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MPhil and PhD


Basic structure of a dermatology degree course

The main purpose of a higher degree course is for the student to undertake and complete a period of high quality research of international standard, culminating in the production of a thesis. In addition, wide firm grounding is given in clinical dermatology and dermatopathology in this major British dermatology department.


Undertaking a period of research has a number of advantages such as understanding scientific methodology and statistics, developing organisational skills, critical appraisal, gaining writing and presenting skills and increasing confidence. The Department of Dermatology offers wide and generous facilities for undertaking research. A wide range of laboratory equipment is available and there are technical staff to advise over specialist investigation procedures. Students are provided with office space with excellent computer facilities with Internet access. In the School of Medicine, there is a superb and very convenient library with library inter-loan services and facilities for undertaking online literature searches. The Department of Dermatology also has a departmental library with a large collection of mainstream dermatology journals. The subject for research is discussed and decided with Professor Piguet (Head of Department) and his colleagues, and there is supervision and direction of research work by an established member of the dermatology department. Access to patients who remain under the care of the staff dermatologists may be arranged for research purposes subject to permission and ethical approval. In most cases more than three days each week are spent on the research topic and students are encouraged to undertake additional work in the evenings and at other times. There are three options for a higher degree research:

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

Degree students have regular clinical teaching in dermatology. During these sessions they are with Professor Piguet or one of his consultant colleagues in the general dermatology clinics and have the opportunity of examining patients. There are in addition teaching ward rounds.

Doctor of Medicine (MD)

The degree of MD is awarded in recognition of a thesis on a dermatologically oriented topic, which should embody the results of original research and which should constitute an addition to scientific knowledge. An MD usually involves 1-2 years of supervised research culminating in a thesis, which the candidate is expected to defend during a formal viva. This degree is ideal for those doctors who wish to undertake research in a subject that has a major clinical component, although basic science projects can also be considered.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is a supervised research degree, which is particularly suitable for those candidates wishing to pursue an academic career. PhD candidates are expected to critically investigate an approved topic and to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of research methodology involved in their chosen field. This should result in the creation and interpretation of knowledge which makes an original contribution to (dermatological) knowledge. Although a PhD generally involves lab-based projects, a clinically oriented PhD degree could be undertaken depending on the availability of a suitable supervisor in the department. In addition to the research, candidates would be encouraged to attend courses and workshops to develop their research skills including, biostatistics, epidemiology and any basic science relevant to their chosen field of research. The average period of study for a PhD degree varies between 3 -5 years and on completion of the PhD thesis, the candidate would be expected to successfully defend it during a detailed viva.

Other academic activities of the department

There are regular visiting guest lecturers to the department, and each month students are invited to attend the departmentís Academic Afternoon. This meeting is an opportunity for consultants and registrars across South Wales to meet and discuss interesting dermatopathology slides as well as difficult and interesting clinical cases. Degree students are also invited to the weekly general grand rounds.

Application details

Overseas students

We welcome applications from well-qualified overseas students. The Diploma in Clinical Dermatology course, the MSc and MPhil courses have been designed particularly with overseas students in mind. The dermatology courses are truly international with students from all areas of the world, including the South East Asia, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Europe, North and South America and Australasia.

Entry qualifications

The basic entry requirement is an initial medical degree of an approved University. Usually admittance to the MPhil, MD or PhD degree depend on successfully completing first the MSc in Clinical Dermatology course, but in exceptional circumstances there may be direct entry to these degrees. Overseas applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language.

Application Procedure

If you would like to make an application for the MPhil, MD or PhD degree course and are happy that you fulfil the requirements, please e-mail directly including a full curriculum vitae and brief research proposal.

Early application is advised in order to give time for references to be taken up and for decisions to be reached by the Head of Department and his colleagues.


For information regarding fees and bench fees for these degrees, please visit

If you are interested in applying for an MPhil or PhD, please send a copy of your CV to Joy Hayes

The Dermatology Postgraduate Centre can be contacted in any of the following ways:

Mrs Joy Hayes
Department of Dermatology
Cardiff University
3rd Floor Glamorgan House
Heath Park
Cardiff, Wales
CF14 4XN

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2074 2247
Fax: +44 (0)29 2074 4312