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Centre for Trophoblast Research



The course is principally research based. The project and supervisor are determined during the application process.

All students on this programme will be members of the University’s Postgraduate School of Life Sciences (PSLS) who offer a wide variety of core skills and professional development training. Visit the Researcher Development page on the PSLS website for more information.

One to one supervision

Students are supervised by their PI and, in some cases also by a senior member of the host lab.

The regularity with which postgraduate students meet with their Supervisor varies throughout the year but meetings are likely to be more frequent to start with, during the planning stages, and during the writing-up phase. There may also be the opportunity to attend regular lab meetings with the supervisor and other research group members. All students should have the opportunity to seek formal feedback from their Supervisor, and Supervisors should have the opportunity to give such feedback.

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


Students will attend a variety of seminars given by distinguished scientists with the CTR and affiliated Department or Institute. The CTR seminar series is held monthly, where external speakers are invited to speak on current topics. Students will also have the opportunity to attend lectures organised by their host department. In addition, lectures are organised by the Cambridge Reproduction Strategic Initiative (SRI) to which the student will be encouraged to take part.

Journal clubs

Students participate in and help organise monthly CTR Journal clubs with all CTR PhD students and Next Generation Fellows. In addition, each research group arranges its own group meetings and journal clubs.

Posters and Presentations

There will be opportunities to present work and get feedback at CTR Away Days, CTR Annual Meeting, and in the SRI Early Careers Series. In addition the host department will provide other opportunities.


Students have regular individual and group meetings with supervisors, thesis committee members and the PhD programme coordinator, at which their opinions are actively solicited. They are free to volunteer further information at any time. Their views are considered and passed on to relevant staff for action as appropriate.

Students will receive feedback and advice from the supervisor about performance and research direction throughout the course and can also expect to receive termly formal feedback reports via the online feedback and reporting system.  



Thesis / Dissertation

The PhD thesis assessment is in accordance with University rules. Candidates should write as concisely as is possible, with clear and adequate exposition, and within the Degree Committee's prescribed word limit.

Current word limit

The thesis should not exceed 60,000 words (80,000 by special permission) exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography and appendices. 


  • The oral examination will ordinarily take place in Cambridge
  • It is carried out between yourself and the two examiners
  • There is no set duration, but expect it to last between 90 minutes and three hours.


As determined by students' supervisors.


All PhD students must successfully undertake a First Year Registration Assessment, involving submission of a report which is assessed by 2 examiners in an oral examination,  before they can be formally registered for the PhD and permitted to continue to the second year. 


Requirements   Selection Process   Finance