UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
2      Welcome                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             5

                                                                                           Welcome to
Welcome                                                                                    Cambridge
                                                                                           Consistently rated among the top universities in
                                                                                           both national and international league tables, the
                                                                                           University of Cambridge offers a world leading
                                                                                           postgraduate education. With a global outlook and
                                                                                           reach, our mission is to contribute to society through
For hundreds of years,                        My student days at Cambridge offered         the pursuit of education, learning and research at
                                              me the precious opportunity to challenge
Cambridge has nurtured                        and deepen my knowledge. But they
                                                                                           the highest international levels of excellence.
generation after generation                   also provided the space and the time
of students.                                  to broaden my intellectual horizons,
                                              allowing me to read voraciously and
The collegiate University is bound
together by a deep-rooted sense of
community, shared purposes and a
                                              widely, and to interact with one of the
                                              most stimulating and diverse groups of
                                              people I had ever met – staff and students
                                                                                           140+                                                                                                                                 Top 5
                                              from around the globe.                       countries represented among undergraduates                                                                                           for academic and employer reputation
willingness to share resources and talents.
                                                                                           and postgraduate students                                                                                                            (QS World University Rankings 2019)
Our commitment to excellence in
                                              At Cambridge, we continue to reach our
education, learning and research is

                                                                                           Top 10                                                                                                                               98
                                              hands outward. As we do so, we welcome
uncompromising and lived out in practice
                                              an ever more diverse group of students
every day in our lecture theatres and
                                              who have the desire and ability to learn
supervision rooms, our libraries and labs.
                                              and produce new insights that shift our      Cambridge is one of the top ten universities most                                                                                    affiliates of the University have been awarded
                                              understanding of the world around us.        often targeted by Britain’s leading graduate                                                                                         the Nobel Prize since 1904
                                                                                           employers (The Graduate Market in 2019)

                                              Professor Stephen Toope

                                                                                           Timeline of People at Cambridge ............................................................. 4                                       Applying .................................................................................................................. 14
                                                                                           Our Research ............................................................................................................ 6           After Applying ..................................................................................................... 16
                                                                                           Courses ........................................................................................................................ 8    Finance and Funding ...................................................................................... 18
                                                                                           Research Facilities ................................................................................................. 9               Colleges ................................................................................................................... 20
                                                                                           Student Support ................................................................................................ 10                   International Students / Frequently Asked Questions ........... 22
                                                                                           Careers ....................................................................................................................... 11    Find Out More and Visit Us ......................................................................... 23
                                                                                           Student Life ............................................................................................................ 12
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
6       Timeline of People at Cambridge                                                                                                                                                                                                               7

 of pe op le at
Cambridge                                                                   Charles Darwin
                                                                            Reproduced by kind perm
                                                                            and Fellows of Christ’s
                                                                                                       ission of the Master
                                                                                                                                                                                           J.J. Thomson
                                                                                                                                                          Courtesy and copyright of the Cavendish Laboratory
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Xu Zhimo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             John Cockcro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Courtesy and cop
                                                                                                    College                                                                                                                                                 yright of the Ca
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             vendish Laborat

1687                           1831                                                                                  1869                           1897                               1912                    1928                   1932

Isaac Newton                   Charles Darwin is                                                                      Emily Davies, suffragist,     J.J. Thomson,                      Lawrence Bragg          Xu Zhimo               The atom is split for the first time, creating
publishes ‘Principia           recommended by Botany                                                                  and others found              Cavendish Professor                discovers the           composes his           the study of nuclear physics, by John
Mathematica’,                  Professor John Stevens                                                                 Girton College, the first     of Physics, discovers              mechanism of            influential poem       Crockcroft and Ernest Walton under
establishing the               Henslow to join HMS Beagle                                                             residential university-       the electron. In                   X-ray diffraction.      ‘On Leaving            the direction of Ernest Rutherford. Their
fundamental principles         as the naturalist on its                                                               level institution of higher   following years,                   Three years later,      Cambridge’ whilst      Nobel Prize for physics is awarded in 1951.
of modern physics.             scientific survey of South                                                             learning for women.           inventors use his                  he shares his           studying at the        In this year, F.R. Leavis, Lecturer in English,
                               American waters.                                                                                                     work to develop                    Nobel Prize for         University as a
                                                                      Emily Davies                                                                                                                                                    also publishes ‘New Bearing in English
                                                                                         nt: The Mistress
                                                                                                          and                                       new devices such as                Physics with his        visiting scholar.      Poetry’. His distinctive style of literary and
                                                                       Acknowledgeme            e, Cambridge
                                                                       Fellows, Gir ton Co lleg                                                     the telephone, radio               father, W.H. Bragg.                            cultural criticism influences generations
                                                                                                                                                    and television.                                                                   of students in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

                                        1960                                                                        1953                                                          1947                          1941                  1938

                                        Sir Charles Oatley,                                                          Rosalind Franklin,                                           David Attenborough             The first            Dorothy Garrod is
                                        Professor of Electrical                                                      Francis Crick and                                            graduates having studied       aeroplane to be      elected to the Disney
1968                                    Engineering at the                                                           James Watson discover                                        Natural Sciences.              powered by one       Professorship in
Anthony Hewish and                      University’s Department                                                      the structure of DNA.                                                                       of Frank Whittle’s   Archaeology, the first
Jocelyn Bell discover                   of Engineering, leads a                                                      Their discovery opens                                                                       revolutionary new    woman Professor at
pulsating stars or ‘pulsars’            team which develops                  Rosalind Fran                           the door to the study                                                                       jet engines takes    Cambridge.                        Dorothy G
using Cambridge’s                       the first scanning                   Credit: Newnha                          of an entirely new                              ugh                                         to the air.                                           Credit: New
                                                                                            m                                                                  enboro nd                                                                                                           nham College
                                                                                                                                                       avid Att
Mullard Radio Astronomy                 electron microscope.                 College Cambrid
                                                                                             ge                      science - genetics.             D                la
                                                                                                                                                                    Chris B
Observatory. Their work
alters the course of
modern cosmology.
                                                                                                                                                                                     Zadie Smith                                                                  Her Majesty is the Patroness of
                                        1988                                                                        1999                            2000                             Credit: David Sha              2009              2019                        Queens’ and visited the College for
                                                                                                                                                                                                      kbone                                                       lunch with more than 80 Fellows,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  students and staff.

