Biosciences MRes

Our Master of Research (MRes) in Biosciences at Aston University is an exceptional programme designed for aspiring researchers who are seeking to deepen their understanding of the intricate world of biology.



Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Course format

No placements


1 Year

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Explore the Biosciences MRes at Aston University

Why study a postgraduate degree at Aston University?

A postgraduate degree is a great way to improve your career prospects. As well as opening doors, it builds on your experience, develops your skills, and gives you a competitive edge in a crowded job market.

Ewan Ross

“Our specialist Biosciences MRes programme has been designed specifically for students who wish to develop their skills as a scientific researcher.  Our students receive extensive hands-on training and spend a large proportion of their time undertaking research in the laboratory, honing their skills to prepare for a future career in scientific research.”

Dr Ewan Ross, Course Director and Lecturer in Biosciences


Ewan Ross

“Our specialist Biosciences MRes programme has been designed specifically for students who wish to develop their skills as a scientific researcher.  Our students receive extensive hands-on training and spend a large proportion of their time undertaking research in the laboratory, honing their skills to prepare for a future career in scientific research.”

Dr Ewan Ross, Course Director and Lecturer in Biosciences


Course overview and modules

The MRes in Biosciences offers a broad range of specialised subject area disciplines within biological sciences, including cellular and molecular biology; ageing and age-related disease; immunology; biotechnology; stem cells and tissue engineering; and Microbiology. 

This course is specifically designed for those with an undergraduate biosciences degree* who aspire to pursue an exciting and rewarding career as a scientific researcher. The course programme provides an ideal blend of theoretical knowledge and practical, skills-based laboratory work. 

As a student, you will engage in advanced coursework which delves into the fundamental principles, recent advancements, and emerging trends in your chosen field of specialisation. In the laboratory setting, you will develop a solid foundation in research methodologies, critical thinking, and data analysis, enabling you to design and execute robust experiments and effectively evaluate scientific literature. 

*A biosciences-related degree is a strict entry requirement for this course. If you are unsure whether your qualification meets the standards of this course, contact 

Research projects

The primary focus of the Biosciences MRes programme is the extended research project, which takes up much of the year of study. This research project will provide you with a good experience of working within the collaborative environment of a modern biosciences research laboratory, studying alongside active research staff, all of which are from a broad range of biosciences specialist areas. 

We offer a wide variety of research projects to suit your interests, which are designed to reflect the diverse nature of biosciences research conducted at Aston University. To apply for this course you will have a good fundamental knowledge of the area in which they wish to specialise in. For a full list of extended research projects available for 2023 entry please visit our project page.

International students and post-study work visa

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries choose to study with us every year. Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live.

As a University, we welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Course outline

From the start of the Biosciences MRes at Aston, you will receive training in essential laboratory skills, and develop your research and communication skills. Your study modules will ensure that you are prepared to embark upon the 120-credit extended research project, which takes up much of the study year. See the full list of available projects.

Your chosen research project will focus on a specific topic, meaning you’ll get to experience hands-on masters-level research, working closely with one of our specialist project supervisors. Depending upon which research project you chose to undertake, you will receive specialist training in research techniques such as: * 

  • 3D cell culture
  • Bacterial protein expression
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
  • Molecular biology and microscopy
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mammalian cell culture

*Please refer to the core techniques description in each of the available projects for more information.

In addition to the extended research project, you will also study a series of 15 credit modules that will assist in the development of essential skills for planning, implementing and communicating research.

Core Modules

In addition to the extended research project, you will also study a series of 15 credit modules that will assist in the development of essential skills for planning, implementing and communicating research. 

Essential Laboratory Skills 
The Biosciences MRES course emphasises the development of practical laboratory skills, including aseptic techniques, sample preparation, data collection, and analysis. You will gain hands-on experience with a wide range of laboratory methodologies, instrumentation, and experimental protocols relevant to your field of study, ensuring you are proficient in conducting experiments and generating reliable data in a laboratory setting. 
Development and Communication Skills 
Effective communication is crucial in scientific research. This professional development module focuses on honing your written* and oral communication skills, enabling you to articulate research findings, present complex scientific concepts to diverse audiences, and publish your work in peer-reviewed journals.
 Research Competency Assessment 
You will undergo a comprehensive evaluation of your research competencies, including literature review skills, experimental design, data analysis, and scientific communication. This module will provide you with valuable feedback and guidance to ensure you are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in your research project. 
Postgraduate Research Skills  

The Postgraduate Research Skills module focuses on equipping you with the essential skills required for conducting advanced research in biosciences. This module covers a wide range of topics, including research ethics, project planning, data management, statistical analysis, and scientific writing.  

You will explore best practices for conducting literature reviews, formulating research questions, designing experiments, and analysing and interpreting data. Through practical exercises and workshops, you will gain hands-on experience in research tools, software, and methodologies commonly used in the field of biosciences. This module serves as a vital stepping stone towards independent and impactful research. 

