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Postgraduate Admissions

Teaching

The course is predominantly research-based.  Students are based in one research group and undertake research on a topic agreed with their principal investigator (supervisor). 

There is no examined work, but candidates must complete a short lecture-based course called the "Postgraduate Course in Biochemistry".  This course involves a series of lectures and workshops covering a variety of useful experimental techniques used in biochemistry and molecular biology.  Students can subsequently continue their training in many areas, choosing from the wide range of courses available within the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences and the University. 

All students on this programme will be members of the University’s Postgraduate School of Life Sciences (PSLS) which offer a wide variety of core skills and professional development training. Visit the Researcher Development page on the PSLS website for more information.

One to one supervision

Students are expected to have regular (usually weekly) meetings with their supervisor.  Each research group also typically has a weekly group meeting in which the student is expected to take part in presentations of research progress and in journal clubs. 

In addition, all students are assigned an 'advisor'.  This is a separate research group head, who is not directly involved in the student's research project, but who can provide independent monitoring of progress, provide general advice, and serve as a point of contact if any problems arise.  

All MPhil students also have a Postgraduate Thesis Panel (PTP) consisting of three principal investigators, one of which is the advisor, but excluding the supervisor.  The role of the postgraduate thesis panel is to provide additional support and mentoring for the student (through formal feedback), assess the tractability of the project and review the adequacy of supervision. 

All students are required to complete quarterly reports that present the key elements of the project plan, progress, and training aims and achievements.  These reports include student self-assessment of progress, supervisor comments, and allow student feedback on their training resources and support.  These reports are circulated to the student’s  PTP.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Feedback

Students should expect to receive oral and written feedback on an individual basis from supervisors, advisors and their postgraduate thesis panel.  In addition, they may expect oral feedback from their supervisors and group members after their presentations within groups.   Students can also expect to receive termly formal feedback reports via the online feedback and reporting system, and constructive oral and written feedback from their postgraduate thesis panel after their presentations.

Postgraduate Thesis Panel (PTP)

The student is required to present two talks on their project to their Postgraduate Thesis Panel (a panel of three academics).  These presentations are generally held in November and March.  The panel receives comments on student progress also from the quarterly/annual student reports.  After the presentation and a Q&A session with the student, the Postgraduate Thesis Panel gives constructive feedback about the student's progress and the nature and direction of the project.

The appointment of two members of the Postgraduate Thesis Panel (excluding the advisor who is appointed by the Postgraduate Committee), will be student-driven, and staff will be invited by the student to join the Postgraduate Thesis Panel after they have consulted with their supervisor for advice about the most appropriate members.  The main aim of the Postgraduate Thesis Panel is to provide independent, enhanced mentorship and advice for postgraduate students to help them make progress in their project.   It is also a mechanism for providing a further independent assessment of student progress, to supplement the views of the supervisor.

Peer Research Groups (PRGs)

Peer Research Groups (PRGs) consist of small groups of 10-15 students spanning all years of postgraduate studies. The groups provide a student support network and additional educational and training opportunities to help meet the training objectives of the postgraduate programme.  The groups meet once a fortnight and are overseen by an academic member of Biochemistry and one or more postdocs.

Weekly group meetings

Most research groups run their own weekly laboratory meetings and journal clubs where the student will be expected to talk about their experimental work and to review published papers.  Some groups might also expect students to write reports on a regular basis (e.g. monthly) for their supervisor as one component of the monitoring and mentorship programme.

Assessment

Thesis / Dissertation

The examination for the degree of Master of Philosophy consists of a thesis, of not more than 20,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices.  

The thesis is a standalone piece of writing describing the student's research.   It is written as a formal scientific document and usually contains an introduction, a materials and methods chapter, one or more results chapters and a closing discussion.  The examination is a viva voce examination by two examiners, who examine both on the content of the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.

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Key Information


12 months full-time

2 year part-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Biochemistry

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2021
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2022
Course Starts
April 17, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
May 16, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Lent 2023

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2022
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2023

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2023
Course Starts
April 17, 2023

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 6, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.