                                        Professor Stephen Hawking, Lucasian                                          Cambridge scientists           Alumna Zadie                                                    The University    Her Majesty
                                        Professor of Mathematics, publishes his book,                                identify the gene              Smith releases                                                  of Cambridge      the Queen
                                        ‘A Brief History of Time’, one of the best-selling                           causing diabetes and           her debut novel,                                                celebrates        opens the
                                        scientific books of all time. He is already                                  high blood pressure.           'White Teeth', which                                            its 800th         Papworth
                                        eminent for his work on black holes and the                                                                 becomes a best                                                  anniversary.      hospital on the
                                        Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.                                                              seller and wins a                                                                 Cambridge
                                                                                                                                                    number of awards.                                                                 Biomedical
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
8        Our Research                                                                                                                                                                                                        9

                                                                                                                                                                                           1                                              4

Our Research
In Cambridge, we are committed to achieving excellence in research,
and to ensuring that our research contributes to the wellbeing of society.
Here are a few examples of recent research topics at Cambridge:

                                                                                                                                                                                               Exploring viral charity campaigns
1. Using AI to avert ‘environmental catastrophe’ -                  7. Pioneering a new way to turn sunlight into fuel -                 Using AI to avert                                     and their psychological ‘recipe’
A new Centre at the University of Cambridge will develop            The quest to find new ways to harness solar power has                ‘environmental catastrophe’                           and all-too-brief lifespan
artificial intelligence techniques to help address some of          taken a step forward after researchers successfully split
the biggest threats facing the planet.                              water into hydrogen and oxygen by altering the
                                                                    photosynthetic machinery in plants.
2. ‘Murder map’ reveals medieval London’s meanest streets           Credit: Katarzyna Sokół
- First digital map of the murders recorded by the city’s coroner                                                                                                                              5                                              Discovering how
in early 1300s shows Cheapside and Cornhill were homicide           8. Discovering how multilingualism could benefit                                                                                                                          multilingualism could benefit
‘hot spots’, and Sundays held the highest risk of violent death                                                                                                                                                                               India’s poorest schoolchildren
                                                                    India’s poorest schoolchildren - Multilingualism is the                                                                2
for medieval Londoners.                                             norm in India. But rather than enjoying the cognitive and
Credit: Violence Research Centre                                    learning advantages seen in multilingual children in the
                                                                    Global North, Indian children show low levels of learning
                                                                    basic school skills. Professor Ianthi Tsimpli is trying to
3. Developing technique to ‘listen’ to a patient’s
                                                                    disentangle the causes of this paradox.
brain during tumour surgery - Surgeons could soon
                                                                    Credit: Ianthi Tsimpli
eavesdrop on a patient’s brain activity during surgery to                                                                                                                                      Rapid melting of the world’s largest ice
remove their brain tumour, helping improve the accuracy of                                                                                                    shelf linked to solar heat in the ocean
the operation and reduce the risk of impairing brain function.
Credit: Kai Schreiber                                               9. How AI system may accelerate search for cancer
                                                                    discoveries - Searching through the mountains of published
                                                                    cancer research could be made easier for scientists, thanks
4. Exploring viral charity campaigns and their                                                                                           ‘Murder map’ reveals medieval                                                                    6
                                                                    to a new AI system. Global cancer research attracts massive          London’s meanest streets
psychological ‘recipe’ and all-too-brief lifespan -
                                                                    amounts of funding worldwide, and the scientific literature is
New work focusing on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge reveals
                                                                    now so huge that researchers are struggling to keep up with
the very brief shelf life of such viral campaigns, and suggests
                                                                    it. It is the first literature-based discovery system aimed at
the nature of ‘virality’ and social tipping points themselves
                                                                    supporting cancer research.
may be a stumbling block to deeper engagement with
social issues that campaigns aim to promote.
                                                                    Credit: NIH Image Gallery
Credit: Charlie Baker                                                                                                                                                                          Researching how washable, wearable             How AI system may accelerate
                                                                    10. Solar storms could cost USA tens of billions of dollars                                                                battery-like devices could be woven            search for cancer discoveries
5. Rapid melting of the world’s largest ice shelf                   - The daily economic cost to the USA from solar storm-induced                                                              directly into clothes
                                                                    electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars,
linked to solar heat in the ocean - An international
                                                                    with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the
team of scientists has found part of the world’s largest ice
                                                                    blackout zone.
shelf is melting 10 times faster than the overall ice shelf                                                                                                                                                                                   10
average due to solar heating of the surrounding
                                                                    Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
ocean surface.                                                                                                                                                                                 7
Credit: Poul Christoffersen

