Course Director: Dr Mark Toshner
Deputy Course Director: Dr Ben Underwood
The University of Cambridge MPhil degree in Translational Biomedical Research provides world-class training to enable students to develop into outstanding researchers.
Students attend lectures for the first term in epidemiology, statistics, pharmacology, clinical drug development and learn about research taking place in the fields of Genetics and Rare Diseases. In the second term students conduct a 12 week research project with one of the outstanding researchers within the University. Whilst the course offers a selection of pre-designed projects to choose from, students are encouraged to seek out their own projects and build links with researchers in their fields of interest.
The course is available to study on either a full-time basis (over 10 months) or a part-time basis (over 22 months). All students receive the the same core teaching before completing their individual translational research project.
Anyone who holds expects to achieve a high II.1 Honours degree (or equivalent) before the start date of the course and wants to extend their research training in the field of translational medicine can apply.
Further information can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions section below.
For reference, you can also find the a sample list of lectures is here MPhil in TBR Lecture List – Aug 2020
The timetable and lectures may be subject to change and a final timetable is issued to students upon arrival at Cambridge at the start of the academic year.
Covid-19 Impact Update
We have considered the likely impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and government guidance, and confirm that there will be no significant changes to the programme based on current guidance. Teaching will take place in large classrooms with sufficient capacity for socially distanced seating and students will be allocated a seat for lectures which they will use throughout the teaching term. Students who are unable to attend in person due to shielding, self-isolating etc. will be able to access lectures through live online broadcast. Recordings of lectures will be made available to all students on the course.
Aims and Objectives
The degree’s main aims are:
- to provide students with the relevant experience to carry out focused research in the discipline under close supervision; and
- to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests.
By the end of the course, students will have:
- reached a sufficient level of theoretical knowledge to conduct and interpret translational research;
- developed a strong foundation in the fundamental skills and techniques of research into experimental medicine;
- developed a basic understanding of statistics;
- learned how to apply contemporary research tools to clinically relevant areas of investigation;
- acquired an understanding of the complex issues associated with conducting sound clinical research/trials;
- developed the ability to be competitive in seeking support for clinical research.
History of the MPhil
The MPhil course has grown and changed since its inception in 2009, responding to developments in translational research:
2009 – Jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and GSK, who recognised that there was a decline in the number of new chemical entities which were being successfully registered as drugs, MPhil in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (TMAT) was launched at the University of Cambridge.
2013 – The TMAT MPhil was renamed as MPhil in Clinical Science – TMAT
2014 – The new theme MPhil in Clinical Science – Rare Diseases theme was launched, supported by the NIHR Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration.
2015 – The TMAT MPhil was renamed to reflect changing priorities within medical research and two MPhils were created: MPhil in Clinical Science – Experimental Medicine and MPhil in Clinical Science – Rare Diseases.
2017 – Amalgamating the two clinical science streams the MPhil in Translational Biomedical Research was launched.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to identify a supervisor before I apply to the course?
You are welcome to contact supervisors, but it is not necessary at the point of applying. We do, however, ask you to consider with whom , where and /or in what areas you would like to conduct your research project, and indicate this in your application.
What projects are available?
You will be given a list of available projects at the course induction but we strongly encourage students to seek out their own project.
If you are offered a place on the course we expect you to research PIs with whom you would like to work. If you have a clear idea where you would like to conduct your project, you should make contact with labs before you arrive in Cambridge to establish whether it might be possible to work with them.
If by the start of the course you have yet to find a placement for your project, we can help with making connections and provide advice on how to narrow down your interests.
Is there a supervisor list?
There is no list of supervisors as we are in a unique position to be able to consider projects from nearly all departments across the School of Clinical Medicine and the School of Biological Science. We encourage prospective applicants to find out who is conducting translational research in their area of interest, and to investigate the kind of the projects they are carrying out. As above, there is no requirement to contact supervisors before applying, but having an idea of where you would like to work, or who with, even if it is only a name or a scientific concept will allow us to understand how the course can help you achieve your research goals..
If need further advice on finding Cambridge research taking place in your area of interest, please contact the course administrator in the first instance.
What funding is available?
There is a wide variety of funding which applicants to the MPhil pay apply for. This includes Gates Cambridge and the Cambridge Trust; in addition to Scholarships offered by the individual colleges. If you wish to apply to these funding streams, please ensure that you review the relevant websites to note the eligibility criteria. There are early deadlines for applications for funding. More information may be found on the Graduate Admissions website: https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding-opportunities
These schemes are highly competitive, so please ensure that you research all funding opportunities available to you well in advance of applying.
Where do students go after the course?
The course attracts applicants from many countries and backgrounds which usually determines where students go after the course. The majority of students from the USA return to complete an MD/PhD programme or to continue with their medical training. UK/EU students typically continue to study for a PhD or find employment in a research-related position, whether this is in the pharmaceutical industry or in an academic laboratory as a research assistant.
I would like to take the course part time; what is the time commitment?
Part-time students are expected to attend all lectures, seminars and events and to undertake a research project which will form the basis of a thesis. Students are able to choose when to complete each element of the course over the 22 month period in order to accommodate other commitments, working at approximately 50%FTE.
For example, you may decide to attend 50% of the lectures and complete the research project during the first year and attend the remaining lectures and write up the thesis during the second year.
Part-time students must have the support of their employers to undertake the MPhil. Employers are required to agree that students will be able to attend lectures and other course related activities.
How to Apply
Application for 2020 intake now closed. Applications for 2021 open 1st September 2020.
Course Start Date: 1 October 2020
Applications for the 2021 intake will open on the 1 September 2020 with the deadline for applying being the 30 April 2021.
Applications must be made via the Graduate Admissions application portal.
Postgraduate Programmes Administrator
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine
Box 111, Cambridge Biomedical Campus
Cambridge, CB2 0SP
Tel: 01223 761494