Mathematical Genomics and Medicine

Study mode:Full-time Languages: English Duration:4 years
Local:$ 29.3k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 53.7k / Academic year(s)  
StudyQA ranking:853

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This four year programme (MRes+PhD) is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

The programme is designed to train independent, innovative scientists who can develop and use quantitative techniques to advance genomic medical research. The first year (MRes) comprises taught modules together with two research rotations. Successful completion of the MRes year allows the student to continue to the PhD course through development of a three-year research project that will allow each student to develop and execute a coherent body of research that combines quantitative methods with direct involvement in medical research. An important feature of this project is that all students will have two supervisors, one from a mathematics, engineering or other quantitative science background, and the second from a genetics or genomics biomedical background.

Learning Outcomes

To be an independent, innovative researcher with developed skills in quantitative techniques and theoretical approaches and the ability to apply those skills to practical problems in translational and basic biomedical research.


The MRes is a 12-month, full-time programme which forms an integral part of this four-year PhD course.

Candidates who have been awarded the MRes and have been accepted into a research laboratory for doctoral work, move straight on to PhD study (years 2-4) on completion of the MRes.  In order to be accepted to a research laboratory students must submit a 2000 word research proposal which must be approved by the Programme Director, the Department and Degree Committee where the student will be based for the PhD, and the Wellcome Trust.

In the first (MRes) year students take courses from across the science schools of the University to complement their existing capabilities.  To identify the needs and interests of individual students, each student will meet with the course directors in order to decide an appropriate set of modules to take. Students must undertake and be assessed in at least three modules in each of the first two terms (i.e. a total of six modules).

There are two laboratory based rotations that involve a well-defined research project, each lasting eight weeks.  Supervisors nominate projects by providing a one-page outline and background reading, before the end of the first term.  Students arrange to discuss projects of interest with the supervisors and are allowed to nominate four ranked choices of project.  Likewise, supervisors rank applicants and the Management Committee match students with supervisors.

One to one supervision

In the first term of the first year the programme director meets with the students to discuss modules and courses attended, progress and plans for rotations in the Terms 2 and 3.

During the rotations in Terms 2 and 3 the student transfers to their rotation supervisors who meets regularly with the student and provides progress reports.

In Years 2-4 the student transfers to their PhD supervisor and that relationship is managed within the department.  

The MGM programme directors are advised of supervisor reports on a regular termly basis.

Seminars & classes

The course provides a fortnightly Wednesday Seminar Series in each term, to which all students are required to contribute - approximately 12 hours per term.


Courses attended by students are based on individual learning plans/requirements.

Journal clubs

 Part of the "Wednesday" Seminar Series includes a student-run journal club.


Part of the "Wednesday" Seminar Series includes a student-run literature review.


MRes students do an in-lab presentation for each research rotation.

From the 2nd Year (year 1 of the PhD) all students present their research, orally or by poster, at the Annual Research Retreat in May/June.


The University of Cambridge Publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University's expectations regarding supervision.



The PhD element of the course is examined by thesis and oral examination only.

Once students have started their research projects they will be supervised throughout and progress reports submitted termly to the degree committee by their supervisor.   The way progress is assessed varies slightly from department to department but departmental administrators can guide in this.

Toward the end of the 2nd year of the PhD students will be asked to submit and discuss a plan for the 3rd and final 'writing up' year - outlining a timetable of remaining research activities and a skeleton outline of their thesis.

By the middle of the 3nd year of the PhD, the majority of the research work should be complete and the drafting of several chapters of the thesis should be well underway.


Assessment of the MRes year is based on the following:

  1. Students must undertake at least three courses in each of the first two terms. Each is assessed by submission of a written summary report of no more than 1000 words in total, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices. These are assessed termly by one of the MGM Directors who will also hold a 1:1 meeting with the student to confirm progress.
  2. Students must undertake two laboratory rotations in the year. Each is assessed by submission of a written report of no more than 6000 words in total, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices, and an oral presentation by the student. The students will be evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5 on each of the following criteria: originality, effort, progress, learning, technical and critical skills, background knowledge and the quality of the presentation. An evaluation template form will provide prompts for these points. An average of 3.5 is required to pass. Assessment is carried out by the rotation placement leader and one of the MGM Directors.
  3. Students must attend, and participate in, the Wednesday meetings held in DAMTP.
  4. Students are expected to attend the Research Retreat and the CCBI Symposium.

A logbook is used to record, inter alia, items relevant to 1 – 4.

To obtain an MRes, a student must satisfy the Examiners that s/he has met requirements 1 – 4.

The examination may include, at the discretion of the Examiners, an oral examination on the work submitted by the candidate and on the general field of knowledge within which such work falls.


Students who progress successfully from the MRes to the PhD a the end of year one will be registered as a probationary (NOTAF) PhD Student. Towards the end of the second year students will be evaluated by their host  departments.  Different departments carry out this assessment in different  ways but typically students write a "1st year report" of around 20-40 pages/4000-8000 words, which is read and an oral examination carried out by  their Departmental advisor and another member of the Phd Programme supervisor  pool who is not one of their direct supervisors.  The outcome of this  evaluation will be a recommendation to the appropriate Degree Committee that  the student be registered, or not, as a PhD student.

  • Magistr (Master's Degree) at Pass level. Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of good or 4/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 4/5 Bologna Bachelor's from other institutions with an overall grade of 5/5, Excellent
  • Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of Excellent or 5/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 5/5
  • IELTS (Academic) 7.0
  • TOEFL Internet Score 100
  • £50 application fee
  • First Academic Reference
  • Second Academic Reference
  • Transcript
  • CV/Resumé
  • Personal Reference

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Online button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal, where you can create and submit your application, and request references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application via the Applicant Portal and paid the £50 application fee
  2. you have uploaded the required supporting documents via the Applicant Self-Service
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

There are two stages in the application process. First, send a CV and a one page statement of scientific interest (details as below). If you are invited to proceed further then you will need to make a full application to the University of Cambridge.

Send a single pdf document named (your) LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME.pdf to by 04 December.

Document specification:

  • Not more than 2 pages in A4 format
  • Font: Arial
  • Point size: not less than 11pt
  • Margins: minimum 2cm all round

Document contents:

Page 1:

CV with the following elements in this order:

a) Full name; Contact email; Contact phone number; Nationality; Date of birth

b) Work and education in reverse chronological order; Any other information

c) Name, affiliation and email address of 2 referees.

Page 2:

d) One-page statement on a scientific area that excites you.

The second stage is to apply to the University of Cambridge through CamSiS.  Successful stage 1 applicants will be advised of this.

Selection Process

Applications are considered as part of a gathered field with decisions being made early in the calendar year, typically at the end of January/early February.

  • Global Education
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarships
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