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MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology MPhil/PhD



  • 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

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience



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 for 2016 entry. Prior to these dates all applications will be given equal consideration and considered on their individual merits. After these dates applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.

June 2016 entry - Application Deadline 01 March 2016

October 2016 entry - Application Deadline 23 May 2016

February 2017 entry - Application Deadline 01 November 2016


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

Career prospects

Career destinations

Contact Division for details.


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Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees - Home/EU
£4,600 (2016)

Full time tuition fees - Overseas 
£20,000 (2016)

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU
£2,300 (2016)

Part time tuition fees - Overseas
£10,000 (2016)

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


Next steps

Upcoming events

Nov 26
Postgraduate Open Evenings - Arts & Sciences

An open evening is a great opportunity to explore …

Nov 27
Evening Physics Lectures at King's

Professor Carla Molteni and Clerk Maxwell Professo…

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