6. Researching how washable, wearable battery-like
devices could be woven directly into clothes - Based
on cheap, safe and environmentally-friendly inks and woven
directly into fabrics, washable, wearable ‘batteries’ have been                            Find out more about the research
developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge.                                   taking place at Cambridge by
Credit: Felice Torrisi                                                                     visiting our website -                                                                              Pioneering a new way to turn                   Solar storms could cost USA
                                                                                                                                         Developing technique to ‘listen’ to a patient’s       sunlight into fuel                             tens of billions of dollars
                                                                                                                                         brain during tumour surgery
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
10      Courses | Research Facilities                                                                                                                                                           11

                                                                                                                    Research                                                                                    ‘Being in Cambridge gives

Courses                                                                                                             Facilities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                you access to virtually any
                                                                                                                                                                                                                resource that you might need
                                                                                                                                                                                                                to consult in your research:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                not only the existing stock

                                                                                                                    and Support
                                                                                                                                                                                                                in all the libraries, but also
                                                                                                                                                                                                                additional books, articles,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                etc. that they can quickly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                acquire for you.’
With over 300 postgraduate courses on offer                        PhD Research                                     More than 100 libraries across the collegiate University                                    PhD in English
at Cambridge, including taught and research                        The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the
opportunities across an incredibly broad range                     principal research degree at Cambridge and is
of academic disciplines, you can choose a course                   available in all faculties and departments.      Libraries                                 Museums                                      Computing and IT
that suits your subject and research interests.                    As a doctoral student, you will be focussed      The collegiate University has more        The University has nine specialist           All Colleges, as well as many
                                                                   on research which represents a significant       than 100 libraries across the Colleges,   museums and collections, as well             departments and libraries, have
                                                                   contribution to learning, and you’ll work        faculties and departments. The main       as the University Botanic Garden.            computer suites offering a range
                                                                   on this research in a department which is        University Library is a legal deposit     Encompassing a wide range of                 of general and specialist software.
Masters at Cambridge: The MPhil Explained                          internationally renowned for the originality     library holding more than eight           resources from local archaeological          Wi-Fi is available throughout the
At Cambridge, the majority of our Master’s degrees lead            and global significance of its advances in       million books, journals and other         finds and internationally renowned           Colleges and departments, and most
to a Master of Philosophy (MPhil). There are two types of          theories and knowledge.                          documents ranging in age from 3,000       paintings to specimens collected             College rooms are connected to the
MPhil on offer at Cambridge:                                                                                        year-old manuscripts to the latest        by Charles Darwin, postgraduate              University network and internet. An
   The MPhil by Advanced Study
                                                                   Teaching                                         articles available online. Postgraduate   students are able to use these               IT service desk and free computer
   (includes a taught element)                                     At Cambridge, you will be taught by academics    students also have access to the          collections for study, research,             programme training courses are
                                                                   who are prominent experts and leaders in their   University Library’s 32 affiliated        and also for personal interest.              available to all students.
   The MPhil by Research                                                                                            libraries, covering a broad range
                                                                   field. Your department or faculty will assign                                                  
Both types of MPhil provide excellent preparation for full-scale                                                    of subjects.
                                                                   you a personal supervisor whose role is to
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Over 8 mil lion volumes
PhD research. MPhil students are introduced to specialist                                                 
knowledge and research skills by gaining valuable experience
                                                                   guide your programme of study or research.                                                 Language tuition
                                                                                                                                                                                                            in the Uni versity Library
                                                                   It is this blend of academic challenge and
in preparing and producing a research dissertation.                                                                                                           Whether you wish to learn a new
                                                                   supportive encouragement which makes             Skills training                           language or improve your language
                                                                   postgraduate study at Cambridge an
                                                                                                                    All postgraduate students receive         skills to complement your studies
                                                                   intellectually rewarding experience.
                                                                                                                    training in research skills via their     and enhance your employability, the
                                                                                                                    department or faculty’s postgraduate      Language Centre offers taught and
                                                                                                                    training programme. Students also         self-study courses at various levels in
                                                                   For more answers to Frequently Asked             have access to optional skill-based       a number of languages. An academic
                                                                   Questions, please visit our website:             courses provided by departments, the      English language support programme
                                                                                                                    Centre for Professional and Personal      is also available for overseas students
                                                                                       Development, and the                      who require additional help to refine
                                                                                                                    Careers Service.                          their language ability.
‘What I enjoy the most here is the
access to a large amount of training.
Also, the visiting scholars that this
university attracts make the                                                                                        ‘No matter what resource you need access to,
discussion much more interesting.’                                                                                  Cambridge can connect you to it. Be it journal
                                                                                                                    articles, archived material, or collaborators around
Simon                                                                                                               the world, Cambridge is a nexus for it all.’
PhD in Theoretical Chemistry
                                                                                                                    PhD in Plant Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
12       Student Support | Careers                                                                                                                                                                   13

