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Department of Zoology


Postgraduate funding

Securing funding to support postgraduate study is a separate, though related, procedure to the academic application. There are a number of funding opportunities available, however 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 commence their study.


University funding (PhD and MPhil)

All postgraduate Zoology applicants will automatically be considered for University funding, 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 when applying.

Applicants will be considered for funding from multiple sources including the Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge Trust, Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme, Research Councils and Colleges, as well as departmental schemes.

For most funding providers, the application deadline is 4 January 2024

Some funding providers may require you to meet earlier deadlines (e.g., the BBSRC DTP deadline is 5 December 2023) and/or ask you to provide additional information in your application - please refer to the Postgraduate Funding pages for more information.

Please note that your application is only considered complete when:

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

The University’s Postgraduate Funding Search is also available to help applicants find information on funding opportunities for which they may be eligible.  


MPhil / Master’s funding routes

Below are some of the possible funding routes for MPhil/Master’s students:


PhD funding routes

Below are just some of the possible funding routes for postgraduate students joining the Department. This is not an exhaustive list - often students come here on scholarships from their home country, or funded by charities or other sponsors. See further information on this page about the following routes:

  • Apply for University funding (see details above). 
  • Whitten PhD Studentships in Aquatic Biology
  • Departmental PhD Studentships
  • Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (NERC DTP)
  • Cambridge Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (BBSRC DTP)


Whitten PhD Studentships

The Whitten Programme in Tropical and Aquatic Biology, based within the Department, is a community of scientists researching ecology and conservation in tropical and aquatic ecosystems The Programme is generously supported by a private benefactor and named in recognition of Tony Whitten. Find out more about the programme here. 

Details of any Whitten Studentship opportunities will be advertised here when available.


Departmental PhD Studentships

Details of any Departmental Studentship opportunities will be advertised here when available. 


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 2024. Find out more about NERC DTP studentships, eligibility information and details of how to apply on the NERC DTP website.

All NERC DTP projects for 24-25 entry will be announced in October 2023. Many of our Zoology projects will be available as NERC Studentships and details will also be listed in our departmental Project List here.


Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme (BBSRC DTP)

The University of Cambridge is offering between 25 - 30 fully-funded BBSRC DTP Studentships starting in October 2024. Funding includes a comprehensive training programme, including a 12-week internship with an industrial or other partner and a sizeable research project consumables budget. Applications for the 2024 intake are now open, please note the earlier deadline of Tuesday 5 December 2023. You can see full details on the BBSRC DTP website.  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.



More information on making an application to the Department of Zoology is available in the menu links on the left.

If you have any questions regarding applying for postgraduate study in the Department of Zoology,  please contact Lizzie Burgess, Postgraduate Administrator, at