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 will 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. Audiences for such talks are often quite large, and the discussion of your paper is often very lively. You 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||
Graduate students are expected to meet regularly with their supervisor, updating their student log to reflect those meeting. In addition students also have a "2nd supervisor" or advisor whom they meet roughly termly. An advisor may be someone who can advise on certain aspects of the thesis, but can also advise on the overall shape of a students project. In addition the department provides support and annual reviews with the course directors.
Annually the course advisor meets with all students to review progress, in addition the course director is available at any time to receive feedback from students. The Principal Supervisor will write an online progress report at the end of each term, and these can be accessed by the student.
All PhD students are required to submit a dissertation of no more than 60,000 words within a maximum of 4 years of study. This is examined at a viva by two examiners, one Internal and one External.
All PhD students are required to undergo formal assessment (by written report and viva) at the end of their first year. If successful, the student moves from being 'probationary' to being registered for the PhD and can proceed with their project.
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.