Student Support                                                                                                                Careers
Graduate Union                           Disability Resource                        Childcare Office                           Career destinations
Our Graduate Union (GU) represents       Centre                                     The Childcare Office operates              Cambridge graduates are highly employable and our students
the interests of all postgraduate        The Disability Resource Centre (DRC)       an Information Service, which aims         go on to careers across many industries and sectors. But it is not
students and provides a range of         offers guidance, information and           to support families of the University      just employment that our postgraduate courses prepare you for –
central services and support to          support, and is an essential contact for   community. The service offers              many Master’s students go into further research study, and many
help ensure you have a fulfilling        disabled applicants including those        information on family related issues       of our PhD students pursue careers in research and academia.
student experience. We are proud         with a specific learning difficulty or     including childcare, schooling, health     The University of Cambridge Careers Service can work with
that our Graduate Union is one of        long-term health condition. Disclosing     care, financial support and local          you from day one to explore options, connect with employers
the only students’ unions in the UK      this information won’t form part of the    community resources. The University        and navigate the complex job market – saving you time and
exclusively for postgraduate students.   decision process and your application      has three day nurseries at Edwinstowe      maximising your employability prospects. Whether you have
Membership of the Graduate Union is      will be processed in exactly the same      Close, West Cambridge and Eddington        no idea what to do next, a few ideas or a definite plan, the Careers
automatic and free, and spouses and      way as any other application.              for children from three months to school   Service offer plenty to help you take the next step, such as:
partners are able to become associate                                               age, as well as a Holiday Playscheme
members in order to attend events        You are strongly encouraged to                                                        • One-to-one guidance consultations;
                                                                                    which operates during the state school
and use GU services.                     disclose any disability including any      holiday periods (excluding Christmas and   • 14 major careers events each year;
                                         specific learning difficulty (SpLD),       Bank Holidays) for school-age children.
The GU is run by a board of elected                                                                                            • An extensive programme of briefings and skill sessions;
                                         long-term health condition or
officers and an Executive Committee                                                     • Upcoming employer presentations;
of voluntary student officers, who
                                         mental health condition, and provide
                                         any relevant information in your                                                      • Free resources to help create CVs and cover letters;                      No. 1 in the UK for
focus on four key areas:                                                            Other Sources of Support
• Representation
                                         application. If you have disclosed a
                                         disability and receive a conditional       Accommodation Service
                                                                                                                               • Free access to online practice psychometric tests                         employer reputation
                                                                                          • A database of over 4,000 job vacancies.
• Welfare and support                    offer of admission to the University,
                                         the DRC will get in contact to put a                                                                                               (QS World University
• Student services and facilities                                                   International Student Office                                                                                           Rankings 2019)
                                         support plan in place to make any
• Events                                 reasonable adjustments during your
The GU, along with the                   time at Cambridge.
Undergraduate Students’ Union  
(CUSU), also run the Students’
Unions’ Advice Service in order          Faith
to provide free, confidential and                                                                                                                                                                     Advice tailored to you
                                         The University of Cambridge
independent support to all students                                                                                                                                                                   The Careers Service offers a wide range
                                         and its Colleges are a multi-faith
of the University of Cambridge.                                                                                                                                                                       of services, including advice and support
                                         community and provide facilities               ‘Support from academic                  and opportunities for individuals to                                                                                                                         specific to postgraduate students. You can
                                                                                        supervisors has been                                                                                          make an appointment with the Careers
                                         explore their faith and beliefs. The           exceptional - I have a great
                                         University provides a range of faith                                                                                                                         Service for personally tailored advice and
                                                                                        relationship with my                                                                                          to consider your options, and our careers
                                         societies and communities which are            supervisor and other staff
                                         open to all individuals, with multi-                                                                                                                         advisers can help you make informed
                                                                                        in the department. I have                                                                                     career choices and work out what to
                                         faith facilities available to Cambridge        engaged with the Counselling
                                         students. Around Cambridge there are                                                                                                                         do next, whether that is:
                                                                                        service at the University who
                                         also a range of religion-specific places       provide excellent support                                                                                     • Matching your interests and skills
                                         of worship. Some Colleges also have a          and welfare services and                                                                                         to possible careers
                                         Chaplain or Dean who have a pastoral           are an integral part of the                                                                                   • Providing guidance on working
                                         role among members of the College              support/welfare at the                                                                                           as a postgraduate student
                                         community and are available to all             University.’                                                                                                  • Offering job application support
                                         students of all faiths.
                                                                                        PhD in Medical Science
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
14         Student Life                                                                                                     15

Student life
                                    Entertainment,                                                                             • Games, hobbies and
                                                                                                                                 outdoor pursuits
                                    music and festivals
                                                                                                                               • Media (eg. journalism, TV, radio,
                                    However you like to spend your time,                                                         film-making, photography)
                                    there’s always something to keep you

