Course overview

The Biosciences MRes 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 pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk. 

Degree Apprenticeship

You can also study this subject through a degree apprenticeship, meaning you’ll get to study for your degree whilst working. Your employer pays you a wage, and your fees are paid by your employer and the government, so you have no student debt when you graduate. The application process is different to a standard degree, and you’ll need to apply directly to an employer for your apprenticeship. 

Explore our Research Scientist Degree Apprenticeship

biological science student smiling

"Having undertaken my undergraduate degree in biology here, I knew Aston well, and I really liked the modules taught and that we get a lot of contact time with our lecturers. I then chose the MRes as I found I really enjoyed working in a laboratory setting where I could apply the knowledge I learned into my research."

Jaspreet Bansal
Biosciences MRes graduate, MIBTP PhD student

Why Biosciences at Aston University?

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Internationally recognise research
100% of the Health and Life Sciences research environment has been ranked as being at least internationally excellent, with 50% being world-leading
Student satisfaction
Research active staff
Study alongside active researcher staff from a broad range of specialist biosciences areas.
Book and pen
Independent research project
Hands-on research experience via the completion of an extended dissertation project on a specific topic within biosciences.

Course description

Biosciences MRes

Our Biosciences MRes at Aston will equip you with the skills, insights, and confidence required to become an outstanding bioscientist, well-equipped to advance research in the field.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK's second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you,; fantastic facilities that will bring your course to life through hands-on, practical experience; and years of close industry collaboration that is harnessed to provide you with learning based on real-world needs. 

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies - understanding that intelligence and success come from applying yourself.  You must be able to demonstrate critical thinking and have ambition and drive to excel.

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What skills we teach
From the start of the Biosciences MRes at Aston you will receive training in essential laboratory skills, and develop your research and communication skills. 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. 

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Career prospects
Our Biosciences MRes is valued by some of the best-known companies in the world. Recent graduates have successfully secured careers in a research-focused role in the industry, or undertaken further research in the form of a PhD at Aston or another leading university.

How you will learn

Our teaching style is modern and innovative, with a hands-on approach that bridges the gap between theory and practice. This enables you to apply your skills as you progress through your course, marrying your learning with practical examples, all designed to prepare you for the world of work.

You will engage in a variety of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, lab sessions, practicals, online activity, reading, other independent study or reflecting on assignment feedback.

What you will learn

From the start of the Biosciences MRes, 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.

Facilities

Biosciences MRes students have access to a range of specialist facilities that reflect the hands-on learning within the field. In these settings, you gain practical experience alongside like-minded students, with workshops and lectures guided by industry professionals and expert technicians.

Cutting edge facilities and equipment

  • Extensive and well-equipped laboratories with a variety of equipment designed to support your learning in an industry-relevant environment.

  • Microscopes include light microscopes, electron microscopes, and confocal microscopes for examining cells, tissues, and organisms at different levels of resolution.

  • Tissue culture facilities with biosafety cabinets, CO2 incubators, and sterile workspaces for cell maintenance and experiments.
  • Bioreactor Cell Culture for controlled growth and harvesting of cells, microorganisms, or production of biomolecules.

  • Flow cytometry instruments for analysing and sorting individual cells based on various properties such as size, shape, and fluorescence

  • Fluorescence microscopes and imaging systems to enable the visualisation and analysis of fluorescently labelled samples.

Aston University resources

  • 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.

Course objectives

  1. Provide you with the opportunities to realise your academic potential through a range of learning experiences.
  2. Encourages you, through a practical approach, to have a passion for biosciences and an enthusiasm for learning.
  3. Provide you with the means to carry out an extensive laboratory-based project on a specific topic within the biosciences.
  4. Provide advanced theoretical and practical knowledge in a particular area within the field of biosciences research
  5. Provide training in biosciences laboratory skills.
  6. Provide awareness of good laboratory practise and safety issues in a modern research laboratory.
  7. Provide an opportunity to develop a range of transferable skills (written and oral communication, time management, project management, team working, data collection and analysis).
  8. Enable you to develop an informed and critical appreciation of the scientific developments within a particular area of biosciences research.
  9. Produce graduates with the necessary skills to proceed to a more specialist higher degree at PhD level or a career in biosciences research.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Taught stage modules

In the taught stage, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Essential Laboratory Skills - Develop practical laboratory skills, including aseptic techniques, sample preparation, data collection, and analysis. 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. 15
Professional Development and Research Communication Skills - Hone 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.15
Research Competency Assessment - 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. 15
Postgraduate Research Skills - Acquire 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. 15
Total60

Dissertation stage modules

In the dissertation stage, you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
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. 120
Total120
Biosciences MRes students working on a project

Research projects

A key part of the programme is your final research project. This is your opportunity to utilise all the knowledge and skills gained and to investigate a research topic of your choice.

Entry requirements

A UK upper second-class (2:1) honours degree or recognised international equivalent from a recognised university in a biological, biomedical or biochemistry-based subject, or a related field.

See international student information below for international equivalent information.

Project selection

Applicants will 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 the 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.

International students

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

Qualifications in your country

For details of equivalent qualifications in your country, use our area pages below:

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

How to apply

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway Programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

Masters foundation programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

 

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Speak to our Admissions Team

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

Email: pgadmissions@aston.ac.uk

Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 9.30am-4.30pm)

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,750

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£20,700

More information on fees

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 UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

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.

Assessment

Our Biosciences MRes curriculum utilises a range of different assessment types and the assessment strategy reflects both the national educational requirements in the FHEQ. Assessment on the course will be through a combination of class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments.

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 teamwork, 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 plan the next step of your career.

Alumni

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Why study Biosciences MRes at Aston?

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. 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 be available?

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.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Study at Aston University and you will be part of a multi-cultural community located at the heart of the dynamic city of Birmingham. Our courses are practical, inspired by industry and many have internationally recognised accreditations. Renowned for our employability prospects and connections to business and industry, we provide outstanding career support, advice and placement opportunities.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government has created a new post-study work visa.

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

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