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MPhil Course Details

Course aims

The course aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to:

  1. use a range of methods for gathering, analysing and interpreting research material.
  2. apply normative theories to substantive research topics.
  3. frame research questions, to construct appropriate research designs and develop a thorough grasp of a wide range of methodological approaches.
  4. interpret complex research publications effectively.
  5.  independently manage primary research, including data management and the writing up of research as well as understanding codes of research practice and research ethics.
  6. present research and also to make use of constructive criticism.

Course structure

The MPhil is a 1 year research degree, with a substantial taught component. In the first two terms students will follow three mandatory courses.

1. Gender Theory and Controversy

This survey course of lectures introduces key areas of contemporary gender theory. It gives students the chance to analyse why gender scholars (or other relevant thinkers) disagree and what it is they disagree about. There is an emphasis on fostering students' abilities to critically assess the ontological and epistemological assumptions characteristic of different theoretical approaches and to critically evaluate their empirical research potential.

2. Gender Studies Research Methodologies

This course is designed to prepare students for primary research. The course includes general methods sessions on for example, research design; the collection, management and analysis of data (quantitative and qualitative); and research ethics and how to present research in dissertation form. Additionally, students are taught to critically evaluate various research methods and to compare the value of different methodological techniques and approaches to gender analysis.

There are 2 main components:

  1. Social Science Research Methods (SSRM) modules taught centrally within the University.
  2. Research Methodologies sessions conducted within the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies including individual guidance on each of the student's research projects.

3. Text Course

This highly  innovative course aims to scrutinize a series of primary texts with Centre staff and academic experts from over 20 Departments across the Arts, Humanities, (Natural) Sciences and Social Sciences within the University of Cambridge. Students will be introduced to the variety of ways in which gender analysis can be applied to the study of a very wide range of topics.

4. Gender Research Seminar

In addition to the three core courses above, the Multi-disciplinary Gender Research Seminar will convene at least four times a term Michaelmas (Autumn) and Lent (Spring) only. The purpose of this seminar series is to present front-line research in the multi-disciplinary study of Gender by senior scholars within and beyond Cambridge, as well as by junior academics, post-doctoral research fellows and advanced graduate students. These seminars will also be a compulsory component of the MPhil.

The Research Dissertation

The research dissertation will be completed over the third term and Summer vacation and submitted in July. It will be of no more than 20,000 words in length on any Gender Studies related subject approved by the dissertation supervisor, the course co-ordinators and the Graduate Teaching Committee. The dissertation is viewed as a major aspect of the course and will count for 70% of the final MPhil mark. It is also a primary aspect of evaluation for those students who intend to progress to a PhD.

Dissertation workshops will provide the opportunity to present aspects of dissertation work and to receive constructive critical feed-back from course academics and fellow students. Student presentations are expected to demonstrate a substantial level of knowledge and understanding of the intellectual and methodological debates relevant to the specific topic undertaken. They must also demonstrate an effective research design, appropriate research methods, and illustrate skills of presentation and argument.

Examination requirements

All elements of the MPhil - unsupervised coursework and a supervised research dissertation - must be passed in order for the degree to be obtained. Each component must gain  60% or above to pass.  75% and above will be marked as a distinction. 

1. Coursework

Two unsupervised 5,000 word essays. Each essay will count for 15% of the final mark. Essay topics will be selected from a list of titles relating to subjects covered in the core courses.

2. The Research Dissertation

Students will work under the supervision of Cambridge University academic on their research dissertation.  Dissertations will be of not more than 20,000 words and will count for 70% of the final mark.

How to Apply


The University's Graduate Admissions Office Prospectus for the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies has all the information you need to make a formal application. In summary, you will need to provide:

  • a completed GRADSAF application form.
  • 2 academic references.
  • 1 personal reference (only if you are applying for the GATES Cambridge Scholarship).
  • academic transcripts.
  • evidence of your competence in English (only in the case where English is not your native language). 
  • an outline of the proposed research project for a possible dissertation, including the methods to be employed (no more than 750 words in total). Please ensure that you include this as a separate document, in addition to the information in your GRADSAF.
  • information explaining your motivation for the MPhil and details of any employment or other non-academic experience relevant to the subject of the MPhil.
  • an indication of whether you wish to continue to PhD research after completing the MPhil.

Admissions deadlines

Applications open on 1 September each year. The deadline for admission for October 2016 is 15 March 2016.

Please note that many funding deadlines are earlier than the course application deadlines.


The annual University Composition Fee (UCF) is levied by the University for the teaching and supervision you will receive for this course. The UCF is £10,500 for UK and EU students and £20,535 for international students. Please note there are other fees to take into account. Read more... 

Funding opportunities

University of Cambridge Scholarships

The University holds three main funding rounds for all graduate applicants with deadlines in OctoberDecember and January for admittance to the following academic year. 

