Practical Advice on arrival

There is no single Department of Neuroscience at Cambridge. Before you start your research project, you will be based for most the time at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (Physiology building). We will provide further information about access and the necessary safe working arrangements when we meet you.

Researcher Development
There are many opportunities across the University of Cambridge to provide you with skills that will make you a better researcher now, aid you in the completion of your degree and help you make the most of other training opportunities in the future. You can find an overview of available training opportunities here. More specific information for postgraduate students can be found below.

Researcher Development (RD) encompasses all of the learning and development that you might wish to experience and acquire during your time in Cambridge. It is needed to provide you with the skills and experiences that you need both today and for the future, whatever that might be.

  • Personal Skills (e.g. leadership and resilience)
  • Professional Skills (e.g. presentation skills and time management)
  • Career-related Skills (e.g. writing CVs and interview technique)
  • Academic Skills (e.g. paper writing and teaching)
  • Entrepreneurial Skills (e.g. commercial awareness and innovation)

The structure for your RD is provided by the Cambridge Researcher Development Framework. This tells you about the competencies you need to gain to meet the goal of becoming a professional researcher.

Within Cambridge there are many providers of RD activities. The central provision is provided by the Postgraduate Researcher Development Team and the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences (PSLS) offer a range of activities and are often more specific to Life Sciences. Training is also available from the University Information Services, University Libraries and the Careers’ Service that can explored using their websites and the University of Cambridge Training Booking System.

Inkpath is your one-stop-shop for managing your professional development. When you sign up for a Cambridge account you will be asked to complete a Skills Analysis based on the CamRDF, and will then be able to browse development opportunities by skill type, set goals for yourself, write notes on the courses you attend and even add your own activities.

Departmental Training Opportunities

During the year, students will be invited to take part in training opportunities (journal clubs, etc.) in the Department(s) or Partner Institute(s) where they are doing their projects.

Health and Safety

Students must adhere to the specific health and safety regulations of the Department in which they are working at each stage of the Programme. Students must attend the compulsory lectures in the University Safety course in October. We also encourage students to attend the optional courses, if relevant to them, on biological safety, cryogenics, VDUs, pipettes, glass and sharps, and radiation courses.

Annual Leave and Intermission

Due to the structured nature of the Programme, it may not be possible for students to take annual leave outside of the designated holiday periods in December and Easter. Annual leave must be agreed with their Supervisor and/or Course Director. Students who are unable to work on their project for medical or other reasons, can apply to intermit by completing an application form which is available from their CamSIS self-service page. Further information can be found on the Student Registry webpage.


Students are permitted to undertake up to eight hours paid employment per week during the course of their studies, usually teaching (demonstrating or supervising). However, we would advise that you do not work during the Programme.

For international students

You can find information for International students new to Cambridge here and also explore our Information For New Arrivals pages.


Students will require a laptop for some of the compulsory modules included in this course. Laptops are not provided.

Student Support

There are several support mechanisms available to students. You can find out more at Information for Current Students pages.

Course Director and/or Course Tutor

The Course Directors and Cambridge Neuroscience Strategic Manager will get to know their students as individuals and will advise on choice of project, and taught modules as part of the personal training strategy. They may also provide mentoring and guidance as required. You will meet your Course Directors and the Cambridge Neuroscience Strategic Manager regularly during the programme.

Other resources
  • Students should ensure that they have read the University’s Code of Practice for the Master of Philosophy by Advanced Study and the Master of Research, which sets out the University’s guidelines for these courses and can be found here.
  • General information on being a student at Cambridge can be found here.
  • Information specific to postgraduate students in Life Sciences can be found on the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences website.
  • Information for graduate students in Colleges can be found here.
Lectures and Textbooks

Students are welcome to attend undergraduate lectures in neuroscience. Of particular interest is the NST Part 1B Neurobiology course and the NST Part II Physiology, Development and Neuroscience course.

There is no specific textbook for this course. The most commonly used general neuroscience textbooks include:

  • Kandel, E.R., Koester, J.D., Mack, S.H. & Siegelbaum (2021). ‘Principles of Neural Science’, 6th edition, McGraw-Hill. Available in Kindle edition.
  • Squire, L.R., Berg, D., Bloom, F.E., du Lac, S., Ghosh, A. & Spitzer, N.C. (2014). ‘Fundamental Neuroscience’, 4th edition, Academic Press. Available in electronic form
  • Bear, M.F., Connors, B. & Paradiso, M. (2020). ‘Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain’, Enhanced 4th edition, Lippincott. Also available in Kindle edition.

Check the Cambridge University Library website for e-book versions.