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Postgraduate taught

MRes Advanced Biological Sciences - 2023 entry

Please note: The below is for 2023 entries. Click here for 2022 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 2 years full time
Entry year 2022
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Biosciences

Programme Director: Dr Alison Hill
Web: Enquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725818

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

At least a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Biology or a relevant science subject

Contextual offers


  • Research-driven programme offering two research projects over 2 years
  • The advanced laboratory skills module provides specialised training and advanced data processing
  • You will undertake two substantial research projects working within two of our world-leading research groups
  • Prepares graduates with the key skills for a career in research
Apply for Sept 2022 entry

Apply online

View 2022 Entry

Open days and visiting us

Get a prospectus


Programme Director: Dr Alison Hill

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Top 20 in the UK for world-leading research in Biological Sciences

REF 2021, based on 4-star research

Opportunity to specialise with a choice of pathways

Advanced laboratory skills with specialist techniques training

Substantial research project within one of our world-leading research groups

The suite of programmes naturally builds on our internationally-leading undergraduate degrees, providing a rich and focused research-led experience. It works both ways - a fantastic opportunity for students to enhance their specialist training, while welcoming a new cohort of enthusiastic, budding scientists into our Departmental community.

Professor James Wakefield

Head of Biosciences

Course content

The MRes Advanced Biological Sciences programme is a research-driven programme that will be taken over two academic years enabling you to complete two research projects.

In year one, you will receive training in laboratory methods and transferable skills, take three taught modules and complete your first 45 credit research project. In year two, you will be supported in submitting UK-wide PhD studentship applications, learn how to write effective research proposals, take a core Advanced Topics module plus one other module from an extensive suite of options, and undertake your second, more extensive research project (75 credits).

The core modules will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to develop your research projects which will be supervised from within two of our world-leading research groups, determined by your research project focus.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

During your MRes you can, if you wish, choose to specialise in one of seven specialist pathways:

  • Animal Biology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Microbiology and Infectious Disease
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Sustainable Aquaculture

You will receive advice about the specialisms once you’re at Exeter so you don’t need to make any decisions in advance.

Specialist modules

To be awarded a bracketed specialism on the MRes, 45 credits should be selected from the specialist modules grouped below. Your research projects (modules BIOM560 and BIOM518) must both also be relevant to the specialist field.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows, and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

*You cannot choose this module if you have already taken the undergraduate version.

MRes Advanced Biological Sciences (Animal Biology)

CodeModule title
BIOM551 Biology of Marine Vertebrates (variant of BIO3098)*
BIOM552 Animal Development Biology (variant of BIO3091)*
BIOM553 Current Issues in Marine Biology (variant of BIO3083)*
BIOM4043 Rewilding the UK
PSYM205 Advances and Methods in Animal Behaviour
PSYM213 Current Research Issues in Animal Behaviour

MRes Advanced Biological Sciences (Bioinformatics)

CodeModule title
BIOM516 Bioinformatics (variant of BIO3092)*
BIOM567 Applications of Genomics in Infectious Disease
CSC4007 Medical Genomics
CSC4005 Pharmacogenomics
HPDM041 Bioinformatics, Interpretation and Data Quality Assurance in Genome Analysis
NSCM005 Mathematical Modelling in Biology and Medicine

MRes Advanced Biological Sciences (Ecotoxicology)

CodeModule title
BIOM568 Blue Planet
BIOM544 Ecotoxicology (variant of BIO3067)*
BIOM543 Ecology of Environmental Change (variant of BIO3037)*
BIOM4043 Rewilding the UK

MRes Advanced Biological Sciences (Frontiers in Plant Science)

CodeModule title
BIOM545 Frontiers in Plant Biology (variant of BIO3046)*
BIOM546 Living in a Microbial World (variant of BIO3097)*
BIOM562 Sustainable Land Use in Grassland Agriculture
BIOM563 Crop Security

MRes Advanced Biological Sciences (Microbiology and Infectious Disease)

CodeModule title
BIOM525 Molecular Basis of Infection (variant of BIO3079)*
BIOM515 Cellular Basis of Immunity (variant of BIO3078)*
BIOM534 Medical Mycology
BIOM567 Applications of Genomics in Infectious Disease

MRes Advanced Biological Sciences (Molecular and Cellular Biology)

CodeModule title
BIOM525 Molecular Basis of Infection (variant of BIO3079)*
BIOM515 Cellular Basis of Immunity (variant of BIO3078)*
BIOM547 Frontiers in Molecular Cell Biology (variant of BIO3077)*
BIOM548 Cell Biology of Disease (variant of BIO3086)*
NSCM009 Bioimaging

MRes Advanced Biological Sciences (Sustainable Aquaculture)

CodeModule title
BIOM568 Blue Planet
BIOM551 Biology of Marine Vertebrates (variant of BIO3098)*
BIOM553 Current Issues in Marine Biology (variant of BIO3083)*

*You cannot choose this module if you have already taken the undergraduate version.

The MRes programme at Exeter is research focussed and you will complete two research projects in our world-leading research laboratories which is an excellent preparation for a research career. If you wish, you can specialise in an area of Biology you are most interested in, or you can do your research projects in two different areas thereby broadening your research portfolio.

Alison Hill

Programme Director

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 in a relevant science subject.

Relevant subjects include: Biological Sciences, Cell Biology, Ecology, Ecology and Conservation, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Marine Biology, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Plant Science, Zoology.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements


Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.


2022/23 entry

UK fees per year:

£9,000 full-time

International fees per year:

£13,500 full-time



We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students and have over £2.5 million in scholarships available, including our Global Excellence Scholarships* and Green Futures Scholarships* for international fee paying students.

For information on how you can fund your postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, please visit our dedicated funding page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

Teaching and research

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Group discussion
  • Independent study

The programme consists of core modules that provide you with a theoretical and applied learning framework for directed student-centred learning in which you will develop skills of synthesis, critical analysis, and interpretation. In addition, you will receive professional skills training tailored to the areas most relevant to your academic and professional development.

Research project

You will carry out your independent supervised research projects in one of our world-leading research laboratories. Research projects are individual and can be based on laboratory work, field work or in silico (e.g. bioinformatics).

The research projects will give you first-hand experience in many aspects of research work including data generation, analysis, and interpretation as well as science communication in written, poster and oral presentations.


Depending on your chosen modules and research project topics, you may have access to the following facilities:

Tutorial support

You will be allocated a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There is also a postgraduate tutor available to help with further guidance and advice. In addition, the programme director will offer every student a meeting each term to review academic progress.


Taught modules are assessed through essay examinations, individual and group-based coursework assignments, oral presentations, in-module tests and reports or essays. A significant proportion of the marks are based on your substantial research projects and the associated papers.

Read more


Employer-valued skills this course develops

This programme will provide you with a diversity of skills that will equip you for a range of sectors of work but it will particularly prepare you for PhD study or a career in research.

Skills include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Applied statistics
  • Scientific writing
  • Independent learning
  • Critical evaluation
  • Research techniques
  • Oral communication

Careers services

Our careers teams at the Career Zone can help guide you through a wealth of information to match your skills and interests to a career that will suit you. Our staff work with regional, national and international employers to develop new work placement, project and graduate opportunities.