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Postgraduate Study


Taught material will take a mixture of formats, including traditional lectures and interactive, discussion-based workshops, blending elements of lecturing, hands-on tutorials, with interactive discussions to stimulate active, critical thinking among students.  

Teaching will primarily be oriented around the cohort of students on the course. Building cohort affinities among students provides a safe peer-group space that promotes formation of trusted relationships important for peer-to-peer learning and support (e.g., as critical friends and, ultimately, long term professional contacts).  


One to one supervision

Each student will have a dedicated supervisor for their research project. During the project, students will be fully embedded in their research group and meet regularly with their supervisor and members of the lab. All students will attend termly supervisions with the course director.


Students will receive training and feedback on writing and presenting skills prior to assessments. All written assessed work for the MPhil is marked by two assessors.  Students can also expect to receive termly formal feedback reports via the online Postgraduate Feedback and Reporting System.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University's expectations regarding feedback.


Thesis / Dissertation

The assessment structure for the course is divided into three parts, each of which will make up 33% of the overall degree mark. 

Your research dissertation (thesis) encompasses Section 2 (the literature review - 33%) and Section 3 (the analysis and write-up - 33%) -- in total, 66% of your overall mark. These two dissertation components will enable you to showcase the different academic and scientific skills you have learned. They will evaluate your grasp of the subject matter and your ability to apply your knowledge in a research context. 

In Section 2, you will undertake a comprehensive literature review of the field. This review, with a maximum word limit of 5000 words, will serve as a foundation for your research project, providing essential background information and contextualising the significance of your chosen area of study. Your literature review will be assessed based on the depth of your research, your critical analysis, and your ability to synthesise and present the information effectively. This assignment will contribute to 33% of your final mark, highlighting its importance in demonstrating your understanding of the field and your ability to engage with relevant academic literature.

In Section 3, you will focus on presenting the outcomes of your research project. This component, accounting for another 33% of your final mark, will require you to articulate the aims, methods, results, data analysis, and discussion of your project within a maximum word limit of 5000 words. You will showcase your research skills, analytical thinking, and ability to draw meaningful conclusions from your data. This assessment emphasises your ability to communicate your findings effectively, highlighting the significance of your research within the broader context of cognitive neuroscience.

These assessments not only allow you to demonstrate your academic abilities but also provide an opportunity for you to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the field of cognitive neuroscience. Both sections will be evaluated by experienced faculty members who will assess your work based on its quality, originality, and scientific rigour.


Section 1 (33% of your mark)  Your written piece, with a word limit of 2000 words, will showcase your ability to critically evaluate and synthesise complex scientific literature.

Written examination

Section 1 also includes two short written exams (contributing equally to the 33% of your mark made up by Section 1)

(1) Biostatistics assessment, taking place towards the end of the first term, and evaluating the understanding and application of key biostatistical concepts. This assessment will test your ability to analyse and interpret data effectively.

(2) Multiple-choice question (MCQ) exam: You will also undertake an MCQ exam consisting of one question per lecture from the full series. This exam will require you to showcase your breadth of knowledge, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the topics covered throughout the course. You will attempt all 20 questions (one per lecture).


Two additional assessments comprise Section 1 (again contributing equally to the 33% of your mark made up by Section 1):

(3) Oral seminar-style presentation: During the Lent term, you will deliver an engaging oral presentation on a laboratory or analytical method that has significantly impacted the field of study. This presentation will highlight your research and presentation skills, as well as your ability to communicate complex scientific concepts effectively.

(4) Poster presentation: As an integral part of the research project, you will present your findings with a poster presentation. Marks for this presentation will be awarded based on the layout of your poster, the clarity with which you present your data, and your overall ability to deliver a clear and engaging oral presentation of your poster. Note that the assessment of the poster presentation will focus on honing your scientific presentation skills (rather than the scientific content itself).

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Key Information

10 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Wellcome - MRC Institute of Metabolic Science

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Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2024

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

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

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.