Research course

Medical Science (MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit)

University of Cambridge · MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK 2:1 Honours Degree.

Months of entry


Course content

The primary aim is for our postgraduate students to develop the skills required to submit an excellent PhD thesis in either three or four years (five to seven years if part-time), depending upon the duration of their funding.

To that end, our students design and conduct robust and high quality experiments and then analyse the results of these experiments. Alternatively, students may apply sophisticated analyses to existing ‘big data’ sets from large cohort studies. In both cases, an important aim is for our students to learn to communicate their findings both in writing and orally to academic or lay audiences. We also aim for our students to be fluent and practiced in open science principles and methodologies.

While there is no "standard" route or model, our experience is that an excellent PhD results from asking a good question and the expertise of our supervisors in combination with the dedicated enthusiasm of our doctoral students.

An important outcome is that our postgraduates will develop the research and technical skills required to be able to design and conduct robust, high quality experiments, implement appropriate analyses of results, and learn to communicate findings both in writing and orally. Another important outcome is for our students to be fluent and practiced in contemporary open science principles and methods. We furthermore endeavour to train our students in a broad range of transferable skills that will help ensure rewarding and successful careers in the profession of their eventual choosing - whether this is in academia, industry, policy, or clinical practice.

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

Course contact details