Graduate training is very different from undergraduate courses. It is based on individual needs and abilities, and is designed to help you to think clearly, originally and practically, and to prepare you for leadership in science. We teach our graduate students how to plan and carry out cutting-edge research. Cambridge is an amazing place to learn how to do research. Visiting speakers and collaborators come from all over the world, and there are simply too many seminars for one person to attend! We have a careful system of monitoring the individual progress of each student; everyone has both a principal supervisor and associated advisor, and there are weekly student-led seminars.
Research training within the Department has several essential components, the first and foremost being the research project itself, to which you will make a significant contribution. This will give you experience and training in a variety of experimental and/or clinical research techniques, but will also teach you how to organise research, plan experiments, and read and digest the scientific literature relevant to your research work. Most research groups have weekly or fortnightly meetings in which all members discuss each others work.
However, other skills are also important. You will be required to attend seminars and round-tables, and you may have the opportunity to go to scientific meetings both in the UK and abroad. These bring you into direct contact with prominent and active scientists in your field from around the world.
You will also give scientific talks yourself and will also be expected to attend courses, either directly related to your research (for example, they might teach you a specific skill or expand your theoretical knowledge) or teach you general skills which are important for well-qualified scientist to know (for example, how to write a scientific paper, use databases, or interact with the media). There are a large number of these courses, and many of them are run by the the Graduate School of Life Sciences, but the Department has its own series of seminars and workshops and an annual Spring School, which is focused each year on a different topic.
We expect our graduate students to publish in high quality journals, and nearly all of them do so.
|One to one supervision||
You will be assigned a principal supervisor, whom you should expect to see on a regular basis. The department will also appoint a second supervisor whom you will meet less regularly. Typically the second supervisor provides expertise in a related field.
|Seminars & classes||
There is a weekly seminar programme that is given by all graduates students in the department. MPhil students get to present their work towards the end of their course. They receive formal feedback on their presentation from the course director.
All students attend regular laboratory meetings with their research group, have one-to-one meetings with their supervisor and co-supervisor, and give a seminar to the department which is scored by the audience. The Director of Training meets all students at least once a year. The Principal Supervisor will write an online progress report at the end of each term which can be accessed by the student.
The MPhil in Medical Science is examined by dissertation and viva. The dissertation must be no longer than 20,000 words and must satisfy the examiners that the candidate can design and carry out an original investigation, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspective of the subject.
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.