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Postgraduate Study


The programme is modular in structure and lasts ten months. It is envisaged that students attend all modules, which consist of no more than 16 hours of lectures per module with additional discussion groups and personal study time. The students will be assessed on all core modules, either by coursework or by an unseen written examination. Students may select on which other modules they are assessed by unseen written examination. The modules are normally taught in the first two terms. The modules are drawn from science and technology, with business management and innovation strands, and so cover the many complexities involved in the processes of discovery and exploitation.

One to one supervision

Supervision will be offered for research projects. The number of supervision hours can vary depending on research topic and the student's previous experience, but it is of the order of ten hours with the project supervisor, and 20–30 hours with the demonstrator.

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

Seminars & classes

The programme offers a series of applied lectures, with external speakers from a range of professions linked to nanoscience. Students are also encouraged to participate in personal development activities offered by the Department and the University.


No fewer than 150 hours per year.


No fewer than 15 practical hours.

Small group teaching

Examples classes are organised for taught modules, for about eight to ten hours each term.

Literature Reviews

A completed literature review (up to 5,000 words) is an assessed piece of coursework and acts as preparation for the research project.

Posters and Presentations

At least two group presentations are scheduled for the Lent term, while an individual presentation on the research project is scheduled for the Easter term. A poster is submitted in the Lent term.


Written or oral feedback is provided for assessed coursework. In addition, students must sit a mock exam at the beginning of the Lent term; detailed individual feedback is provided by the course director, who is also available for consultation throughout the academic year. Online written progress reports are provided each term.


Thesis / Dissertation

A dissertation of not more than 15,000 words in length (including tables, figure legends and appendices, but excluding bibliography) on a major project, involving (i) in-depth scientific research (following a literature survey in the same scientific field), or (ii) an in-depth case study concerned with a topic in science, business, ethics, law or policy (related to the topic covered during the literature survey). The assessment will include a viva voce examination.


A literature survey report of not more than 5,000 words on a scientific topic.

Coursework, which may include group work, class participation and written work (no more than eight essays, each of not more than 3,000 words, covering the fields of science and technology, ethics, law, and policy, and the interface of micro- and nanoscience and business).

Written examination

Two unseen written examination papers, which may cover all core and other scientific subjects prescribed in the syllabus.  The unseen written examinations are normally scheduled for the start of the third term.

Practical assessment

No less than two written practical reports to be submitted as part of practical assessment.

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Key Information

10 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy 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:

Michaelmas 2024

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 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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