At the start of your MPhil you will receive a letter which will outline when and how you should submit your MPhil Thesis at the end of your course.


The date by which your dissertation has to be submitted for the degree is determined by the University term in which you were admitted:

Admitted in Michaelmas term:           submit by the following 31 August

Admitted in Lent term:                        submit by end of the following Michaelmas term

Admitted for Easter term:                   submit by end of following Lent term

Permission to defer submission for the MPhil is granted only in cases of illness or other grave cause; an application (for ‘an allowance under Regulation 12’) must be made by your College Tutor in adequate time directly to the Degree Committee with a supporting letter from a medical practitioner or other relevant professional person. Only in very exceptional circumstance will deferments in excess of two months beyond the due submission date be considered.


The dissertation should be spiral bound and two copies must be submitted directly to the Higher Degrees Office at the Clinical School by not later than midday on the last weekday before the above dates. The word limit is 20,000 words exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography and appendices.

Before you are due to submit your MPhil dissertation for examination you will need to apply for the appointment of examiners. You must submit a title for your dissertation, together with one copy of a brief summary and a completed Intention to Submit a Research Dissertation form (see attached) not later than the beginning of your third term of residence.  This application is made directly to the Higher Degrees Office at the Clinical School.

The project

This short timescale makes the MPhil course demanding. The Degree Committee wishes to emphasise to Supervisors, by copy of this letter, the importance of devising a research project that has an expectation of yielding reportable results within this tight schedule. If any problems arise to prevent the project “hitting the ground running” (such as a delayed Home Office licence application), please contact me immediately.

The examination process

These MPhils are examined by the scrutiny of the dissertation by two examiners, neither of whom is the Supervisor and one of whom, at least, is from outside the University and its approved non-University Institutions, plus an oral examination. Your exam/viva will usually take place a month or so after the submission date.

Your viva will take place soon after your submission date, usually within 1 month.  The Postgraduate Education Committee have created a document which contains some useful tips to help you prepare for the viva – VIVA TIPS.

How to prepare for your viva tips have also been published by the Researcher Development Office – Preparing for your Viva | Researcher Development (

Relationship to the PhD

These degrees accommodate the needs of students who, for various reasons, have only one year available to them or, alternatively, have only managed to obtain funding for one year. They are not intended to be a probationary year for a three-year PhD study.

However, during the course of the year, circumstances can change and if, for instance, you find additional funding for an additional two or three years, and you wish to stay for a PhD degree, you can explore two possibilities:

If you have time and funding for a further THREE years, you may submit a dissertation for the MPhil Degree and apply to continue for the PhD Degree for a further three years; you would be formally examined for the MPhil and, if successful, take the degree and continue as a probationary PhD student; or

If you have time and funding for only TWO more years, you can apply through your CamSIS self-service for permission to change your Registration from the MPhil to probationary PhD. If granted permission to change, you will have to undergo a formal assessment of a ‘first year report’ (less full than a MPhil dissertation) and an oral towards the end of your first year before being registered for the PhD. If you choose to do this, you should apply as early as possible and certainly before the stage where Examiners would normally be appointed for your MPhil submission.

Please note that continuation from the MPhil to the PhD or changing registration is not automatic; all cases are judged on their own merits based on a number of factors including: evidence of the your progress and research potential; a sound research proposal; the availability of a suitable supervisor and of resources required for the research; acceptance by the Head of your Department and the Degree Committee.

From 2019, the Department will be organising an MPhil workshop every March/April.  Further details will be emailed to you in due time.

More advice

A copy of the Board of Graduate Studies’ Code of Practice for Research Degrees is available on the Board’s website at:  The Code of Practice sets out the University’s expectations of research students and supervisors; you are expected to make yourself familiar with it.

Please also go to the Student Registry’s website: where you will find more advice, information, access to application forms and other forms of help.  Further information is also available on the Graduate School of Life Sciences website:

For further details about the format of the MPhil thesis, please visit:

Approximately 2 months before submitting your thesis, you should complete an ‘Intention to Submit’ form and send it to the Degree Committee at

The Degree Committee will then request the nomination of suitable examiners from the department.


Please email the education team if you’d like to see some example of MPhil theses from previous students