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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

Assessment of an individual MPhil candidate's progress is made via the standard reviews undertaken by first-year PhD students, with the exception of the first year report, instead of which they will produce their MPhil thesis. This includes the drafting of a project proposal after four weeks and preparation of a thesis plan and outline four months in advance of the due submission date. The purpose of the project proposal is to accustom students to academic writing and to provide an important opportunity to clarify their research project and the techniques to be used.

Posters

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 project. Students should have a firm summary of their research programme with an emphasis on the background to their 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), English Nature, the Natural History Museum, 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 made in 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 scheme of examination for the course of study in Biological Science for the degree of Master of Philosophy shall consist of a thesis, of not more than 20,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices, on a subject approved by the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Biology. 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. 3, 2019
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2020
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2021

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

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2019
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2021
Course Starts
April 17, 2021

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

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.

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.

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

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