MPhil/PhD Medical Studies, MD Doctor of Medicine, MS Master of Surgery

Duration MPhil/MD/MS: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
  • Healthcare and Medicine
LocationCornwall (Truro), Exeter (St Luke‘s)
Start date Flexible monthly start dates


The University of Exeter Medical School has a lively and innovative research environment based in Exeter and Truro, but operating across the whole of the South West. Our core themes and focus on chronic disease and applied health research, align us closely with the interests of the NHS with whom we have close working relationship and our priorities will continue to reflect national needs and priorities. We have a commitment towards high-quality applied medical research spanning from the basic biomedical to applied health services.

As a postgraduate student in the School you will be part of this thriving community, benefiting from quality research-led teaching and supervision and access to outstanding facilities. We can offer a wide range of  supervision across our core research areas and are also involved with interdisciplinary research with other Colleges at Exeter.

We offer our postgraduate students a fantastic learning environment, which includes research skills training and dedicated postgraduate facilities. The School benefits from exemplary facilities in all areas as a result of recent major investments.

Research areas

Our research environment spans the full spectrum, from basic biomedical discovery to clinical innovation. Our research excellence includes world-leading research in many fields and we have an increasingly recognised reputation for translating new discoveries into the clinical setting.

Our research is focused around four themes:

  • Diabetes, Cardiovascular risk and Ageing
  • Environment and Human Health
  • Health Services Research
  • Neuroscience and Mental Health

Finding a supervisor

Before you start to write your proposal, please contact us to discuss matching you with a potential supervisor. You may also wish to contact us directly to confirm whether your topic or area is relevant to the School and our research.


Our core research themes align us closely with the interests of the NHS with whom we have close working relationship. Our priorities will continue to reflect national needs and priorities. This places our research students in a strong position for their future career.

Postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you complete a successful research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.

In addition, all students have access the University's Career Zone providing business contacts, support and training as well as the opportunity to meet potential employers at our regular Careers Fairs.

Graduate destinations

On completion of their research degree, 2011/12 graduates have returned to, or found employment in, the following organisations:

  • Devon Partnership NHS Trust
  • NHS (West Suffolk)
  • NHS Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Semmelweis University
  • Southampton General Hospital
  • Sparx (Part of the Atass Group)
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Oxford

Entry requirements 2018

Applicants should be highly motivated and have, or expect to obtain, either a first or upper-second class BSc (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. International applicants must also have IELTS score of 7 and above.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

At least 7.0 overall and no less than 6.0 in any other section.


At least 100 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 55 in all skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,500 full-time; £2,250 part-time
  • International: £19,700 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.


We make a number of PhD studentships available annually. Please visit our funding search for the latest information.

Current available funding

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions
Phone: 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers)*
           +44(0)1392 723044 (EU/International callers)
WebEnquire online

* Calling us on an 0300 number will cost you the same as a call to a standard landline number starting with 01 and 02.
If you have an inclusive call package for calling landline numbers on your mobile or landline telephone the call would simply be reduced from your available talk minutes. Otherwise your call will be charged at the same rate as calling a standard national rate number.

Supervision and support

You’ll usually meet your supervisor monthly, but more frequently when engaged in activities like designing your research methods, conducting your detailed analysis, or completing your thesis for submission. Your meetings may involve discussion of your progress, briefing papers or draft chapters you have written as well as training needs assessment, preparation for seminars or conference presentations, and debating current trends and future prospects in your field.

You’ll both keep personal records of supervision and three times a year you and your supervisor will write an agreed report on your interim progress, your work plans, and your on-going training needs. Your supervisor will make sure your work remains on track. That’s good for you, your sponsors, and for the University.

Your mentor

In addition to your supervisor you will also have a mentor, who will provide general guidance and pastoral support. Your mentor will contact you three times a year to ensure that any issues which may be interfering with your ability to study are being addressed.

Find a supervisor

We offer guidance on how to find a supervisor for your degree. You can also contact us to discuss matching you with a potential supervisor. 

Recent PhD titles

 The Medical School has over a hundred current postgraduate research students studying across the full range of its research areas. The students and titles listed below are just a brief selection:

PhD studentPhD titleSupervisor
Sarah Bailey Thrombocytosis: an Important Marker of Cancer in Primary Care? Professor Willie Hamilton
Ana Cruz Unravelling the mechanisms of muscle anabolic resistance in aging and diabetes using in vitro methodologies and human physiology studies Dr Craig Beall and Dr Ben Wall (CLES)
Matt Devall Epigenetic modification of mitochondrial genes in Alzheimer’s disease Dr Katie Lunnon
Rebecca Hardwick Research use and Knowledge mobilization in third sector organisations involved in health care provision Professor Ken Stein
Ese Ifie Investigation of the relationship between enteroviral infection and the development of islet cell autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes Dr Sarah Richardson
Nicky Jeffery Determinants of beta cell differentiation status in type 2 diabetes Professor Lorna Harries
Annie Knight Measurement of Nitric Oxide Metabolites and Protein Nitration in Healthy and Inflammatory Human Tissues and Bio-Fluids Professor Paul Winyard
Aimee Murray Selection for antibiotic resistance in the aquatic environment: novel assays to determine effect concentrations of micropollutants Professor Will Gaze
Zahid Pranjol Understanding regulation of the angiogenesis in the omentum during metastatis of epithelial ovarian cancer Dr Jackie Whatmore
Adam Streeter Quasi-experimental approaches to estimating treatment effects Professor William Henley
Holly Sugg Morita Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: a Feasibility and Pilot Study Professor David Richards
Roberta Torregrossa Synthesis And Basic In Vitro Characterisation Of Novel Mitochondria-Targeted Hydrogen Sulfide Donor Molecules Professor Matt Whiteman and Dr Mark Wood (CLES)
Paul Weightman Potter Impact of diabetes glucose variability on neural signalling in human brain cells – relationship to dementia risk Dr Craig Beall
Anais Kahve Mechanisms of fatty acid transport across the plasma membrane in health and disease Professor Noel Morgan
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I love my MD

MD alumnus Dr Oliver Old, Surgical Trainee at Gloucester Hospitals, tells us about his research and what he loves about his MD. View full size.

I love my PhD

Health Economics PhD student, Myles-Jay, tells us about his research and why he loves his PhD. View full size.