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Application Procedure

Application deadlines

The University's final application deadline for entry in October 2018 is 29th June 2018. However, the Cambridge scholarship competitions have a much earlier deadline of 4 January 2018 for UK/EU/International applicants (Notes for Gates Cambridge - If you are USA citizen, resident in the USA, you will need to submit your application by 11 October 2017 if you want to be considered for Gates funding); earlier applications are also required for the relevant Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) in which our Department participates (BBSRC-DTP: 1st December 2017). Consult the University's funding pages for further information on the scholarship schemes available.

General enquiries should be addressed to the graduate administration team at .

Step-by-step guide for applications

1. Are you eligible to apply for admission to our programmes?

Competition for admission to the University of Cambridge graduate programme is intense. Like all departments in the Graduate School, we require all our graduate entrants to have:

  1. at least a 2.1 in an Honours degree or equivalent (e.g CGPA 3.5/4.0) in a relevant subject
  2. two excellent academic references
  3. fluency in the English language – recent IELTS test with an overall band score of at least 7.0 with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading.

For more details of the University’s entrance requirements see the Graduate Admissions website.

2. Finding a supervisor

The next step if you are interested in applying for either the PhD or the MPhil course, is to identify a potential supervisor and find out if they can accommodate you in their research group. Make contact with them to discuss ideas for research projects and, if at all possible, to arrange a visit.

Send them a CV and describe your areas of interest. You can browse our research pages, to discover the fields of expertise in the Department and who best to make contact with, depending on your research interests. To be able to support your application, supervisors may arrange an interview with you, either in person or by telephone/Skype.

If you are interested in more than one supervisor within THIS department, you can name them as first and second choice in your application, but if you want to apply to supervisors in different departments, you will have to make separate applications (one to each department). Only one application is required if one project involves a co-supervisor from another Department.

3. How to apply

Admission to the University requires applicants to apply via the University's online Applicant Portal, which costs £50. We therefore recommend that you do so only when you have found someone who wishes to supervise you.

If you wish to apply for a studentship advertised by an individual PI in this Department, you will need to enter a preliminary competition for this studentship before completing the application on the Applicant Portal and you should follow the instructions in Section A below.

If you wish to be considered for a Department of Zoology studentship, or one of the Cambridge scholarships (e.g. Gates, Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust, Cambridge Home and EU Scholarships), or have your own external funding, you should proceed directly to Section B.

Section A: Applying for a specific studentship advertised by a PI in this department

  • Refer to our Working Here page for details of the studentship, eligibility criteria, deadlines and how to apply. Refer to the websites of individual PIs for any studentships they may have available.
  • If you are successful, you will then be required to apply for admission to the University (Section B below).
  • You will not be able to take up the award unless you are also successful in securing admission to the University and you will not be able to apply for a visa (if needed) until you hold an unconditional offer from the University.

Section B: Admission to the University

You should apply for admission using the University’s online Applicant Portal if you:

  1. wish to apply for University-wide funding competitions (e.g. Gates, Cambridge Trusts, Cambridge Home and EU Scholarships NB these funding competitions all have very early deadlines) or for a Department of Zoology studentship
  2. have been awarded a specific studentship / programme position in competition (see Section A above)
  3. wish to apply for a College studentship
  4. have an external scholarship
  5. have your own funding.

In order to submit your online application you must consult the University's central Graduate Admissions pages. Here you will find all the information you need to submit the Applicant Portal application.

In addition to the Applicant Portal application you are also required to upload a CV and a 1-2 page research proposal to complete your application. There is no strict format or word limit for the proposal, but it should be based both on your own ideas and on discussions with your prospective supervisor.