       In and arou nd Ca mbrid ge
                                                                                                                               • Performing arts (eg. comedy,
                                    entertained. Cambridge has four
                                                                                                                                 dance, drama, music)
                                    theatres, three cinemas, and two major
                                    entertainment venues offering varied                                                       • Politics and debating
                                    programmes that include comedy,                                                            • Science and technology
                                    drama, dance, concerts and club                                                            See the full range on the Societies
                                    nights. Throughout the year, the city                                                      Directory:
                                    hosts a growing number of music
                                    festivals as well as lots of other events,                                                 Sport
                                    fairs and festivals, including:                                                            The sports scene at Cambridge is
                                    • Folk, Jazz and Rock Festivals              Outside the city                              huge. More than 80 sports are offered
                                    • Buskers and Street                         If you want to explore further afield,        here, including team games, water
                                      Performers Festival                        London is just 50 minutes away by             sports, martial arts, racket sports
                                    • Watersprite International                  train and there’s also plenty to              and extreme sports.
                                      Student Film Festival                      discover in the region.                       One of the advantages of being
                                    • History Festival                           • Walking and cycling routes                  collegiate is how easy it is for students
                                    • Literary Festival                          • Punting up river to Grantchester            to get involved with sports at any
                                    • Eat Cambridge Festival                     • Ely and its cathedral                       level. There are College teams for
                                    • Beer Festival                              • Historical buildings, gardens               novices and experts, as well as the
                                    • Strawberry Fair                              and museums                                 University teams that represent
                                    • Midsummer Fair                                                                           Cambridge against other universities
                                                                                 • Nature reserves, wildlife parks
                                    • Shakespeare Festival                                                                     and club teams. Most sports teams
                                                                                   and zoos
                                                                                                                               at the University include a mix of
                                    • Film Festival                              • Karting, a real snow slope,
                                                                                                                               undergraduates and postgraduates
                                    • Dragonboat Festival                          and indoor skydiving
                                                                                                                               so everyone is welcome to take part.
                                    • Mill Road Winter Fair
                                                                                 Student societies                             Many clubs and groups offer taster
                                    Pubs, clubs and restaurants                  All students at Cambridge are able to         sessions at the beginning of each year so
                                    Cambridge has a great range of pubs          take full advantage of the clubs and          you can try them out and find out more.
                                    and coffee shops – there are more            societies on offer at the University,
                                    than 100 before you start to count the       and our postgraduate students can
                                    dozens of College and University bars        get involved in all aspects of student
                                    and cafés! There’s a great selection         life here beyond their academic studies.
                                     of places to eat for any mood, taste,
     ‘One thing I do love about     occasion, and budget. Better still,
                                                                                 At Cambridge, there are hundreds
                                                                                 of student groups, clubs and
                                                                                                                                Cambridge emerged victorious
     Cambridge is the variety
     of niche-interest clubs
                                    various cafés and restaurants offer
                                                                                 societies relating to:                         in the lesser known Oxf ord
                                                                                                                                and Cambridge Goat Race
                                    special discounts for students.
     available - the only                                                        • Academic subjects
     difficulty is not doing        Shopping                                     • Community, charity and                       of 2017.
     too many things!’                                                             volunteering projects
                                    Cambridge’s three shopping centres,
     Lee                            the market and the city’s central            • Particular cultures
                                    streets house most high street names           and nationalities
     PhD in Anglo-Saxon,
     Norse and Celtic               alongside independent shops and              • The environment
                                    boutiques. Just outside the centre, you      • Faiths and religions
                                    can find an eclectic mix of international    • Food and drink
                                    food shops, cafés and restaurants.

                                    ‘Cambridge for me is just the right size. Big enough
                                    so that there is lots going on and you don’t get bored,
                                    but small enough that you feel part of a community’                  PhD in Pharmacology
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
16      Applying to Cambridge                                                                                                                                                                               17

Applying to                                                                                                                   3                                        4                                      5
Cambridge                                                                                                                  Applicant
                                                                                                                                                                                                            All postgraduates are a member of a
                                                                                                                                                                                                            College (see p20-21). In your application
To apply to the University of Cambridge, you must submit an online application                                             The Applicant Portal is where            You are required to submit two          to Cambridge, you can indicate two
through the Applicant Portal on our Graduate Admissions website. Applications to                                           you write and submit your                academic references, which you          College preferences or choose to make
our postgraduate courses open in early September each year with various deadlines                                          application, as well as pay the          can request and submit via the          an open application to have a College
                                                                                                                           application fee. Visit our website       Applicant Portal. You should            allocated to you. While over 65 per cent
throughout the year that you need to consider. This section guides you through the
                                                                                                                           to see if you are eligible for a fee     ensure you have your referees’          of applicants get one of their College
postgraduate application process, from finding your ideal course, to receiving an offer.                                   waiver. Once you have selected           consent before you apply.               preferences, this cannot be guaranteed.
                                                                                                                           your course in the Course                                                        Please note that departments/faculties
                                                                                                                                                                    Your referees must submit their
                                                                                                                           Directory, click the 'Apply Online'                                              make admissions decisions for

   1                                                 2
                                                                                                                                                                    references before your application
                                                                                                                           button to be directed to the                                                     postgraduate courses at Cambridge.
                                                                                                                                                                    is considered, so you should request
                                                                                                                           Applicant Portal.
                                                                                                                                                                    your references as early as possible.
                                                                                                                           Any supporting documentation
Course                                           Deadlines                                                                 requested on the course page
                                                                                                                           (e.g. transcripts) must also be
Before applying, you should thoroughly           There are two deadlines that you need to consider: the application        uploaded in a pdf format via the
research your prospective course, including      and funding deadlines.                                                    Applicant Portal by the deadline.
its requirements, deadlines and course costs.    If you wish to be considered in our Graduate Funding Competition
If you are applying for a PhD, you are advised   (see p18-19) you need to apply by the funding deadline. Course and
to get in touch with a potential supervisor in   funding applications are made via the same online form, so you
the relevant Department/Faculty. For advice      must apply by whichever deadline comes first.
on how to find a suitable supervisor, you can
                                                 Please note, applications may close before the course deadline if all
check the Department’s PhD webpages or
                                                 places have been filled, so we recommend applying as early as possible.
contact the Department/Faculty directly.

                                                                                                                              6                                                                              Interview
                                                                                                                           Submit your application                                                           Most departments/faculties will want to
                                                                                                                                                                                                             interview you if your application is progressed
                                                                                                                           Once you have finished writing your application, uploaded all required            to the next stage in the admissions process.
                                                                                                                           supporting documents and received references, your application is ready to        Some scholarships and studentships will also
                                                                                                                           be submitted and you will be asked to pay the application fee. You will not       invite shortlisted candidates for interviews.
                                                                                                                           be able to download a copy of your application after submission so please         Most interviews will be conducted via
                                                                                                                           save your application before you submit if you would like your own copy.          video conferencing or telephone.
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
18      After Applying                                                                                                                                                                             19

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Meeting offer conditions
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Once you have received an official
                                                                                                                                                                                                     offer of admission from the Graduate

Applying                                                                                                                Offers
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Admissions Office, you will receive access
                                                                                                                                                                                                     to your Self-Service Account which tells
                                                                                                                                                                                                     you everything you need to know
                                                                                                                                                                                                     about your offer conditions.

