After my MSc I secured a fully-funded PhD at the University of Melbourne, Australia

Chris standing in the courtyard at Firth Court, smiling and holding a certificate
Chris Buckley
Degree: MSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Graduate role: PhD in Plant Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne, Australia
During his undergraduate Biology degree at Sheffield, Chris discovered that his passion lay in the field of molecular biology and biotechnology. Chris quickly made the transition to this new area thanks to a module dedicated to developing laboratory techniques during his MSc and following supervision from Professor Julie Gray, Chris will begin a PhD in molecular plant biology.
Chris standing in the courtyard at Firth Court, smiling and holding a certificate

"Throughout my undergraduate degree - which was also undertaken at the University of Sheffield in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences - I was convinced that ecology and conservation were the areas of biology that I would find employment within in the future. However, upon commencing a molecular-based research project that had been allocated to me in my final year as an undergraduate, I realised that my passion actually lies within the fields of molecular biology and biotechnology.

"I decided to complete a Masters course to build my knowledge and experience within these new subject areas. However, coming from a different department - and without much practical know-how - the prospect of undertaking a 6-month laboratory project on the MSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology course seemed daunting. During the autumn semester this apprehension soon disappeared; a module dedicated to developing proper laboratory techniques developed my confidence within the laboratory, and the varied set of lecture modules on offer allowed me to grow my knowledge base.

"Soon, I was ready to take on the research project. I chose to work within Professor Julie Gray’s laboratory which focuses on understanding the development of stomata within the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the cereal crop rice. Whereas some Masters research projects repeat work that has previously been done, research projects within MSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology aim to tackle questions at the forefront of current biology. My project was no different; since stomatal development is relatively under-researched in rice, I was able to generate novel data that provided new insight to this area. Along the way I developed core skills in plant molecular biology, including plant tissue dissection, quantitative PCR and molecular cloning.


With the guidance of my supervisors and some hard work on my behalf, I was able to excel during the MSc course; I scored top marks in my class, placed first in the research poster competition and had my literature review published in Frontiers in Plant Science. All of this was enough to secure a fully-funded scholarship at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where I will begin a PhD in plant molecular biology.

Chris Buckley

MSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology


"With the guidance of my supervisors and some hard work on my behalf, I was able to excel during the MSc course; I scored top marks in my class, placed first in the research poster competition and had my literature review published in Frontiers in Plant Science. All of this was enough to secure a fully-funded scholarship at the University of Melbourne, Australia, where I will begin a PhD in plant molecular biology."

Postgraduate students

Postgraduate taught scholarships

Explore scholarships for postgraduate taught courses starting in 2022, including:

  • 100+ scholarships worth £10,000 each for home fee-paying students
  • 125 scholarships worth 25 per cent of the tuition fee for international students