Molecular biology lab

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start date: October 2017
LocationSouth Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits

This course is now open to applications for 2017 entry.

This course provides in-depth training of all major structural molecular biology techniques, including its applications in drug discovery.

About the course


In the post-genome era, there is a wealth of information about the genomes of many organisms, including humans.

The next challenge is to assign and understand the functions of the final genome products proteins, in particular to understand at the molecular and biochemical level, the functions of identified disease-linked proteins and proteins that carry out basic life processes.

The requirement for three-dimensional information is an essential part of this process.

With many of the structure determination techniques becoming semi-automatic and routine, there will be a requirement for more broadly trained structural biology researchers who understand the use of complementary techniques for deriving biological function from structure.

It is therefore essential that trained structural biologists in both academia and industry have knowledge and skills in all macromolecular structural determination techniques.

This is an ideal training course for students to pursue further education and gain vital experience for a successful career.


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

You complete two 20-week research projects during the year.

The projects are designed to give practical experience of laboratory research, and opportunities to learn a wide range of skills.

Each project will incorporate at least two of the five structural biology areas:

  • Macromolecular structure function and structural bioinformatics
  • X-ray crystallography
  • Biological nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Cryo-electron microscopy
  • Mass spectrometry

In addition, there are various tutorials covering protein structural principles, cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR):

  • Macromolecular structure principles
  • Macromolecular Structure Determination
  • Macromolecular Structure Function
  • Structural Biology in Drug Discovery

You will also acquire a range of professional and transferable skills through workshops and modules given by the Faculty of Life Sciences and by the Graduate School.

You will attend seminars, together with journal clubs and work in progress meetings, which are relevant to your interests.

You will also present and discuss your work at lab meetings in the labs of your current research project and will have regular meetings about progress with your supervisors.

Entry requirements

Minimum academic requirement

2:1 Honours degree in a science-based subject.

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.

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 about the MRes Structural Molecular Biology, including more detailed course content.

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.