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Postgraduate Admissions


The PhD degree is exclusively research-based.  The research area and supervisor will be confirmed during the application process.  Students will conduct their research with both University and NHS specialists in their field of study and may be co-supervised by someone on the Addenbrooke's staff.

One to one supervision

Students should expect to receive regular supervision from their principal supervisor, and to attend regular laboratory meetings, both on a weekly basis.

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

Seminars & classes

Students are likely to attend research group meetings where research results are presented and discussed.


Students are encouraged to attend research lectures and seminars on a range of biomedical subject areas, both on campus and in the wider University of Cambridge.


Students are expected to spend the majority of their study time pursuing basic or clinical research in the laboratories and in the Department.  Students undertaking clinical research projects may be involved in the recruitment of patients onto trials, and help to monitor their progress.  Depending on their training, students may also undertake some basic procedures, such as sample collection.

Small group teaching

There may be an opportunity to participate in small-group teaching, if this is relevant to the student's project.  More general small-group teaching may be available.

Literature Reviews

Students are expected to undertake a literature review relevant to their chosen research project.

Posters and Presentations

There are relevant conferences in the UK and overseas throughout the year.  If a student has developed their research to a sufficient level to coincide with a relevant conference, then there could be the opportunity to present at the meeting.

In addition, there are periodic student-oriented events throughout the Biomedical Campus, including poster competitions in which students are encouraged to participate.


The supervisor will provide feedback to the student each term.  The feedback will relate to the progress the student has made and include specific comments on their research project.  This will be discussed with the student in advance of the submission of the report to the University.  These reports are made online and can be accessed by students.


Thesis / Dissertation

Examination for the PhD degree involves submission of a written thesis of not more than 60,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography and appendices.  This is followed by an oral examination based on both the thesis and a broader knowledge of the chosen area of research.  The thesis should provide evidence that the student can design and carry out investigations, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspectives of the subject.


All PhD students are required to undergo formal assessment (by written report and viva) at the end of their first year.  If successful, the student moves from being 'probationary' to being registered for the PhD and can proceed with their project.

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Key Information

3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Medical Genetics

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
May 16, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

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

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2022
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2023

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

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2023
Course Starts
April 17, 2023

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 6, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.

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