PhD Studentships

Postgraduate Study

A PhD should be an exciting and stimulating time. We are looking for talented and motivated graduates with backgrounds in biological sciences, mathematics, computer science and/or chemistry interested in pursuing scientific research careers.  As well as benefitting from dynamic and interactive research environment, graduate students will also have access to outstanding facilities within the Institute.  Our fully funded PhD studentships are of four years' duration with full sponsorship covering tuition, bench, and stipend fees for the duration of the study period.  Studentships are advertised annually (usually beginning of October) with interviews being held in January.   Students register with The University of Manchester to commence their PhD the following September.  Additional vacancies may be advertised throughout the year.  University registration entry points are also available annually in January or April.

On the 26 April 2017 The Paterson Building, which housed most of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, suffered a major fire resulting in significant damage. We are striving to rebuild our world-class research facilities and we would like to make you aware that in the meantime, our studentships will either be at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) Building in South Manchester, which has excellent facilities to carry out research, or at the internationally-renowned life sciences campus at Alderley Park. After relocation we will return to our original site in Withington, Manchester, next to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust (Wilmslow Road, M20 4BX).

Eligibility and How to Apply

Applications are invited from recent graduates or final year undergraduates who have, or are expected to obtain a first or minimum of upper second-class honours degree or equivalent from any recognised university. Previous laboratory experience is not a requirement for acceptance to the PhD programme; however such experience will clearly give a realistic insight into academic research.

Applicants for our funded studentships are open to UK, EU and International students who should hold, or be about to obtain, a first or minimum upper-second undergraduate degree in a related subject area.  

Applicants from outside the UK will often need to meet specific English language requirements in order to be able to study at The University of Manchester. The UK’s Home Office requires that every student from outside the UK and the European Union (EU) must show evidence of a minimum level of English language (called B2 level) in order to be granted a UK visa ('Tier 4' visa) to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Minimum entry criteria means you must have gained a minimum overall score of 6.5 (and not <5.5 in each component and 6.0 in writing).  For students who have taken a degree in English, this must have been undertaken in a predominantly English-speaking country.  For further information on English Language admission criteria please visit

Our students benefit from:

  • Access to world-class facilities, including deep sequencing, microarrays, mass-spectrometry, advanced imaging, histology, GCLP labs and flow cytometry
  • Core funding by Cancer Research UK, the largest independent cancer research charity in the world
  • A generous stipend of £19,000 per year (tax and NI free)
  • Group leaders focused only on research and postgraduate training
  • Working alongside over 350 postdoctoral scientists, clinical fellows, scientific officers, administrative and technical staff, postgraduate research students and visiting fellows
  • Being at the heart of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, a partnership that brings together the expertise, vision and resources of its founding partners: The University of Manchester, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK – all of which have formidable individual reputations in the fields of cancer treatment and basic and clinical research

For further information on the required documents to include with your application, see How to Apply.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to the Postgraduate Tutor at:

Funding Support for EU Students

European Union students applying for further education at an English University or institution in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will continue to be eligible for home fee status which means they are the same tuition fees as UK students. This government decision means that students eligibility will not change from the same funding and support currently received and moreover, that this will continue throughout the course duration, even if the UK exits the European Union during the registration and programme period. Other non-EU, international students do not have their tuition fees capped in this way. For further information on funding support for EU students please visit

Self-Funding Students

If you have secured your own funding (stipend, tuition, bench and living fees) to undertake and support a PhD degree, and you are interested in study with a supervisor based at the CRUK Manchester Institute, you can submit an application directly to the University of Manchester for consideration;   Your application should clearly state how you intend to fund your studies for the duration, and include supporting sponsorship and financial documentation.  You will need to select "PhD Cancer Sciences" as the programme description on the application form.  Please note, regardless of funding, the CRUK Manchester Institute PhD academic admission criteria remains as above: a first or upper second class honours degree and minimum level of English language qualification.

We are committed to training the next generation of cancer research scientists, helping launch careers in basic, translational and clinical cancer research. Postgraduate students enjoy a supportive environment, a challenging project and, together with tailored training in transferable and generic skills, development as independent scientists with excellent career prospects will ensue.