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Postgraduate Admissions

Teaching

The Department has the overriding aim to provide all its postgraduate students with every opportunity for a broad education and a compatible environment in which they may complete a PhD or MPhil successfully. The Department will aim to provide guidance and, where appropriate, the facilities to allow postgraduate students to develop a number of different skills including the following:

  • Research methodologies and the process of research including quantitative and qualitative methods and data analysis; project planning and management
  • The effective use of learning resources including library and information technology
  • Personal skills including oral and written communication, time management and teamwork skills, professional development and the preparation of a curriculum vitae and employment applications
  • Broad knowledge of the discipline in which the student is working
  • Technical training to enable the student to undertake their research work effectively and efficiently
  • Professional presentations

All students on this programme will be members of the University’s Postgraduate School of Life Sciences (PSLS) who 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

Expect regular uninterrupted discussion sessions, ideally at least once a month for MPhil students, to consider any immediate matters about the research programme.  

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

Postgraduate students are asked to attend all the lectures in the Plant Sciences Seminars series. Other sessions can be attended as needed, decided by a discussion with supervisors.

Lectures

Lectures can be attended as needed, decided by a discussion with supervisors.

Journal clubs

As decided by a discussion with supervisors.

Literature Reviews

After 4 weeks, MPhil candidates draft a project proposal. This provides an opportunity to become accustomed to academic writing and to clarify their research project and the techniques to be used. 

Four months before their thesis submission date, MPhil candidates must submit a thesis plan. 

Posters and Presentations

All postgraduate students are asked to give a seminar in their first year. The first year seminar is a good opportunity for students to present an outline of their research, including the background to the project and details of the techniques they intend to use in their research. 

Placements

The Department has a number of projects which involve collaboration with Partner Institutes including the Sainsbury Laboratory, NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany), BAS (British Antarctic Survey), and international conservation organisations based in the David Attenborough Building (i.e. UCCRI). The Department has also a number of links with industry and/or breeding organisations. Placements will be dependent on the availability of a supervisor and project.

Feedback

After the end of each term, the primary supervisors are asked to provide a brief report on each student's progress via the online feedback and reporting system. The report will be made available to students and they will be invited to respond to comments via a termly self-assessment. This will allow students to review their own progress and to highlight any difficulties they feel they are facing. 

Assessment

Thesis / Dissertation

The examination for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Biological Science (Plant Sciences) 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.

Essays

Please see the information listed in the Teaching section under Literature Reviews.

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Key Information


12 months full-time

2 years part-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Plant Sciences

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
June 30, 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.


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