Masters by Research or PhD Biological Sciences (Postgraduate)

Swiss Alps

Study mode

Full-Time or Part-Time


Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

Pursue a broad range of research opportunities in biosciences, encompassing theoretical and experimental science in both field and laboratory settings.

Research areas

Ecology and environment

Biotic responses to climate change; impacts of non-native species; biogeography; environmental biology; conservation ecology. Recent research projects include: examining the potential positive impacts of non-native species; modelling the effects of climate change on bird distribution; investigating the prevalence of parasites in the Skomer Vole.

Biology of taxonomic group

Social insect behaviour and evolution; avian biology; equine biology.  Recent research projects include the thermal biology of leafcutting ants; the effect of worming treatments on horses; the incidence of puffinosis in seabirds.


Disease biology in birds and mammals; nematodes and parasites; microbial ecology.  Recent research projects include: the bacterial communities of penguin feathers; microbial populations in bird next boxes and their effect on breeding success; fungi in solitary bee nests.

Pedagogic research

Effective teaching and learning; use of new technologies in teaching; field work in biosciences; students as researchers. One member of the team is a National Teaching Fellow. Recent research projects include: the importance of field courses in pastoral care; the use of web-based video to prime students prior to field courses.

Citizen science and public engagement

The use of volunteer ‘citizen science’ data in ecology and zoology; the public understanding of science.  Recent research projects include: a nationwide flying ant survey to map distribution and timing; investigating the accuracy of the public in recording animal behaviour; modelling the use of rewards to improve volunteer data collection.

See also Research opportunities in Geography and Environmental Sciences, Countryside and Community.

All research students who have not already completed a relevant Master’s degree, or other appropriate postgraduate research methods training, are required to complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods.

Entry requirements

  • An Honours degree of upper second class or above from a UK/EC university, or equivalent qualification, is normally required in a relevant subject area
  • In exceptional circumstances, we will consider applications from non-graduates with experience of undertaking research or graduates who wish to work in a new subject area
  • Initial registration is usually for MPhil or MRes or MA/MSc by Research with the possibility of transfer to PhD.  Candidates with a Master’s degree in a relevant subject that contains appropriate research methods training may register for a PhD directly.


See the further details of tuition fees when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.

Dr. Malcolm MacLean

Staff Profile

Dr. Malcolm MacLean

Reader in the Culture and History of Sport

"Malcolm's teaching and research interests are based on his background in history and anthropology. He is interested in ordinary experiences of cultural and social life and also has a particular interest in research design and ethics. He is also research degree's lead for the Schools of Sport & Exercise, Natural & Social Sciences and Health & Social Care."


Develop your skills in research methods through dedicated modules

Research students who have not already completed a relevant Masters degree or other appropriate postgraduate research methods training will benefit from the university's research methods training modules: Philosophy and Approaches to Research and Methodologies and Methods.

Five specialist research areas

We have a particular research history in ecology and environment, biology of taxonomic groups, microbiology, pedagogic research and citizen science and public engagement.

Contact us

Find out more about our courses.

+44 (0)3330 141414