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MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology MPhil/PhD

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  • 2008 RAE Divisional Results: Recognised as contributing 'world-leading quality' research work
    • Research income: £6.5m for 2014/2015

    • Current number of academic staff: 29

    • Current number of research students: 36

    • Current research projects include:

    Lineage specification of cortical circuits

    Integration of chandelier cells in visual cortex networks

    Imaging activity and nucleogenesis in the zebrafish

    Molecular mechanisms of cerebellar evolution

    Morphological and molecular characterisation of transit amplifying granule cell precursors

Key information

Duration Expected to be three to four years FT, four to six years PT. The new full-time four-year programme includes a first year comprised of taught courses and three laboratory rotations. Registration usually October although students may commence at any time.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience



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Course detail


The human brain is by far the most complex structure on Earth. Consider that it contains a thousand billion neurons, of a thousand or more different, individual types, and that each neuron is wired up to as many as five hundred other neurons; this allows the possibility for a really vast number of alternative wiring configurations - more, it has been estimated, than there are molecules in the universe. Yet the elaborate pattern of connectional networks between neurons that constitutes the machinery for sensation, movement, emotion and thought, is remarkably similar between individuals. Indeed, the basic plan of the brain - the layout of its command and control centres and all but the smallest details of its wiring diagram - appears to be virtually identical between individual humans and recognisably similar between human and mouse.

Furthermore, this 'ground plan' of the brain is genetically determined, or 'hard wired', leaving only the fine details of network construction to be influenced by the electrical activity of circuits and environmental experience. Such is the complexity of the brain's construction, however, that neurobiologists are still far from a complete structural and functional understanding of its basic operations, such as those we have in common with chickens and mice, let alone even beginning to understand the nature of the higher functions - such as thought and consciousness - of which possibly only the human brain is capable.

It is our goal to further the understanding of this structure through our current research programmes, which are:

Building brains: animal models and tissue engineering
Assembly and Plasticity of Neural Circuits
Neurodevelopmental Disorders


Course study environment

Students work alongside staff researchers, are supervised by two members of academic staff and overseen by a divisional research co-ordinator. Students' progress is monitored closely and reported on every six months. For more details on study environment see the facilities description in the School entry.

Postgraduate training

All students are regularly notified about skills development opportunities through a monthly newsletter. Participation in the annual Research Showcase, co-ordinated by the School, is compulsory for all students and provides an opportunity to improve science communication and presentation skills.

Head of group/division

Professor Andrew Lumsden FRS (Centre Director); Professor Corinne Houart (Acting Head of Division)

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Centre at Guy's Campus, tel +44 (0)20 7848 8393; Dr Esther Bell, tel 020 7848 6546; Professor Ian Thompson, tel +44 (0)20 7848 6747

Contact email,

Course website

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours, or a postgraduate degree in Molecular or Cellular Biology, with some previous experience of developmental and/or neurobiology. The successful candidates will be of the calibre expected of MRC and Wellcome Research students. 

A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters degree with Merit. 

Application procedure

Studentships will be advertised in New Scientist Study, Nature Jobs,, the College’s Health Schools Studentships website, or on

Short-listed applicants will be interviewed by at least two academics. Proposed research projects must be approved by the School Postgraduate Research Committee before an offer can be made.

Personal statement and supporting information

A personal statement and full transcripts for all degrees you have undertaken are required. Please also list A-level subjects and the grades achieved. The transcript for each degree should list all modules taken and the grades achieved on each. Applicants who are still enrolled on a course should supply partial transcripts of the modules taken and grades achieved so far and should also supply a list of the modules that are currently being taken. Applicants who have not yet graduated should state the date when results are expected.

Course intake

Four four-year MRC studentships and up to three three-year studentships.

Application closing date

The deadline for applications is detailed below. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.

  • October 2017 entry - Application deadline: 30th July 2017 for Overseas students and 3rd September 2017 for Home/EU students
  • February 2018 entry - Application deadline: 29th October 2017 for Overseas students and 3rd December 2017 for Home/EU students
  • June 2018 entry - Application deadline: 16th April 2018 for Overseas and Home/EU students

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

UK/EU Tuition Fees 2017/18

Full time tuition fees: £4,800 per year

Part time tuition fees: £2,400 per year

Current regulations allow some students to pay UK tuition fees on the basis of their EU citizenship or residency. Until these eligibility criteria are changed, the EU tuition fee will remain the same as the UK tuition fee.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Full time tuition fees - Overseas

£21,000 per year (2017/18)*

Part time tuition fees - Overseas

£10,500 per year (2017/18)*

*This tuition fee maybe be subject to annual increases.

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

Download guide

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Sound like the course for you?

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Page last modified on 22 June 2017.