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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Biological Science (MRC Toxicology Unit) by thesis is no longer accepting new applications.


The structure of this research programme is a period of supervised research followed by submission of a thesis; it is not expected that students will take taught modules as a requirement of the course. Upon enrolling, students will be provided with a Unit-specific induction that includes formal training covering topics such as health and safety. They will also have an initial meeting with their supervisors to identify training needs specific to their research project.

Students will be able to attend the week-long training event in toxicology provided by the ITTP, the Toxicology Unit’s research seminars and the Toxicology Unit’s Masterclass seminar series. Skills training will be provided in topics such as research ethics and statistics. In addition, students will be encouraged to attend topic-relevant seminars within the University.

One to one supervision

Each student will have a supervisor who must be at MRC Investigator level. The supervisor will ensure the student is clear as to what is required from them. In addition, the student will have an advisor. This advisor is not part of the supervisor’s research team but is working in areas sufficiently close to the student’s research project to be able to give impartial guidance on research project work and progression. In addition, the advisor will provide an important opportunity for students to discuss their work in the wider environment, which will aid the monitoring of their progress and will help to improve their scientific discussion skills with peers.

Seminars & classes

The MRC Toxicology Unit runs a weekly seminar programme hosting external and internal speakers; students also have the opportunity to attend seminars hosted in other departments within the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences and the wider University of Cambridge. Visit Postgraduate School of Life Sciences | ( for more information.

Journal clubs

Each research team or research theme within the Unit operates a twice-monthly journal club.

Literature Reviews

A literature review is an essential part of the final thesis.


Students will have a monthly formal meeting with their supervisor, after which written feedback will be provided to the student and the student should keep their own record of these meetings in their Development Log.

Regular informal meetings will be held between supervisor, student and advisor as required, during which informal feedback will be provided.

Upon completion of the MPhil, the students will be provided with the feedback from their oral viva and will be asked to complete a course evaluation form that will be reviewed by the Unit’s Postgraduate Education Committee which will include a student representative.


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

24 months part-time

Study Mode : Research

Master of Philosophy

MRC Toxicology Unit

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Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
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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