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Dear fellow Postgraduate, on this webpage you will find information and links that are likely to be relevant for you during your time in the Department.


Welcome to the Department of Pharmacology


Before or on your first working day, have a quick read of the page for New Students & Staff and Intranet (Raven Login).

It gives you an overview of what you have to do upon arrival, which forms to fill out and the available facilities in the department.


Health & Safety

As a postgraduate student you must attend a Postgraduate Safety Course, which is run centrally by the University Safety Office. There are two courses on the first Tuesdays/Wednesdays of Michaelmas (October) and Lent (January) terms. 

Our awesome Health and Safety Officer, , has set up an online training course which guides you through the safety details relevant for the Pharmacology Department. The departmental course can be taken before you come to Cambridge, but must be finished before you start any lab work - ideally within one week of your arrival.


Equality & Diversity

The Department of Pharmacology is committed to equality and diversity and, in recognition of this, has been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. The University’s training module gives a good introduction to the relevant material and is compulsory for any member of this department.

Unconscious bias, or implicit association, is something every one of us is doing without realising it. For example, when you imagine a doctor, an astronaut and a scientist with you in the room – what gender or race would you associate with them?

Scientists of Project Implicit have collated a variety of Implicit Association Tests where you can anonymously assess your bias towards a multitude of subjects. None of them takes a lot of time, but they can give you an idea of where you are. Once aware of your biases, you can work on them!

The Equality and Diversity Team has also made an online training module.



While you are here

Points of Contact 

Dr Catherine Lindon Director of Postgraduate Education 33964  
Prof Hendrik Van Veen Demonstration in the undergraduate practical classes 65295  
Head of Department 334030  
Dr Ewan Smith Deputy Head of Department 334048  
Thury Agustsdottir Departmental Administrator 334002  
Principal Technician and Safety Officer 334031  

See a full list of all departmental contacts, including admin and IT



We all hope that we will have a great time at Cambridge, but sometimes we run into situations where we need different support than that given by friends and lab mates. The table below outlines the support structures available to you within Colleges, the department and centrally.

Please note that the availability of collegiate support structures is strongly dependent on the Colleges themselves, e.g. not every college has a counselor.

At the beginning of your time in pharmacology, you should also be assigned a mentor within the department who is not involved with your work.





Postgraduate Tutor


College Pastoral Support

University Counselling Service

MCR Welfare Officers


Great St Mary’s

Disability Resource Service

College Counsellor

Postgraduate Studies Coordinator

Chaplains of Many Faiths



Head of Department



You can find more information on the Student Wellbeing website.


Events @ Pharmacology

The postgraduate and postdoc committee organises a variety of events to foster exchange between the different departmental research groups in a more social environment.

We have welfare tea time, career talks, the recently launched book club and many more.

For career sessions we invite a variety of people from academia, industry, policy, etc. If you know of anyone you think might be an interesting person to talk to, please let the committee know.



Every year over 200 undergraduates take the Part 1B Pharmacology course which involves both lectures and laboratory practicals. During the practical sessions the academic and teaching staff are supported by post-docs and postgraduate students who help out with demonstrating a variety of experiments.

They are a great way to get some teaching experience within the department and, as with any other teaching commitments, demonstrating is paid at the standard rates.     

If you would like to get involved with demonstrating contact . She gives a short training course at the beginning of every academic year. Following this, you train by attending two experimental sessions during your first year, which you will then supervise in the subsequent years.


Training and Development

As a postgraduate student at Cambridge you can already gain teaching experience either by becoming a demonstrator for the department (see above) or by supervising small groups of undergraduates for a specific subject. If you are interested in supervising, contact the relevant Director of Studies in your College.

If your College has no vacancies, you can also contact the department that organises the course you are interested in, and they will be able to direct you towards other Colleges.

The University offers a multitude of courses for researcher development. Although you can search for all of them on the central website, look out for the emails from Dr Sam Byers, Researcher Developer for the GSLS, who will advertise upcoming courses of interest.

In our experience these regular, GSLS-run courses are very useful:

  • Public Speaking Workshop
  • Writing and Publishing a Research Paper
  • Scientific posters; the good, the bad and the ugly

Other programmes you might consider:

  • Vitae is a national organisation dedicated to championing career and personal development for researchers. Particularly useful for ruminating about what you can do already (it is often more than you would guess at first!) is their Researcher Development Framework – or simply their “skills pie chart”.

  • Do you intend to write your thesis in LaTeX (it makes life so much easier), need to learn some programming, or want to get familiar with any other software? Then check out the University’s IT training courses.



The University has an excellent Careers Service where you can book one-to-one sessions for help with your CV and cover letter - no matter where you are applying to - or for careers advice.

If you register with them, you can have regular updates and access a lot of information about a multitude of job markets.

We also organise career events at which you can meet people from different sectors to learn more about their work. 


Travel Grants for attending workshops and conferences


Family and Caring Responsibilities

A summary of some University policies and support structures is given on our departmental website.

In addition, these are the main web pages which provide more detail:



About to finish?

Thesis Submissions

A few months before your deadline you should check all the information on the formal aspects of your thesis on the Cambridge Student website for Submitting & Examinations, which differs depending on the degree (MPhil/MRes or PhD).

There is a lot of helpful information on word limits and what they contain (Pharmacology is part of the Biology Degree Committee), the summary, extensions and much more.