MRes Structural Biology

At Birkbeck College | Incorporating the MRC’s Advanced Course Masters Studentships

Overview, course objectives and structure
MRes studentships
Key information for applicants
Lectures and practicals
Research project


The MRes in Structural Biology is an intensive, high quality, 1 year introduction to research in Structural and computational Biology that are key to the dissection of macromolecular “machines” and cellular pathways of medical interest. The course comprises both taught components and extensive research experience for students with backgrounds in the biological, chemical, computational and physical sciences.

The Department of Biological Sciences at Birkbeck College forms part of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology and is a world leader in Structural Biology. Training provided by the MRes is relevant to further academic research as well as to a wide range of employers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and chemical industries. The course is particularly suitable for students who seek to combine a theoretical understanding of structural and computational biology with research experience.

Course objectives

This MRes course in Structural Biology will provide:

  • An understanding of the basic principles underlying the major techniques used in structural biology to determine protein structures
  • An understanding of the principles of macromolecular structure and function
  • A foundation for the development of bioinformatics skills that include molecular modeling, perl-programming and statistics. This Biocomputing module is optional for self-funded students but compulsory for those awarded MRC studentships – please see course structure for further information.
  • An ability to search and evaluate the relevant scientific literature
  • The analytical and presentational skills required for research in structural and computational biology.

Course structure

The course conforms to the Common Awards Scheme (CAS) and thus constitutes 180 credits. It is structured as follows




Students will attend lectures and practicals. Information about assessment for coursework modules is available. During the first term students begin their research project, which is the principal focus for the rest of the course.


Students submit a literature review and oral presentation.


Project thesis and viva

* Please note: The Biocomputing I module is compulsory for students who have been awarded MRC studentships



Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, University of London
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