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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Biological Science (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology) by thesis is no longer accepting new applications.


This is a research-based programme and there is no formal teaching requirement. All students on this programme will be members of the University’s Postgraduate School of Life Sciences (PSLS) which offers 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

Each student is assigned a principal supervisor who has expertise in the student’s research area and is accessible to offer advice on all aspects of the project. The supervisor's main role at the LMB is to help students clarify their own ideas and guide their independent research efforts.  Postgraduate students are expected to have the capacity and enthusiasm for organising their own research and to work on their own initiative.

Students can expect to have regular lab meetings with their supervisor and with other lab members. The regularity with which postgraduate students meet with their Supervisor varies throughout the year but meetings are likely to be more frequent to start with, during the planning stages, and during the writing-up phase. All students should have the opportunity to seek formal feedback from their Supervisor, and Supervisors should have the opportunity to give such feedback.

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

Seminars & classes

There is an extensive seminar programme onsite and students can also attend seminars held in the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the University. Students are able to attend a number of training courses in transferable and general research skills. The LMB runs a series of lectures on Biophysical and Molecular Biology Techniques that all postgraduate students are expected to attend.


Students are expected to attend the Laboratory Annual Symposium, the Postgraduate Student Lecture series in October each year - which comprises lectures by faculty members, as well as the first year PhD student lectures, usually held in October.

Posters and Presentations

Students are expected to present their work at the research talks and laboratory meetings held within their own research area. Students may also have opportunities to present their work at national and international scientific meetings.


Students will receive regular oral feedback and advice from their supervisor about performance and research direction throughout the course, and students can also expect to receive termly formal feedback reports via the online feedback and reporting system.


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 assessment also includes an oral examination on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.

Key Information

12 months full-time

2 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Master of Philosophy

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

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Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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