. This will be followed by a chaired discussion/debate about the paper.

You will be assessed on your ability to organise the presentation in a logical manner, the use of clear PowerPoint slides, the clarity of the presentation and its scientific content.

In term three, you will continue to work on your research project, to be written up as a thesis. You will also present your research findings at a one-day MRes Conference held at the beginning of September, which counts towards your overall assessment.

Entry requirements

Minimum academic requirement

2.1 Honours degree in any subject with more than 50 per cent physical science content (e.g. chemistry, physics, mathematics, biophysics, biochemistry, bioengineering).

International qualifications

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification. 

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirements

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

Fees and funding

Home and EU students

2017 entry:


Islands and overseas students

2017 entry:


Government funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,000 from the UK government for programmes beginning in October 2016. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs. 

Funding from Imperial


We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.

For more information on the Postgraduate Master's Loan scheme and other funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

How to apply

All applicants must apply onlineFor full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.

You can usually apply for up to two courses, although your second choice will only be considered if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.

Most of our postgraduate courses don't have a formal closing date, but popular courses close when they are full. We therefore recommend applying early to avoid disappointment, especially students who will also be applying for funding or applying for a visa.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Offer holders will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. This will be deducted from the balance of your tuition fees.

ATAS Certificate
An ATAS certificate is required for overseas students applying for this course. Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support team website.

Further information

Find out more, including detailed course content: