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Graduate Admissions

Teaching

This is a research-based programme and there is no formal teaching requirement. All students on this programme will be members of the University’s Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) who offer a wide variety of core skills and professional development training. Visit the Researcher Development page on the GSLS website for more information.

One to one supervision

Students are expected to have regular (usually weekly) informal meetings with their supervisor.   Each research group also typically has a weekly group meeting in which the student is expected to take part in presentations of research data and in journal clubs.

In addition to the supervisor, all students are assigned an 'advisor'.  This is a separate research group head, who is not directly involved in the student's research project, and can provide independent monitoring of progress, provide general advice, and serve as the first port of call if any problems arise.

All students also have a graduate thesis panel (GTP) consisting of three principal investigators, one of which is the advisor, but excluding the supervisor.  The role of the GTP is to provide additional support and enhanced mentoring for the student (through formal feedback), assess the tractability of the project and review the adequacy of supervision.

All students are required to complete three quarterly reports and one annual report that present the key elements of the project plan, progress, and training aims and achievements.  These reports include student self-assessment of progress as well as supervisor comments, and allow student feedback on their training resources and support.  These reports are circulated to the student’s GTP.

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

Feedback

There are no assessed compulsory courses in the Biochemistry PhD programme, however, students will receive feedback throughout the course.  There should be regular oral feedback and advice from the supervisor about student performance and research direction.  Students can also expect to receive termly formal feedback reports via the online feedback and reporting system.  Students should expect oral feedback from the supervisor and other group members on their group presentations.

The student will also receive constructive oral and written feedback from their GTP after their presentations.  There will be formal feedback from the first-year assessment on the dissertation and oral examination that determines whether the student will progress into the second year.

Students also receive oral and written feedback on their second-year poster presentation, and generic feedback is given on third-year oral presentations. 

First-year assessment 

During the first year, students will not be fully registered for the PhD.  In order to transfer their registration, they must perform satisfactorily in the first-year assessment (a formal examination).  This takes the form of a dissertation of up to 5000 words, which should be written and presented in formal scientific style.  The dissertation should be handed in during the second half of June (or September for January starters, and December for Easter starters).

Graduate thesis panel (GTP)

The student is required to present two talks on their project to their GTP (a panel of three academics) in the first year, followed by one each in subsequent years.  These presentations generally will be held towards the end of Michaelmas and Lent terms.  The panel receives comments on student progress also from the quarterly/annual student reports.  After the presentation and a Q&A session with the student, the GTP gives constructive feedback about the student's progress and the nature and direction of the project.

The two members of the GTP (excluding the advisor who is appointed by the Postgraduate Committee), will be student-driven, and staff will be invited by the student to join the GTP after they have consulted with their supervisor for advice about the most appropriate members.  The main aim of the GTP is to provide independent, enhanced mentorship and advice for postgraduate students to help them make progress in their project.   It is also a mechanism for providing a further independent assessment of student progress, to supplement the views of the supervisor.

Weekly group meetings

Most research groups run their own weekly laboratory meetings and journal clubs where the student will be expected to talk about their experimental work and to review published papers.  Some groups might also expect students to write reports on a regular basis (eg monthly) for their supervisor as one component of the monitoring and mentorship programme.

Assessment

Thesis

The thesis is a standalone piece of writing of fewer than 60,000 words describing the student's research.  It is written as a formal scientific document and is typically organised with the following sections:  introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion.  It is expected to make a significant contribution to existing knowledge in the field of study.  All students have to defend their theses by attending a viva voce examination conducted by two examiners, who will examine both the content of the thesis and the general field of knowledge within which it falls.

The thesis is not to exceed 60,000 words (80,000 by special permission) excluding bibliography, figures, appendices etc. Double-spaced or one-and-a-half spaced. Single or double-sided printing.

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Key Information


3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Biochemistry

Enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2019
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2020

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

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2020
Course Starts
April 11, 2020

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

Michaelmas 2020

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
June 30, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

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

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2020
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2021

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

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2021
Course Starts
April 17, 2021

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2020
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 9, 2019