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Department of Zoology


Securing funding to support graduate study is a separate (though related) procedure to the academic application. There are a number of funding opportunities available, but all are very competitive. It is not unusual for applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place to find themselves without the necessary funds to actually commence their study.

Below are just some of the possible funding routes to join the Department for graduate study, but it is not a complete list - often students come here on scholarships from their home country, or funded by charities or other sponsors. 

  1. Funding offered by the University of Cambridge (e.g., Gates, Cambridge Trust, CHSS)
  2. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) DTP
  3. Natural Environment Research Council Earth System Science (NERC ESS) DTP
  4. Wellcome Trust 4-Year PhD Programme in Developmental Mechanisms
  5. Departmental PhD Studentships for entry in 2019-20

Funding offered by the University of Cambridge

All eligible applicants will be automatically considered for funding from the Gates Cambridge Trust, the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust, and the Cambridge Home and European Scholarship Scheme (CHESS) provided they:

  • apply for admission to the Department by the appropriate funding deadline.
  • tick the box on the Applicant Portal application relating to the funding for which you would like to be considered.

For more information about these funding schemes, please consult the funding pages of the Graduate Admissions website.

The Cambridge Funding Search also contains a wide range of additional scholarships, offered by Cambridge departments and the Colleges.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership (BBSRC DTP)

The University of Cambridge and Partner Institutes have a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Grant from BBSRC, providing 4-year fully funded studentships under the four broad themes of Basic Bioscience Underpinning Health; Bioenergy and Industrial Biotechnology; Food Security; and World Class Underpinning Bioscience.

UK and EEA students who meet the UK residency requirements will be eligible for a full BBSRC studentship. Students from EEA countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award.  EEA students eligible for a fees only award can apply for University wide funding schemes. Further information about eligibility and how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website.

NB If you wish to be considered for a BBSRC-funded studentship you will need to apply to the BBSRC DTP course code, unless you are applying for a Targeted BBSRC DTP studentship, in which case you should apply using the relevant Department's PhD course code.

Overseas students are not eligible to receive studentships from Research Councils, but can apply for University-wide funding schemes such as the Gates Cambridge Trust and the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust. Overseas students can also apply for funding to support their studies from their home countries or international schemes.

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Cambridge Earth System Science DTP

The University of Cambridge is offering more than twelve 3.5-year NERC funded studentships starting in October 2019. The application deadline is 3 January 2019. Several people in the Department of Zoology are members of the Biology Theme, and can therefore supervise a student funded via this programme. Specific projects are listed on the NERC DTP website, but you may also propose your own project. Full information on how to apply, and the projects available, can be found on the Cambridge Earth System Science DTP website. They are also listed under the 'Available projects' section of our website.

Wellcome Trust 4-Year PhD Programme in Developmental Mechanisms

Many of the Zoology research groups working in the areas of evolutionary and developmental biology participate in this interdisciplinary programme (see list here). This Wellcome Trust funded programme recruits annually from students worldwide, offering five fully funded studentships, including one to overseas candidates. Full information about the programme structure, eligibility and how to apply can be found on the programme website.

Departmental PhD Studentships for entry in 2019-20

Balfour Studentship

John Stanley Gardiner Studentship

Edith Mary Pratt Musgrave Studentship

Hanne and Torkel Weis-Fogh Studentship

Further information, including eligibility, can be found on the Trust Funds page.

Application procedure for the Departmental PhD Studentships:

To be considered for the Departmental PhD Studentships, candidates must have applied to the University of Cambridge (following the normal application process via the Applicant Portal) by 3 January 2019Please note that to be considered, you must also have uploaded all supporting documents by this date.

Interviews are likely to be held in February-March 2019.