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MPhil in Biological Sciences by Advanced Study


Overview of the course

The MPhil in Cell Sciences will provide a multi-faceted course that gives students a comprehensive preparation for their research project, and a sound foundation for a wide range of careers, including advanced research in industry or to apply to doctoral programme.


Introduction and Orientation (weeks 1-2)

  • to familiarise you with the various buildings
  • to introduce participating supervisors offering projects through short presentations
  • to participate in induction and safety courses


Lab Research Project (32 weeks; October to June)

Each student will choose a laboratory for their research project from among the many participating groups. The research project will last for 32 weeks and will expose you to different techniques and experimental systems to study the biology of cells. You will have a further six weeks for writing up your MPhil Thesis.

Please note: each lab will only be able to support one student at any one time. Following introduction to labs, we will ask for a ranked choice of three, allocating the first choice whenever possible.

Core Topics in Cell Sciences (throughout the year)

Combined with the research project, cohort focused, interactive, seminar-based teaching covering a wide range of topics relevant to cell sciences, with an emphasis on modern experimental techniques (theory and practice). The seminars will be complemented by student-led literature review sessions ("journal clubs"), designed to foster critical analysis and presentation skills via discussion of recent discoveries and methodological advances.


Currently scheduled topics* include:

  • Exploring the organisation and dynamics of the cell
  • Cellular communication and co-ordination
  • The Physical cell
  • Cell division and growth control
  • Cell fate specification and differentiation
  • Cells in distress
  • Regenerative medicine


Experimental Approaches in Cell Sciences (throughout the year)

Detailed exploration into some cutting-edge experimental approaches that are instrumental to advancing the field, interactive, encouraging discussion. Currently scheduled topics* include:

  • Gene editing
  • Advanced imaging
  • Live cell imaging
  • Advanced cellular proteomics
  • Single cell genomic technologies
  • Measuring cell signalling, fate and function
  • Cell models from single cells to whole organisms


Skills Courses* (throughout the year)

  • Statistical analysis for experimentalists
  • Effective data visualisation
  • Data analysis and scientific computing
  • Impact, communication and presentation skills
  • Research ethics


Review Essay and Research Proposal (October - April)

As part of the skills training, students identify a topic they are interested in and write a literature review and, building on this, a research proposal to take the field further. This is guided in discussion with a scientist working in this or a related field and will be assessed for the MPhil.


* Note these are illustrative examples based on anticipated provision and details might change.

Key contact

MPhil Coordinator


Dates and deadlines

Application deadline: 24 April 2024

Funding application deadline: 4 January 2024