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Graduate Admissions

Course closed:

Polar Studies (Scott Polar Research Institute) is no longer accepting new applications.


The teaching for the MPhil in Polar Studies consists of the following elements:

  • Core course: taught in the first (Michaelmas) term;
  • Skills and Research training: taught in the first (Michaelmas) and second (Lent) terms;
  • Dissertation: supervised in all three (Michaelmas, Lent and Easter) terms.

The MPhil in Polar Studies consists of two strands (humanities and social sciences, and physical sciences), each composed of two modules. Lectures and seminar-based teaching takes place in the Michaelmas term. The remaining two terms are devoted to a research-led dissertation.

One to one supervision

Each student is allocated a thesis supervisor before the course begins. Generally up to ten meetings of up to one hour of one-to-one supervision as well as briefer meetings when needed.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

16 hours in the first term.

Students are expected to participate in internal and external research seminars, and a research forum.


The skills and research training programme comprises eight one-hour lectures in the first term and optional lectures in the second term.


As part of the dissertation.


Dissertation presentation in the second term.


Written feedback is provided on each submitted essay and the dissertation. Online written progress reports are provided each term.



20,000 word dissertation which, at the discretion of the examiners, can include an oral examination on the thesis and the essays and on the general field of knowledge.


Three essays, each of about 4,000 words in length, the first chosen from a list of topics, and the second and third on topics chosen by the candidate, with the approval of the Degree Committee.            

Key Information

9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Geography and Scott Polar Research Institute


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
March 29, 2019
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018

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