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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Clinical Medicine is no longer accepting new applications.

This programme is designed to allow clinical health professionals to reach their full potential and pursue a successful academic career.  Up to seven fellowships are offered each year with a single round of admissions.

Fellowships, supported either by the University or Wellcome Sanger Institute, cover the broad themes of Genetic and Molecular Basis of Disease; Pathogens, Infectious Disease and Immunity; Physiology, Pathophysiology and Experimental Medicine; Behaviour, Mental Health and Neurological Diseases; Epidemiology, Prevention and Public Health; Health Care Delivery and Improvement.  Interdisciplinary research, with doctoral projects co-supervised by biomedical researchers and university investigators in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, is also encouraged.

To be eligible to apply for the fellowships, you must be qualified in clinical, dental or veterinary medicine, or be a non-medical health professional registered with a national professional regulatory body in the UK [see programme website for more info]. In addition, medical, dental and veterinary applicants must be in a training grade (i.e., not a Consultant, University Faculty or equivalent position). Although veterinary postgraduates are not eligible for a Sanger Institute fellowship, they can undertake research at the Sanger Institute supervised either solely or jointly by a Sanger faculty member, whilst supported by another fellowship from the programme. Non-medical healthcare professionals may be at different stages in their clinical careers, but should possess relevant research experience to be able to take advantage of this opportunity.  They would also not be expected to be University Faculty or equivalent positions.

For medical graduates who do not hold academic clinical fellowships (ACFs) and non-medical health professionals, there is the opportunity to undertake a three-month pre-doctoral research placement. During this time, you can undertake mini-projects with research groups in your area of interest, enabling making an informed choice of PhD project and supervisor(s), and formulation of a “Project Proposal” leading to a PhD.

At the start of the Programme, all fellows attend induction events for postgraduate students organised at the University of Cambridge, the University of East Anglia or Wellcome Sanger Institute. The programme includes lectures, workshops, and taught modules, constituting a personal portfolio of training.

Throughout the Programme and after completion, you will be mentored by one or more individuals from the Faculty and Management Committee of the PhD programme.

Year One

During year one, fellows are encouraged to present regularly at lab meetings and to attend journal clubs and seminars. Under University of Cambridge regulations, all PhD students are "probationary" in their first year. Those who wish to progress to a PhD must complete and pass an assessment after 12 months, satisfying their supervisor(s), Head of Department and Faculty Degree Committee that they have the skills, ability and scientific basis to achieve the higher degree, in order to be registered for the PhD. Fellows are therefore required to write a report on their work to date and plans for forthcoming work, and attend a viva. There is also a summer symposium where fellows present their work.

Year Two

You will be encouraged to present regularly at lab meetings, departmental seminars and at meetings of learned societies. You will also prepare for, and present at the summer symposium. Your progress will also be reviewed by the mentoring committee.

Year Three

Ongoing regular presentations at lab meetings, departmental seminars and meetings of learned societies are encouraged. Your progress will be reviewed by the mentoring committee and you will again present at the summer symposium. You will prepare your thesis for submission (deadline of 30 September) and your final viva will take place in October or November.

Further information can be found on the programme website.


Those who wish to progress to a PhD after completing an MPhil will be required to satisfy their potential supervisor, Head of Department and the Faculty Degree Committee that they have the skills and ability to achieve the higher degree.

Open Days

The University of Cambridge Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November.  It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges, virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities.  Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

The University of East Anglia Postgraduate Open Days are also still largely virtual. Registration is available via


This course is advertised in the following departments:

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Clinical Medicine 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:

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
Nov. 4, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2023

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

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