PhD and Masters Training

PhD and MSc programmes linked to the Centre for Cardiovascular Science

The Centre has about 80 students registered on postgraduate programmes.

We offer postgraduates the opportunity to work within internationally leading research programmes addressing fundamental development and control of the cardiovascular system and the origins and consequences of cardiovascular disease. The work extends from basic laboratory research through to clinical studies. The Centre has an excellent track record for training provision to basic scientists and clinicians. Trainees on our programmes receive direct support from at least two academic advisors during their studies and a dedicated thesis committee provides guidance throughout the programme of research. In addition to research training, the Centre supports an active seminar series and a forum for presentation of research in progress.

Training in research in the Centre for Cardiovascular Science is linked into several major MSc and doctoral programmes at the University of Edinburgh.

Cardiovascular programmes

We offer the following programmes:

These programmes do not carry allocated studentships and students must have the agreement of a supervising PI and a clear route to funding including potential visas, established before applying online. Fee waivers for international and EU prospective PhD students may be available on a per scheme basis and this should be determined in advance of application.

This programme has a single entry in September. Students are not required to define a project/PI as these are selected on arrival. Funding and any relevant visas must be established before applying.

Informal enquires about the PhD Programme should be directed to Prof Matthew Bailey, Informal enquiries about the MScR Programme should be directed to Dr Laura Denby,

BHF 4-Year PhD Programme

Our flagship British Heart Foundation 4-Year PhD Programme (renewed to support four full studentships per year from 2021–24) supports research embedded in the four major Research Themes and cross-cutting Themes of Data Driven Innovation and Translation.

Four 4Y PhD studentships are currently available for intake in January 2024.

Programme structure

The first year of the 4Y BHF PhD programme is a full Masters by Research, providing a core training of research and analytical skills over three projects, each hosted by a different research group. This hands-on training is enhanced by Investigator-led tutorials highlighting recent advances in the literature. Workshops to develop transferable skills, including critical reading, scientific presentation/writing, and project planning, as well as research ethics, are also a key component of the training. Taught and skills-based elements are credit bearing, and innovative student-led individually created courses (SLICCs) allow students to gain credits for their experiential training through interaction with other Centre activities such as public engagement, funding strategy, business development, and epidemiological/societal impact of heart and circulatory disease.

PhD project

The experience gained during the first year enables each student to make an informed choice of PhD research area/supervisory team. Project matching is a student-driven process and takes place in May/June of the Master's year, supported by the Programme Director, Professor Matt Bailey. The PhD is undertaken from years 2–4 of the programme and is a distinct University award, requiring successful completion of the Master's programme.


You are an innovative and highly motivated scientist who views this programme as the gateway to a career in cardiovascular research. You will have a BSc (Hons) degree (First or Upper Second class or equivalent) or a Master's qualification (Distinction or Merit) in the biomedical sciences, including (bio)informatics or in related disciplines such as computational science. Previous research experience is desirable. It is expected that you will be informed about our research and be able to articulate interest in specific research areas within our research themes.

We especially encourage applications from non-traditional backgrounds and those from under-represented groups. The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality.

A generous tax-free stipend, research costs and tuition fees (UK rate) are provided. Scholarships may be available competitively for those classed as International Students (EU and rest of world). Please verify your fee status with the University's Registry before making your application and consider the potential for visa costs at the outset. Please note: if successful, International Students will need to apply for separate visas for the MScR and PhD programmes within UK government guidelines at the appropriate time and be able to cover National Health Service surcharges. These costs are not covered by the programme.

Enquiries about the PhD Programme should be directed to Prof Matthew Bailey,

Applications close on 15 January 2024.

Apply now

Other key doctoral training programmes available through CVS

We also have a strong representation of our cardiovascular science in a number of other high profile doctoral training programmes available at the University of Edinburgh. Details about these programmes can be found via the links below.

If you are interested in exploring a PhD in Cardiovascular Science through these alternative routes, you should contact the programme lead via the link below and the Principal Investigators in CVS in the research area and Theme you find most relevant.

Informal and general enquiries about these options can be sent to the CVS Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr Sari Pennings,