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Biological Sciences

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Biological Sciences

MSc by Research

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £7,786 †

International/EU fees**: £29,300†

The course

Biological Sciences (MSc by Research)

Refine your research skills and develop advanced scientific and technical expertise with a one-year Masters by Research degree in Biological Sciences.

Choose your preferred research area from our department's active research programme based on four overlapping research themes: Healthy Ageing and Molecular Medicine; Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; Sustainable Engineering and Food Security; and Data and Technology Resources. You will learn alongside academic staff working at the frontiers of knowledge in their particular fields. Find out more about our Research Projects.

You’ll contribute to a renowned research culture, with Royal Holloway, University of London Department of Biological Sciences ranked 26th in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research by the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (THE REF institutions ranked by subject 2022).  

Study in our state-of-the-art laboratories, providing advanced equipment for bioinformatics, mass spectrometry and protein and gene sequencing. You’ll have access to on-site woodland and meadow field testing facilities, and our campus is within easy reach of sites of special scientific interest, including Windsor Great Park, Box Hill and Chobham Common.

Gain the generic skills and hands-on experience you need to continue into further study as a PhD student, or progress towards a research career in a variety of different sectors.  

Find out more about applying here.

  • Develop research skills to progress to further study at PhD level or a research career in a variety of sectors.
  • Take part in world-class research led by renowned academics.
  • Use our state-of-the-art facilities, including equipment for bioinformatics, mass spectrometry and protein and gene sequencing.
  • Study on a biodiverse campus with on-site woodland and meadow field testing facilities, within reach of sites of special scientific interest including Windsor Great Park and Box Hill.
  • Carry out research in biomedical sciences, plant molecular sciences and ecology, or evolution and behaviour.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Your understanding and interpretation of novel scientific data will be assessed in the form of a thesis, while your training in transferable skills (provided by the taught component) will be assessed by coursework.


Biology, Biochemistry or a related discipline.

Normally we require a UK 2:2 (Honours) or equivalent in Biology, Biochemistry or a related discipline. However, individual supervisors might request a higher degree classification.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
  • TOEFL ib: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.

A Masters in Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London is ideal for students who want to continue to further PhD study or pursue a research career in a variety of sectors. You will develop a range of advances research techniques as well as a range of transferrable skills, including experimental design and data analysis, as well as presenting research findings to an audience in the form of a conference presentation.

Our Masters graduates have gone on to secure PhD positions at Royal Holloway, the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, the Max Plank Institute, Germany, St George's University of London and MRC Harwell, as well as prestigious careers including Senior Keeper in Herpetology at London Zoo and Species Recovery Officer at Plantlife International.

  • Around a quarter of graduates secure PhD positions at Royal Holloway or elsewhere.
  • Excellent preparation for a research career in a variety of fields.
  • A close-knit graduate network to draw on, with alumni often visiting Royal Holloway to share their experiences.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £7,786 †

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £29,300†

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis in the academic year 2024/25. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase all postgraduate tuition fees annually, based on the UK’s Retail Price Index (RPI). Please therefore be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration), and that this also means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. For further information, please see our terms and conditions.

** This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25. Find out more 

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

† Please note that this course fee is inclusive of a £3,000 bench fee.

We adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the UKRI website.

Paul Devlin

Reader in Plant Molecular Biology

Programme Director of Masters by Research

Profile | +44 1784 414698


of research impact rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)

Source: REF, 2021


permanent members of academic staff


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