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Quick Guide to Postgrad applications

This page gives a quick introduction to Graduate admissions in the Department and the University. Some more detailed descriptions of graduate life in the Department of Genetics can be found via the links on the left, but you should also read the comprehensive University and School information via the links on the right.

>> You can also download a pdf of the contents of this page for 2017 entry 

Admission to the University requires completion of the University online  application form via the Graduate Application Portal, described in further detail below.

If you intend to apply directly to a Supervisor in the Department (eg for Gates, Cambridge Overseas & Commonwealth Trusts, Cambridge Home and EU Scholarships, see Section A.

The Department also participates in some interdepartmental PhD programmes, for example:

To apply to these interdepartmental programs you will need to enter a preliminary competition before completing the application form, and should follow the instructions in Section B below.

Section A : Admission to the University

You are strongly advised to consult the University Graduate Admissions website for details on entry requirements, fees, funding, and the application process.

You must apply for admission to the University using the University’s online Graduate Application Portal if you:

  • Wish to apply for University-wide funding competitions, eg Gates, Cambridge Overseas & Commonwealth Trusts, Cambridge Home and EU Scholarships etc. Please note that these funding competitions all have very early application deadlines: See
  • Wish to be considered for an award from the Department’s doctoral training grant (UK-based students and fees-only awards for students from elsewhere in the EEA);
  • Have been awarded a specific studentship or programme position in competition;
  • Wish to apply for a College studentship;
  • Have an external scholarship;
  • Have your own funding.


Each application made using the Graduate Application Portal costs £50 for online, or £100 for a paper, application. You are therefore strongly advised to make informal enquiries with the research groups you are interested in applying to before making a formal application to the University.

A1) Are you eligible to apply for admission to our programmes?

Competition for admission to the University of Cambridge graduate programme is intense. For more details of the University’s academic requirements see the Graduate prospectus : Like all departments in the Graduate School, we require all our graduate entrants to have:

  • At least a 2.1 in an Honours degree or equivalent (eg CGPA 3.5/4.0) in a relevant subject
  • Two outstanding references from senior university staff at your most recent university
  • Some research project experience
  • Non-English-speaking graduates normally require a 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 or an equivalent TOEFL mark if IELTS is not available. See the University advice on language requirements

A2) Which qualification do you want to apply for?

  • MPhil by research (thesis) (BLGEM1) 1 year
  • PhD (thesis) (BLGE22) – minimum 3 years, maximum 4 years, full-time. Applicants interested in part-time PhD study should consult a research group leader well in advance of any application deadlines

A3) What topic do you want to study and who do you want to work with?

The first question on the GRADSAF application form requires you to choose a course. For research applicants this means specifying which department or institute in which you wish to work.

For the Department of Genetics, you need to do some serious homework to identify a topic and one or more supervisors in the department with whom you wish to work. If you have not already decided, you should:

  • Check our list of Labs and visit the group pages of labs of interest to check details of their research
  • If there is a vacancy, you can explore the possibility that your plans are of interest to them – get in contact (details for contacting the Group Leader will appear on the Group's page)
  • If you are interested in more than one supervisor in the Department of Genetics, 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)

A4) How to apply to the University

Go to for full instructions on how to apply online. More general information on applying to Cambridge is available in the Graduate Prospectus at

Section B : Applying for interdepartmental programmes involving the Department of Genetics

Members of the Department of Genetics participate in specific Graduate Programmes, and from time to time specific CRUK or BBSRC studentships are available with a named supervisor.

For further information specific to the Department of Genetics email: ; or write to: Postgraduate Admissions Coordinator, Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EH

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