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Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK First class Honours Degree.
  • In unusual circumstances this requirement may be relaxed for applicants who can provide additional compelling evidence of academic excellence or exceptional research ability
  • If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country.
  • Students will be expected to have well-developed technical skills in engineering or a related technical area, in mathematics, and in computing.
  • Students who are strong in computing but who do not have university-level mathematics might consider the Cambridge MPhil in Advanced Computer Science
Please note that we cannot review CVs or applications prior to submission and we cannot give advice on what to put in your application or advise you on whether your background is appropriate for the course. We regret that it will not be possible to respond to such requests.

Q. Why is the course being renamed as the MPhil in Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence?

A. The course was founded as a collaboration between the Machine Learning Group and the Speech Group in the Cambridge University Department of Engineering, hence the original name MPhil in Machine Learning, Speech, and Language Technology. It has become clear that interest in in the course is much broader than these original areas and we are expanding the course in response. For the 2017-18 academic year there will be optional core modules on Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing. For subsequent years we hope to add additional topics suitable for students with developing interests in machine learning. The course will retain a balance between theory, application, and practical skills.

Q. What is Machine Intelligence?

A. Machine Intelligence describes a research agenda to develop artificially intelligent systems that can perceive the world, plan and make decisions, interact intelligently with humans and other intelligent agents, and provide intelligent explanations for their actions.

Q. I am interested in research in <some field>. What research opportunities will students have?

As described in the description of the course structure http://www.mlsalt.eng.cam.ac.uk/Main/CourseStructure , students will undertake a research project leading to a dissertation. The topics chosen will reflect recent technical developments in the relevant fields and so will change from year to year - see the Course Highlights section of the webpages for dissertations from previous years.

Q. I have a specific research project in mind. Will I be able to formulate my own dissertation research?

A. Probably not. Research projects are proposed by academic staff and by partners in the industry club. These projects are carefully formulated so that students can do a successful research project in the time allowed and with available empirical and computational resources. There is scope for students to propose their own research projects to be supervised by academic staff on the course; but such projects are relatively unusual.

Q. There is a research section in the application process. What should I enter here? Should I specify a research supervisor?

A. You may provide a statement of your research interests which may be considered in assessing your application for admission. Please do not name a research supervisor.

Q. I studied both Maths and Further Maths at A level and achieved A*s in both, and have continued to use statistics within my course. Am I a suitable candidate for this course?

A. An A-level maths (or further maths) background is not enough for this course, but in exceptional cases we will consider these candidates if they have taken significant steps to fill this gap in their knowledge

Q. I am working and have not recently studied. Whom should I nominate as an academic referee?

A. Please see the guidance given by the Graduate Admissions Office

Q. Does the University of Cambridge participate in any double degree or co-tutelle courses?

A. No.

Q. Does the course offer Erasmus-style exchange programmes with other universities?

A. No

Q. Will it be possible for MPhil students to take time out for internships in industry?

A. No

Q. Is it possible to have outside employment while taking this course?

A. This would not be encouraged. The University gives guidance on Working While You Study and the policy states:

Masters students are generally expected not to work during term-time.

Outside of term-time, students are expected to continue working on coursework assignments. The workload even out of term is high.

Q. I did not do my undergraduate degree in an engineering field. May I still apply?

A. An engineering background is not necessarily a prerequisite and other science backgrounds with strong mathematics are acceptable. Please see Who Should Apply

Q. Is a recent degree in Information Sciences or Information Technology appropriate background for this course?

A. Usually not. Students are expected to have a strong background in math (calculus, linear algebra), probability, and statistics.

Q. I have currently chosen to work for a year after completing undergraduate. Will this be viewed unfavourably?

A. Mature students are very welcome, although all applicants must demonstrate ability to work at a high academic level. Please see Who Should Apply

Q. Must I sit the GRE examination for this program?

A. Cambridge does not require the GRE. Simply give details of your previous education (including transcripts) on your application form.

Q. How many students do you plan to take in for this year?

A. For 2018-19 we are planning to admit approximately 20 students on the course.

Q. I am interested in in pursuing a PhD after the programme, and I would like to know if there are opportunities to continue at Cambridge.

A. Our expectation is that students who are successful on the course will be strong candidates to continue to pursue a PhD at Cambridge or at any other top university.

Q. Does a test score of TOEFL work for this program or does each applicant need an IELTS test score?

A. TOEFL and IELTS are accepted for this course. You can find further details here and here. On the second webpage you can enter course details (MPhil in Machine Learning, Speech and Language Technology) and the scores required will be shown.

Q. Is it possible to work with other departments, such as the psychology department, for example during the thesis?

A. There is scope for students to propose their own research projects, but supervision of the projects will be done by affiliated faculty.

Q. Given the application deadlines for PhD programs at Cambridge, there would be limited progress through the MPhil by the time applications are being considered. Is it is expected that students in the MPhil would be able to go through the application process later?

A. Our expectation is that students who are successful on the course will be strong candidates to continue to pursue a PhD at Cambridge or at any other top university, and so we're very aware of the PhD application deadlines. We have structured the course so that there will be early assessment and feedback, in addition to non-assessed contact with senior academic staff. As the course overview indicates, http://www.mlsalt.eng.cam.ac.uk/Main/CoreModules , the equivalent of 4 modules will be assessed before the 2nd term. This should provide enough of a basis for faculty to write letters of support for applications, studentships, etc.

Q. My question isn't answered. What should I do?

A. For further information please contact e-mail: mlsalt-mphil-enquiries@eng.cam.ac.uk . However please note that we cannot review CVs or applications prior to submission and we cannot give advice on what to put in your application. We regret that it will not be possible to respond to such requests.