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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Medical Science (MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit) is no longer accepting new applications.

When I started the PhD program at the CBU I constantly heard that the unit is a special place to belong to. It is not a common occurrence that the heart of a world-class research unit lies inside an old Victorian house with a nice garden. And even though the unit houses about 150 members, you soon feel like you are all one big family. You meet all your fellow students during an annual graduate retreat. And you meet everyone else in the large common room during coffee breaks, in the garden for games and barbeques and when you participate in the unit’s long-held tradition of a Christmas pantomime!

What continues to amaze me is how graduate student training is the main driver of the unit’s operations. As a student here, I had the opportunity to be supervised and interact with some of the leading experts in my field. Many of my projects involved utilizing a new type of MRI-based brain imaging pipeline that was never tried in Cambridge before. A dedicated MRI-methods team helped me set up the MRI sequences and the unit’s IT team helped to resolve unexpected technical issues. In hindsight, it all went smoothly, but I only realized later that I was lucky to have had this level of support and access to many cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience tools all under one roof.

Living in Cambridge is also fun. When I first moved here (from a metropolitan city) I thought I would be bored. But to my surprise, the university’s colleges had several events running almost every day, from parties to talks from world leaders to sports societies. The list is long and I had no time to attend many events. Not to mention that London is only a one-hour train ride away!

As I write this during the COVID-19 pandemic, I recognize that much of what I have just said is temporarily on hold. The unit has always placed a special emphasis on the students’ mental well-being and we were never short of help channels during these challenging times.

It thus no longer surprises me that many of the founding pioneers, as well as previous and current leaders in the fields of human psychology and neuroscience, were affiliated with the CBU at some point in their careers. Its world-class research and mentoring continue to be a magnet for the best minds. Now that I have just completed my PhD, I can confidently tell anyone that this unit is indeed a special place.

Moataz Assem (November 2020)

Key Information

12 months full-time

2 years part-time

Master of Philosophy

MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

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Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
Dec. 1, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

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

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 1, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 12, 2022

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2023, Lent 2024 and Easter 2024.

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