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Course content

The Department of Psychiatry is an internationally leading centre for research and teaching in psychiatry, with particular focus on the determinants of mental health conditions, their treatments and the promotion of mental health through innovative translational research. The Department’s senior staff support several research groups, covering various aspects of mental health and disorder throughout the life course.

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

Course detail

The MPhil degree offered by the Department of Psychiatry is a 12 month full time programme and involves minimal formal teaching; students are integrated into the research culture of the Department and the Institute in which they are based.

Each student conducts their MPhil project under the direction of their Principal Supervisor, with additional teaching and guidance provided by an Advisor, to increase access to staff members and accommodate a diversity of viewpoints.

The subject of the research project is determined during the application process and is influenced by the research interests of the student’s supervisor, i.e. students should apply to study with a group leader whose area of research most appeals to them.

To broaden their knowledge of their chosen field, students are strongly encouraged to attend relevant seminars, lectures and training courses. We also require our students to attend their research group’s research-in-progress/laboratory meetings, at which they are expected to regularly present their ongoing work.


The MPhil course is a full time research course. The supervisor and details of the proposed research project are determined during the application process.

Most research training is provided within the structure of the student’s research group and is overseen by their Principal Supervisor. The student should expect to receive one to one supervision at least weekly in term time.

The structure of the MPhil course enables the students to significantly develop their analytical and research skills, and is intended as preparation for further research.

The MPhil programme provides:

- a period of sustained in-depth study of a specific topic;
- an environment that encourages the student’s originality and creativity in their research;
- skills to enable the student to critically examine the background literature relevant to their specific research area;
the opportunity to develop skills in making and testing hypotheses, in developing new theories, and in planning and conducting experiments;
- the opportunity to expand the student’s knowledge of their research area, including its theoretical foundations and the specific techniques used to study it;
- the opportunity to gain knowledge of the broader field of research in psychiatry;
- an environment in which to develop skills in written work, oral presentation and publishing the results of their research in high-profile scientific journals, through constructive feedback of written work and oral presentations.

At the end of the course, examination for the MPhil degree involves submission of a written dissertation, followed by an oral examination based on both the dissertation and a broader knowledge of the chosen area of research.


The MPhil in Medical Science (Psychiatry) degree is a one-year degree, i.e. it is not intended to be a probationary year for a three-year PhD degree.

However, it is possible to continue from the MPhil to the PhD in Psychiatry course via the following options:

1. Complete the MPhil then continue to the three year PhD course:

If the student would like to continue with their research and has secured funding for a further THREE years, after completion of their MPhil they may apply to be admitted to the PhD course as a continuing student. The student would be formally examined for the MPhil and if successful, they would then continue onto the three year PhD course as a probationary PhD student, i.e. the MPhil is not counted as the first year of the PhD degree; or

2. Transfer from the MPhil to the PhD course:

If the student has time and funding for only TWO more years, they can apply for permission to change their registration from the MPhil to probationary PhD; note, transfer must be approved before completion of the MPhil.

If granted permission to change registration, the student will undergo a formal probationary PhD assessment (submission of a written report and an oral examination) towards the end of their first year and if successful, will then be registered for the PhD, i.e. the first year would count as the first year of the PhD degree.

Please note that continuation from the MPhil to the PhD, or changing registration is not automatic; all cases are judged on their own merits based on a number of factors including: evidence of progress and research potential; a sound research proposal; the availability of a suitable supervisor and of resources required for the research; acceptance by the Head of Department and Degree Committee.

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

Funding Opportunities

Pinsent Darwin Fund (managed by the Graduate School of Life Sciences)

Sims Fund (administered by Fees & Graduate Funding, Student Registry)

Other funding opportunities (e.g. through research grants) might become available depending on funds

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

Visit the MPhil in Medical Science (Psychiatry) page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!





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