Applying to the MRC Biostatistics Unit PhD Programme
The BSU seeks to recruit outstanding students with strong research potential, as based on their academic records, previous research experience, references, and interview assessment.
On average we receive over 60 applications per year, inviting 12 to 15 students for interview.
Our recruitment for funded studentships takes place in autumn each year, with a closing date in early January. However, we do occasionally re-advertise in the spring to fill unallocated funded places or, in exceptional cases, to offer a place in advance of the standard recruitment round.
Applicants who do not require Department or University funding are welcome to apply at any time.
The same entrance criteria apply to all prospective students, regardless of whether they are applying for UKRI funded places, funded scholarships from the University of Cambridge, or with external funding. This ensures an excellent standard of PhD students is maintained.
University of Cambridge entrance criteria
Competition for admission to the University of Cambridge graduate programme is intense. Like all departments affiliated to the Graduate School, we require all our graduate entrants to have:
- At least a 2.1 in an Honours degree or equivalent (eg CGPA 3.5/4.0) in a relevant subject
- Two outstanding references from senior university staff at your most recent university
- Fluency in the English language –
- IELTS: Overall band score of 7.0, with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading
- TOEFL: paper-based test 600 with 5.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE)
- TOEFL: internet-based test 100 with a minimum score of 25 in each element
- You must achieve the minimum requirements in the same test and this must be no more than two years before the start of the course.
- Please note – applicants are not expected to meet the language requirement at the time of their application, but must do before commencing studies.
The minimum entry requirements given above are set by the University, not the BSU, and are non-negotiable. For more details of the University’s entrance requirements see here.
Academic Eligibility for the MRC Biostatistics Unit
PhD studies in the MRC Biostatistics Unit require a unique blend of statistical competence, mathematical knowledge, and programming expertise. Our rigorous interview process will test your ability in each of these areas.
We would therefore advise that all candidates have at least a degree-level qualification in one of these areas, with significant experience and knowledge of at least one other.
A Master’s degree in statistics or a related discipline is considered desirable but not essential.
The BSU has a number of funded studentships available each year and is expecting to have 3 or 4 available for commencement in Michaelmas (October) 2022.
BSU funded studentships are open to both Home and Overseas applicants and normally provide:
- A generous monthly stipend
- Fees at the Home rate
- A travel and training budget
However, in the case of Overseas applicants, funded fees are provided at the University of Cambridge Home fee rate only. Funds to cover any additional top-up cost of overseas fees are expected to be found by the applicant.
Applications to the MRC BSU are accepted via the University application portal only. The University will forward on all complete applications to directly to the Department for their consideration – details of how to apply can be found here
The relevant information for this department is as follow:
- Department: MRC Biostatistics Unit
- Course Code: MDBI22
- Programme of Study: PhD (Probationary) at MRC Biostatistics Unit
- Duration: 3 years
- Study mode: Full-time (we do not accept applications to study part time)
Applicants are advised to tick all relevant funding application boxes in order to be considered for as many central funding competitions as possible; this maximises the chances of obtaining funding.
Prospective applicants should contact potential supervisors to discuss ideas to aid the applicant’s development of a project of mutual interest, to be included in their application. Please quite “PhD application- MDBI22” in your email subject line
Once you have submitted your initial application, please ensure you upload all your supporting information by the required date or your application will automatically expire. We ask all applicants provide a CV and two references; these should be supplied electronically via the University application system in addition to the University application form. Do not send items directly to the Unit by post or email, as they cannot be accepted directly. Applications without the accompanying University application form will not be considered.
An online application to the University costs £75 for Michaelmas Term 2022/23 – some fee waivers are applicable (see here for details).
All application information needs to be uploaded to the website before the relevant deadline.
The deadline to be considered for all funding is Friday 7th January 2022 at 12:00 GMT. All applications received by the Department by this date are considered as part of a gathered field immediately after this deadline.
All applications received after this deadline will only be considered for funding if there is unallocated funding remaining. In this case, applications are reopened and a second deadline in March or April will be set.
Applications from students who do not require Department or University funding are accepted all year round and are considered on a rolling basis.