W ha t ha ppen s ne xt ?
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Your Self-Service Account allows you to:
                                                                                                                                                                                                     •	View your offer conditions
                                                                                                                        What are we looking for?                                                     •	Print a certificate of your offer
                                                                                                                        Decisions on admission to the University for postgraduate study              •	Accept or decline your offer
                                    Application form and supporting documents                                           are made on academic merit and your suitability for the course.              •	Request a deferral of admission,
                                         submitted via the Applicant Portal                                             The availability of an appropriate supervisor and space on the                  if the course permits
                                                                                                                        course are also taken into consideration in our admissions process.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     •	Provide documents to meet
Around 90% of applications                                                                                              We consider all applications holistically and on an individual basis.
                                 Department/Faculty reviews application and may                                                                                                                         your conditions
   are considered by the
department within 12 weeks
                                                hold interview
                                                                                                                        Offers                                                                       Offer holders will need to provide an
                                                                                                                        If your application has been recommended by the Department/                  official transcript. Your official transcript
                                    Offer recommended by department/faculty?                              No            Faculty and approved by the Graduate Admissions Office, you will
                                                                                                                        receive a formal offer of admission by email. If you have made more
                                                                                                                                                                                                     may be sent to us electronically if your
                                                                                                                                                                                                     institution has a recognised secure
                                                                                                                        than one application, you may receive more than one conditional              electronic transcript system, namely
                                                                                                                        offer, but you will only be able to accept one.                              Digitary, HEAR or GradIntel. You will
                                                       Yes                                                                                                                                           need to contact your institution to
                                                                                                                                                                                                     enquire whether they offer this facility.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     If you’re not able to send an electronic
                                                                                                                                                                                                     transcript, you will need to send us your
                                       Degree Committee reviews application
                                                                                                      Application                                                                                    certified original transcript via post.
                                                                                                      is declined.
     seven days
                                    Offer recommended by Degree Committee?                No         applicants are
                                                                                                    notified by email
                                                                                                      and via the
                                                                                                    Applicant Portal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                The deadline to meet the conditions
                                                                                                                                                                                                  of your offer is the 31 July for
                                                                                                                                                                                                     courses starting in Autumn.
                                  Graduate Admissions Office reviews application
     seven days
                                  Does application satisfy minimum requirements
                                                  for admission?                                          No

                                                       Yes                                          Most offers of
                                                                                                admission are made
                                                                                                   in February and
                                                                                               March. If you applied
                             Applicant is offered Conditional Admission by the Graduate
                                                                                                 before the general
                             Admissions Office on behalf of the University of Cambridge
                                                                                                funding deadlines in
                                                                                               December, or January,
                                                                                                 you should find out
                                   Application is sent to up to five Colleges and               the outcome of your
                                applicant receives College membership within three               application during
                                  weeks of receiving a formal offer of admission                    these months.
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE - Postgraduate Guide 2020
20      Finance and Funding                                                                                                                                                                                         21

Finance and
                                                          Graduate Funding Competition                                           Other financial support and scholarships                            Student Loans
                                                          There is a wide range of funding opportunities at                      There are still many other funding opportunities outside            It may also be possible to take out a loan to help fund your
                                                          Cambridge. To make the process of applying for                         of our Graduate Funding Competition. You should make use            studies. Home fee status students who live in England and

                                                          funding easier for our applicants, we operate an                       of the comprehensive online search tool to find other awards        Wales, are under 60, and are applying for a Master’s course
                                                          annual Graduate Funding Competition.                                   you may be eligible for that are not part of the Graduate           may be eligible for a UK Government Postgraduate Loan.
                                                                                                                                 Funding Competition:                                                You can find out more information about these and
                                                          The Graduate Funding Competition co-ordinates funding
                                                                                                                                                              additional private loan opportunities online:
                                                          from a wide variety of sources including the Cambridge
                                                          Trust, Gates Cambridge, the Economic and Social Research                                                                         
                                                          Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council                                                                                   student-loans
The cost of studying at the University of
                                                          (AHRC), and some funding from Colleges and other awards.
Cambridge is broken down into two areas:
                                                          To be eligible for consideration in the Graduate
                                                          Funding Competition you must
                                                                                                                                 Where to start?                           Useful advice for finance and funding
1. University Composition Fee (UCF)                           1   submit your application and supporting documents
The UCF is paid to your College to cover the cost of              via the Applicant Portal by the relevant                                                                             Research early
your education and College membership and its value               funding deadline                                                                                  Start researching funding opportunities as soon as possible.
                                                                                                                                                                  If you have time, start at least a year before your course begins.
is dependent on your fee status (Home/EU/Overseas)            2   tick that you wish to be considered in the
and course of study.                                              Funding section†
2. Maintenance                                                                                                                     Graduate                         Use the funding                   Explore other                    Consider a
The absolute minimum estimated living costs during            Funding                                         Funding
                                                              Source             Eligibility                  Deadline             Funding                          search tool                       funding options                  Student Loan
your time at the University.
                                                              Gates              Citizens of any country     October               Competition                      Take a look at funding            Take a look at other funding     Consider whether you
When considering postgraduate study at the University,                                                                             Find out what funding is         options not included in           opportunities, such as Gates     would like to take out a
                                                              Cambridge          outside the UK              (USA citizens
you may find it helpful to look at the estimated annual                                                                            included in the Graduate         the Graduate Funding              Cambridge or external            student loan and
financial commitment for your course, which you can                                                                                Funding Competition on           Competition listed on our         funding.                         whether you are eligible.
calculate on our website.                                                                                    December/                                              search tool and find out                                           After this, you should
                                                                                                                                   our website and check the                                                                                                                                            funding deadline for your        how to apply. Not all              look in to how you
                                                                                                             (course specific)                                      funding is included within                                         should apply and what
                                                                                                                                   course. Ensure you submit                                          external-funding
                                                              Cambridge          All students                December/             your application in time         the Graduate Funding                                               the next steps are.
                                                              Trust                                          January               to be eligible for               Competition.
                                                                                                             (course               consideration.
                                                              UK Research        UK, EU and EEA              December/
                                                              Councils           students. Generally,        January                                                                     Apply early
                                                                                 eligibility for full        (course
                                                                                                                                                                Many scholarship deadlines fall early in December, for admission
                                                                                 or partial funding          specific)
                                                                                                                                                                in the following year. If your course starts in January or April you
                                                                                 depends on
‘I had a terrific experience with my                                                                                                                                 may need to apply for funding 18 months in advance.
                                                                                 meeting residency
scholars/friends from the funding                                                requirements
body and they were one of the
main reasons why Cambridge                                                                                                                                Get funding or financing before you start studying
has been such a welcoming place                           For further information on funding deadlines please see the Course
                                                                                                                                                   In order to take up a place, successful applicants will need to evidence how they plan to finance
for me from the very beginning.                           Directory and funding section of the Graduate Admissions website:                          their study. You may not be able to find funding once your course has started and we
They not only provided me with                                                                                                                     would advise having your funding organised well in advance of you starting your course.
essential fi nancial support, but                         If you have been successful in the Graduate Funding
also with many other social and                           Competition, you will be notified sometime between the
academic opportunities during                             beginning of March and the end of July. The majority of                                                   Apply for many funding opportunities
the whole duration of the course.’                        awards tend to be made in March and April. Unfortunately,                                   We encourage you to apply for as many funding opportunities you are eligible for,
                                                          due to the number of applicants, only successful                                             both internal and external to the University. Check our funding page for more
Filip Boskovic                                            candidates will be notified. If you haven’t heard anything                                  details. If you’re applying for a department award or a funded place, remember to
MPhil in Physics (by Research)                            by the end of July, you should assume that you haven’t                                        also search and apply for other funding schemes to increase your chances of
                                                          been successful in being awarded funding.                                                                                    funding opportunities.
22      Colleges                                                                                                                                                                                                        23

