skip to primary navigationskip to content

Graduate School of Life Sciences

An inspiring educational experience in a unique environment

Studying at Cambridge


1+3 PhD Student Lifecycle

This page contains information for PhD students who are registered on a 1+3 Programme which involves completion of a first year of taught modules and short research projects (which for most programmes can lead to the award of MRes) followed by a 3-year research project. 

There are a number of activities which students should complete each year: completion of skills development activities and completion of the transferable skills survey for graduate students.  Information on skills development opportunities can be found on the Skills Development pages of this website.

The Skills Survey should be completed by all PhD students at the beginning of their PhD, and each Michaelmas term thereafter.  An email will be sent at the start of the Michaelmas Term inviting students to complete the survey.  Access to the survey is with CRSid and Raven password. 

Year 1 (MRes/MPhil)

The structure of the first year of the 1+3 programmes in Life Sciences varies by programme although programmes usually include completion of taught modules and short research projects.  Students should refer to the programme specific handbooks and websites for detailed information (click on the links below).

Students must successfully complete the first year of the programme in order to progress to the 3 year PhD project.  Successful completion again differs by programme with some programmes having different assessment criteria. 

During the course of the first year students will confirm a 3-year project and supervisory team.  This may be in their current Department or in another Department or Partner Institution, depending on their programme.  Links to the Programmes are below:

Biological Sciences

Cardiovascular Research (laboratory route)

Developmental Biology

Infection and Immunity

Medical Research at CIMR

Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease

Stem Cell Biology


 Years 2-4

On successful completion of the first year of the programme students will become provisionally registered as PhD students and will follow the processes for standard PhD students.  Students will undertake the end of first year examination at the end of their second year.

Students must note that their submission deadline is 48 months from the initial date of registration in Year 1.

Welcome to the Graduate School of Life Sciences

We are the largest centre for research and professional training in the Life Sciences in the UK, offering a very special experience to a community of around 2000 graduate students across departments within the School of the Biological Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine and eleven University Partner Institutes in the Cambridge area.

Every year some of the world's brightest and most determined students are attracted by the opportunity to carry out research projects with renowned scientists in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment at one of the world's most respected research-led universities.

The School co-ordinates funding opportunities within the Life Sciences for their postgraduate education, as well as ensuring students receive the highest quality supervision and training.