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The MOAC Degree (MSc and PhD)


From Autumn 2014 there are no funded places available to do the MOAC MBBC degree. However funded places are available at the new Molecular Analytical Science Centre for Doctoral Training


The MOAC Degree

The MOAC Degree is a combined MSc + PhD programme:

1 year MSc in Mathematical Biology and Biophysical Chemistry
3 year PhD in Multidisciplinary Science, designed to train students for multi-disciplinary research at the Physical Sciences / Life Sciences interface.

  • Although the MSc is a formally assessed programme and we treat the assessment process seriously, the aim is to equip you with skills you need for research across the physical/life sciences boundary. Our concern is therefore to ensure you can use skills rather than merely pass an exam or submit an assignment.
  • Funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) was available for eligible students wishing to undertake the combined MSc/PhD programme for the year 2013/14 (2014/15 pending).
  • The first year of the programme may also be taken as a stand-alone MSc.
  • Students from different backgrounds will find different aspects of the course most challenging. Where required, such as students from non-mathematical backgrounds needing an introduction to basic mathematical skills, the student cohort may be divided into two groups with specially tailored teaching material and assessed work. Students are also strongly encouraged to learn to teach each other - this being one of the key skills required for multidisciplinary research
  • The normal period of study for the MSc is 12 months full-time, the period of study for the postgraduate diploma is six months full-time and for the postgraduate certificate it is between three and six months full-time.


MSc in Mathematical Biology and Biophysical Chemistry (MBBC)

The MSc consists of two 6-month blocs: a taught section of 8 modules and a research section of 3 research mini-projects. The taught section carries 96 credits (53%) and the research section carries 84 credits (47%).

MSc Timetable
MSc Modules



The 8 week research mini-projects are unique to each student. Each student must complete their 3 mini-projects in 3 different research environments: experimental biology, experimental physical sciences and computation/mathematics. The order does not matter, however some mini-projects in different disciplines are linked projects.


Assessment will be by examination and assessed coursework.

The first mini-project (chronologically) is assessed by a poster and talk, presented at the MOAC Annual Conference to the other students and core MOAC staff. The second is assessed by a report in the style of a thesis and a viva. The final project is assessed by a report in the style of a research paper and a talk to the incoming MOAC MSc students.

The aim is to expose the students to the main ways of reporting scientific research, and to help prepare them for their PhD.

The dates for the 2012-2013 MOAC mini projects are:

Mini project one: 18/3 to 10/05/13 (poster and talk at the MOAC Annual Conference )Mini project two: 13/05 to 05/07/13 (thesis and viva)Mini project three: 08/07 to 30/08/13 (research paper and talk)

MSc Module Feedback


PhD Multidisciplinary Science

All students undertake multidisciplinary PhD projects in two or more disciplines and use skills from one area to solve challenging problems in another. Students thriving at MOAC typically have a passion for multidisciplinary ideas, have an ability to assimilate knowledge quickly, and to transfer ideas from related disciplines.

MOAC PhD students are co-supervised by researchers in at least 2 departments. You can get a good idea of the research areas covered by MOAC from looking at the PhD titles of the current students - topics should be covered by the scientific scope of MOAC.





Rachel Sheldon

Stephen Norton

Gareth Price