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Graduate Admissions

Course closed:

Developmental Biology is no longer accepting new applications.


Core Course in Developmental Mechanisms: interactive seminar-based course with up to eight modules, each comprising two three-hour workshops, during the first two terms.

Experimental Approaches in Developmental Mechanisms: up to eight two-hour sessions covering a range of relevant approaches, from transgenesis to genomics, during the first two terms.

Impacts & Communications sessions: up to six sessions (each one or two hours long) in the third term.

Students learn scientific writing skills through writing three rotation reports, a review essay and a PhD proposal (critical appraisal) which are all assessed for the MPhil degree.

One to one supervision

MPhil: regular meetings with rotation supervisor and lab members. Termly meetings with the programme co-ordinator.

PhD: regular meetings with supervisor and lab members.

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

Seminars & classes

Core Course in Developmental Mechanisms (up to 48 hours); Experimental Approaches in Developmental Mechanisms (up to 16 hours); Impacts & Communications (up to 12 hours). Up to 76 hours in total over the year.


Review essay (assessed for MPhil degree)


MPhil: all written assessed work for the MPhil is marked by two assessors and formative comments given at the end of each term.

PhD: feedback is provided by the supervisor in the form of termly online reports.



The PhD will require a submission of a dissertation of 60,000 words and oral examination on the dissertation and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.


The scheme of examination for MPhil in Developmental Biology shall consist of:

  1. one essay, not exceeding 4,000 words in length;
  2. a critical appraisal, not exceeding 8,000 words in length, including tables, figure legends, and appendices, but excluding bibliography, of a research project;
  3. a report on each research placement, not exceeding 7,000 words in length, including figure legends, but excluding words in tables and bibliography.

The examination shall include an oral examination of the critical appraisal (PhD proposal).

Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Philosophy in the first instance

This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Jan. 3, 2019
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018

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