skip to content

Department of Genetics

Wong hands 590

Formal applications for Postgraduate study in the Department must be made through the Graduate Application Portal. It is mandatory that all applications have at least one named supervisor, and applications submitted without this will not be reviewed.

PhD applications are free of charge. MPhil applications cost £50 each, although some applicants can claim an exemption, and there is a School of Biological Sciences scheme that allows up to three applications for the cost of one; the eligible courses are listed here.

Your named Supervisor(s) will then review your full application, and if they are interested in taking your application forward, they and another senior researcher will interview you to determine whether they are interested in taking your application forward. The interview may be in-person, or online if you are not able to attend in person. You may also be asked to give a short presentation of your current or recent research, and sometimes members of your prospective group will also attend this and ask questions.

The interviewers will be looking for:

  • Ability to explain clearly and concisely a piece of science which is familiar to you, e.g. your undergraduate or Masters research project, or a recent project performed as an intern or research assistant.
  • A good background knowledge of, and an interest in, the general area of biology you want to work on.
  • Ability to critically think about a scientific problem, and evidence of research potential
  • Aptitude in thinking critically about experimental design, and interpreting data, for example in the context of your own research work, or any scientific papers that you have read
  • A genuine curiosity, and a commitment to further training in research

After your interview, your potential supervisor will decide on whether to make you an offer of a place. In most cases this will be a conditional offer, dependent on meeting academic, English Language, and financial (usually scholarship) requirements. In all cases, the supervisor’s offer must be approved by the Department, the Biology Degree Committee, and the University, before it becomes a formal offer which cannot normally be withdrawn. Once applicants have a conditional offer, they can then be considered in any funding competitions for which they are eligible, if they have applied before the funding competition deadline.

If you need further clarification before applying, please contact our Postgraduate Administrator,

 Funding Deadlines 2024-25

United States GATES Cambridge Funding Deadline: Oct. 11th 2023 

University Funding Competition Department Deadline: Jan. 4th 2024 *This includes Cambridge trust, Gates Cambridge and many other funding opportunities.

*The University has two different Funding Competition Dates. If you are applying to a 2nd department, please check their deadline as well as the Student Funding Portal for any specific funding opportunity deadlines.

Alexander Crummell PhD Scholarships

These scholarships are aimed at Home (UK fee rate) students with Black or Black-Mixed ethnicity, applying for an MPhil degree in a science-based subject at the University of Cambridge. The terms of the award include that you will become a member of Queens’ College, Cambridge. 

Application Deadlines:  

  • 5 December 2023 (if applying for the Cambridge Biosciences DTP 4-year PhD programme); or

  • 4 January 2024 if applying direct to a Department

Alexander Crummell MPhil Scholarships

Apply by 4 January 2024 in order to be considered for the Alexander Crummell Scholarship.



PhD studentships from the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars’ Programme

Deadline Dependent on your course – either early December 2023 or early January 2024. For the Dept of Genetics, this would be January 4th, 2024.