skip to content

MPhil in Biological Sciences by Advanced Study


Our aim is to provide a multi-faceted course with an emphasis on the theory and experimental practice of modern infection biology and molecular immunology research. Combined with the research project, this course will provide a sound foundation for a wide range of careers, including advanced research in industry or entry into a doctoral training programme.

Introduction and Orientation (weeks 1-2)

To familiarise students with the course structure and teaching/research venues, allow participation in induction and safety courses, and to give students the opportunity to explore projects on offer and visit laboratories of participating supervisors.

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 pathogens, immunology, and/or host:pathogen interactions. You will have a further six weeks for writing up your report.
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 Infection Biology and Molecular Immunology (Lent and Easter Terms)

Cohort focused, interactive, seminar-based teaching covering a wide range of topics relevant to infection biology and molecular immunology research, with an emphasis on modern experimental techniques (theory and practice). These 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:


  • Experimental approaches to study and modify host and pathogen genomes
  • Computational, structural and biophysical characterisation of cellular and viral molecular interactions
  • Advanced in vitro models for infection & immunity research
  • Flow cytometry and advanced microscopy
  • Mass Spectrometry, transcriptomics and ribosome profiling
  • Pathogen remodelling of the infected cell environment
  • Therapeutics to fight immunological dysfunction and infectious disease
  • Studying infectious diseases in the field

Advanced research training throughout the year, including*:

  • Flow cytometry – cell analysis and sorting
  • Practical fluorescence microscopy – sample preparation and analysis
  • Statistical analysis for experimentalists
  • Data management
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Research ethics

Review Essay and Research Proposal

As part of the skills training, students identify a topic they are interested in and write a literature review in the style of a review paper that highlights recent advances and open questions in the field. 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