skip to content

Graduate Admissions

About the Department of Zoology

The Department of Zoology consists of around 250 people, including graduate students, research staff, assistant staff and University Lecturers, Readers and Professors.

The Department occupies 10,000m2, mostly on the New Museums site in Central Cambridge. The majority of this is in one building, which fronts on to Downing Street and includes the Museum of Zoology (currently closed for redevelopment).

Four of the Department's research groups are accommodated in the Wellcome/CR UK Gurdon Institute, on Tennis Court Road. This is an inter-departmental Institute, which also contains members of the Departments of Genetics, Biochemistry, Pathology and Physiology.

The Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour in Madingley village, 5 miles from Cambridge, plays a leading role in the study of behaviour and its relationship to the natural environment.

2 courses offered in the Department of Zoology

Zoology is a department that brings together researchers from a great diversity of disciplines, ranging from cell biology to field ecology. What unites us is an interest in the whole organism, and in how systems interact across different levels of organisation to generate the complexity of form, function and behaviour that are observed in the living world. Evolution is a theme that underpins and unites much of our work, as does an appreciation of the interaction between living organisms and their environments.

We offer both research MPhil (one year) and PhD (three to four years) degrees. 

More Information

Zoology is a department that brings together researchers from a great diversity of disciplines, ranging from cell biology to field ecology. What unites us is an interest in the whole organism, and in how systems interact across different levels of organisation to generate the complexity of form, function and behaviour that are observed in the living world. Evolution is a theme that underpins and unites much of our work, as does an appreciation of the interaction between living organisms and their environments.

We offer both research MPhil (one year) and PhD (three to four years) degrees. 

More Information

8 courses also advertised in the Department of Zoology

From the British Antarctic Survey

In this course a PhD is undertaken under the joint supervision of a research scientist at British Antarctic Survey and a University supervisor. The British Antarctic Survey welcomes enquiries from those interested in higher degrees in earth science subjects, physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and related subjects. Further projects may also be available in the University Department (see other entries in this list).

More Information

From the Department of Earth Sciences

The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in the Application of Artificial Intelligence to the study of Environmental Risks (AI4ER) trains researchers (through several multidisciplinary cohorts) to be uniquely equipped to develop and apply leading-edge computational approaches to address critical global environmental challenges by exploiting vast, diverse and often currently untapped environmental data sets. Embedded in the outstanding research environments of the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the AI4ER CDT addresses problems that are relevant to building resilience to environmental hazards and managing environmental change. The primary application areas are:

  • Weather, Climate and Air Quality
  • Natural Hazards
  • Natural Resources (food, water & resource security and biodiversity)

Students in the CDT cohorts engage in a one-year MRes degree in Physical Sciences (Environmental Data Science) which includes a taught component and a major research element, followed by a three-year PhD research project. Students will receive high-quality training in research, professional, technical and transferable skills through a focused core programme with an emphasis on the development of data science skills through hackathons and team challenges. Training is guided by personalised advice and the expertise of a network of partners in industry, government, the third sector and beyond.

More Information

From the Department of Plant Sciences

This four-year programme provides excellent postgraduate training, addressing the need for trained scientists in strategically important research areas and skills. The DTP programme has four separate research themes addressing the strategic research priorities of BBSRC:

The research topics included in the Cambridge DTP are aimed at improving understanding of basic biological mechanisms, from the study of biological molecules, to cellular and physiological processes, including genetic and genomic approaches. There is an emphasis on multidisciplinary research interfacing with physical sciences and engineering. Biologists learn mathematical and computational methodologies to address biological questions and the programme may interest mathematicians interested in applying their knowledge to biological problems. A major goal of our training programme is to allow the flow of ideas, skills and key capabilities to provide mutual benefit in supporting the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in the UK.

More Information

From the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Developmental biology is a remarkably cross-disciplinary area of biomedical research that spans traditional departmental boundaries and many different technologies, such as molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, imaging and bioinformatics. This field is increasingly significant in the era of readily available genome sequences, because functional studies of development are essential to decipher the roles of many genes, and will be invaluable if we are to reap the benefits of this wealth of new information. A major challenge now is to find more powerful, systematic and quantitative ways of investigating how this genetic information is translated into morphogenetic instructions, and to analyse how these instructions generate and are modulated by the forces that shape tissues and organs. Our PhD programme embraces this challenge and offers a powerful opportunity to explore the mechanisms underlying key developmental processes.

More Information

From the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

Taking advantage of the genomic revolution, this PhD programme allows students to move from the analysis of host and pathogen genetics, the identification of new genes and molecules, through immunogenomics, viral and bacterial pathogenesis, immune adaptation and evasion, complex genetic analysis of human disease to the macroscopic manifestation of infectious diseases in population dynamics and mathematical modelling.

By understanding the pathogen and how the immune system responds to that pathogen, together with the autoreactive potential of the immune response, we aim to improve our knowledge of the pathogenesis of both infectious and inflammatory disorders, as well as develop new treatment strategies to combat these conditions. While no student can be expert in all these areas, it is our premise that equipping the next generation of scientists with a rigorous training, skill set and broad academic insight will provide them with the expertise to bring novel and innovative approaches to the study of infection, immunity and inflammation.

More Information

From the Department of Medicine

The Cambridge MRC Doctoral Training Programme  is a partnership between the University of Cambridge and the Babraham Institute. Included as associate partners are the MRC institutes and units in Cambridge, and other University Partner Institutes.

The Programme is offering at least ten fully funded PhD studentships for projects commencing in October 2019.

More Information

From the Department of Physics

The PhD programme is based on courses, practicals and projects in year one before selection of an interdisciplinary PhD topic for research in years two through four in a Nano group within Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Materials or another department. A significant element will be a course on "nurturing and managing innovation", delivered through the Maxwell Centre which is the hub of industry–academia interactions in physical sciences in Cambridge.

More Information

From the Department of Medicine

This innovative programme was established in 2002 as a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US. Its aim is to train outstanding students in biomedical research, taking advantage of the outstanding research environments. Students work on collaborative projects organised by co-supervisors at both Cambridge and the NIH, spending two years at each institution. Students have access to all NIH facilities and are paid by the NIH. The PhD is awarded by the University of Cambridge.

More Information

Department Members


Professor Michael Akam, FRS
Head of Department

  • 26 Academic Staff
  • 51 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 90 Graduate Students
  • 155 Undergraduates

http://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/

Research Areas