Biology MPhil, PhD

Research ( full-time, part-time)


January, April 2019, September

MPhil: Full-time, from 1 to 3 years. Part-time, from 2 to 4 years.

PhD via progression from MPhil, including that period: Full-time, from 2 to 5 years. Part-time, from 3 to 6 years.

PhD: Full-time, from 2 to 5 years. Part-time, from 3 to 6 years.


As a postgraduate researcher you will join an interdisciplinary group which is well-connected with industry and fellow research institutions worldwide. PhD candidates are encouraged to take an active role in the department's research community in areas currently spanning global change ecology, conservation and animal behaviour and welfare.

Full description

Supervision and support

We’ll provide high-quality supervision formally and informally, so you can get the most from your programme - and we’ll fully involve you in our calendar of research meetings, seminars and workshops.

Our supervisory staff are recognised experts in their field. Their research expertise includes:

  • Dr Alvin Helden - Alvin is interested in the biodiversity of habitats in urban and agricultural areas and in restored ecosystems. He specialises in insects, particularly leafhoppers and other true bugs (Hemiptera).
  • Dr Andrew Smith - Andrew’s main areas of expertise are behavioural ecology and primate colour vision. His work looks at how animals, from aardvarks to goldfish, interact with each other and their environment.
  • Dr Claudia Wascher - Claudia is experienced in social cognition and physiology, interested in the evolution of cooperation as well as costs and benefits of social behaviour.
  • Dr Dannielle Green - Dannielle is an ecologist interested in all aspects of ecology but her main research focus has been on examining how human activities affect the health of individual organisms and the biodiversity and functioning of marine habitats.
  • Dr Dawn Hawkins - Dawn has over 20 years’ experience in curriculum development and teaching whole organism biology and statistics in higher education.
  • Fabrizio Manco - Fabrizio is an ecologist whose research centres on GIS and spatial analysis in the context of biological studies, including movement ecology (animal tracking), habitat mapping and connectivity (remote sensing) and species distribution modelling.
  • Dr Gavan Cooke - Gavan is a behavioural ecologist with experience of lab based experimentation and field observations. He is also an advocate for aquatic animal welfare.
  • Dr Helen Wheeler - Helen is a wildlife ecologist, focused on vertebrate systems in northern, alpine and Arctic environments. Her research is interdisciplinary, exploring both ecological and social aspects of wildlife change.
  • Dr Jacob Dunn - Jacob is a behavioural ecologist, broadly interested in the biology and evolution of communication systems in humans and other animals (mostly primates).
  • Dr Joseph Hawes - Joseph is an ecologist focusing on tropical forest ecology, including the consequences of human disturbance and the sustainability of natural resource use. He is particularly interested in floodplain forest dynamics and fruit-frugivore interactions.
  • Dr Marian Bond - Marian has over 30 years' experience of working and teaching in animal behaviour and physiotherapy. She’s a fellow of the Society of Biology, a professional dog trainer and a PADI-certified Master Diver.
  • Dr Olivia Norfolk - Olivia is n ecologist whose research focuses on the impact of agriculture and urbanisation upon communities and ecosystem services.
  • Dr Paty Celis - Paty’s research expertise is in evolutionary biology with a particular focus on behavioural and molecular ecology.
  • Dr Peter Brown - Peter’s key area of research is ladybird ecology. He’s joint scheme organiser of the UK Ladybird Survey and co-author of two recent books on ladybirds.
  • Dr Philip Pugh - Philip teaches on our BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation course. His recent research has centred on Antarctic biogeography, cladistics and multivariate analysis.
  • Dr Sarah J Hart - Sarah’s main areas of expertise are in forest entomology & mycology, chemical ecology and animal physiology & behaviour.
  • Dr Sophie Mowles - Sophie is a behavioural ecologist whose research focusses on animal communication systems. She is particularly interested in the production of signals in both aggressive interactions and during courtship.
  • Dr Thomas Ings - Thomas is an ecologist whose research interests include pollinator behaviour, invertebrate community ecology and conservation. His key aim is to develop an understanding of how community structure is influenced by individual traits, including behaviour.
  • Wanda McCormick - Wanda's expertise lies in the physiological impacts of animal welfare challenges, with a particular focus on how we feed animals in captivity. Her research spans farm, companion and exotic species.

Where you'll research

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Specialist facilities

With us you’ll be well-equipped for laboratory and field work ranging from environmental monitoring to DNA analysis.

We’ve IT resources for statistical and GIS work, as well as for specialist tasks such as population size estimating and acoustics.

Through our longstanding collaborations we can secure access for you to high quality field sites in the UK and overseas.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (Part-time, per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (part-time, per year)


Bench fees

In some cases extra costs known as bench fees will be charged for a postgraduate research degree. These are to cover additional/ exceptional costs directly related to a specific research project.

We charge bench fees in bands. They may apply for every year of your course. These bands are the same for full and part time students.

If you have to pay bench fees this will be made clear at your interview for a place. If have to pay bench fees this will be stated in your offer letter.

For 2018/19 the bench fee bands are:

  1. £500
  2. £1000
  3. £2000
  4. £4000
  5. £8000

PhD by Published Work

Initial registration: £1100
Full registration: £3500

Writing up fees 2018-19

Full-time: £1400
Part-time: £1000


For advice on funding, scholarships and PhD studentship opportunities, please visit our finance pages for postgraduate students and researchers.

You might also find The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding helpful.

ARU research

Anglia Ruskin's academic excellence was recognised in 2014, as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), an exercise which assesses the quality of academic research. Twelve areas of our work were classed as generating world-leading research. The results showed that we're making a significant impact on economies, societies, the environment and culture in all corners of the globe.


There are opportunities in our field for you to combine studying with working in an area relevant to your future career. This is especially so given that Cambridge is a major centre internationally for conservation non-government organisations and bodies such as The Cambridge Conservation Forum.

You’ll also develop transferrable skills during your postgraduate research training, ranging from report-writing and presentation to statistical analysis and use of GIS packages.

Contact details

If you're interested in finding out more about research study opportunities, please email

Entry requirements

MPhil: You’ll need a Bachelor degree or equivalent with first or upper second class honours, in a related subject area.

PhD: You’ll need a Master degree or equivalent in a related subject area.

Please note we consider most candidates for PhD with progression from MPhil. If you want to apply for direct entry to the PhD route, you’ll also need to provide academic justification for this with your application.

If English is not your first language, you'll require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component (or equivalent test). If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

It's possible that research in this area will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. If we make you an offer to study with us we'll also give you the information you need to apply to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for your ATAS certificate. Receiving the ATAS certificate takes approximately four weeks.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online