Funding opportunities may be applied for by completing section B of the GRADSAF application form. Your application form must then be submitted by the funding deadline and supporting documents must be received within two weeks of the funding deadline, in order for your application to be considered by the funding body. Please read the section entitled Funding on the Graduate Admissions website, where a full list of funding schemes and their deadlines can be accessed.

Please note that some schemes, administered by the Cambridge Trusts, may also require additional application forms. For other funds, please check their respective websites for accurate information.

The Women's Foundation Hong Kong Scholarship Scheme

The Scholarship

The University of Cambridge operates a scholarship scheme which awards The Women's Foundation Hong Kong Scholarships to support eligible students who have been admitted to the University to study for the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies. The Scholarship, which provides for the University and college fees plus a stipend towards living expenses, will be granted on the basis of academic excellence. The scholarship will only be awarded to an eligible student once s/he has been accepted onto the MPhil through the University of Cambridge's standard admissions procedure.

Scholarship Application Process

Applicants must:

  1. first apply for a place on the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge via the Graduate Admissions Office by 20 February 2015.
  2. Applicants must also complete and submit the TWF Scholarship Application Form to the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies at: by 20 February 2015. (Applications for the TWF Scholarship received after this date will not be considered.)


Scholarships will be awarded on a merit-basis to those who have been successfully accepted onto the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies through the standard University admissions procedures and have graduated (or are pursuing a course of study leading to a degree) from a University in Hong Kong.

The Women's Foundation (TWF)

TWF is a non-profit organisation established in 2004 and dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong through innovative research, community programmes, education, media engagement and advocacy. The TWF's three key focus areas are challenging gender stereotypes, increasing the number of women in decision-making and leadership positions, and empowering women in poverty to achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their families. You can read more about the TWF's ground-breaking projects on their website.


For further information, please contact the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies by emailing:

The Bell Scholar

Each year the student who produces the best research dissertation for the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies will be awarded the title of 'Bell Scholar' in recognition of outstanding scholarship. Lady Primrose and Sir David Bell are at the heart of the Centre's development and we are enormously grateful to them for all their support and guidance.

The Bell Scholar 2014-15: Ms Constance Flude

Ms Constance Flude

We are delighted to announce that Ms Constance Flude has been awarded the title of Bell Scholar in recognition of her outstanding research dissertation Contesting Rape Narratives: Medicalisation and the Trauma Model of Victimhood, which received the highest Distinction mark on the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies 2014-15.

Many congratulations to Constance for this great achievement.

Essay 2 Coversheet

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MPhil Timetable 2014-15

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Essay 1 Coversheet

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The Women's Foundation, Hong Kong

The Women's Foundation in Hong Kong

The Women’s Foundation in Hong Kong, headed by CEO Su-Mei Thompson, funds the TWF Hong Kong Scholarship Scheme for the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies. 

TWF is a non-profit organisation established in 2004 and dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in Hong Kong through innovative research, impactful community programmes, and education, media engagement and advocacy. The TWF's three key focus areas are challenging gender stereotypes, increasing the number of women in decision-making and leadership positions, and empowering women in poverty to achieve a better quality of life for themselves and their families. Read more about the TWF's ground-breaking projects.

Recipients of the TWF Hong Kong Scholarship

Current TWF Scholar, 2015-16

Ms Tsz Lam Ngai

Ms Tsz Lam Ngai is the current recipient of The Women's Foundation Hong Kong Scholarship. Ms Ngai is conducting research entitled 'Media Representation of Hong Kong Female Politicians'.

Mr Jacky Ching Lok Tse (TWF Scholar, 2014-15)

Mr Jacky Tse

"Studying Gender Studies at Cambridge is one of my greatest blessings in life. I am privileged to have met and learnt from a number of exceptional academic staff and visiting scholars, and the really nice group of classmates who specialise in diverse, interesting and innovative research projects examining different aspects of gender. I am inspired to continue my academic journey in Gender Studies and I hope to enhance gender equality in my society through my future research." 

                                                                                      Mr Jacky Ching Lok Tse

Mr Jacky Ching Lok Tse was the second student to be awarded The Women's Foundation Hong Kong Scholarship to study for the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies in 2014-15. Jacky's research dissertation was entitled Gender in Chinese Folktales.

Ms Mandy Leung Hoi Yan (TWF Scholar, 2013-14)

Ms Mandy Leung

"The MPhil provides a unique multi-disciplinary approach to studying gender, which is both challenging and rewarding. I have had the opportunity to discuss cutting edge research and classic texts with expert scholars from across a broad range of topic areas, such as philosophy, physiology, literature, business studies, and many more." 

                                      Ms Mandy Leung Hoi Yan

Ms Mandy Leung Hoi Yan was the first student to be awarded The Women's Foundation Hong Kong Scholarship to study for the MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies in 2013-14. Mandy's research dissertation was entitled Rape in Hong Kong: power, privilege and culture in legal discourse.

Guidelines for MPhil essay and exercise marking

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