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The MPhil in Strategy, Marketing, and Operations (SMO) prepares students for an academic career in a business school. This intensive nine-month programme is made up of four specialisations, each providing foundational coursework for a specific PhD pathway.


The programme has the following specialisations:

Alternatively, as a discretionary option, you may take a suite of coursework specialising in Organisational Behaviour.

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Admission deadline: 28 Apr 2023
However we recommend you apply before December if you wish to be considered for funding.

Cambridge Trusts funding deadlines:

  • 12 Oct for Gates US applicants
  • 1 Dec for applicants from all other countries


Learn more about the people who make up our current class.

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The perfect location for your transformational year of study.

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Fees & scholarships

Visit the Postgraduate Admissions website to learn about course costs, your fee status and more.

There are a range of scholarships available to MPhil students at Cambridge Judge Business School.

View MPhil Scholarships

Why Cambridge?

Cambridge MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations alumnus Charles Ebert explains what drew him to the programme.

Why did you chose the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations?

I chose the MPhil programme because my previous research partner at my University for undergrad actually chose the programme and he talked about how great it was. So I looked into it and I thought it was a really great opportunity, so I applied here. And it was a way to apply my undergrad, which was math theory, to a more applied setting in an economic background.

What has impressed you most about the programme?

The thing that impressed me most about the programme is that I was able to bring up interesting and even controversial research topics that the professors were engaged with. Even if it was something that maybe they weren’t interested in themselves, they would talk to me, try to help me develop my ideas on it.

How do you find the teaching?

The teaching is really interesting, it’s very, very engaged, it’s very, very thorough. They have a lot of different articles that make you read and a lot of work that you have to do. So definitely not too much but enough to keep you working hard. They let you develop your own ideas on each subject and then they talk about what the general idea is behind it and then they help you develop yours in collaboration with the general idea further. So I like it a lot.

What is being based at the business school like?

The programme is amazing. It’s more of the academic track and it’s really exciting because I get to associate with a lot of the MBAs and a lot of people are doing MPhil Finance, and a lot of people are doing a lot of different programmes. And to see what they’re doing and see what I’m doing. It just leads us to great collaborations, great connections.

How is Cambridge as a location?

The location is amazing. I’ve come from America so I just absolutely love just how ancient everything is here but yet how modern it is at the same time. And it’s in Europe so I was able to do a lot of travelling while I was here and find some really amazing places I could go. So I really appreciate it. Because Cambridge is so well known, a lot of business connections that I’m trying to make come here for conferences to talk to anyways. So I find it really is the best of both worlds.

Any advice for future students?

I think it’s fantastic. I think that if you do come here, make sure that you spend some time walking around Cambridge. It is very, very rigorous. They sometimes call this place the land of missed opportunities because of how many great things there are here. So make sure that you take some time to explore the rest of the University and the rest of the city.


You are required to complete nine modules, covering research methodology, foundation courses, and research seminars on cognate subjects. 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. 

If you are taking either the Strategic Management or the Organisational Behaviour specialisation and have a well-developed research proposal, you can take six modules instead of nine, and write a 12,000-word dissertation (which carries a weight equivalent to three modules), working closely with a faculty member on your research topic. Students wishing to do a dissertation would 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

The online pre-course in mathematical and statistical methods takes place in September before the academic year begins in October. The pre-course is mandatory; those who do not take it will not be admitted to the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations programme. The details about the pre-course will be confirmed in your offer letter.


Assessment will be 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.

Continuation to PhD

Those wishing to continue to the PhD 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.