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Cambridge Academy of Therapeutic Sciences


The MPhil in Translational Biomedical Research is a broad degree title covering research preparation in clinically related areas. The course is based around a translational research project but also includes a number of taught elements.

The MPhil is offered by the Faculty of Clinical Medicine, and is offered on both a full-time and a part-time basis. All students undertake the same taught courses, which includes material in the areas of both "experimental medicine" and "rare diseases". Students "sub-specialise" during the course by choosing a translational research project from a pool of options, in either "experimental medicine" or "rare diseases".

The course offers students a period of research training and introduces them to research skills and specialist knowledge. Its 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.


Learning Outcomes

The main objective is to provide an introduction and training in methodology for graduates considering a career in biomedical research. The course is specifically aimed at students who wish to apply basic science to medical practice. By the end of the programme, 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;
  • develop 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; and
  • developed the ability to be competitive in seeking support for clinical research.


Students may apply during the year to continue to a PhD on successful completion of their MPhil. Such students may need to gain a set pass mark in the MPhil examination and should refer to the relevant PhD department for further guidance. 



The taught element consists of core teaching in practical aspects of clinical research, statistics and epidemiology, as well as more specialist courses in basic and clinical pharmacology, clinical drug development, genetics, and rare diseases.

For the 12-week research component, existing projects will be sourced by the course which the students may choose from. Students also have the option to arrange their own individual research project, which will require approval by the course director, or staff will work in collaboration with the student to find a suitable placement.

One to one supervision

During Michaelmas term regular meetings will take place between the student and course director. The director will be the student’s supervisor during the first term.

During Lent term, supervision will be provided by the student's research project supervisor.

Seminars & classes

Students are expected to attend seminars arranged by the course throughout Lent and Easter term. Students are also encouraged to attend the many other seminars organised across the University in order to aid their learning.

Seminars arranged by the course are delivered by outstanding leading academics, visitors and industry colleagues on translational biomedical medicine and research practice.


The main teaching timetable occurs in Michaelmas term and is approximately 35 hours per week from early October. This will include a mix of lectures, practical exercises and small-group work, depending on the subject.


Students have a 12-week research block from Lent term, wherein there are practical exercises to complete to effect the research which is conducted and managed in the supervisor's lab – hours dependent on the research.

Small group teaching

Study groups will take place during Michaelmas term. These groups offer the opportunity for students to discuss and carry out work on the theoretical aspects of a clinical trial. At the end of term the students will present their findings.

Journal clubs

There will be a fortnightly one-hour journal club held by the course director during Michaelmas term.


Will take place as part of the journal club


During the annual research day students will be selected to give presentations and poster talks based on their research project.


Regular student meetings will be held with their project supervisor to discuss progress. A formal presentation will also take place during their research block for which a report will be provided to the administrative office.

During Michaelmas term, attendance at all lectures will be monitored, and students will meet with the course director on a regular basis.




A thesis not exceeding 20,000 words in length, including footnotes but excluding tables, appendices, and bibliography, on a subject approved by the degree committee for the Faculties of Clinical Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, will be required.

Written examination

The examination process will focus on consolidating knowledge from the taught element, which will prepare students for their practical research block. Students will complete two written assessments:

  1. Critical appraisal paper – students to review a selected published research paper and provide a 1,500-word report.
  2. Project outline paper – students to complete a written report of up to 4,000 words, excluding references, which outlines the research project to be undertaken. An oral examination will be held.

Practical assessment

Students are required to present their work to their supervisor's lab and a supervisor report is submitted to the programme directors – this is not assessed but is used as an indication of the progress of the student.


The full-time components of the course are completed by the end of July. However, to complete the course, students will be required to attend a viva in person in late August or early September.