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MPhil in Biological Sciences by Advanced Study


Reproduction has broad relevance because of the way it impacts individuals, families, and populations, and because it raises discussions that span in scope from intimate experiences through to global health policies. Why do so many couples struggle with achieving a healthy pregnancy and why do babies and women still die globally during pregnancy and childbirth? How can we prevent these tragedies from happening? How can we use new discoveries about epigenetics and the developmental origins of diseases to ensure the best health outcomes for future generations? How will novel technologies and changes in the legal frameworks make parenthood more accessible to those who have traditionally been excluded? Is it possible to use germline genome editing – which has the potential to prevent babies from inheriting life-limiting diseases – in a safe and ethical manner? What can we learn about the future of reproduction by studying its history? 

Finding answers to major questions like these requires informed input from diverse disciplines. The MPhil in Reproduction and Embryogenesis aims to provide comprehensive training in gametogenesis, reproduction, embryogenesis and feto-placental physiology through interdisciplinary taught modules and conducting innovative research projects with the leaders in the field. The course takes a multidisciplinary approach to reproduction through various complementary perspectives and disciplines, including historical, legal, and sociological aspects along with molecular and clinical sciences. 

The course will draw upon the breadth and international strengths in reproduction and embryogenesis within the University of Cambridge and associated research institutes; notably the Departments of Biochemistry, Genetics, Pathology, Pharmacology, Physiology Development and Neuroscience, Sociology, History and Philosophy of Science, Zoology, the Gurdon Institute, the MRC Toxicology Unit and the Wellcome-MRC Stem Cell Institute.

Topics covered in Reproduction & Embryogenesis

  • Gametes and Embryogenesis
  • Fertility, fetal development, environmental factors and pregnancy outcome
  • Extraembryonic tissues and maternal interfaces
  • Ethics and social aspects of reproduction
  • Stem cell-derived embryo models


Please note that the list of topics is an illustrative example and can change from year to year depending on the availability of academic staff.

Find out more and apply

Reproduction & Embryogenesis 2023/24 cohort

Key contact

MPhil Coordinator


Dates and deadlines

Application deadline: 24 April 2024

Funding application deadline: 4 January 2024