Graduate training is very different from undergraduate courses. It is based on individual needs and abilities, and is designed to help you to think clearly, originally and practically, and to prepare you for leadership in science. We teach our graduate students how to plan and carry out cutting-edge research. Cambridge is an amazing place to learn how to do research. Visiting speakers and collaborators come from all over the world, and there are simply too many seminars for one person to attend! We have a careful system of monitoring the individual progress of each student; everyone has both a principal supervisor and associated adviser, and there are weekly student-led seminars.
Here you will find more information related to life within the Department, managing your degree and opportunities & resources available to you within the Department and the University as a student.
Under the University Statutes and Ordinances all PhD students are provisionally registered (NOTAF) until they have undertaken a formal assessment at the end of their first year. In the Department of Clinical Neurosciences the assessment takes place after nine months of full-time study, or the part-time equivalent.
The assessment is designed to ensure that students are progressing satisfactorily and to address any problems with progress or the research project at a relatively early stage. It is not just a formality, and students must successfully complete the process in order to be registered for the PhD. Factors considered as part of the assessment include: the student’s ability and progress; suitability of the student’s project for a PhD; feasibility of achieving the projected aims within the three year period; and the academic suitability of the project in relationship to the requirements for the PhD Degree.
The First Year Report is due by the 29th June 2018 for all full-time students admitted in the preceding Michaelmas term (for Lent Starters the submission date is 30th September and for Easter starters 4th January). Any concerns about the time-frame should be discussed with your supervisor (and, if necessary, with the Director of Graduate Education) as early as possible.
Before submission of the first year report, the supervisor should decide whom to appoint as assessors and make arrangements. One assessor could be the student’s Graduate Advisor, but if this is not appropriate (perhaps because the advisor has been involved in the student’s PhD research), the assessors should be internal (within the department – perhaps, where appropriate, within the research group, but not the supervisor). The other assessor must be external (not within the research group but either within the department or a relevant expert in a related Cambridge department).
Prior to submission of the First Year Report, supervisors would normally be expected to comment once on a draft. The final version of the First Year Report should be signed by the supervisor on the front page. Students should submit two softbound copies of their report to the Graduate Administrator along with this form: Intention to submit including the name and contact details of the assessors. The graduate office will send your report to the assessors along with the assessment form which the assessors should return to the graduate office. Please also submit a PDF copy to the Graduate Administrator for our records.
Students should prepare a written report of between 6,000 and 8,000 words (excluding footnotes, references, etc.). The report should be in standard scientific format, and include the following:
Introduction: describe the background and rationale of the project. In this students should refer to important papers (but are not expected to write a comprehensive review). Students should take care to assess the previous literature as well as describe it, and to cite references correctly.
Methods: describe methods used – what you have done (so far) and how you have done it.
Results: this section should include details of any results you have obtained during the first year’s work. Students should not be concerned if they have few results – it is not uncommon for PhD projects to produce few results in the first year.
Discussion: students should include in this section a discussion (in a balanced and critical way) of what their work shows so far.
Future Plans: this important section should describe the student’s plans for further work leading to completion of the project.
Timeline: students should include a timeline indicating how they plan to structure the remainder of their degree in terms of research and the ultimate production of their thesis.
Style and Format
- Typescript on A4 paper, with 1.5 spaced type • Double sided, with pages numbered • Easily readable font – minimum size of 11pt (12pt preferred) and 10pt for footnotes. • Title page must include the candidate’s full name, the degree for which they are registered, name of supervisor, supervisor’s signature indicating that they have approved the report, full title of the dissertation, word count and the candidate’s signature and date.
Students should remember that this constitutes a formal assessment as part of their PhD. Students should take care to familiarise themselves with the University’s policy on plagiarism.
Further information is available here: https://www.cambridgestudents.cam.ac.uk/your-course/examinations/graduate-exam-information/writing-submitting-and-examination/phd-msc-mlitt
Remember to download your Log Book and keep it updated with regular meetings with your supervisor and any training you go to. Graduate Logbook
First Year Assessment Process
The viva should take place within one month of submission of the First Year Report. Once the examination arrangements are agreed, please inform the Graduate Administrator of the agreed date for the viva. Please ensure that you take your Progress Log with you to the viva. On completion of your viva, your assessors should complete the assessment form and return this to the Graduate Administrator, who will send you and your supervisor a copy of the assessment. The Director of Graduate Education will also get a copy. In most cases the assessors will approve your registration for PhD.
Final Thesis submission:
This form must be sent in to the Degree Committee roughly 2 months before submission – Intention to Submit form.
Core Skills Training Programme (CSTP)
You no longer need to collect credits. If you access The Core Skills Training Programme (CSTP), this will be sufficient training. CSTP is provided by the GSLS, is a group of activities that you are strongly recommended to complete in your first year. It has been designed to get you started in planning your Researcher Development (RD) and provides you with training in the areas of personal effectiveness and communication. To learn more about CSTP you should review the course requirements and activity descriptions on the CSTP Moodle site onto which all new students will have been enrolled automatically.
Graduate School of Life Sciences Core Skills Training Programme (CSTP) has been designed as a starting point for your researcher development and aims to:
- Help you identify existing skills and skill gaps
- Gain training in key areas of personal effectiveness and communication
- Provide a foundation for further skills development in subsequent years
- Gain recognition of training upon completion of the CSTP
There are four compulsory components that make up the CSTP:
- Skills Analysis Survey
- Time Management
- Presentation and Performance
- Scientific Writing
For further information follow this link: https://www.vle.cam.ac.uk/login/index.php#section-6