MPhil Coursework and Evaluation

The MPhil is assessed in four ways:

  1. A report on the research project, approved or prescribed by the Degree Committee, not exceeding 10,000 words in length, including tables, figure legends, and appendices, but excluding bibliography (70%). Submission deadline is end of July.
  2. A 5,000-word extended essay; The topic of the essay must be approved by the Programme Directors and will form the basis of the portfolio of lectures and seminars which the student takes. This essay forms 25% of the overall mark for the degree. Submission deadline is end of April.
  3. An MCQ paper on Research methods and statistics critical appraisal (5%). Test date is in mid-January.
  4. An viva voce or oral examination, which will cover all of the submitted work above. This oral examination contributes to the overall mark for the degree. To be arranged for late August.

There is no specific assessment of the research training modules, but this may form part of the oral examination in (4) above.

MPhil Project Reports

Project reports should be a maximum of 10,000 words in length, including figure legends but excluding the bibliography (and words in Tables). Your word count (excluding the bibliography) must be given on the title page.

Reports should be properly referenced. Information on referencing can be found on the Student Registry website.

Students must include in the report a preface with a signed statement along the following lines: “I confirm that the material in this report is not copied from any published material, nor is it a paraphrase or abstract of any published material unless it is identified as such and a full source reference is given. I confirm that, other than where indicated as above, this document is my own work.”

Reports should be broken down into: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and References.

Introduction: this section should give the non-specialist reader, in a concise manner, the background information necessary to understand your project and set the results in context. It should not be a full literature review.

Methods: this section should be concise, yet contain sufficient information to allow someone else to repeat the work: give priority to novel approaches and condense standard molecular methods by citing previous publications or manufacturer’s instructions.

Results: this section should flow as a logical, coherent description of the project, including the rationale for doing each experiment. This will not necessarily be the order in which you carried out the experiments. Make use of figures and tables.

Remember that this is a report of what you did in your rotation, not a paper for publication: don’t just put in your best (or only positive) results, but discuss problems encountered and/or troubleshooting.

Discussion: this section should NOT be a repetition of the Results section but should critically evaluate the significance of your results in relation to published works, which should also be critically appraised. It will usually contain ideas of further work required to clarify your findings. This is a valuable inclusion in a project report where you may not have had sufficient time to complete the research as you might have wished.

Reports should be completed in time for your Project Supervisor to read and provide feedback before final submission. Reports should be .pdf (make sure that it has not changed once saved in this format) and emailed to the Programme Administrator before 12:00 on the deadline day. Hard copies are not required. Each MPhil project report will be read by two Assessors, nominated by the Project Supervisor and Course Director(s), who will provide feedback and a mark during the viva.


At all stages of the Programme you must adhere to the University and School Guidelines for assessed work. The University’s statement on plagiarism is below. More information is available here.

Plagiarism can occur in respect to all types of sources and media:

  • text, illustrations, musical quotations, mathematical derivations, computer code, etc;
  • material downloaded from websites or drawn from manuscripts or other media;
  • published and unpublished material, including lecture handouts and other students’ work.

Acceptable means of acknowledging the work of others (by referencing, in footnotes, or otherwise) is an essential component of any work submitted for assessment, whether written examination, dissertation, essay, registration exercise, or group coursework. The most appropriate method for attribution of others’ work will vary according to the subject matter and mode of assessment. Faculties or Departments should issue written guidance on the relevant scholarly conventions for submitted work, and also make it clear to candidates what level of acknowledgement might be expected in written examinations. Candidates are required to familiarize themselves with this guidance, to follow it in all work submitted for assessment, whether written paper or submitted essay, and may be required to sign a declaration to that effect. If a candidate has any outstanding queries, clarification should be sought from her or his Director of Studies, Course Director or Supervisor as appropriate.

Failure to conform to the expected standards of scholarship (e.g. by not referencing sources) in examinations or assessed work may affect the mark given to the candidate’s work. In addition, suspected cases of the use of unfair means (of which plagiarism is one form) will be investigated and may be brought to one of the University Courts or disciplinary panels. The University courts and disciplinary panels have wide powers to discipline those found to have used unfair means in an examination, including depriving such persons of membership of the University, and deprivation of a degree.