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The Department's buildings are currently open for wet laboratory work only. We have carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and have introduced a number of new measures to ensure the safety of our staff, including reduced building occupancy, strict social distancing, 'family'-based working, and increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. All staff who can work remotely will do so for the foreseeable future. Please continue to contact us by email until further notice.

Department of Biochemistry


Masters programmes

MPhil in Biological Science

The Department offers a one-year full-time MPhil programme leading to the degree MPhil in Biological Science (Biochemistry). This is also available as a part-time option, taking two years. Students are based in a research group and undertake research on a topic agreed with the principal investigator. There is no examined course work but students can take part in a wide range of skills training opportunities available to both Masters and PhD research students. Students write a dissertation, which is examined via an oral examination. A successful student gains a pass and there are no grades.

Part III courses in Biochemistry and Systems Biology

These courses are currently available only to students who have been studying in Cambridge for their undergraduate degree. They are described on our Teaching pages under Fourth year courses. They lead to a Masters qualification and consist of a range of taught and project work. Lectures and some modules are open to other postgraduate students. Grades are based on written examinations and project dissertations.

MPhil in Computational Biology

The Department contributes to this programme, which is based in the Cambridge Computational Biology Institute at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences.

PhD programmes

Departmental three and four year PhD programmes

The Department offers both three and four year full-time programmes depending on funding.  The course is also available via five-year part-time study.  Students are based in a research group and undertake a research project agreed with the principal investigator.  Each student also has support from a thesis committee.  There is no examined course work but students take part in an individual programme of skills courses.  At the beginning of their first year students attend an in-house training course of lectures and practicals and after that they choose from the wide range of opportunities available. During the first year, students give a short oral presentation of their project to their peers.  Near the end of their first year students write a report, which is assessed in an oral examination. They are only registered for the PhD after satisfactory performance in this first year.  In their second year students present their work in poster form and in the third year, present their work in a talk to the whole Department.  In all years they can take part in events and competitions organised within the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences and the University.

Four year PhD programmes

The Department takes part in several programmes, which have a 1+3 structure. The first year leads to a Masters qualification (MRes or MPhil) and students apply to study in the programme as a whole, not to work with one principal investigator. If successful in the first year, which includes lab rotations and course work, students go on to three years of research in one particular research group, leading to the PhD qualification.

The main programmes to which we currently contribute are

Wellcome Trust PhD Programme in Stem Cell Biology

Wellcome Trust PhD Programme in Developmental Mechanisms

BBSRC Doctoral Training Programme in Life Sciences

Some of our principal investigators are also available as supervisors in other programmes. See Related Links.

Students not in these programmes can often participate in seminars and courses provided as part of the programmes.


Detailed information is provided centrally by the University and we do not have a separate prospectus for the Department.