Research Project  
The Research Project module represents the pinnacle of the MRes Biosciences programme. Under the guidance of a supervisor, you will engage in an original research project that aligns with your interests and chosen specialisation within the field of biosciences. This module provides you with an opportunity to apply the knowledge, skills, and techniques acquired throughout the programme, in order to address a specific research question or problem. You will design and execute experiments, collect and analyse data, interpret results, and draw meaningful conclusions. You will also critically evaluate existing literature, identify gaps in knowledge, and contribute new insights into your field of study. Through regular progress reports, presentations, and written documentation, you will showcase your research findings, and demonstrate your ability to conduct independent, rigorous, and impactful scientific research. 

Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:


Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 10am-4pm)

Please click here for guidance on completing the postgraduate application. 

Entry requirements

We welcome applications from candidates interested in our course who have the skills and capability to excel. All candidates are considered on an individual basis based on their qualifications, experience, references and motivation.

All applicants require:

  • Upper second class (2:1) honours degree from a recognised university in a biological, biomedical or biochemistry based subject, or a related field. More information on international degree requirements can be found on our Aston in your country webpage.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. English language test requirements may be waived where students’ undergraduate degree was studied in an English-speaking country.
  • Find out more about our English language requirements.


Project selection: Applicants will have be required to select which extended research project they would like to complete as part of their studies. This information should be included within the personal statement section of their application form. Full details on what projects we have available can be found on our projects page. Applicants will be able to demonstrate a good fundamental knowledge of the area they wish to study within their application and at interview. 

Interviews: Successful applicants will be required to attend an online interview as part of the application process.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

More advice on applying to Aston can be found here.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

While much of your year will be spent conducting research for your chosen extended project, you will also complete a series of smaller taught modules. Combined, these modules are worth 60 credits, with one credit equal to 10 learning hours. The learning hours may include, but are not limited to lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab sessions, practicals, online activity, reading, other independent study or reflecting on assignment feedback.

Throughout your research project, you will be supported by your supervisor, alongside the wider biosciences team of academics, other researchers and technicians.


Assessment on the course will be through a combination of class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments.

Key staff

Course Director

Dr Ewan Ross

Key members of teaching staff

Dr Eric Hill
Eric is a Senior Lecturer in Biosciences, his main research interests include the development of tissue engineering strategies to model stem cell behaviour in the development of neuronal networks and also during neurodegeneration.  He is currently engaged in developing stem cell derived models of the CNS in an attempt to study complex cellular interactions that occur in development and disease.

Dr Steve Russell
Steve is a Lecturer in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, his research interests are predominantly focused on cancer cachexia and metabolic changes in a number of conditions such as obesity and diabetes.


You’ll have access to a range of facilities including:

  • Extensive and well-equipped laboratories with a variety of equipment designed to support your learning in an industry-relevant environment. Including: tissue culture facilities, bioreactor cell culture, flow cytometry and fluorescence imaging.
  • Refurbished lecture theatres, seminar rooms, and computer laboratories.
  • A virtual learning environment used for general study, revision and assessment. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more.
  • Aston Library, fully refurbished and equipped for the digital age. Open 24 hours a day at key points throughout the year, with a variety of study spaces, academic support advisors, and course texts available electronically or in book form.

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2024/25)


International/EU students (2024/25)


The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as Home students.


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

20 per cent postgraduate alumni scholarship

Career prospects

On successful graduation, you will have not only developed a wide range of highly desirable practical laboratory skills and techniques through hands-on research experience but also crucial skills in team working, critical thinking and communication.

These skills and experience will ensure you are well prepared for a research-focused role in the industry, or to undertake further research, in the form of a PhD at Aston or another leading university.

Throughout your time with us, you will have access to specialist support and guidance from our dedicated biosciences team of academics, alongside the Aston University career service, to help you to plan the next step of your career.

Chat with current students


Frequently asked questions

Why study Biosciences MRes at Aston?

We’re ranked top 10 UK for research quality (Biological Sciences, Complete University Guide, 2020), making us a great choice for those who want to kick start their career in bioscience research.

With access to our leading academics, specialist facilities and the completion of an extended research project, you’ll gain all the skills and knowledge required to progress onto a research-focused role in industry, or undertake further research in the form of a PhD at Aston or another leading university.

How does the extended research project work?

Your extended research project will take up much of your year with us, worth 120 credits, this is also supplemented with a range of 15 credit taught modules to provide you with laboratory and research communication skills.

Each year we have a variety of projects available to students, examples of this year’s projects include:

  • Antibiotic discovery from the Eden Project’s tropical plants with Dr Jon Cox
  • Scaling-up of keratinocyte expansion for the treatment of large bun wounds with Dr Patricia Perez Esteban
  • 3D culture of stem cell derived neural networks with Dr Eric Hill
  • A 3D printing approach for drug discovery with Dr John Simms
  • Investigating the effect of lipoxidaition on mammalian cell function with Professor Corrine Spickett

The full list of projects for 2020 entry can be seen here.

You will be required to select which extended research project you would like to complete as part of your degree, and you should highlight this choice in your personal statement section of the application form. 

What facilities will I have access to?
Aston University is home to an extensive bioscience department that includes a combination of student practical and research laboratories. All spaces are well-appointed and furnished with a variety of relevant equipment designed to ensure our students receive the very best training experience.
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