                                                                                                                                                                                         Choosing a College
                                                                                                                                                                                         Here are some things to consider, which may help you
                                                                                                                                                                                         make a decision about which College is right for you:
                                                                                                                                                                                         Your age – four Colleges only consider applications
                                                                                                                                                                                         from mature students (aged 21 and over), and two
At Cambridge, as well as being a member of the University,                                                                                                                               Colleges are for postgraduate students only.*
you are also a member of one of our 31 Colleges.
                                                                                                                                                                                         Your gender – three Colleges only consider applications
                                                                                                                                                                                         from female students. (Please note female applicants
                                                                                                                                                                                         can apply to any College.)*
                                                                                                                                                                                         Part-time students – not all Colleges accept
                           Cambridge Colleges form one of the key        College choice                                  The first two Colleges will be the preferences indicated in     part-time students.
                           communities for postgraduates during          As part of your application, you can indicate   your application or the two Colleges assigned to you if
                                                                                                                                                                                         College size – Colleges accept differing numbers
                           their studies, offering a range of academic   two College preferences or you can choose       you made an open application. If you are not accepted
                                                                                                                                                                                         of students and so some student populations are larger
                           and pastoral support, accommodation           to make an open application. Opting for         by either of your preference Colleges, the additional
‘I’ve met fantastic                                                                                                                                                                      than others.
                           and facilities for study and leisure. No      an open application simply means that the       Colleges will be determined by the system based on
friends at my College      matter which College you join, you will       system will automatically allocate College      the availability of spaces within a College.                    Particular facilities – whilst all Colleges offer fantastic
– working on a huge        be welcomed into an inclusive,                choices for you.                                                                                                facilities, there are differences in the exact nature of the
range of topics –                                                                                                        If you have been made a formal offer of admission
                           interdisciplinary, supportive and social                                                                                                                      facilities they offer. You should look at College websites
and I am grateful                                                        Choosing College preferences or making          by the University, you are guaranteed to be accepted
                           community for postgraduate students.                                                                                                                          to find out more about what each has to offer.
for the support                                                          an open application has no effect on the        by a College.
and friendship!’           Unlike undergraduate degree applications,     outcome of your application to the University                                                                   Accessibility – facilities and accommodation provision
                                                                                                                         What does a College offer?
                           Colleges do not assess and admit              as Colleges do not make admissions decisions                                                                    vary between Colleges. Therefore, if you have particular
Eleanor                    postgraduate student applications.            for postgraduate courses at Cambridge. Your
                                                                                                                           Welfare and practical support through a Graduate
                                                                                                                                                                                         access requirements, we recommend you check which
PhD in History             The decision on whether you will                                                                Tutor. They monitor your progress and provide
                                                                         application will only be sent to a College                                                                      Colleges would best meet your needs. You may find it
                           be made an offer is decided by the                                                              information on academic and pastoral matters and
                                                                         after you have been made an offer of                                                                            helpful to get in touch with the College directly to
                           department/faculty you apply to.                                                                organise an induction programme to help you settle
                                                                         admission to the University.                                                                                    discuss your specific needs.
                                                                                                                           in. Colleges also provide a College nurse, Chaplain
                                                                         Although around 65% of postgraduate               and/or counsellor and provide advice on childcare             The Disability Resource Centre’s Access Guide
                                                                         students at Cambridge become a member             provision in Cambridge.                                       is a good source of additional information regarding
                                                                         of one of their preference choices, you may       Accommodation and catering with College
                                                                                                                         •	                                                             facilities and accessibility.
                                                                         be considered by up to five Colleges.             catering offered in formal and informal environments,
                                                                                                                           at a reasonable price. College accommodation and
                                                                                                                                                                                         To help you narrow down your College choices,
                                                                                                                           catering is not guaranteed. Information on other
                                                                                                                                                                                         you can use our College Key Facts and Figures:
                                                                                                                           accommodation is also offered.
                                                                                                                           Academic enrichment and support with the
                                                                                                                           provision of library and IT facilities, and opportunities     Many full-time postgraduates live in College
                                                                                                                           to supervise undergraduates (where applicable).               accommodation, but few Colleges are able to house all their
                                                                                                                           A cross-intellectual community with opportunities
                                                                                                                         •	                                                             student members and so accommodation tends to be
                                                                                                                           to exchange experiences across disciplines and                offered on a first-come-first-served basis. The University’s
                                                                                                                           generations in an informal setting through                    Accommodation Service can assist those who need to find
                                                                                                                           networks and seminars                                         accommodation outside the Colleges:
                                                                                                                           Finance and funding: Advice on identifying and
                                                                                                                           obtaining financial assistance and help in cases of           * Lucy Cavendish College will accept applications from all applicants,
                                                                                                                                                                                            regardless of gender, aged 18 and over for admittance from October 2021.
                                                                                                                           unforeseen and unforeseeable financial difficulties
                                                                                                                           A strong social focus with a student association or
                                                                                                                           graduate society run by students with College support.
                                                                                                                         •	Social, cultural and recreational activities with suitable
                                                                                                                            facilities to enhance your personal development
                                                                                                                         • Lifelong membership to the College.
24      International Students | Find Out More                                                                                                                                                   25

