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 at

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Eligibility criteria can vary between studentships, so please review the individual studentships carefully. Our standard PhD entry criteria is detailed below:

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. Please review our English Language Proficiency pages to see if you need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency.

If you are not exempt from proving your English language proficiency, 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, and the test result must have been obtained within 2 years of the start-date of the course.

Short-Listing and interviews

PhD applications are checked for eligibility by Admissions 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 remotely online).

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.

EU Students

The UK Government has confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss national students who have started an eligible course in the 2020/21 academic year or earlier academic years remain eligible to pay the “Home” rate of tuition fees and claim any financial support for which they are currently eligible for the duration of that course.  

EU/EEA and Swiss national students starting studies in the 2021/22 academic year or later academic years may no longer be eligible to pay the “home” rate of tuition fees nor claim any financial support for their studies - but this depends on your personal circumstances (including immigration status and residence history in the UK). To help determine whether you would be eligible for home fees please see the UKCISA's 'Who pays 'home' fees for higher education in England?' guide found here.

If you are an international student and you have a scholarship (from your government or other funding body), or you 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 a research project in mind you can begin by contacting a potential supervisor working in your field of interest so that you can draw up a PhD research proposal together. You can find potential supervisors by looking through our Research pages where you can browse the research being undertaken at the RVC as well as find the contact details of our academics.

Once a researcher has agreed to supervise you, you will need to apply to us formally by following the steps under “How to apply” .

Your research project will then be drawn up in detail and the proposal will need to be approved internally (your supervisor will do this). You will need to meet our eligibility criteria and successfully participate in a panel interview.

I wish to apply for an advertised PhD studentship...

Occasionally our advertised 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.

Will I need a visa?

Our page on visas and immigration provides information on the visa and immigration requirements.

Funded Studentships

Our available funded PhD projects are advertised on the the Available Studentships page throughout the year, with our main round of studentships uploaded in January.

Funded studentships usually cover “Home” tuition fees, bench fees, and stipend.

There are two types of studentship advertised:

  • Competition studentships – more than one studentship is advertised but there is not sufficient funding for all to go ahead so they are in competition with each other. The best candidate(s) overall will be chosen. This will be made clear in the advert.
  • Non-competition. There is specific funding for the studentship and it is not in competition with other studentships. This will be clear in the advert.

Self-funded students

If you are able to completely fund your studies and have an area of research in mind you can also begin by contacting a potential supervisor working in your field of interest so that you can draw up a PhD research proposal together. You can find potential supervisors by ooking through our Research pages, where you can browse the research being undertaken at the RVC as well as find the contact details of our academics.

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 

London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme (LIDo)

The London Interdisciplinary Biosciences Consortium (LIDo) is an immensely successful and established collaborative partnership offering world-class interdisciplinary research.

LIDo unites an exciting team of outstanding universities and unique specialist institutions to provide a truly remarkable and unparalleled opportunity for innovative cutting-edge research in the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant and scientifically stimulating cities.

For further information on the programme and how to apply for the studentships please see the LIDo website.

DAERA studentships

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), funds a small number of full-time postgraduate studentships. These are for a three year period of research leading to a PhD qualification at a university in the United Kingdom (UK) or Republic of Ireland (ROI). The competition for 2022 studentships opens Tuesday 18th January 2022 for futher information please see their website.

Commonwealth Scholarships

Commonwealth Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are offered to citizens from low and middle income Commonwealth countries. The majority of Scholarships are funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), with the aim of contributing to the UK’s international development aims and wider overseas interests, supporting excellence in UK higher education, and sustaining the principles of the Commonwealth.

For further information on the Scholarships they offer please see the CSC wesbite.

UKFS-CDT Programme

The UKFS-CDT programme provides a unique opportunity for transformative and interdisciplinary food systems research. It is an innovative way of conducting your PhD centred on co-creation and exposure to a varied range of actors operating in the UK food systems.

The UKFS-CDT programme is a bespoke interdisciplinary food systems programme with a novel approach to doctoral training. In the first year, each UKFS-CDT student undertakes two 4-month rotation projects at two different institutions in the UKFS-CDT consortium. Rotation projects are clearly defined studies designed to provide students with the research skills, training and subject knowledge required to prepare a full interdisciplinary PhD proposal at the end of year 1. The PhD project will commence in year 2. There will also be a three month placement with industry, government or civil society in the second or third year of the PhD programme.

In addition to the standard track, applicants also have the option to apply to the tethered scholarship track offered by the RVC as well as other select institutions.

By applying to the tethered track, applicants indicate their preference to undertake their full PhD project from year 2 onwards at the RVC. One of the 4-month rotation projects in year 1 will be based at the RVC, complemented with a second rotation from those offered by the other consortium institutions.

For further information on the programme and how to apply please see their website:

The UKFS-CDT has up to 28 studentships available for cohort 3. Please apply by 23:59 GMT on Monday 23rd January 2023 by clicking the button below.

UKFS-CDT Programme - Apply here

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.

Our graduates go on to enjoy a wide range of careers positions, including:

  • Animal Welfare Consultant
  • Lecturer
  • Veterinary Surgeon
  • Trainee Patent Attorney
  • Research Fellow
  • Companion Animal Epidemiologist
  • Pathologist / Scientist
  • Civil Servant
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher
  • Medical Information Specialist

They also go on to work for a variety of different employers, for example:

  • Bristol Zoo Gardens
  • Imperial College London
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • Medivet
  • Oxford PharmaGenesis
  • Soil Association
  • The Royal Veterinary College
  • University of Nairobi
  • ZooLab
  • Brook Charity
  • United Nations (UN)

Careers Planning Workshops

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.         

Student feedback from Careers planning workshop:   

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

"Highlighted other avenues to explore when considering career"

Further information on the course including the PhD student handbook and Code of Practice can be found HERE.

Tuition Fees

The tuition fees are as follows:

Year commencing course

Home Tuition Fees including Island Fees (Channel Islands & Isle of Man) International Fees
2022/23 £4,590 £26,540
2023/24 TBC £28,530

Part-time Study

If you would like to know the fees for part-time study, please contact Admissions at

Funded Scholarships

The College offers about 10-25 fully funded scholarships a year. These are often funded by UK charities, research councils (e.g. 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.

Self-Funded PhD Students

Along with the course tuition fees, self-funded students will 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.

Tuition fee amounts are subject to increase each academic year, please be aware of this when making your calculations and planning how much money you will require.

Funding Options

Doctoral Loan 2021/22

How much? Up to £27,265

UK and EU Students starting a doctoral degree in 2021/22 may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan through Student Finance England.

Fees Bursary for PhD applicants from non UK/EU countries

Competitive bursary for overseas applicants

If you are successful in applying for a PhD studentship in an area of strategic importance to us then you can apply for a bursary of £5,000 per annum. These are competitive bursaries and candidates will be selected using information supplied in their application form, curriculum vitae and at an interview, which can be held by telephone or video conference link for overseas students.

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