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Graduate Admissions

Course closed:

Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease is no longer accepting new applications.

Improved understanding of the causes and consequences of obesity, diabetes and related cardiovascular disorders is becoming increasingly important as the incidence rises worldwide.

The programme provides opportunities for multidisciplinary training in a range of approaches to studying these common disorders. The programme aims to train researchers who are able to fully exploit the power of modern molecular and cellular biology (including bioinformatics and systems biology) and of integrating these approaches with sophisticated whole-organism physiology and clinical, genetic and epidemiological science. 

The programme is administered from the Metabolic Research Laboratories in the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science. It brings together some of the exceptional expertise available in the University Schools of Clinical Medicine and Biological Sciences with that in Cambridge-based MRC Units, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Babraham Institute. Programme principal investigators are at the international forefront of their scientific disciplines, and provide breadth of expertise, from molecules and cells through animals to population science. This provides students with a unique opportunity to undertake cross-disciplinary research with a translational impact on human health.

During the first (MRes) year, students develop first-hand research experience through three mini-research projects in different laboratories, attend weekly "hot topics" seminars led by research leaders, receive training in specialised techniques and have opportunities to gain experience in generic and transferable skills.

At the end of the first year, work is submitted for an MRes degree and students select their PhD research project for years 2–4. If successful, students enter the PhD phase of the programme as probationary students; they will only be registered for the PhD after successfully completing an assessment exercise (report and viva) at the end of their first year as a PhD student. The PhD itself is examined by dissertation and viva.

Throughout the programme, students are encouraged to attend and present their work at appropriate conferences and symposia and to take advantage of the numerous and varied training opportunities offered by the Graduate School of Life Sciences, and careers advice from the University Careers Service. Students also organise a student symposium each year, providing hand-on experience in all aspects of organising a scientific meeting, including managing budgets, arranging catering, scheduling the day and marketing the event.

The programme is based at the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories in the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science. Visit the Wellcome Trust Four-Year PhD Programme in Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease page on the Metabolic Research Laboratories website for more details.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of their PhD course, students should:

  • Have a thorough knowledge of the literature and a comprehensive understanding of scientific methods and techniques applicable to their own research;

  • Be able to demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field;

  • Have developed the ability to critically evaluate current research and research techniques and methodologies;

  • Have self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems;

  • Be able to act autonomously in the planning and implementation of research; and

  • Have gained oral presentation and scientific writing skills.


The MRes is a 12-month, full-time programme which forms an integral part of this four-year PhD course.

Candidates who have been awarded an MRes and have been accepted into a research laboratory for doctoral work, move straight on to PhD study (years 2–4) on completion of the MRes. 

Key Information

1+3 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy
Master of Research in the first instance

Department of Clinical Biochemistry


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
Dec. 13, 2018
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 5, 2018
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018

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