Research course

Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

University of Cambridge · Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK Good II.i Honours Degree.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

The Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (PDN) offers excellent opportunities and facilities for training in research, leading to the degree of PhD (Doctor of Philosophy).

It is our aim to develop in our students the skills required to submit a satisfactory PhD thesis at the end of three or four years, or part-time over five years. To achieve this, a student will have acquired the essential skills required to design and conduct experiments (including applying for ethics approval where necessary), to analyse results, and to communicate these both in writing and orally. These skills will include those that can be transferred successfully to their choice of academic or other careers.

The PhD at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience is achieved by supervised research and is under the jurisdiction of the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Biology. The Postgraduate School of Life Science also helps, by providing additional transferable skills training. Within the Department, the internal Departmental Postgraduate Educational Committee is responsible for all aspects of the running of the degree. A suitable project falling within the interests of the supervisor, and sustainable within the limits imposed by the facilities available in the Department, is agreed by both student and supervisor, and endorsed by the Postgraduate Committee at the point of admission. Each postgraduate student has a primary supervisor, who will supervise the main body of their research, and an adviser, who acts as a supplementary source of advice and support.

Students attend a variety of seminars given by distinguished scientists and are also able to present their research by giving seminars at our annual symposium, usually in their first year and at our weekly seminar series in their third year.

The majority of students start in October, but it is also possible to start in January or April. The Department has over 40 potential PhD supervisors. It has a flourishing postgraduate community with over 100 research students. Full information on potential supervisors and research projects can be found on the Postgraduate Education page on the department website. Candidates are required to contact potential supervisors before applying. General enquiries concerning postgraduate opportunities within the Department of PDN can also be directed to Initial enquiries should be made as early as possible.

Information for international students

Language Requirement

IELTS (Academic)

Element Score

Listening 7.0

Writing 7.0

Reading 6.5

Speaking 7.0

Total 7.0

TOEFL Internet Score

Element Score

Listening 25

Writing 25

Reading 25

Speaking 25

Total 100


Score: Grade A & B (overall score of 193, with no element lower than 185 plus a Language Centre assessment)


Score: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 with no element lower than 185).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details