Research course


University of Cambridge · Department of Biochemistry

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK 2:1 honours degree.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

Students are based in a research group and undertake a research project agreed with the principal investigator (supervisor). Each student also has additional mentorship support from an advisor and a graduate thesis panel. There is no formal, examined coursework but the student's progress is assessed at various stages. The most important of these is the first-year thesis, which is assessed in an oral examination by two examiners. Registration for a PhD is only possible following a satisfactory thesis and exam performance. In their second year, students present their research work in poster form. In the third year, students present their work in a talk to the whole Department.

The PhD degree in Biochemistry is designed to train students to be effective research scientists. In addition to developing deep knowledge of a subject area and broader knowledge of the relevant field, students will develop skills in:

  • identifying experimentally answerable scientific questions and assessing the value of these questions to both science and society
  • designing and executing experiments that test these scientific questions
  • analysing and interpreting experimental data
  • presenting the aims and outcomes of scientific research in both written and oral form
  • sourcing, assessing and critically evaluating scientific literature
  • time, data and resource management
  • collaborative and interpersonal professional behaviour

Many of these skills will be acquired within the student’s research group. Other skills will be developed outside their research group: at the beginning of their first year, students attend an in-house training course of lectures and practicals, and can subsequently continue their training in many areas, choosing from the wide range of courses available within the Graduate School of Life Sciences and the University. Students will also belong to a Peer Research Group, composed of other PhD students working within a common research theme, and within which scientific literature and student research projects are presented and discussed.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    60-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details