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Postgraduate course overview

Research in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

The Molecular and Cell Department has interests and expertise in diverse areas of biology. Plant stress research, plant biotechnology, signal transduction in Arabidopsis thaliana, eukaryotic gene expression, Autism Spectrum Disorder genetics, molecular virology, biochemistry in relation to HIV proteins and Plasmodium, cellular and molecular immunology with regard to Leishmaniasis, marine biotechnology and actinomycete microbiology. 

  • MCB4002W | Molecular and Cell Biology Honours

    Since the code MCB4002W will not carry a NQF credit value, students will be concurrently registered for MCB4003W (coursework component of 96 NQF credits) and MCB4004W (research project of 64 NQF credits).
    160 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

    Convener
    Dr Thomas Oelgeschläger

    Course entry requirements
    BSc degree with a major in Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Genetics or Microbiology. Molecular-based courses are highly recommended. Preference may be given to UCT graduates.
    Entrance is limited to 30 students, dependent on availability of supervisors and funding. Acceptance will be at the discretion of the Head of Department who will consider quality of senior course results and material covered in the undergraduate curriculum.

    Course outline
    The first part of this course consists of a ten-week techniques course including gel electrophoresis, recombinant DNA technology, PCR, sequencing, bioinformatics, gene expression, protein isolation and analysis, confocal and electron microscopy, and large data set analysis. After successful completion of the techniques course, a six-month research project on a specific topic will be undertaken.
    DP requirements: Techniques examination must be passed at 50% to continue course. 

    Assessment
    Two 3-hour techniques examinations written in May, and the techniques course assignments, count 20%; essays count 15%; oral presentations count 20%; statistics module 1%, one 4-hour examination written in November counts 10%; project counts 34%. The research project must be passed at 50%. These component parts of the course will be combined in a final overall mark which will be reflected against the course code MCB4002W, with PA (pass) entered against the coursework and project codes; each of these components must be passed separately for the award of the degree. 

    Please note that offers may only be confirmed in early January. Please direct enquiries concerning the honours course to:
    Dr Thomas Oelgeschläger, Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701 
    Fax: 021 650 1861; Tel: 021 650 4115; Email: thomas.oelgeschlager@uct.ac.za

    You will be sent a letter from the Science Faculty acknowledging receipt of your application. We will assess all applicants in the beginning of October and you will be notified if you have been offered a place; you will then be required to either accept the offer of a position or turn the offer down via the online application.

  • MCB5005W | Molecular and Cell Biology Masters by Dissertation

    180 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

    Course outline
    This course consists of an investigation of an approved topic chosen for intensive study by the candidate (student), culminating in the submission of a dissertation. The dissertation shall demonstrate the successful completion of a programme of training in research methods, a thorough understanding of the scientific principles underlying the research and an appropriate acquaintance with the relevant literature. It must be clearly presented and conform to the standards of the department and faculty. The dissertation will usually consist of a report detailing the conduct, and analysis of the results of, research performed under the close guidance of a suitably qualified supervisor/s. The dissertation should be well-conceived and acknowledge earlier research in the field. It should demonstrate the ability to undertake a substantial and informed piece of research, and to collect, organise and analyse material. General rules for this degree may be found in the front of the Science Faculty handbook.

    Application procedure
    Students interested in pursuing Postgraduate studies in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology should do the following:

    1. Identify whom you would like to have as a supervisor of your postgraduate studies by looking up the individual research profiles of each of our academic staff members or the MCB research page. Staff members will advertise potential graduate research projects on their web sites
    2. Email the academic concerned with a copy of your CV and academic record, and names of three referees. Express an interest in their research area, and ask the academic if they would be prepared to offer you a graduate research project.
    3. Once supported by the host department, follow the instructions set out on the Application Guidelines page

  • MCB6002W | Molecular and Cell Biology PhD Thesis

    360 NQF credits at HEQSF level 10

    Course outline
    The PhD is a research degree on an advanced topic under supervision which can be taken in any of the departments in the Faculty. Examination is by thesis alone. A candidate shall undertake doctoral research and advanced study under the guidance of a supervisor/s appointed by Senate.
    The thesis must constitute a substantial contribution to knowledge in the chosen subject, must show evidence of original investigation and give a full statement of the literature on the subject. The PhD degree demands that the candidate is able to conduct independent research on his/her own initiative. Through the thesis the candidate must be able to demonstrate that he/she is at the academic forefront in the topic selected, that the work is original and that it advances our knowledge in the relevant field.
    Candidates are referred to the rules for this degree as set out in Book 3, General Rules and Policies.

    Application procedure 
    Students interested in pursuing Postgraduate studies in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology should do the following:

    1. Identify whom you would like to have as a supervisor of your postgraduate studies by looking up the individual research profiles of each of our academic staff members or the MCB research page. Staff members will often advertise potential graduate research projects on their web sites
    2. Email the academic concerned with a copy of your CV and academic record, and names of three referees. Express an interest in their research area, and ask the academic if they would be prepared to offer you a graduate research project.
    3. Once supported by the host department, follow the instructions set out on the Application Guidelines page.

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