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Postgraduate Study

Teaching

A range of delivery methods is used:

  • Class teaching: classes are run in one or two hour blocks. Class sessions are lecture, seminar, or practical class based and may require some reading ahead of the session.
  • Individual teaching: typically bi-weekly meetings between students and appropriate staff members throughout the Michaelmas term and then with their supervisor throughout the Lent and Easter terms.

Teaching consists of around 24 hours of lectures/seminars/practicals, as well as at least 8 hours in sessions covering skills and research training. The former is taught in the first (Michaelmas) term, while the latter is taught in the Michaelmas and second (Lent) terms. Dissertations are supervised throughout the Lent and third (Easter) terms, but students will be encouraged to think about their dissertation topic in the Michaelmas term.

One to one supervision

Each student is allocated a dissertation supervisor during the Michaelmas term. Generally students may expect up to ten meetings with their supervisor in the Lent and Easter terms, each involving up to one hour of one-to-one supervision. They may also expect briefer meetings when needed.

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

Seminars & classes

Each student can expect to receive 24 hours of teaching in the form of lectures, seminars or practical classes in the first term. 

Students are also expected to participate in internal and external research seminars, and a research forum.

Lectures

Each student can expect to receive 24 hours of teaching in the form of lectures, seminars or practical classes in the first term. 

The skills and research training programme comprises up to eight one-hour lectures in the first term and optional lectures in the first and second terms.

Practicals

Each student can expect to receive 24 hours of teaching in the form of lectures, seminars or practical classes in the first term.

Literature Reviews

As part of the dissertation.

Posters and Presentations

Dissertation presentation in the second term.

Feedback

Written feedback is provided on each piece of submitted work and the dissertation. Online written progress reports are provided each term.

Assessment

Thesis / Dissertation

A 20,000-word dissertation which, at the discretion of the examiners, can include an oral examination on the dissertation and the coursework and on the general field of knowledge. The dissertation is worth 55% of the total mark.

Essays

Two assignments, each of about 4,000 words in length, each chosen from a list of topics with the approval of the Degree Committee. Each assignment is worth 20% of the total mark.

Other

Students present their dissertation aims, methods, preliminary results, and plans for future work at a student forum. The presentation is worth 5% of the total mark. 

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Key Information


9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Scott Polar Research Institute

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2024

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
March 26, 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.


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