The Churchill Scholarship is for one year of study at the University of Cambridge for one of two Master’s degrees: the MPhil (Master of Philosophy) or MASt (Master of Advanced Study). The standard MPhil is a research degree that entails full-time research in a lab and culminates in a thesis and a viva (an oral examination). The MASt is a taught degree course comprised of lectures and written examinations. A list of eligible and ineligible courses can be found below.
Some MPhil courses involve a mixture of taught courses and a research paper, and most MASt courses provide the opportunity to write a research paper. Applicants should consider which balance of lectures and research works best for them.
The research-only MPhil is a rare opportunity to be able to spend a full year, undistracted, on a single research project. In the hybrid part-lecture and part-research MPhils, students can pursue a shorter research project, while the lectures expose them to a greater breadth of topics. Former Churchill Scholars have said that lectures in Cambridge move quite quickly and tend to be less engaging and interactive in comparison to lectures in US universities.
For students in the research-only MPhil courses, you may need to search far and wide in order to find the right lab for you. The Cambridge structure is different from many American universities, and labs in closely related fields can be found in a wide variety of different departments. Just as the list of courses here may be incomplete, the University of Cambridge website can be confusing and, in some cases, may omit courses or entire research institutes. We welcome suggestions of courses that may not be listed below. Feel free to contact the Foundation with any questions.
The following Departments offer the MPhil in Biological Science:
Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
Mitochondrial Biology Unit
Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
Wellcome Trust / Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
MPhil in Veterinary Science
Clinical Academic Training Office
MPhil in Translational Biomedical Research†
Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit
MPhil in Biostatistics
Public Health and Primary Care
MPhil in Public Health (Only eligible if the dissertation is on a medical, as opposed to a policy topic)
MPhil in Epidemiology†
MPhil in Primary Care Research (Note that this course mainly caters to NHS doctors and shares much of its curriculum with the MPhil in Public Health and MPhil in Epidemiology)
The following Departments offer the MPhil in Medical Sciences:
Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
MPhil in Astronomy
MASt in Astrophysics† (*see Physics Note below)
MPhil in Computational Biology†
MPhil in Chemistry
MPhil in Earth Sciences
MPhil in Geography
MPhil in Polar Studies
MPhil in Material Science
MASt in Materials Science
MPhil in Micro- & Nanotechnology Enterprise (Only eligible if the research project undertaken is scientific, rather than business-related)
(The three MASt courses are also called Part III of the Mathematical Tripos. Before you apply to Part III, please read the Foundation’s guide, Part III Mathematics for Churchill Scholars.)
MASt in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (*see Physics Note below)
MASt in Pure Mathematics
MASt in Mathematical Statistics
MPhil in Computational Biology†
MPhil in Physics (*see Physics Note below)
MPhil in Scientific Computing†
MPhil in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
MPhil in Advanced Chemical Engineering
MPhil in Biotechnology (Mainly for non-bio majors)
MPhil in Advanced Computer Science†
MPhil in Engineering
MPhil in Energy Technologies
MPhil in Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence†
MPhil in Nuclear Energy†
MPhil in Archaeological Science
MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science
MPhil in Music Studies (Only the Music and Science option is eligible)
MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (Language Technology Laboratory)
Please be aware that the Foundation does not accept applications for the following:
MASt in Earth Sciences (Earth Sciences)
MASt in Physics (Physics)
MPhil in Basic and Translational Neuroscience (Physiology, Development and Neuroscience)
MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise (Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology)
MPhil in Computational Methods for Materials Science (multiple departments). Students should instead apply for the MPhil in Scientific Computing, which is essentially the same.
MPhil in Conservation Leadership (Geography)
MPhil in Developmental Biology (Physiology, Development and Neuroscience)
MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development (Engineering)
MPhil in Environment, Society and Development (Geography)
MPhil in Genomic Medicine (Medical Genetics)
MPhil in Genomic Science (Sanger Institute)
MPhil in Industrial Systems, Manufacturing and Management (Engineering)
MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology (Psychology)
MPhil in Technology Policy (Judge Business School)
Part III in Systems Biology (Systems Biology Centre)
†These courses are part-taught, and there is no need to contact supervisor in advance for your application.
*Physics Note: Applicants interested in Physics should consider at least three possibilities: the MPhil in Physics (research only); for those with a very strong background in mathematics, the MASt in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (mostly taught courses, with the opportunity to replace one exam paper with a research paper); the MASt in Astrophysics (a lighter version of the previous option in that it includes courses from the MASt in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics along with a two-term research project that counts for one-third of the credit).
Please note that the above list of eligible and ineligible programs is not able to be comprehensive. You might well discover another program appropriate for you. Course offerings are always changing, and there are laboratories and research units in the University of Cambridge that are not always easily found on the Cambridge website. Some labs that do not advertise an MPhil may be willing to take a Churchill Scholar. Previous applicants have found relatively obscure programs that we have subsequently been made eligible (for example, the Faculty of Music offers an MPhil in Music Studies where Music and Science is an option). At the same time, do not assume that a program is eligible just because it is not on the ineligible list.
Please contact the Foundation if you are interested in an area of study not specifically mentioned above, or if you have any questions, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 212-752-3200.