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Postgraduate Admissions

2 courses offered in the Department of Pathology

The MPhil in Biological Science (Pathology) is a full-time one-year research programme. Students join an active biomedical research group and conduct an original research project. The course aims to provide students with a solid foundation of analytical and laboratory skills, preparing them for a wide range of career options including doctoral studies or industrial research.

Students write an MPhil thesis, which is examined via an oral examination involving an internal and an external examiner. There is no examined coursework and there are no grades; a successful student gains a pass. Students to the programme undertake a research project in an area of their choice in discussion with their selected supervisor.

In addition to the research training provided by the department, the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences offers students access to courses to widen their experience and to enable them to acquire generic skills. All students attend induction and safety training courses in the department in addition to the training they receive in their research laboratory.

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Students are based in a research group and undertake a research project under the supervision of a principal investigator. A wide range of generic and specific skill courses are available. Students attend induction and safety training run by the Department.

There is no examined coursework but student progression is dependent upon the first-year assessment process where students are required to submit a first-year report and undertake a viva voce examination. Students are only registered for the PhD upon satisfactory performance in the first-year assessment.

In their second year, students present their work as a poster at the Departmental Annual Symposium.

Assessment for the PhD is by a written thesis and an oral examination.

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4 courses also advertised in the Department of Pathology

From the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) is one of the leading research institutions in the UK. The Institute’s mission is to determine the molecular mechanisms of disease in order to advance human health, and the institute is founded on the principle of interdisciplinarity, leveraging extensive collaboration between basic and clinician scientists, outstanding core facilities and an inclusive, supportive working environment to tackle big problems.

CIMR’s ambitious Research Strategy is to generate a detailed understanding of cellular homeostasis across three main themes: protein folding and quality control, membrane trafficking and organelle biology. These pathways are fundamental to normal cellular function, so when they are altered by mutation they can lead to diseases that are rare, devastating, and frequently occur in the nervous system. Numerous infectious pathogens have also evolved to infect cells by exploiting and manipulating these pathways. CIMR therefore focuses on genetic and infectious disease areas where cellular homeostasis is altered, and which are frequently neglected and overlooked, meaning there is significant unmet patient need: rare genetic disease, neurological disease, and intracellular infection. There are 24 research groups working across these research themes at CIMR.

A one-year full-time MPhil programme of research is offered under an individual supervision of principal investigators based in CIMR. This course can also be taken as a part-time option over two years. During their MPhil, the students are based in a research group, supported by their primary supervisor and the CIMR Postgraduate Education Committee. There is no taught and examined coursework, but students are encouraged to attend research seminars at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and elsewhere in the University, and postgraduate student seminars dealing with generic skills such as intellectual property rights, writing a thesis or paper, and entrepreneurship. Students write a thesis, which is examined via an oral examination.

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From the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) is one of the leading research institutions in the UK. The Institute’s mission is to determine the molecular mechanisms of disease in order to advance human health, and the institute is founded on the principle of interdisciplinarity, leveraging extensive collaboration between basic and clinician scientists, outstanding core facilities and an inclusive, supportive working environment to tackle big problems.

CIMR’s ambitious Research Strategy is to generate a detailed understanding of cellular homeostasis across three main themes: protein folding and quality control, membrane trafficking and organelle biology. These pathways are fundamental to normal cellular function, so when they are altered by mutation they can lead to diseases that are rare, devastating, and frequently occur in the nervous system. Numerous infectious pathogens have also evolved to infect cells by exploiting and manipulating these pathways. CIMR therefore focuses on genetic and infectious disease areas where cellular homeostasis is altered, and which are frequently neglected and overlooked, meaning there is significant unmet patient need: rare genetic disease, neurological disease, and intracellular infection. There are 24 research groups working across these research themes at CIMR.

A three-year full-time PhD programme of research is offered under the individual supervision of principal investigators based in CIMR. This course can also be taken as a part-time option for over six years. The PhD students are based in a research group, supported by their primary supervisor, their graduate adviser, and the CIMR Graduate Education Committee. There is no taught and examined course work, but students can take part in core topic discussion sessions held once a week by PIs in CIMR.

Along with the specific research training provided in the laboratory in which the student works, he or she receives further training within the CIMR in the form of postgraduate workshops concentrating on research techniques, research seminars both on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and elsewhere in the University, and postgraduate student seminars dealing with generic skills such as intellectual property rights, writing a thesis or paper, and entrepreneurship. Students write a dissertation, which is examined via an oral examination.

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From the Faculty of Clinical Medicine

The Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine Doctoral Training Programme in Medical Research (SCM DTP-MR) includes institutes and units within the School of Clinical Medicine, as well as other University Partner Institutions.
The program is offering at least five fully funded PhD studentships commencing in October 2022. Applicants should identify a group leader whose area of research falls into one of the following themes:
  • Neurosciences and Mental Health
  • Infections and Immunity
  • Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Disease
  • Data Science for Health

Applicants will be expected to approach the group leader, and agree on a suitable research proposal for consideration.  

Students on the SCM DTP-MR will complete 2 rotations in the first two terms. These projects will be in different disciplinary areas related to your field of research, and will allow refinement of your PhD project in line with your emerging research interests as the programme progresses.   The SCM DTP-MR studentships must be based in a department, unit or Institute of the School of Clinical Medicine. Please refer here. 

You will need to successfully complete the first year to be able to progress into your second year of studies.

This is an annual competition, and the opening and closing dates will be advertised on FindaPhD.com and on the SCM DTP-MR website.  ​For further details on the application process, please refer here

In addition, five Industrial MRC CASE (iCASE) studentships will be available for doctoral study at Cambridge, to start in October 2022. These studentships allow postgraduate research students to receive high quality research training, with the additional benefit of working closely with an industrial partner. These collaborations will provide MRC iCASE students with unique technical and transferable skills, as well as an insight into how commercial science is conducted, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The industry partner specifies a research project that will be of importance to them, and provides a placement at their premises for the student of at least 3 months, together with an additional non-academic supervisor. Projects for MRC iCASE studentships will be advertised in Oct 2021, and can be based in either the School of Clinical Medicine, or the School of Biological Science. For further details on the application process, please refer to the MRC DTP website.

Each studentship (MRC iCASE and SCM DTP-MR), is fully-funded for four years with a stipend of £18,000 p.a., and includes all course fees, plus a research training support grant.

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From the Department of Medicine

This innovative programme was established in 2002 as a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US. Its aim is to train outstanding students in biomedical research, taking advantage of the excellent research environments. Students work on collaborative projects organised by co-supervisors at both Cambridge and the NIH, spending two years at each institution. Students have access to all NIH facilities and are paid by the NIH. The PhD is awarded by the University of Cambridge.

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Department Members


Professor G L Smith
Head of Department

  • 42 Academic Staff
  • 68 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 112 Graduate Students
  • 610 Undergraduates

http://www.path.cam.ac.uk/

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