PhD Animal Behaviour and Welfare University of Lincoln
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The scientific study of animal behaviour and welfare furthers our understanding of why animals behave in the way that they do and helps us learn how best to respond to the challenges that animals face when living in captive and wild environments. This programme provides students with the opportunity to conduct research in areas such as welfare assessment, animal management, evolutionary biology, and animal cognition.
Students benefit from training courses provided by the University aimed at developing key skills in research. Under the guidance and advice of their academic supervisors, students will also be encouraged to present talks and seminars on their work both at the University of Lincoln as well at national and international meetings and conferences, produce progress reports, develop their ability to write up work for publication in peer-reviewed journals, and, ultimately, to effectively communicate their research and thesis.
Beyond learning how to conduct research and the specialist skills that students are expected to develop within their subject discipline, the process of studying for a research degree can provide transferable skills in problem-solving, time management, independence and teamwork, and communication.
How You Study
This research programme relies on independent study and research, supervised by an advisory panel of academic staff. The nature of this research will be specific to the subject area but is expected to investigate a novel question and provide a novel contribution to science.
Most students are initially enrolled on an MPhil programme. After one year, if sufficient progress can be demonstrated, students have the option to transfer to a PhD programme.
Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the majority of time is spent in independent study and research, but you might also attend seminars and other research activities. Students will have meetings with their academic supervisor at least once a month, but the precise frequency of these will vary depending on individual requirements, subject area, staff availability, and stage of the programme.
Prioritising Face-to-Face Teaching
At the University of Lincoln, we strive to ensure our students’ experience is engaging, supportive, and academically challenging. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we have adapted to Government guidance to keep our students, staff, and community safe. All remaining Covid-19 legal restrictions in England were lifted in February 2022 under the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19, and we have embraced a safe return to in-person teaching on campus. Where appropriate, face-to-face teaching is enhanced by the use of digital tools and technology and may be complemented by online opportunities where these support learning outcomes.
We are fully prepared to adapt our plans if changes in Government guidance make this necessary, and we will endeavour to keep current and prospective students informed.
Research Areas and Topics
Research within the Department of Life Sciences is conducted within five research groups:
- The Animal Behaviour, Cognition, and Welfare Research Group comprises a unique team of internationally-renowned researchers working at the forefront of, and interface between, animal behaviour, cognition, health, and welfare.
- The Cancer and Aging Research Group follows a multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative approach to increase understanding of disease characteristically associated with ageing at the molecular level, to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
- The Diabetes, Metabolism and Inflammation Research Group is focused on innovative research in the area of diabetes and related cardiometabolic and associated inflammatory disorders.
- The Evolution and Ecology Research Group works to understand the evolution and ecology of populations, species, and communities, across all levels of biological organisation, from genes through to ecosystems.
- The Microbiology and Biotechnology Research Group is working to answer fundamental questions relating to the characterisation, evaluation, and testing of microorganisms and viruses.
You may also find the Postgraduate Research Opportunities page useful, as it provides a selection of the projects currently available in the Department along with details of the appropriate academic contact.
How You Are Assessed
Students will have at least one formal meeting with their supervisors each month where progress will be discussed. After three months students are expected to provide an outline of their research proposal, which will be evaluated. Most students are initially enrolled on an MPhil programme, and after the first year, they may apply for transfer to a PhD programme via a written report on which they will be orally examined.
Both the MPhil and PhD are awarded based on the quality of a student's thesis and their ability to present and successfully defend their research in an oral examination (viva voce). They are expected to demonstrate how their research findings have contributed to knowledge, or developed existing theory or understanding.
How to Apply and Enrolment
The key to success in a postgraduate research programme is to find a research subject that you are passionate about and identify a supervisory team that has expertise in this area. The first thing that all prospective students should do is directly contact a member of staff that they feel is best aligned with their chosen research area to discuss the application process further.
To support your experience within the postgraduate research community, new students are encouraged to enrol in October or January. In addition to meeting peers across the University who are starting their research programme at the same time, there is access to a central training programme designed around the first three months of study, and targeted support aligned to each stage of the postgraduate research journey.
However, applications are welcome at any point throughout the year, and enrolment can also take place at any relevant point. Alternative enrolment dates should be agreed upon with your supervisors on an individual basis.
Entry Requirements 2023-34
First or upper second-class honours degree in a relevant subject.
Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element.
If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.
Fees and Funding
For eligible students, there are more ways than ever before to fund your postgraduate study, whether you want to do a taught or research course. For those wishing to undertake a Master's course, UK students can apply for a loan as a contribution towards the course and living costs. Loans are also available to those who wish to undertake doctoral study. The University offers a number of scholarships and funded studentships for those interested in postgraduate study.
English Language Requirements
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