International                                                                                                       Find
                                                                     Frequently Asked Questions
                                                                     Can I apply for more than one course?
                                                                     Yes, you can apply for as many courses as

Students                                                                                                            Out More
                                                                     you wish. You must complete a separate
                                                                     application form for each course and you
                                                                     must also pay the full application fee for
                                                                     each application you make.
                                                                     Can I apply to both Cambridge
                                                                     and Oxford?
We are proud of our diverse student community,                                                                      If you’d like more information or details about                         Graduate Admissions Office
with over 50% of postgraduate students coming                        Yes, the restriction on applying               anything mentioned in this guide, or have questions
                                                                     to both universities only applies                                                                                      01223 760606
from overseas, representing more than 140                            to undergraduate admissions.                   that have not been answered here, please visit the            
countries around the globe.                                                                                         Graduate Admissions website or contact the
                                                                     I am still studying and do not have
                                                                                                                    Graduate Admissions Office directly.                                    Graduate Union
                                                                     a final transcript. What do I do?
Applying with Non-UK Qualifications                                  Please request an interim transcript of                                                                                01223 333313
We accept a large number of qualifications from around the           your courses/results so far from your                                                                        
world. If you have not previously studied in the UK, you can         university and upload this. If you receive a                                                                 
check the equivalence qualifications guidelines for your country     conditional offer, you will need to provide
on the International Section of the Graduate Admissions website.     the original final transcript to meet the            conditions of your offer.                                                                                              Disability Resource Centre (DRC)
                                                                     Should I submit a CV?                                                                                                  01223 332301
English language requirements                                                                                                                                                     
If English is not your first language, you may be required to take   Yes, all courses require you to upload
                                                                     a CV to the Applicant Portal as part of                                                                      
a language test. You can check whether you are likely to be
asked to take a language test, which language tests your course      your application.
accepts, and the minimum required score in the International         Can I defer my place?                                                                                                  International Students
section of the Graduate Admissions website.                                                                                                                                       
                                                                     Deferments are only possible if your                  course has another start date within                                                                         
competence-english                                                   the same academic year and the course
                                                                     permits deferal entry. Whether you can
For further information about applying as an international
                                                                     defer your place is at the discretion of
                                                                                                                                                                                            Postgraduate Alternative Prospectus
student, such as visas and immigration advice, please visit
                                                                     the Department/Faculty.                                                                                      
the International Students website:
                                                                                                                                                                                            The Postgraduate Alternative Prospectus was
                                                                                                                                                                                            written by Cambridge postgraduates to give
                                                                     For more answers to Frequently Asked                                                                                   insight into life at Cambridge. It provides you
                                                                                                                                                                                            with an overview of living and studying in
                                                                     Questions, please visit our website:
                                                                                                                                                                                            Cambridge, tips on where to look for funding,
                                                                                                                                                               and guidance for the application process.

‘I have found the community
at my College and Faculty
to be welcoming, and this                                                                                           Visit Us
was an extremely helpful                                                                                            The University offers a Postgraduate Open Day, usually in November each year. The
resource and I now                                                                                                  Postgraduate Open Day provides an excellent opportunity to speak to department
consider Cambridge to                                                                                               academics, visit Colleges, and get further information and advice about applying.
be a second home.’
                                                                                                                    The Postgraduate team also attend various roadshows and events across the UK
Tanya                                                                                                               and overseas, which provide additional opportunities to find out more information.
Toronto, Canada
                                                                                                                    For details of these events and how to book a place, please visit the website:
For more information contact one
of the College admissions offices or:
Graduate Admissions Office
Student Services Centre
New Museums Site
Cambridge CB2 3PT
01223 760606
Details are correct at the time of printing
(September 2019).
© University of Cambridge, 2019.
You can also read