Get started with your MPhil in Strategy, Marketing and Operations application

Welcome to the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing and Operations (MPhil in SMO) admissions. We are delighted you’re thinking of joining us. 

If you have excellent academic credentials, a strong quantitative background and an interest in an academic career in a business school, then this programme is for you. 

Take the time to review our application process and admissions requirements. Ensure you apply early to make use of available funding opportunities and increase your chances of getting your preferred College placement.

Applications now closed

Applications for entry in 2024 have now closed. Admissions for 2025 will open in September 2024.

Students chatting.

Who we are looking for?

Every year, our MPhil in SMO cohort is made up of talented, driven and diverse individuals from all over the world.

The Master of Philosophy SMO is for you if:

  • you have a First Class Honours degree or international equivalent
  • your first degree was in a discipline with a strong quantitative orientation
  • you have degree-level mathematical training (if you are taking the Marketing or Operations specialisations), or you did well in your undergraduate/graduate statistics courses (if you are taking the Organisational Behaviour or Strategic Management specialisations)
  • you wish to continue to the PhD at Cambridge or elsewhere

Find out if the MPhil in SMO is right for you.

View the class profile

Application process

Ready to apply for the MPhil in SMO? Here are the key steps:

Application preparation

Prepare your application

Start your application process as early as you can. Contact your referees, gather your academic certificates, research Colleges and funding opportunities. Think about your career goals and prepare your research interests statement. Applying early is especially important if you intend to apply for scholarship funding.

Application submission

When you’re ready, submit your application online

Submit your application form and supporting documents via the University of Cambridge Applicant Portal. 

All the instructions on how to complete the application are included during the online application process. It’s worth taking the time to read the instructions carefully as any mistakes in your application may make it invalid and delay the application process. 

The fee to apply is £50, unless you are eligible for a waiver.

Go to applicant portal

Applications for entry in 2024 have now closed. Admissions for 2025 will open in September 2024.

Receipt of application

Get receipt of your application

You will receive an email or letter of acknowledgement of receipt of your application and supporting documentation, and an ID number from the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

Application review

Review of your application and video interview 

Our Admissions Committee meets to review applications and decide on conditional offers. This process takes several weeks, and you may be invited for a video interview during this time. You will be notified of the outcome by email and the Applicant Portal.

Fraudulent applications

The University of Cambridge takes robust action against admissions fraud. If we find that fake documents or false information has been submitted, we will withdraw the application and any others made by the same person.

Learn more about postgraduate admissions fraud

Conditional offer

Successful candidates receive a Conditional Offer

If your application is successful, you’ll receive a formal offer by email and access to a Self-Service account.  

Use the Self-Service account to find out everything you need to know about the progress of your application and to provide the required documents to meet your offer conditions. You can also print a summary certificate of offer from your Self-Service account.  

This initial offer is conditional on meeting a few requirements, such as: 

  • Financial (proving that you have the funds to support yourself while on the programme). 
  • Language (proving that your English language skills are proficient). 
  • Academic (the provision of original documents). 

It is your responsibility to meet these requirements and to let the Postgraduate Admissions Office know when you have done so by providing the necessary documentary evidence.

Unconditional offer

Progress to Unconditional Offer

The Postgraduate Admissions Office will confirm by email and the Self-Service account that you may begin your MPhil programme at the start of the academic year. Where appropriate you will also receive a Confirmation of Acceptance of Study (CAS) certificate for visa application. 

You can now begin arranging your accommodation in Cambridge and make visa applications where applicable.

Our minimum requirements

Use our handy checklist below to make sure you have everything ready before you start your online application for the MPhil in SMO programme.

All applications are made online, and you need to submit all required supporting documentation, including references and transcripts. An online payment of £50 will be charged for the submission of your completed application (unless you are eligible for a waiver).

You’ll need an excellent degree equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree from a reputable university in a discipline with a strong quantitative orientation, eg industrial or general engineering, economics, statistics, operations research, computer science, physics, or mathematics.

Other degrees would be acceptable, provided you did well in your undergraduate statistics courses, specifically:

  • a psychology degree would also be acceptable for the Organisational Behaviour specialisation
  • a degree in sociology, psychology, business, or management would be acceptable for the Strategic Management specialisation

In most countries the equivalent to a UK bachelor’s is a first degree (Bachelor, Licentiate) but from some countries a masters level degree may be required. The minimum standard required is a UK First Class Honours (USA CGPA of 3.7/4.0) or equivalent from an overseas institution.

Please refer to the Postgraduate Admissions website to find out the minimum requirement from graduates completing their studies in other countries. We take the standing and selectivity of the university into account, as well as your rank within your class.

This is a pre-experience programme, so prior work experience is not required but relevant work experience is appreciated.

The MPhil in Strategy, Marketing and Operations prepares students without prior research experience for PhD-level research in the fields of strategic management, marketing, operations, or organisational behaviour. 

The course provides advanced quantitative methodology training and assumes degree-level mathematics training in linear algebra, calculus and statistics. 

As part of the application, we may ask you to submit a separate letter in which you explain the level of mathematics or statistics training you have received.

To study the Cambridge MPhil in SMO, you need to be proficient in English. If English is not your native language, you’ll need to show: 

  • a minimum IELTS overall score of 7.5, with not less than 7.0 in each element. The separate components must have been taken at the same time and in the past two years. 
  • or a TOEFL internet-based test (iBT) minimum overall score of 110, with not less than 25 in each element.  


Not yet taken a language test? Test result out-of-date or not up to the required standard? Don’t worry, you don’t have to include your English language test scores with your initial application documents; they can be forwarded on later in the process.  

If you are made an offer, one of the conditions of entry will be getting the required standard of language test score.

We will ask you to outline the reasons for applying in a statement. Note that there is a character limit set up for this field. 

When you fill out the application form, please state your preferred specialisation and research interests under research title and summary. Note that there is a 1,000 character limit set up for this field. 

Have your CV (curriculum vitae, or résumé) ready to upload via the Applicant Portal, as this is a required part of your application for admission.

You’ll need to provide two academic references for your MPhil application and we expect that your referees will be able to comment on your quantitative abilities. Please provide your referees’ work emails (not personal emails), so we can forward an automated reference request from the application portal. You’ll be able to track your references online.

Fees and funding for MPhils

Find out more about financing your MPhil and explore scholarships and loans available to you.

Fees and funding