Study Biological Sciences
There has never been a more exciting time to carry out study & research into the biological sciences than now. Genome sequencing projects are proceeding swiftly for many different organisms and high throughput methods are characterising the repertoire of expressed gene products. Cell biologists are investigating function with transgenic and gene knock-out organisms and structural biologists are resolving the atomic structures and investigating the dynamics of ever larger macromolecular complexes.
Molecular biology methods are also proving to be powerful tools for population and evolutionary biologists. Having decided that you would like to participate in this exciting enterprise, and perhaps that studying abroad is necessary or preferable to achieve this, how do you decide where to study?
There are a number of reasons why you should seriously consider studying for your research degree in the UK. Firstly, English is the language of international science and you will already be familiar with it from your undergraduate degree. Secondly, studying in a cosmopolitan community where English is the main language will be much easier for you than setting out to learn a third language. Another important consideration is the quality of the training that you will receive and the facilities that will be available to you. There is a long tradition of excellent research in the biological sciences in the UK. Publicly funded research in the UK is renowned for its productivity and the universities are world-leading innovators.
This particularly applies to the biological sciences where the UK is internationally recognised for its achievements in molecular biology, genomics and structural biology. Indeed many of these disciplines originated from pioneering work in UK laboratories. Without doubt research degrees gained here are well respected by employers. Although the reputations of the old Universities at Oxford and Cambridge are probably familiar to you, it is important to realise that there has been a considerable investment in research infrastructure across the UK in recent years, providing you with a much wider choice of high quality research venues.
The School of Biological Sciences in Southampton University, for example, has invested heavily during the last five years in new equipment and has recruited staff with strong research records across all areas. There are state of the art mass spectrometers for determining very accurate masses of proteins in proteomics studies, fast computers to assist bioinformatics, protein crystallography and high field NMR instruments for studying molecular structure, high throughput DNA sequencers for microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA sequencing, transgenic facilities and confocal microscopy. The laboratories are located in a pleasant and peaceful leafy outer suburb of Southampton and are only one hour from London by train. The cost of living is rather lower than in many parts of the UK. Cost is clearly a major consideration when studying abroad and it is therefore very important to be aware that in the UK it takes only 3 to 4 years of intensive study to obtain a PhD, a considerably shorter time than in many other countries.