Plant Chemical Biology: Multidisciplinary Research for Next Generation Agri-Sciences

Study mode:On campus Study type:Part-time Languages: English
Local:$ 66.9 / Year(s) Foreign:$ 187 / Year(s)  
11 place StudyQA ranking:3658 Duration:2 years

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This one-year multidisciplinary MRes course will equip you with the skills to tackle the problems that lie at the interface between plant and physical science, on a molecular level.
Advances in the understanding of biomolecular processes have often depended upon the collaborative efforts of biochemists, chemists and physicists.
This course will enable you to bridge the gap that can exist between the physical and plant science disciplines due to differences in language, perspective and methodology.
You will receive training from both academic and industrial leaders in the plant and chemical biology fields.
At the end of this course graduates will be ideally placed to undertake PhD studies in collaborative multidisciplinary plant chemical biology, or to seek employment within the agri-science industrial sector.

A two year (part time) multidisciplinary Masters in Research (MRes) course that equips students with the language, knowledge and skills to enable them to tackle problems lying at the plant-physical science interface. Training is provided by world renowned academic and industrial scientists in the plant and chemical biology fields. The course consists of an 8 month multidisciplinary research project, specialist lectures, transferable skills courses, interactive workshops, tutorials, journal clubs and seminars.

The course begins with a fixed lecture programme of core courses in the first term (October–December), followed by optional courses to be taken in the second term (January–March).

The taught component of the course covers a broad range of chemical biology topics, and provides the foundation for completing a substantial research project within a multidisciplinary environment.

The taught component will cover the following areas:

  • Cell biology systems and chemical biology
  • Molecular plant biology
  • Bio-analytical science and technology
  • Bioinformatics and structural genomics
  • Macromolecular structure and dynamics
  • Chemical and biological mechanisms in plants and pests
  • Protein engineering and design
  • Theoretical approaches to biology
  • Imaging in chemistry and biology
  • Single cell technologies

During the first term you also complete a literature review, allowing you to develop an in-depth critical review of the subject matter that you have chosen for the research project. You will have regular contact with your supervisors during this time, enhancing the integration of the taught and research elements of the programme.

Throughout the course you will be exposed to a variety of learning styles including lectures, interactive workshops, tutorials, journal clubs, and seminars, all of which have been tailored to meet your multidisciplinary needs.

Syngenta, the key industrial partner on this course, will also provide some lectures, workshops and tours of their research site to all students.


The major focus of the course is an eight-month multidisciplinary research project, to be jointly supervised by at least one physical and one plant scientist.

You choose your research project from a range of proposals at the start of the first term. Supervisors are drawn from world-leading departments at Imperial, including the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Life Sciences, Mathematics, and Bioengineering.

You will be based in the research laboratories of your supervisors, allowing you to benefit from interaction with researchers at all levels from both disciplines.

Joint research projects with Syngenta are also available and may be based at either the Syngenta research site or Imperial. These will be allocated on the basis of student merit.

Academic requirement: 2:1 degree or higher in any subject with more than 50% physical science content (e.g. Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Bioengineering), from a UK  institutions or an equivalent overseas qualification.

English requirement: IELTS 6.5 (writing and speaking 6). 

There are opportunities to gain scholarships in a competitive fashion. These will provide funding towards tuition fees and/or living expenses and will be granted on the basis of academic merit and excellence of the applicant. All students who wish to be considered for this scholarship should apply by submitting a copy of their CV by email to Dr Laura Barter ( in addition to submitting a College Postgraduate Application Form.

Basil Furneaux Memorial Fund
The award is open to undergraduates at Imperial College in their final year of study and former undergraduates of Imperial College who are applying to the following masters courses. Students must attain a minimum 2:1 degree to qualify for the scholarship.
The value of each award is up to £17,000 contribution towards tuition fees, tenable for the period of masters study.  This will be awarded as a reduction in the tuition fee billed to the student. 
Applicants should make an online application for the desired course of study, indicating within the application that they wish to be considered for the Furneaux Fund.  Applicants must include a paragraph in their personal statement outlining the reasons for their interest in agriculture-related applications, why the funding is needed to enable them to undertake the course and what is the source of additional funds that will support them during the year of study.

Departments will select students through their normal selection processes and provide nominations to the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

The deadline for application by students to the Fund will be 30th April 2015.   

Students will be advised by their departments if their application has been successful in mid-May 2015.

Tuition fees (2015–2016):

  • Home/EU Part-time — £5,225 per year
  • Overseas Part-time — £14,650 per year
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