This course combines taught elements and research methods training with a significant level of independent research. Students admitted to this course will be those who have a strong background in Land Economy related subjects and who may already have some research experience. They will normally be those aspiring to and who have good prospects of proceeding to the PhD prior to an academic career.
Candidates study two modules chosen from a list of options taught by the Department of Land Economy. They are also required to attend the Social Sciences Research Methods Centre (SSRMC) Training programme, which is compulsory, and to complete a 20,000 word dissertation, supervised by one of the academic staff within the department. The dissertation will review the literature and develop research hypotheses, and possibly involve some preliminary data collection and analysis. The SSRMC programme is described on their website. Candidates must take six SSRMC core modules and undertake a research methods essay as part of this programme. It is anticipated that the research training provided by the SSRMC plus the dissertation (20,000 words) and the choice of specialised modules from the other Land Economy MPhils will provide the necessary and sufficient background for commencing PhD research.
MPhil courses offered by the Department of Land Economy share common aims. These are:
i) to enable students of a high calibre to pursue their education at an advanced applied level drawing on the primary disciplines of economics, planning and environmental policy, with additional specialisms in finance and law;
ii) to provide students with opportunities both to build on and develop material which they may have studied at undergraduate level as well as to broaden their knowledge base;
iii) to equip students with the necessary skills to pursue careers at a high level in a range of areas, including business and finance, civil service, public service, property professions, environmental agencies and organisations, national/international agencies and further study;
iv) to provide opportunities for education in a multidisciplinary environment so as to advance the understanding of cognate disciplines and their applications;
v) to provide opportunities for learning with colleagues from different social, economic and legal systems;
vi) to provide students with appropriate skills and experience to enable them to use information and resources critically and to equip them with the means to undertake their own research;
vii) to provide an educational environment with a strong research ethos that brings together students from a wide variety of backgrounds and fosters an international approach to common problems.
On completion of the course, students will have acquired the following skills:
i) Intellectual skills: the ability to study steadily, assimilate issues and large amounts of literature swiftly, evaluate countervailing positions and to produce succinct arguments to tight deadlines and to engage with those with whom they disagree. Particular methodologies used include: data evaluation, case evaluation, legal analysis, textual analysis, the convergence o theory and empirical data and advanced critical evaluation.
ii) Practical skills: identification and use of bibliographic materials, via libraries and electronically; taking notes effectively, thorough IT skills.
iii) Transferable skills: the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; to work to deadlines and under pressure; to manage time; to set priorities; to formulate an argument; to work independently and with initiative; basic IT skills (email, data analysis and internet use); critical analysis; to present material in a seminar context; skills of analysis and interpretation; self-discipline, self-direction; and respect for other views. The ability to develop and present a major piece of written work.
iv) Research skills: the ability to locate, utilise and organise a wide range of materials independently, on paper and electronically. The ability to assess and evaluate such material, to develop and pursue a critique of existing material. The ability to develop, structure and sustain a line of argument. The establishment of relationships with researchers in related areas. The ethical use of research material.
v) Communication skills: the ability to marshal arguments and present them succinctly and lucidly. The ability to effectively criticise the views of others powerfully but fairly. The presentation of written material in a persuasive and coherent manner.
Students are required to take two taught MPhil modules from the range offered within the Department and to complete taught modules offered by the Social Sciences Research Methods Centre.
Students will receive up to four hours of supervision for each taught module and additional supervision relating specifically to their dissertation.
Each MPhil module typically consists of 16 hours of lectures, students undertaking the MPhil in Land Economy, Research take two modules equating to 32 hours across the year. Taught components offered by the SSRMC vary in length, more details on contact time can be found on the SSRMC webpages.
Graduate student Supervisors provide formal feedback on progress via the Cambridge Graduate Student Reporting System (termly reports) and more informally through face to face meetings or by email.
A dissertation of 20,000 words.
An essay of no more than 4000 words as assessment of research methods teaching. Students also take two optional modules which will be assessed by coursework. Assignments or practical assessments may be set for modules offered by the SSRMC.
Approval of an application to continue to the PhD degree will depend on three criteria:
- Availability of a supervisor - The approval by the Degree Committee of a research proposal - The achievement of a minimum overall mark and minimum dissertation mark in the MPhil examination as prescribed by the Degree Committee in any offer of admission.
There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please follow the link below.