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Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants

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General Information about the DTP

Q: What does MRC DTP in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research mean?

A: It's a very lengthy title which in full is Medical Research Council-funded Doctoral Training Partnership in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research, which is why we tend to shorten it to MRC DTP in IBR! It can be broken down as follows:

  • Medical Research Council (MRC): there are nine research councils in the UK which exist to support research excellence in a number of ways, including providing grants to universities that enable them to recruit and support talented students through doctoral training partnerships. The Medical Research Council works to improve the health of people in the UK - and around the world - by supporting excellent science, and training the very best scientists.
  • Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs): exist so that PhD students are part of academic communities of students and staff with shared research interests. For example, our Warwick DTP has three research themes: Molecular Basis of Human Disease, Combating Infection, and Precision Diagnostics & Data Analytics. See the Research Themes section of this website for further information.
  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research (IBR): the Warwick DTP aims to train students to be confident in working across science disciplines to become innovative interdisciplinary scientists. We do this in a number of ways, including recruiting students from diverse scientific academic backgrounds, providing an interdisciplinary MSc year for all students, and ensuring our students undertake interdisciplinary PhD projects.

Q: What are the advantages of all students taking an MSc before starting their PhD projects?

A: The MSc year is an important part of the four-year programme, an opportunity for students to develop new skills complementary to their existing academic knowledge, e.g. students from physical/computational science backgrounds develop knowledge in experimental biology, whilst life scientists develop their coding and mathematical skills. Students work together on modules, sharing knowledge and expertise, and form a very strong network during the year.

Q: What are the benefits of being part of the MRC DTP community, instead of doing a standalone PhD project?

A: MRC DTP students join a well-established programme with a very strong sense of community and a collegial atmosphere. Our students benefit greatly from the support of their peers and also from the DTP staff team who are on hand to provide guidance. The Warwick DTP is quite a small one, which means it's informal and extremely friendly.

We have developed very effective ways of gathering and listening to student feedback and we strive to continually develop and enhance the programme in response. Students and staff work together closely to do this. Our students are members of many committees, including the Student-Staff Forum, DTP Management Committee and MSc IBR Teaching Committee, to ensure that the collective view of students is an integral part of decision-making processes.

A key element of our DTP is the additional learning opportunities that we offer to our students, from skills development workshops to student chalk talks and visiting speaker seminars. A highlight for us every year is our annual student conference when we all go away together for a few days to share science and spend time together as a community.

Q: Where can I find information about student life at Warwick?

A: You can find plenty of information here and here.

The Studentship

Q: How long is the programme?

A: It is at least 4 years, a 1-year MSc + a 3-year PhD, with the possibility of a 3-6 month Career Transition Fellowship to support onwards employment into academia, industry, the NHS or allied careers in science and medicine.

Q: Can the programme be taken part-time?

A: No, it is full-time only.

Q: What are the key differences between core, iCASE and Translational Medicine studentships?

A: Key differences between core, iCASE and Translational Medicine studentships are:

  • Core students are not recruited to a specific project and instead have the opportunity to develop their research interests in the MSc year and co-write their two MSc lab projects and PhD project with academic supervisors. More information can be found here.
  • iCASE students are recruited onto the programme to a pre-defined project with specific academic and industry supervisors. More information about iCASE studentships available for 2023 entry can be found here.
  • Translational Medicine students are recruited onto the programme to a pre-defined project with specific academic and Institute of Precision Diagnostics and Translational Medicine, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust supervisors. More information can be found here.
  • The stipend and consumables budgets are higher for iCASE than core studentships (see below).
  • iCASE students will spend at least 3 months at the partner company with their industrial supervisor.

Q: What is included in the studentship?

A: Your studentship will cover:

  • Your fees for all 4 years of the programme (MSc + PhD years).
  • Student stipend for Core and Translational Medicine (£19,237 in 2024/25) and iCASE (£21,737 in 2024/25) studentships. A stipend is essentially a tax-free salary to cover living costs.
  • Consumables for both core and iCASE studentships.
  • An allowance to attend scientific conferences.
  • Additional competitively awarded funds from the DTP for advanced training workshops, internships and career transition fellowships.
  • The cost of a computer (which will remain University of Warwick property).

Q: Can I apply to both iCASE/Translational Medicine and core studentships?

A: Home students can apply to all studentships. International students can apply only to iCASE and Translational Medicine studentships due limits imposed by MRC.

Q: Does the programme cover accommodation?

A: No, you have to find your own accommodation. You can find help here.

Q: Does the programme cover the cost of accommodation or commuting?

A: The costs of your accommodation and commuting are paid by you from your monthly stipend. You can find more about student accommodation here.

Q: Can I do some additional paid work when I am in the programme?

A: Students can work for to 75 hours in a year as teaching assistants or demonstrators. Many PhD students assist in the running of the MSc course.

Q: Where can I find information about the MSc in IBR modules?

A: You can find information here.

Q: Is the MSc in IBR mandatory or can I directly join the PhD programme?

A: The MSc in IBR year is mandatory. You cannot begin the PhD programme without having first completed the MSc in IBR.

Q: Do I have to pass the MSc or do I automatically progress to the PhD

A: You must pass the MSc in IBR with at least a Merit (60%) and fulfil further criteria, which can be found here. If you are not successful, you cannot progress to the PhD and will have to leave the programme.

