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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.

The Department of Pharmacology only admits postgraduate students to a one-year MPhil by research or a PhD course which may last three or four years according to the availability of funding.

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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.

Students are provisionally registered on the PhD for the first year of study. Progression beyond the first year requires performance at a sufficient level to satisfy the Departmental Postgraduate Education Committee that the student is likely to complete the PhD within the expected timeframe. 

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1 course also advertised in the Department of Pharmacology

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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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