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Graduate Education Committees

Governance of Graduate Student Education

Our Head of Department is responsible for oversight of provision of graduate education within the department. He is supported by our Business & Operations Manager, Director of Graduate Education and Graduate Student Administrator, who ensure we comply with the policies and procedures of the  following hierarchical University bodies and committees, listed below in order of authority:

  1. The University’s Board of Graduate Studies & Student Registry.
  2. The Higher Degree Committee for Faculty of Clinical Medicine & Veterinary Medicine.
  3. The Graduate Committee.
  4. The Cancer Biology Graduate Education Committee.

The following departmental Staff members are involved in provision of Graduate Education are given below:

  • Head of Department  - Professor Richard Gilbertson
    • Takes ultimate responsibility for provision and delivery of graduate education within the department, i.e. give signed departmental approval of graduate applications, appointment of examiners, intermissions, extensions to the end of registration date etc. 
  • Business & Operations Manager - Mrs Vicki Sparkes
    • Provides advice and guidance to the Head of Department on all administrative matters, ensuring that all of the department's administration conforms to the University's governing procedures.
  • Director of Graduate Education - Professor Anna Philpott
    • Offers students direct practical help and advice on procedural and administrative issues.
    • Provides pastoral support with day-to-day problems. 
    • Provides information for students and supervisors about their responsibilities, what’s requirement of them and various training opportunities.
    • Disseminates information from the Board of Graduate Studies and Graduate School of Life Sciences to supervisors and students.
    • Acts as a point of last resort to mediate disputes between students and supervisors.
    • Keeps the Cancer Biology Graduate Education Committee (CBGEC) informed of University and Faculty procedural issues.
  • Graduate Student Administrator - Dr Hayley Woffendin
    • Offers students direct practical help and advice on procedural and administrative issues.
    • Provides pastoral support with day-to-day problems. 
    • Provides information for students and supervisors about their responsibilities, what’s requirement of them and various training opportunities.
    • Disseminates information from the Board of Graduate Studies and Graduate School of Life Sciences to supervisors and students.
    • Deals with all student applications made to the department via CamSIS.  (The Board of Graduate Studies continues to be responsible for issuing letters of offer to prospective students.
    • Acts as first point of contact for prospective students and deals with speculative applications; please inform the Graduate Student Administrator if you are contacted by a prospective student whom you would like to offer a place to.
    • Co-ordinates the department’s nominations for various funding competitions, such as the Cambridge Gates, the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust and Cambridge Home and European Studentships.
    • Maintains centralised records for students, i.e. copies of all application documents; students’ reports and training logs; viva reports; and records of formal meetings between students and their supervisors.
    • Provides advice and support re administrative procedures and issues, e.g. first year assessments, CamSIS reporting and applications for intermission
    • Provides pastoral support for students.

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The Board of Graduate Studies and Student Registry

The Board of Graduate Studies is charged with the admission, registration and approval of the University's graduate students; that is, those students studying for the PhD, MSc, MLitt or MPhil degree and other graduate qualifications. The Board meets nine times a year during term time.

The Student Registry provides administrative support for the Board of Graduate Studies, which includes:

  • Admitting graduate students and formally registering them for graduate qualifications;
  • Managing graduate students' progress, reporting (CGSRS), examinations and records (CamSIS);
  • Advising graduate students, staff and other interested parties on the University's regulations;
  • Managing graduate student fee payments, funding and Research Council liaison; and
  • Administration of higher doctorates and the Ph.D. Degree by Special Regulations.

For further information see the Board of Graduate Studies website

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The Higher Degree Committee for the Faculty of Clinical Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

The Committee encompasses academics from within the Faculty of Clinical Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and reports to the Board of Graduate Studies (BGS).

This Committee is responsible for:

  • Recommending candidates for admission to courses;
  • Monitoring students' progress;
  • Recommending continuation after a probationary period of research for the PhD;
  • Recommending candidates for PhD degrees (on recommendation of the Examiners);
  • Approving candidates for MPhil and MRes degrees (on recommendation of the Examiners);
  • Appointing Supervisors and Examiners;
  • Considering and respond to consultations by the Board of Graduate Studies on matters of educational policy concerning graduate education; and 
  • Putting before the Board proposals for modification or suppression of existing courses, or provision of new ones.

Students will come into contact with the Higher Degree Committee when they submit various forms, e.g. applying for an extension to the end of registration date, submission of their dissertation, applying for intermission, etc.

For further infromation see the Graduate School of Life Sciences website

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The Graduate Committee

The Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) is governed by the Graduate Committee (GC), which is responsible for the organisation and administration of the GSLS on behalf of the Faculties of Clinical Medicine & Clinical Veterinary Medicine and Biology. 

This GC has links with the Higher Degree Committee for the Faculty of Clinical Medicine & Clinical Veterinary Medicine, the Higher Degree Committee for Biology, the MD Committee and a number of Committees external to the Graduate School.

This committee works in consultation with the University’s Board of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Student and Postdoc Forum and the Faculty Higher Degree Committees, to ensure both University and Faculty policies and procedures are communicated to and implemented by all affiliated departments and institutes.

For further infromation see the Graduate School of Life Sciences website

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Cancer Biology Graduate Education Committee

The Cancer Biology Graduate Education Committee (CBGEC), our Local Graduate Education Committee, was convened in October 2013 in response to the Regius Professor of Physic’s directive aimed at providing an integrated approach to delivering cancer themed graduate education within the Cancer Cluster, School of Clinical Medicine.

The Cancer Cluster comprises the CRUK Cambridge Institute (CI), the MRC Cancer Unit (CU) and the Department of Oncology; the Committee is comprised of membership from the three constitutive departments. 

The role of the CBGEC is to:

  • Advise students and their supervisors on all matters pertaining to graduate education and training within the Cancer Cluster;
  • provide a forum for students to raise issues;
  • disseminate information from the Board of Graduate Studies and Higher Committees to students and their supervisors; and
  • ensure liaison between those responsible for providing and managing graduate education and training within the Cancer Cluster.

The Committee has the following 3 representatives from each of the Cancer Cluster departments:

  • Director of Graduate Education
  • Graduate Student Administrator
  • Graduate Student Representative

Department of Oncology representatives:

Each academic year, a Student Representative is appointed; second and third year students are invited to volunteer for this position.  On commencing studies, new students are provided with the contact details for their Student Representative and all students are provided with relevant contact details when there is a change of Student Representative.

The Chair rotates between the 3 Directors of Graduate Education and secretarial support is provided by the current Chair’s department.

If students, supervisors or other staff have any gradaute education related concerns or issues they would like to raise with the committee, they may contact any of our departmental representatives. All concerns and issues brought to our prepresentatives will remain anonymous unless an individual gives permission for the issue to be raised in their name.

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