The course leading to the degree of MPhil is predominantly research-based. Students are based in a research group and undertake research on a topic agreed with the principal investigator (supervisor). MPhil students also have an advisor and a Graduate Thesis Panel (GTP). Students write a MPhil thesis, which is examined via an oral examination. A successful student gains a pass and there are no grades. There is no examined course work. However, as part of the course candidates must complete a short lecture-based course in Michaelmas Term called “Postgraduate Course in Biochemistry”. The educational aim of the MPhil is to give candidates a grounding in biochemical and biomedical research techniques and practical experience of a year long experimental research project. The course also aims to give experience working as part of a team in an academic environment and gaining skills in scientific presentations and writing.
There is no examined course work. However, as part of the course candidates must complete a short lecture-based course in Michaelmas Term called “Postgraduate Course in Biochemistry”. This course involves a series of lectures covering a variety of useful experimental techniques used in biochemistry and molecular biology. The aim is to familiarize students with a wide range of techniques extending well beyond those that they will immediately encounter in their own research project. Students must also attend a weekly seminar series throughout the year and present their work to the group at one point during this series. We encourage students to take part in a wide range of skills training opportunities available to both Masters and PhD research students.
Students are expected to have regular (usually weekly) meetings with their supervisor. Each research group also typically has a weekly group meeting in which the student is expected to take part in presentations of research progress and in journal clubs. In addition, all students are assigned an ‘advisor’. This is a separate research group head, who is not directly involved in the student’s research project, but who can provide independent monitoring of progress, provide general advice, and serve as a first port-of-call if any problems arise. All students also have a Graduate Thesis Panel (GTP) consisting of three principal investigators, but excluding the supervisor. The role of the GTP is to provide additional support and mentoring for the student (through formal feedback), assess the tractability of the project and review the adequacy of supervision.
The successful completion of the highly regarded MPhil in Biochemistry by research prepares the graduate for a wide range of future career opportunities ranging from PhD studies, to industrial research and ancillary work such as intellectual property and patents. The graduate will have a attained a high level of expertise in biochemical methodology and research strategy.
The examination for the MPhil in Biological Science consists 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 includes an oral examination on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls.
This course will lead to the degree of MPhil. We offer the PhD as a separate course.