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.

Together with their postgraduate students researchers are organised into six groups: musculoskeletal biology, immune regulation and cancer, cardiovascular metabolism, ecosystems healthhost pathogen interactions and vaccinology , safe and sustainable food

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 with the direction and support of two supervisors.

The Graduate School will also be there to support you throughout your studies. Your journey begins with a full induction programme and continues with our comprehensive  skills development programme, including seminars, on-line and face-to-face training to support your studies prepare you for your future career.

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

You can always contact us by email researchdegrees@rvc.ac.uk 

RVC Insider

Ashley Otter - 2nd year PhD student working in the Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences

"I’ve been trained in various aspects of molecular work, ranging from cloning to transposon library generation. There are a wide variety of training opportunities available at RVC. My most recent training is working under category level 3 conditions, where I will be able to work on virulent strains of M. tuberculosis.

The graduate school is really helpful, be it with problems about your PhD or help finding additional opportunities to undertake during your PhD.

I started my PhD based at the Camden campus, so was able to get the experience of working in the heart of London. Now, for the remaining 2 years of my PhD, i’m based at the Hawkshead campus just outside Potters Bar. I decided to stay living in London and commute to Hawkshead, as I still get to see the city I love as well as see the countryside on a daily basis on my way to work!"



I had strong support from my two supervisors. I also had very good support from my groups (VEEPH, ASF, Transmission) at the RVC and Pirbright. I had the great opportunity to learn laboratory work at the Pirbright Institute and I also developed and improved other skills mainly with training offered by the RVC (ex. Use of database such as MySQL, Access, statistical softwares such as R, SPSS but also training on Time management, Project management, Word writing, etc.). I also had a mentor at the RVC from the VEEPH who gave me tips for the PhD when needed.

Claire Guinat - Completed her PhD in 2016


Benjamin-Andreas Berk is a second year PhD student currently working at the Clinical Investigation Centre, read about his study into a new treatment method for an interspecific chronical neurological disorder

Academic qualifications

We invite applications from candidates who hold/or expect to gain a first or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent), or 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), or acceptable alternative. You need to achieve an overall score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 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 .

EU Students

The UK government have confirmed that EU students will be allowed to remain in the UK to complete courses started in or before 2018/19. Therefore there should be no change to our  2018 EU intake: UKCISA Student News 

Short-Listing and interviews

PhD applications are checked for eligibility by the Graduate School and eligible candidates are then short-listed by project supervisors.  All short-listed PhD applicants will be invited to an interview at either the Camden or Hawkshead campus, which they must attend (in some circumstances, interviews can be conducted via skype).  Short-listed applicants will be interviewed by a panel of two senior academics from the RVC.  The panel may be joined by the project supervisors, or a separate interview arranged with the supervisory team.


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 to follow if you are looking 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 a research proposal can be drawn up. Alternatively you can contact the Graduate School and we help you to identify potential supervisors.

Once a researcher has agreed to supervise you, you will need to apply to us formally - follow the steps under “How to apply” . Your research project will then be drawn up in detail and the proposal will need to be approved (your supervisor will do this). You will need to meet our eligibility criteria and successfully participate in a panel interview.

Projects open to international students

Occasionally PhD studentships are open to international students.  These are advertised on the Available Studentships page and will be clearly identified as being open to international students.

What funding do I need?  

Please see the PhD Fees and funding page for further information on fees for international students. You should also bear in mind that it is currently estimated that a single student requires at least £15,000 per year to cover accommodation and personal maintenance expenses while studying in London. There is 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 the process which non EU/EEA students need to follow. 

Fully Funded Studentships

The main round of fully funded PhD Studentships is normally advertised in January each year. These are generally open to UK/EU students only but you should look at individual studentships as their eligibility criteria can vary. Keep checking the website though as studentships do become available at other times of the year.  All our studentships are advertised on the Available Studentships page and via social media, we also advertise on FindAPhD.

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” guidance.

If you are an overseas student with funding from your government or other funding body there is more information for you in our  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 on both our Available Studentships page and the Bloomsbury Colleges page 

Wellcome Trust Fellowships  

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

The Wellcome Trust funds Research Training Fellowships through Centres of excellence. 

The Royal Veterinary College is part of the Oxford Centre of Excellence that runs a Wellcome Funded progamme and would like to encourage veterinary and medical graduates to apply for positions on the Oxford programme details of which can be found here .

Co-supervisors from the RVC can be organised and help provided in preparing project proposals required for application to this scheme particularly in the broad areas of:  

  • Muscular skeletal biology (Biomechanics, Orthopaedic Science, Neuromuscular disease)
  • Livestock Health and Production (Safe and Sustainable Food; vaccinology; ecosystems health)  

The next deadline is 20th November 2017. If you are interested in our fellowships please contact Professor Jonathan Elliott (jelliott@rvc.ac.uk)  

A PhD from the RVC is highly regarded and recognised internationally.

Our graduates have a track record of successful careers in government, research, industry and charities.

Your research, coupled with our skills development programme will equip you with a range of transferable skills such as project and time management, communication and analysis which will help to equip you for your future career.

We offer career planning sessions as you move towards completion of your studentship which helps you to formulate a career strategy and look at the wider options open once you have a PhD.         


“I feel more confident in structuring a career plan and application.”

"Highlighted other avenues to explore when considering career"

Student feedback from Careers planning workshop
A PhD student who is undertaking her PhD in the RVC's Structure and Motion Lab talks about her work:


UK/EU Overseas

 PhD 2017/8

  £4,195 £22,700

 PhD 2018/9

  £4,260 £23,380

If you would like to know the fees for part-time study, please contact the Graduate school at 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. Stipends are paid monthly in arrears.

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 £15,000 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.

For more information and the latest news affecting fees see Tuition Fees

Funding Options

Doctoral Loan 2018/19

How much? Up to £25,000 

When is it available? From 2018/19

A Postgraduate Doctoral is funding to help with course and living costs whilst studying a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.  

Further Information

Fees Bursary for PhD applicants from non UK/EU countries

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