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Department of Zoology


MPhil / Master’s Course Funding Routes

Academically outstanding applicants might gain funding support via one of the Cambridge Trusts Opportunity Scholarships. Application deadline is 12 noon on 5 January 2023.

For students applying to the new MPhil course in Biological Sciences or the MPhil in Basic and Translational Neuroscience an additional bursary award is available aimed at applicants from low-income households with experience of socio-economic or educational disadvantage or disruption and who qualify for the University's Home or UK fee status.

Many MPhil students are partially or fully self-funded, including a governmental postgraduate loan.

PhD Funding Routes

Securing funding to support postgraduate 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 postgraduate 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. Whitten PhD Studentship in Aquatic Biology
  2. Departmental PhD Studentships for entry in 2023-24
  3. Funding offered by the University of Cambridge (e.g., Gates, Cambridge Trust)
  4. Cambridge Natural Environment Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships (NERC DTP)
  5. Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme (BBSRC DTP)

Whitten PhD Studentship (Aquatic Biology)

The Department will be offering one PhD Studentship on the ecology, natural history and conservation of marine or freshwater habitats, and the organisms that live there, in any part of the world.

The studentship will cover the University Composition Fee at the Home rate, a stipend at the UKRI rate for 4 years, and £4.5k pa towards research costs for 4 years. Candidates of any nationality/residency may apply, but a successful Overseas applicant would need to secure additional funds from other sources to cover the higher fee level. The deadline for applications is 12 noon on 5 January 2023.

There are current three NERC projects that are available for this studentship. See our available projects page. Applicants are also invited to suggest their own projects; please visit our research pages for more information on our supervisors and their research areas.

Departmental PhD Studentship for entry in October 2023

We will be offering 4-year, full-time PhD studentships for October 2023 entry, covering fees, maintenance, research consumables, training costs and provide a contribution towards travel.

Applicants seeking to join this programme in the subject area of Zoology should apply for entry directly to the Department of Zoology by 12 noon on 5 January 2023 (please note that you will need to approach a supervisor from the Department before making your application).

The Department actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. We particularly encourage applications from under- represented groups. Further details about the University’s commitment to widening participation in postgraduate study.

Eligible applicants who have applied by the deadline will be automatically considered. Interviews are likely to be held in February-March 2023.

More information on making an application to the Department of Zoology is available here. If you have any questions regarding applying to the Zoology Department please contact:

Please note that central and college funding opportunities are also available for applicants wishing to join the Department. Please see below for more information.

Funding offered by the University of Cambridge

All eligible Zoology applicants will be automatically considered for the Postgraduate Funding Competition, which coordinates funding from multiple sources including the Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge Trust, Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme, Research Councils and collectively College and departmental schemes, providing they have:

  • applied for admission to the Department by the appropriate funding deadline. 
  • ticked the 'I want to be considered for funding' box on the Applicant Portal application.

Some of the funders listed above may require you to complete additional fields within the form or upload an additional application form - please refer to the PAO web pages for more information.

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

For the majority of funding the application deadline is 12 noon on 5 January 2023. Please note that your application is only considered complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. your referees have provided their references.

Please also note that certain funding opportunities will require you to have submitted earlier.

Cambridge Natural Environment Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships (NERC DTP)

The University of Cambridge is offering a number of 3.5-year NERC funded studentships starting in October 2023. 

Several people in the Department of Zoology are members of the Biology Theme, and can therefore supervise a student funded via this programme - ask your prospective supervisor about this.

This year's projects are posted on the NERC DTP website.

Full information on eligibility and how to apply for a NERC studentship.

Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme (BBSRC DTP)

The University of Cambridge is offering between 25 - 30 fully funded 4-year BBSRC DTP studentships, starting in October 2023. Funding includes a comprehensive training programme, including a 12-week internship with an industrial or other partner and a sizeable research project consumables budget. Note the earlier 1st December application deadline.

Several researchers in the Department of Zoology are participating on this PhD programme and can therefore supervise a student funded via this programme – ask your prospective supervisor about this.