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Postgraduate Admissions

About the Department of Pharmacology

The Department of Pharmacology admits 12 - 15 graduate students per year and offers comprehensive facilities for research in a modern building located in the centre of Cambridge and well-equipped for postgraduate training. Research Studentships to study for the PhD degree are awarded on a competitive basis and supported by the research councils, medical research charities, industrial sponsors and by University schemes. In addition to these funding opportunities, the Department also offers studentships, including The David James Studentship.

The research areas of the Department include: molecular and cellular mechanisms of secretion and neurotransmitter release; receptor cycling; use of atomic force microscopy to investigate molecular structure; molecular mechanisms of sensation; neurodegeneration; control of appetite; mechanisms controlling sleep and appetite; drug action on membrane permeability and regulation of ion channels; angiogenesis and natural products; ion channel structure and function; receptor/intracellular messenger transduction mechanisms; vascular pharmacology; and anticancer drug resistance.

2 courses offered in the Department of Pharmacology

This one-year research programme is suited to those who wish to pursue research at a level beyond that of an undergraduate degree and will give a good basic training in laboratory work.

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During this three-year research programme (which does not include a one-year master’s degree), students undertake a period of supervised research and are expected to submit a thesis for examination within their fourth year at the latest. Students also attend relevant lectures and seminars and participate in skills development activities.

All PhD students are required to undergo formal assessment (by written report and viva) at the end of their first year ("The First Year Assessment"). If successful, the student moves from being "probationary" to being registered for the PhD and can proceed with their thesis project.

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2 courses also advertised in the Department of Pharmacology

From the School of the Biological Sciences

The Cambridge Biosciences DTP is a four year PhD programme that aims to create highly skilled and employable people. The programme offers training across 23 University Departments/Institutes and 3 Partner Institutes providing access to a wide range of research areas related to the strategic themes of the BBSRC. We offer three types of DTP studentships:

During the programme, DTP Standard and Targeted students will undertake two ten-week rotations in different labs before commencing their PhD. They will receive training in a variety of areas including but not limited to statistics, programming, ethics, data analysis, scientific writing and public engagement. Students will also undertake a 12-week internship (PIPS).

iCASE students are not required to undertake rotations, but may do so if they feel that this training would be useful. They must undertake a placement with their Industrial Partner for a minimum of three months and a maximum of 18 months.

Students will be expected to submit their thesis at the end of the fourth year.

Part-time study, whilst not the norm, may be viable, depending on the project, and will be considered on a case by case basis so please discuss this option with your proposed supervisor before making an application for this mode of study.

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From the Faculty of Clinical Medicine

The Cambridge Medical Research Council's Doctoral Training Programme will be offering five Industrial MRC CASE (iCASE) studentships for doctoral study, to start in October 2023, and these can be based in either the School of Clinical Medicine, or the School of Biological Sciences.

Each studentship is fully-funded for four years with a current stipend of £18,000 p.a., and includes all course fees, plus a research training support grant. 

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Department Members


Professor Laura Itzhaki
Head of Department

Dr Ewan Smith
Deputy Head of Department

  • 23 Academic Staff
  • 47 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 59 Graduate Students
  • 467 Undergraduates

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

Research Areas