Why a PhD with the RVC?

The Royal Veterinary College produces outstanding graduates, who go on to work in some of the world’s leading scientific research institutes as well as within industry and government.

Our research programmes provide excellent training opportunities for both biological and veterinary graduates and address both basic and clinical problems in the biosciences, with applications in veterinary and human medicine. Research spans cell and molecular science, whole animal physiology and population medicine.

Our PhD programme is our investment in the future

With over 100 research-active staff at the RVC, the range of research topics is vast, extending from molecules to whole animals and animal populations. We focus on two main research streams:

  • Comparative Physiology & Medicine  -  Our understanding of animal disease, together with the superb facilities at the RVC, means that we are well placed to contribute to the way in which human diseases are diagnosed and treated. The programme is led by Professor Dominic Wells. 
  • Livestock Production and Health - There is international recognition of the need for new approaches to meet the growing challenges of livestock production, and to control infectious diseases that threaten humans and animals. The programme is led by Professor Dirk Werling.

Underpinning research across these themes are animal welfare, biomechanics, genetics, bioinformatics, pathology and epidemiology, economics  and public health

Together with their postgraduate students researchers are organised into six groups. Each research group provides the optimum environment for research with 10-20 researchers, led by senior members of our academic staff. As a PhD student you will undertake a specific piece of research work based within one of more of these research groups and enjoy the direction and support of two supervisors.

You will also have the support of the Graduate School throughout your studies. Your journey begins with a full induction programme and continues with seminars and training days to support your studies and equip you with transferable skills. The training programme will develop with you, as you prepare for your future career.

Students' perspective...

A PhD student currently working in the RVC's Structure and Motion Lab talk about her work:

Want to talk to us about the PhD programme...

We will be at the following events if you want to talk to the Graduate School team in person:

If you want to contact us at any other time please email researchdegrees@rvc.ac.uk 

Academic qualifications

We invite applications from candidates who hold/or expect to gain a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) an MSci or Masters degree from a range of disciplines such as  medicine, veterinary medicine, biological sciences, animal sciences, social sciences, statistics and economics. 

Candidates with a lower second class degree supplemented by a Masters qualification (in a relevant subject) will also be considered.

English Language Requirements

You must be able to communicate clearly in English, both verbally and in writing.

If English is not your first language you must take an IELTS-Academic test (from the British Council). You need to achieve an overall score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each sub-test. (Please note, Clinical Training Scholarship positions will require an overall score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7 in each sub-test). The test result must have been obtained within 2 years of the start-date of the course. For further information see English Language Proficiency .

International research students

If you are an international student (i.e. not from the UK or EU) and you:

  •  Have a scholarship from your government or another funding body, or ·        
  •  Are able to support your studies yourself

These are the steps you should follow if you want to join our PhD programme.

I have a research project in mind?

If you have research project in mind you should begin by contacting a potential supervisor working in your field of interest so that you can draw up a research proposal. Alternatively you can contact us in the Graduate School and we can try and identify a supervisor who can supervise your studies.

Once you have found a supervisor and your research proposal has been approved follow the steps under “How to apply”.

Projects open to international students

Here is a list of projects which are also open to international self-funded students:

What funding do I need?  

Please see the PhD Fees and funding page for further information on studentship fees. There is also further information on funding options for international students. Information on bench fees associated with your project can be obtained by contacting the Graduate School (researchdegrees@rvc.ac.uk).

Will I need a visa?

Our page on visas and immigration provides information on the visa and immigraion requirements and process for non EU/EEA students. 

Ciência sem Fronteiras - Reino Unido, Brazilian Scientific Mobility Programme

This Brazilian Government scholarship programme aims to send 100,000 Brazilian students on university courses, including full PhDs and PhD sandwich courses, in areas including science, technology and mathematics at top universities around the world. Over four years, starting in September 2012 the UK will welcome up to 10,000 Brazilian students. The RVC is proud to be part of SWB UK and offers both sandwich PhD and full three year PhDs. Click Ciência sem Fronteiras for more information and how to apply.

Fully Funded Studentships

The main round of fully funded PhD Studentships is normally advertised in January each year. These are open to UK/EU students only. Keep checking the website though as studentships do become available at other times of the year.

Self-funded students

If you are a UK/EU or overseas student with a research project in mind and are able to support your studies either full-time (Home/EU and overseas students) or part-time (Home/EU students only) we would like to hear from you. You should begin by contacting a potential supervisor working in your field of interest so that you can draw up a research proposal together. Once this has been done, please follow the “How to apply” instructions.

If you are an overseas student with funding from your government or other funding body go to International Research Students section. 

The Bloomsbury Colleges Studentships  

The Bloomsbury Colleges consortium brings together five University of London colleges comprising Birkbeck (Bbk), Institute of Education (IoE), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Studentships are supervised by two of the partner colleges.

Bloomsbury Studentships are normally advertised in January along with the main round of RVC studentships.  

Wellcome Trust Fellowships  

Are you looking to undertake research and have a medical/veterinary qualification?

We are interested in sponsoring students for Wellcome Trust Training Fellowships in: ·        

  • Veterinary research entry fellowships 
  • Integrated training fellowships for veterinarians
  • Veterinary postdoctoral fellowships

Fellowships are open to individuals with a relevant connection to the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Trust invites applications in September, February and May/June each year.

Projects are: 

  • The pathogenesis of the dystroglycanopathies; a comparative study of different animal models and their relationship to human disease Supervisors: Dr Susan C. Brown (scbrown@rvc.ac.uk) and Professor Francesco Muntoni (Institute of Child Health, UCL) 
  • Genetic mining of haematological traits using man’s best friend: One Medicine takes centre stage Supervisors: Prof Oliver A Garden (ogarden@rvc.ac.uk), Dr Lucy J Davison (The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford) & Prof Willem H Ouwehand (Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge) 
  • How is the stem cell niche altered in the dystroglycanopathies? Supervisors: Dr Susan Brown (RVC) and Professor Jenny Morgan (Institute of Child Health, UCL) 
  • Adjustable in vivo joint loading to identify the mechanical drivers of osteoarthritis Supervisors: Prof Andrew Pitsillides (RVC), Prof Peter D Lee (University of Manchester, Research Complex Harwell) and Dr Sandra Shefelbine (Northeastern University). . 

Project supervisors should be contacted in the first instance.  

Fees for the 2016/17 academic year.

UK/EU Overseas


 £4,121 £22,040

If you would like to know the fees for part-time study, please contact the Graduate School on researchdegrees@rvc.ac.uk

The College offers about 10-25 fully funded scholarships a year for UK and EU Students funded from charities, research councils like the BBSRC, and College Funds. This means that your tuition fees are paid and that you receive a stipend to cover living expenses.

Along with course fees, self-funded students will also need to cover

  1. bench fees, the amount will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project.
  2. living costs; it is currently estimated that a single student will need at least £12,000 per year to cover accommodation and personal maintenance expenses whilst studying in or near to London. When applying for a visa UKBA will require proof that you can support yourself.

Funding Options

Fees Bursary for PhD applicants from non UK/EU countries

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