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Graduate Admissions

Interested in a PhD or MPhil in the Department of Chemistry?

The Chemistry Department at Cambridge is one of the highest profile research environments in the world for chemical sciences and we offer our graduate students many exciting opportunities to explore their passions in these fields to the highest levels. 


Graduate Admissions Open Day

We hold an annual Graduate Admissions Open Day in October for prospective graduates, with a day of talks, tours, posters and refreshments. You have missed the 2015 Open Day, but you can still submit a Departmental Supplementary Application Form by 30 November 2015. Our 2016 Open Day will be held on Friday 21st October. More details to be announced in the New Year.


How to apply for an MPhil or PhD in Chemistry

Applicants for October 2016 who require funding

Applicants for an MPhil or a PhD in Chemistry seeking funding from the University should submit:

  • a Supplementary Application Form by email directly to the Department’s Admissions Office ( by November 30th 2015. The relevant forms can be downloaded from the links below.
  • a GRADSAF application form through the University Graduate Admissions system – further details below.

A Research Interest Group (RIG) panel will review applications and prepare shortlists for funding by UK Research Councils and university scholarships. This early deadline is so we can help you better by guiding you through the right funding channels in a timely manner, providing supervisor or Departmental support where needed. Shortlisted candidates may be interviewed. We intend to start making conditional offers early in January or February 2016. Competition for funding is strong and places are limited. Please note, there are also Doctoral Training Programmes that the Chemistry Department is involved with that may have earlier (or later) deadlines. Please check the appropriate course details or contact our Graduate Student Advisor for further guidance.

Supplementary Application Form for PhD in Chemistry​: Word version   PDF version
Supplementary Application Form for MPhil in Chemistry:  Word version   PDF version

The deadline for the Cambridge-AstraZeneca PhD Programme in Chemical Synthesis is November 15 2015. There are up to 5 PhD studentsips available. Use the Supplementary Application form to apply.


Applicants who do not require funding

Applicants who do not wish to apply for university scholarships can submit a GRADSAF at any time. However, competition for places is severe. Early applications are advised and are likely to receive priority.

Please direct any enquiries or questions to Rachel MacDonald (


The University Graduate Admissions GRADSAF Application      

All prospective graduate students wishing to study for an MPhil or PhD in Chemistry need to submit a GRADSAF application form online through the University’s Graduate Admissions website. This is the process also used to circulate applications to the Colleges. It is important to note that your GRADSAF application will not be received by the Chemistry Department unless all Supporting Documentation has been uploaded. This includes two references uploaded by your referees, and course transcripts.

We also require you to include in section A12 of the GRADSAF the following, which can be copied to/from your Supplementary Application form if you completed one:

  • Which RIG and supervisor(s) you would like your application to be considered by.
  • A personal statement (under 500 words) where you can explain why you want to study for an MPhil or PhD in Chemistry. You should discuss your research interests, how your experience is relevant and how your aptitude makes you suited to independent research. Highlight areas of chemistry that interest and appeal to you the most.

We strongly encourage all applicants to ensure that their completed GRADSAF application forms are available to the Department in readiness to circulate to the various Research Interest Groups (RIGs) by November 30th 2015. This ensures that the reference letters and transcripts submitted with the GRADSAF are available to the RIG panels when applications are reviewed.


MPhil & Doctoral Training Programmes

In addition to the direct routes into research study, the Chemistry Department is also engaged with a number of MPhil and PhD training programmes. Many of these offer full funding for eligible and successful applicants. MPhils in Micro & Nanotechnology Enterprise and Scientific Computing, as well as PhDs in Nano Science & Technology, Materials, Graphene and Sensor Technologies are offered. PhDs are also available with Cambridge Earth System Science programme. For applicants looking for biological based research opportunities, the Chemistry Department is involved with a number of interdisciplinary programmes including those funded by the BBSRC, the Cambridge Cancer Centre. > Find out more


Financial Support

The Chemistry Department is able to support a limited number of eligible graduates with tuition fees and maintenance costs that are associated with their research studies. The wider University also offers many additional funding opportunities for both domestic and international students. > Find out more 

43% of graduate students admitted [to the University] in 2014/15 received a scholarship or bursary from funds administered by the collegiate University, 41% of these students received a full award that covered both fees and living costs."  


International students

The Chemistry Department has a large international population of researchers. All prospective graduate applicants are advised to check current criteria set out by the University regarding English language requirements, international qualifications and visas before applying.