Most graduate courses at the University of Cambridge are full-time courses. However, all MSts are part-time, and a number of departments offer part-time PhDs or research MPhils.
Unlike part-time degrees at many universities, the Cambridge part-time research degree is not a distance learning degree. There are attendance requirements, and you will need to live close enough to Cambridge to fulfill these.
As a minimum, you will have at least two formal supervisions per term as well as training sessions; your department may require more than this. You can expect the same standard of research facilities as a full-time student, and you will be expected to play a full part in the academic life of the department.
You will also be a member of a college, although not all colleges accept part-time students.
The Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Education (EdD) and Master of Studies (MSt) are part-time by definition. The PhD, MSc, MLitt, MPhil and CPGS may also be taken by part-time; however, this will vary by department and college. The EngD is not available by part-time study.
Some departments offer a part-time route to certain research degrees. This might be suitable for you if you are employed in the Cambridge region and your employer views such a programme of study as representing valuable staff development; or if you work part-time, or are home based for whatever reason, and want to develop your research skills. Current employees of the University of Cambridge are also eligible to apply.
The Cambridge part-time research degree is NOT a distance learning degree. You can expect the same standard of research facilities as a full-time student, and will be expected to play a full part in the academic life of the department. There are attendance requirements and you will need to live close enough to Cambridge to fulfil these. As a minimum you can expect at least two formal supervisions per term as well as training sessions; your department may have higher requirements and will specify these at the point of offer. You will also be a member of a College.
The Board of Graduate Studies will decline an application for part-time study if they feel attendance requirements cannot be met by reasonable means. The normal period of study for a part-time PhD is five years, of which at least five terms must be spent in research in Cambridge (that is, fulfilling the attendance requirements specified by your department). You will have to meet the same academic criteria for admission and ongoing assessment as for full-time degrees; however, extensive postgraduate experience will sometimes be accepted in lieu of a 2i honours degree. Applicants for part-time research degrees are always interviewed as part of the admissions process; this is partly for academic reasons and partly to ensure that your topic is suitable for part-time study and that you will be able to meet the part-time requirements.
In total you will pay the same fees as a full-time student over the duration of the course, ie 60% of the full-time fees for each term.
Prospective students are directed to a purpose prepared handbook (Information for prospective students on Part-Time Research Degrees) for detailed information on applying for part-time study at Cambridge.
A few MPhils can be taken part-time. The degree is taken over two years and the total fee is the same as for full-time students, payable at 50% each year.
Study at the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)
The Institute of Continuing Education offers opportunities for further study, on a part-time basis. It offers a range of credit and non-credit programmes, qualifications and education designed for anyone who wishes to extend their initial study, update their knowledge and skills or to undertake career development or change. The full range of courses offered by the Institute and further information can be viewed on the ICE website.