This is a one-year research programme which is assessed by a written dissertation and by an oral examination. It is suited to those who wish to pursue research at a level beyond that of an undergraduate degree and will give a good basic training in laboratory work. It is not suitable for candidates who wish to undertake a masters degree with major and examined course components in order to enhance their undergraduate training.
The course introduces students to research skills and specialist knowledge. Its main aims are:
• to give students with relevant experience at first-degree level the opportunity to carry out focussed research in the discipline under close supervision; and
• to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests.
In addition to the research training provided within the Department, as part of the Graduate School of Life Sciences students will have access to courses to widen their experience and to enable them to acquire generic skills.
• a comprehensive understanding of techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature, applicable to their own research; • demonstrated 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; • shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies; • demonstrated some self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research.
The MPhil is a 12 month full-time programme and involves minimal formal teaching: students are integrated into the research culture of the Department by joining a research group. Most research training is provided within the group structure and overseen by their research supervisor, but they are also expected to attend the Department’s programme of research seminars and other graduate courses and such other skills training offered by the Graduate School as is relevant to their education. Informal opportunities to develop research skills also exist through mentoring by fellow students and members of staff.
The scheme of examination for the MPhil in Biological Science shall consist of a thesis, of not more than 20,000 words in length, excluding figures, tables, footnotes, appendices and bibliography, on a subject approved by the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Biology. The examination shall include an oral examination on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.
Those who wish to progress to a PhD after completing an MPhil will be required to pass the masters degree at a sufficient level to satisfy the Departmental Graduate Education Committee that they have the skills and ability to achieve the higher degree.