Department of Engineering

Research Courses

Research Courses

MPhil in Engineering

Course Code: EGM5

This is a one-year research course designed to provide further study and training in research. As a student registered for the MPhil degree, you will study two or three taught modules chosen from over sixty offered in the Department. Modules consist of lectures and practical work, and each module involves about 40 hours of work. The rest of your time is spent doing research in one of the areas of current interest in the Department. At the end of the year, you will write a dissertation and have an oral examination. This general MPhil is very flexible, and can be tailored to suit your particular interests.

PhD Degree (Probationary) in Engineering

Course Code: EGEG22

To obtain a PhD degree you must complete three years full-time training or an equivalent period of part-time work (see below), and carry out an original piece of research which makes a significant contribution to learning in one of the many research areas in the Department. The Department wants its research students to obtain an effective training in research and to broaden their background knowledge, as well as to undertake a novel research project. In their first year, students take a minimum of two taught modules from a wide range of courses offered by the Department. Modules consist of lectures and practical work, and each module involves about 40 hours of work.

As a research student working in the Department of Engineering, you will have both a Supervisor and an Adviser. Your supervisor is responsible for guiding your research and training, and you will meet regularly to discuss your work. Contact with your adviser is less frequent, but they will also take an active interest in your progress. At the end of your first year, you will write a report on your research to date, and discuss your work with your adviser and an examiner. At the end of three years of research in Cambridge, you will submit a more substantial dissertation on your research and have an oral examination.

You will be expected to develop your communication skills in a variety of ways. All students are required to participate in a Research and Communication Club: activities vary, but will include opportunities to give oral or written presentation on your work. Most students also regularly present the results of their research at Departmental seminars, and quite possibly at national or international conferences.

You will be expected to engage in the many opportunities that are available to develop Transferable Skills. In your first year of the PhD, you are recommended to spend 10 days a year undertaking skills training and will be required to present a training log at the end of the year, detailing activities undertaken. For instance, you might choose to learn a foreign language. There may also be opportunities to teach small groups of engineering undergraduates. By doing this for a few hours each week, you not only earn extra money and widen your experience, but also gain valuable experience in explaining engineering concepts.

Part-time PhD

Research for the PhD degree can also be pursued through a part-time route, which can be suitable for students who are employed in the Cambridge region, work part-time, or are home-based. Current employees of the University of Cambridge can also apply. There are minimum attendance requirements which are agreed with each student on admission. These and other aspects are more fully explained in the Board of Graduate Studies guide. The normal period of study for a part-time PhD is five years, which equates to three years of full-time study.