Q: Can I take only the MSc in IBR course?

A: The MSc in IBR can be taken as a stand-alone course, but only if it is self-funded.

Q: Is there an age restriction?

A: There is no age restriction to be accepted onto the course.

Q: What support is available for students with disabilities?

A: The University Disability Services Team provides advice and guidance for students with disabilities, including one-to-one support and making reasonable adjustments. The DTP team also work personally with students who have declared disabilities to discuss the support needed and to make sure that all required adjustments are made.

Entry requirements

 Q: I already have a Master's degree, can I still apply?

A: Yes, you can apply. In fact, about a third of the current students held a Master's degree before coming on the course, but you will still have to complete the MSc in IBR before joining the PhD programme.

Q: Can I apply with a non-biology undergraduate or Master's degree (Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Computer Science,...)

A: Yes, we encourage these applications, but you must provide evidence of your interest in biomedical research. Currently, more than 1 in 3 of our students have a non-biology background.

Q: I have not yet completed my current degree. How can I provide final transcripts?

A: We understand that, at the time of your application, you might not have completed your current degree. Please provide the grades you have obtained so far in your degree so that the course selectors have as much information as possible when considering your application.

Q: What are the Maths requirements?

A: At least grade B at A-levels or international equivalent (see International Students section).

Q: I did not get a B in Maths at A-levels (or international equivalent), can I still apply?

A: Yes, but you should have A levels at grade B or above in other science subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Engineering or Physics and have gained good grades in university modules involving mathematics, computing, statistics or other theoretical skills.

Q: I took Maths at GCSE level but not at A-level. Can I still apply?

A: Yes, but you should have A levels at grade B or above in other science subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Engineering or Physics and have gained good grades in university modules involving mathematics, computing, statistics or other theoretical skills.


Q: I don’t have any work or research experience. Can I still apply?

A: Yes. We understand that not everybody has had the same opportunities. If you have written a dissertation or done a literature review on a particular topic, do include a few sentences to explain what this was about and what you learnt from it.

Q: My degree includes a practical module but I am not sure if I can complete it due to the pandemic restrictions. Can I still apply?

A: Yes. We understand that the pandemic is hindering access to labs for under- and post-graduate students. Please include a few sentences to explain the research you were able to undertake or discuss what you would have liked to have worked on, had you been able to access the lab.

Q: I have research experience, but not in biomedical sciences. Is that okay?

A: Yes. Please summarise your research experience in a few sentences and any outputs or learning that you gained from this.


The Application and Selection Process

Please note that the next recruitment round for entry in 2024 will commence on 30th October 2023, and close on 4th December 2023. Applications will be open for Core, iCASE and Translational Medicine studentships.

Q: Do you have any international students on the programme?

A: Yes, we welcome international students on the programme and, have students from countries outside the UK each year, including Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Romania, Russia and Spain. However, please note that international students are only eligible for iCASE and Translational Medicine studentships.

Q: Can you explain how the applicants are selected?

A: All applications are screened for entry requirements. Applications that fulfil entry requirements are judged by a panel of academics and shortlisted candidates are invited for interview. Applicants who are successful at the interview will be recommended to the University for a place on the course. Applicants then have to apply formally to the programme via the University's online admissions system and meet all University entrance requirements.

Q: How competitive is getting on to the DTP program?

A: It is very competitive as our standards are very high and there are only 12 studentships available each year.

Q: If I receive an invitation to the interview, will I have to come to Warwick?

A: We normally do face-to-face interviews, but since the start of the pandemic we have held interviews online via Microsoft Teams conferencing, and this has worked well. We will hold face-to-face interviews for 2024 entry for students based in the UK if we are able to.

Q: Do I have to submit references with my application form?

A: We ask for references for shortlisted candidates only. Candidates are asked to contact their referees prior to being interviewed, and request that their references are sent directly to us.

Q: What do you look for in an applicant?

A: We are interested in applicants with exceptional potential who are interested in solving biomedical research problems. We are also looking for those candidates that understand and are enthusiastic about the ethos of the DTP; for example, the strong sense of community and teamwork, developing confidence in working across scientific disciplines, exploring their research interests, and co-designing their own PhD projects.

International Students

Please also look at FAQs relevant to international students that are answered in the studentship, entry requirements and selection process sections.

Q: I am an international/oversea student. Can I apply?

A: International students can apply to iCASE and Translational Medicine Studentships but not Core Studentships

Q: How many studentships are available for international/oversea students?

A: For 2024 entry, a maximum of 5 studentships are available for international students.

Q: Where can I find information about overseas qualification equivalence?

A: You can find information here.

Q: Does the programme fund visa applications during and/or after the studentship?

A: No, the programme does not fund visa applications. You can find more details on visa status here.

Q: What are the English Language requirements?

A: The minimum requirements are Band A with specific components scores of at least 6.5 in reading and writing (IETLS). You can find more information here.

Q: Do I need a UK bank account?

A: Yes, you will need to open an account in a bank in the UK in order for your stipend to be paid to you.

Q: Where can I find information about the international student community at Warwick?

A: You can find some information about the life of international students at Warwick (including immigration advice) here. You can also ask a question here.

We have ordered the FAQs in broad categories:

General Information about the DTP

The Studentship

Entry Requirements

The Selection Process

International Students