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Graduate Admissions

I moved into College at the start of my first year welcomed by an array of activities (stargazing talks, BBQs, film nights etc) and people (older students as well as plenty of new students in the same position as me). Systems were in place to make sure that every PhD student had a “buddy” they could meet with who could show them around, ask questions or just meet up for a chat in both the College and the department. Everything about starting at Cambridge made me feel welcome and starting in the lab was again just as welcoming.

The support and opportunities offered by the College, department and University are something I like to be continuously involved with. Recently I have undertaken a number of activities including, but not limited to, first aid training, College committee positions as well as being able to be involved in and attend entrepreneurial challenges and events. This is one of the reasons I chose Cambridge. The opportunities available are limitless.

However, for me, being able to work on a project with a fantastic team and supervisors is what has made my time special. My PhD is the reason I am here and continues to be an experience I am incredibly thankful for. I am part of the Theoretical Research Interest Group, which has interesting seminars every week, which support my work in the cheminformatics area. The facilities and support to conduct my research have been first class. As a CASE student, I have the opportunity to work in the department as well as in industry, both in the UK and aboard.

The thing about research is that you continuously realise how much more there is to learn and discover. For me that is part of what makes it so exciting and allows me to stay passionate and motivated. For me my project remains as interesting as the day I started.

Overall my time here has been so full of new opportunities and exciting research that I cannot wait to see what is ahead in the next few years.

Stephanie (September 2016)

My story starts in the US where, after an undergraduate degree at Indiana University, I had to choose a university for the pursuit of my PhD.

I visited universities across America, from the West Coast to the Midwest to the East Coast, and thoroughly enjoyed many of my experiences and the people I met; however, I chose Cambridge and the UK in the end.  

There are many factors that drew me overseas: the inspirational scientific history and present thriving academic culture of Cambridge, the resources not only in the chemistry department but easily accessible across the university, the immediately obvious positive research attitude and collaborative nature of science here, and the supportive environment of the College system that provides PhD students with an unmatched level of social activity and community that fosters unique situations such as chemists, mathematicians, and humanities students debating the merits of everything from black holes to Eurovision songs.

Since arriving in Cambridge two years ago, I have had the opportunity to present my research and to conduct experiments internationally; collaborate with scientists in London, California, Australia, and across town at the Cavendish laboratory; represent the university as captain of the varsity basketball team; (sometimes spontaneously) travel across the UK and Europe; and listen to lectures from Stephen Hawking and countless other phenomenal scientists that Cambridge has and draws in every year.  

Of course, research comes with ups and downs but whenever I need a lift I just grab a coffee and walk down the road to the sites where J.J. Thomson discovered the electron; W. L. Bragg devised the theory of crystallography (as a first-year PhD student!); Aston developed the first mass spectrometer; Franklin, Watson, and Crick unravelled the structure of DNA; and Kendrew and Perutz elucidated the first protein structures (among so much other science!). There is no place in the world quite like Cambridge to foster scientific passion and growth.

Kent (October 2015)

My undergraduate degree was an integrated Master’s in Chemistry at the University of Liverpool, investigating transition metal catalysis in my final-year project. I knew I wanted to stay in asymmetric catalysis but try something slightly different, and the Leeper group was the perfect opportunity with relevant expertise in the area. I've just finished my first year researching asymmetric organocatalysis in the Leeper Group.  Having undertaken a year’s research in industry, I would like to return to this after my PhD, and a lot of chemical companies only consider those who have completed PhDs.

Cambridge is the bioscience hub of the UK, with connections both locally and globally. Many large companies are attracted to the Science Park, and the University of Cambridge has partnerships with many of these companies. These include CASE studentships and sponsored workshops, which are great for personal development, but also provide a platform to communicate with future employers.

The opportunities in both the Department and the University of Cambridge are endless; from conferences and seminars to training courses and even teaching. PhDs aren’t all about work though – College life is one of the most attractive things about coming to Cambridge. There are so many clubs and interest groups to join, and events running all throughout the calendar year for graduates. I’ve managed to start rowing as a sport alongside my PhD, which is a great chance to socialise with people from different subject areas in your College. I’m also involved in my College committee, allowing me to run lots of events and constantly meet new people.

Cambridge is a great place to study and you’ll never be bored. Coming from a big city, Cambridge made me feel very welcome. With lots of local independent restaurants, museums, parks, a large shopping culture, and more pubs than you could ever possibly visit, it’ll be hard to leave!

Emma (September 2015)

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Key Information

3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Chemistry


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Dec. 1, 2016
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2017
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2018

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
March 1, 2017
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2018
Course Starts
April 17, 2018

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Michaelmas 2018

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2017
Application deadline
June 30, 2018
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2018

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Dec. 6, 2017
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2018
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2019

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
March 17, 2018
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2019
Course Starts
April 17, 2019

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 4, 2018
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2017

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