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Postgraduate Admissions


Core Course in Developmental Biology:  interactive seminar-based course with up to eight modules, each comprising two three-hour workshops, during the first two terms.

Experimental Approaches in Developmental Biology:  up to eight two-hour sessions covering a range of relevant approaches, from transgenesis to genomics, during the first two terms.

Core Statistics Training:  up to 8 half-day practical sessions, providing a strong foundation in practical statistics and data analysis using the R software environment focusing on methods of addressing real-life issues in biological sciences, during the first term.

Impacts and Communications sessions:  up to six sessions (each one or two hours long) in the third term.

Students learn scientific writing skills through writing a research project report and extended essay which are all assessed for the MPhil degree.

All students 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 Developmental page on the PSLS website for more information.

One to one supervision

Regular meetings with a rotation project supervisor and lab members.  Termly meetings with the programme director.

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

Seminars & classes

Core Course in Developmental Biology (up to 48 hours); Experimental Approaches in Developmental Biology (up to 16 hours); Core Statistics (up to 24 hours); Impacts and Communications (up to 12 hours).  Up to 100 in total over the year.


All written assessed work for the MPhil is marked by two assessors.  Students can also expect to receive termly formal feedback reports via the online Postgraduate Feedback and Reporting System.


Thesis / Dissertation

A report on the research project, approved or prescribed by the Degree Committee, not exceeding 10,000 words in length, including tables, figure legends, and appendices, but excluding bibliography.


One essay, not exceeding 5,000 words in length, on a topic approved by the Degree Committee of the Faculty of Biology. With the permission of the Degree Committee, the essay may be by a research proposal for a prospective PhD project.

Written examination

An MCQ paper on statistics


The examination shall include an oral examination on the work submitted by the candidate and on the general field of knowledge within which such work falls.

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Key Information

11 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2021

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
June 30, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2021, Lent 2022 and Easter 2022.

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