Master of Philosophy in Strategy, Marketing and Operations – Curriculum

Expert teaching, intensive learning experience

Delivered through expert teaching in research methodology and foundational subjects, the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing and Operations prepares you for a research career in your chosen field. 

Over nine months on the programme, you will take 9 courses related to your field of specialisation and participate in research seminars on current debates and subjects such as strategy, marketing, innovation, and operations and technology management. 

The MPhil in SMO is one of the Business School’s specialist research MPhils and is an integral part for a CJBS PhD. 


Explore the 4 specialisms of the programme and their related foundational coursework that prepares you for a specific PhD pathway.

In the Marketing specialisation, you will take 9 courses covering marketing strategy/marketing modelling and consumer behaviour. 

[link to marketing specialisation] 

OTM is a diverse field and inherently multidisciplinary. You will take 9 core and elective courses covering a wide variety of topics. 

[link to OTM specialisation] 

If you take the OB specialisation, you will be expected to write a dissertation, working closely with your supervisor. You will take 6 courses, of which 5 are core courses and one elective. 

[link to OB specialisation] 

As a student on the Strategic Management specialisation, you will take 5 core courses and one elective, including strategy area specialisation courses and a methods/statistics course. You will also work closely with a CJBS faculty to write a dissertation on your research topic.

[link to strategic management specialisation]

Dissertation option

It may be possible for students to offer a dissertation in place of three modules. If you are taking either the Strategic Management or the Organisational Behaviour specialisation and have a well-developed research proposal, you can take 6 modules, instead of 9, and write a 12,000-word dissertation, which carries a weight equivalent to 3 modules, working closely with a faculty member on your research topic.  

You will need to submit a dissertation proposal to the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations Programme Director by early Michaelmas Term. Dissertations can only be approved if a faculty member commits to act as supervisor. If you wish to do a dissertation, we strongly encourage you to contact prospective supervisors during the summer and develop your dissertation proposal jointly with the supervising faculty. 

Preparatory Maths & Statistics

You will start your MPhil by completing the online pre-course in mathematical and statistical methods in September before the academic year begins in October. This pre-course is mandatory and if you don’t take it, you will not be admitted to the MPhil programme.

Individual research project

Apart from taught research courses, you may also do a short, 5,000-word individual research project in lieu of one module. This typically takes place towards the end of the programme and can only be approved if a faculty member commits to act as supervisor.

Continuing to PhD

If you wish to continue to the PhD, you must apply by the end of your first term on the MPhil. Interviews take place early in the second term, with final decisions based on: 

  • Reports from interviews
  • Academic reference letters 
  • How your research interest fits the faculty’s expertise 
  • Performance in Michaelmas Term. 

Formal PhD offers are made in February, typically conditional on final performance in the programme. All continuing PhD students are fully funded.

Your learning experience

Learn through weekly classes and research seminars in your field of specialisation. Class sizes vary from year to year but are typically small, allowing for deep faculty engagement, collaboration and development of team spirit. 

You will be challenged to sharpen your ability to critique research papers by engaging in independent reading and study of academic literature. You will practise your public speaking skills by delivering individual or group presentations. If you decide to take the dissertation option, you will also enjoy one-to-one supervision with a Cambridge Judge faculty.


Your performance on the programme will be assessed by written examination, project, or coursework, depending upon the nature of the particular module. The exact composition will be determined in advance by the co-ordinator for the particular module, in consultation with the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations Programme Director. In the final assessment, each course module will have equal weight and a dissertation is equivalent to three courses.

Alumna Li Xin Wong talks about Cambridge and the business school.


World class faculty: diverse, energetic and international thought leaders whose passion is to share their knowledge and to inspire. 


Beyond academics

Read stories from Cambridge students and alumni who have forged successful academic career paths after their MPhil SMO. 

Learn about the student experience