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Postgraduate Study


The MRes course is a mix of core and elective modules (some offered by other departments), group activities, presentations, project reports and an MRes dissertation. The taught and research training elements are aimed at providing research practice training at the first-year PhD level, and occur in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. Written examinations will take place at the start of the Easter term, after which work on the MRes dissertation starts.

Students will also be given extensive transferable skills and professional development training, including sessions with professionals, and will participate in a course in 'Nurturing and Managing Innovation in Science'.

Successful MRes students will then proceed to a three-year programme of supervised doctoral research, during which time they will continue to be supported by the CDT. They will maintain participation in CDT seminars, conferences and outreach activities, and participate in the CDT industry days and events.

The numbers given below reflect the MRes year only, unless otherwise specified.

One to one supervision

Students can expect at least four one-hour supervisions during the MRes dissertation project.

PhD students can expect to attend at least eight hour-long individual meetings with their supervisor every calendar year. This is in addition to daily contact with the research group in which they are placed.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice for Master's Students which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision during the MRes year. Expectations for the PhD are set out in a separate Code of Practice for Research Students.

Seminars & classes

The MRes core modules are taught in a seminar or workshop format. Two of the core modules are taught through 16-hour seminar programmes. The third core module comprises four training days (6 hours each) and five 3-hour workshops. (Total: 71 hours in the MRes year.)

The Nurturing and Managing Innovation in Science course is taught through twelve 75-minute seminars (total: 15 hours in the MRes year).


The elective modules are taught in a traditional lecture format; teaching for each module is taught through a 16-hour lecture programme. (Total: 32 hours per year.)

MRes students will also hear 4 hours of guest lectures during the Nurturing and Managing Innovation in Science course.


Students will attend a number of site visits and study tours throughout the year.

Small group teaching

40 hours per year (research and transferable skills workshops).

Students will be split into groups for the Nurturing Management and Innovation in Science course, with each group being assigned a mentor. The mentor will typically spend two to three hours talking to the group in person, by email, or by video conference.

Literature Reviews

Students will undertake literature reviews as part of their desktop study, mini-project, and MRes dissertation. They may also be required to undertake literature reviews as part of a coursework for core and elective modules.

Posters and Presentations

There will be a number of poster sessions associated with the MRes project work. There is also an annual FIBE CDT conference at which students may have the opportunity to make a poster presentation.

As part of the Nurturing Management and Innovation in Science course, students will be required to give a group project presentation and to answer questions on it.


With University permission, there may be opportunities from the third year of the course (second year of the PhD element) for students to undertake an industrial or academic placement.


Students can expect to receive termly online reports from the course director during the MRes year, and from their principal supervisor during the PhD. They will receive comments on items of coursework, and will have access to a University supervisor for their MRes dissertation. 

Students will have an opportunity to submit an online self-evaluation report during Michaelmas term.

All students will also have personal access to the relevant academic and support staff.


Thesis / Dissertation

A major part of the MRes assessment is a dissertation of up to 12,000 words. Students will be required to give a presentation on their research prior to submission.

The doctoral thesis should be submitted by the end of the fourth year (the third year of the PhD element) and must not exceed 65,000 words. A compulsory viva voce examination will follow thesis submission.


During the MRes year, all students will be required to complete a desktop study of up to 5,000 words, to engage in a group project (as part of the Nurturing and Managing Innovation in Science module) which will be assessed partly through written assignments, and to complete an individual mini-project of up to 3,000 words. Additionally, some of the taught modules will be assessed through coursework, and others through a combination of coursework and written examination. Some modules will require the submission of coursework for which no formal mark will be awarded.

Written examination

Some of the taught MRes modules will be assessed through written and/or oral examination, and others by a combination of coursework and written and/or oral examination.


The assessment of MRes elective modules may also include an oral or poster display component.

At the end of the second year of the programme (the first year of the PhD element), students will be required to submit a report of 10,000 to 15,000 words as part of the normal requirements for probationary PhD students.

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Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

Department of Engineering

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2023

Applications open
Sept. 15, 2022
Application deadline
May 16, 2023
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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