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Course content

Sponsored by the NIHR Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration, this new course is part of the MPhil in Clinical Science degree programme. The objective of the course is to equip students with a strong foundation in the fundamental techniques of clinical and translational research in rare diseases, applying contemporary research tools to clinically relevant areas of investigation.

The bespoke rare disease research training will be taught by Cambridge academics and industry, and will incorporate a research project focused on rare diseases. Each student is allocated an individual supervisor, who will provide support throughout the course and help build a customised training programme.

The MPhil includes formal modular teaching in core experimental medicine modules (Statistics, Epidemiology, and Practical Aspects of Clinical Research) as well as specialist modules in Genetics and Rare Diseases. In addition, all students will have the opportunity to undertake a relevant 12 week research project with one of our outstanding supervisors, including clinicians across a range of specialities, geneticists, basic biomedical scientists and bio-medical industry partners. It also aims to provide students with broad research, study and communication skills.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/cvmdmprad

Course detail

Upon successful completion of the MPhil graduates will have developed a strong foundation in the fundamental knowledge and techniques required to enable them to undertake clinical and translational research in rare diseases. They will be able to apply contemporary research tools to clinically relevant areas of investigation.

The MPhil programme will produce clinical researchers who are competitive in seeking research support and who are knowledgeable about the complex issues associated with conducting sound clinical research and trials.


The course consists of core modules in Practical Aspects of Clinical Research, Statistics, Epidemiology; as well as bespoke modules in Genetics and Rare Diseases, timetabled over two terms. Students will be allocated mentor groups to work on a group research project; and all students will be allocated/or negotiate an individual 12 week research project for which they will submit a thesis. The course is examined by two sat exams and thesis assessment.


Students are expected to submit a thesis covering the research project undertaken in the second and third terms. There is a maximum length of 15000 words.

Students will sit two exams of 2 hours each. The exams will be multiple choice and structured answers.

Students are required to present their work to their supervisors lab and a supervisor report is submitted to the programme directors - this is not assessed but is used as an indication of the progress of the student.

The full-time components of the course are completed by the end of July. However, to complete the course, students will be required to attend a viva in person on a date to be set in August or early September.


Students who are progressing well, have the support of a Principal Supervisor, and have the necessary funding, may apply during the year to continue to a PhD on successful completion of their MPhil. Such students will need to gain a pass mark of 70% or more in the MPhil examination.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There is an opportunity for UK students to apply for one of two NIHR BRC- Rare Diseases scholarship of £6500 each to supplement University/college fees.

Information on the application procedure is available from Clinical Academic Training Office -

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Clinical Science (Rare Diseases & Genetics) page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!






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Recipient: University of Cambridge

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