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Postgraduate Admissions

The Department of Chemistry at Cambridge is a world-class teaching and research centre recognised for its exceptional record in discovery, innovation and excellence. It consistently ranks as the top chemistry department in the UK, and within the top five departments worldwide.

To learn more about what we do here in the Department, and what you can gain by joining us for your postgraduate studies, please see the video on the right. 

The best way to find out if this might be the place for you to pursue your postgraduate studies is to visit us in person. We hold an annual Postgraduate Admissions Open Day in October when you can do this.

To find out more about being a postgraduate student  at the University please see the Postgraduate Guide.

We have recently took on the first cohort for our new SynTech Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT). This offers a four-year PhD programme to train students from a range of backgrounds to think differently and creatively about making molecules, like new drugs, by combining state-of-the-art chemical synthesis with the latest developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Find out more about our new SynTech Centre for Doctoral Training here.

Here in the department we progress fundamental science in three strategic areas:

  • Chemistry of Health Advancing the understanding of health and disease in areas of global importance (ageing, cancer and infection).
  • Innovative Molecular & Materials Design Transforming the development and assembly of important functional chemicals to produce new high-value products for novel applications in health care, agriculture, energy, and consumer products.
  • Sustainable Energy, Environment & Climate Investigating the impact of chemical processes on the environment and working to develop sustainable energy systems.

At a departmental level academic interests in chemistry are defined according to five research areas, which constitute the department's Research Interest Groups (RIGs): Biological, Materials Chemistry, Theory, Physical & Atmospheric Chemistry, and Synthetic Chemistry.

Our research culture is extensive, inclusive and dynamic. The department sits in the centre of Cambridge, one of the world’s greatest intellectual communities. This enables all who study here to find opportunities to engage and benefit from this extraordinary hub of creative, scientific activity – encompassing the department, its collaborators, industry partners and through the unique experience of College life.

The Department of Chemistry admits around 80 postgraduate students each year. Most of these are PhD students, plus around 20 MPhil students. All postgraduate students are enrolled on to our comprehensive Postgraduate Education programme. We accept applications all year round but can only enter candidates for University Scholarships if they apply by the appropriate deadlines.  Candidates applying outside of the deadlines are advised to contact potential supervisors to see if they are willing to consider applications and be prepared to secure their own funding.

Important Dates

  • Early September | University of Cambridge Postgraduate Admissions Applicant Portal opens
  • October | Chemistry Postgraduate Admissions Open Day - Thursday 5 November 2020 
  • 9 October | US Gates Deadline (12:00 GMT)
  • 3 December | Application deadline for all those seeking funding from the University or Department of Chemistry - please note it is recommended your submit your application as soon as possible as supervisors will begin reviewing applications as soon as they are received.


Becoming a Chemistry Postgraduate

This video shows you what we do here – and what you can gain by joining us as a postgraduate student.

Meet Haydn Francis, Battery Researcher

Meet one of our current PhD students, Haydn Francis. He is just starting the second year of his research project here into new technologies that could slow the degradation of electric vehicle batteries.

Supporting Chemistry Postgraduates

This is a video about one aspect of our Postgraduate Education programme: training PhD students to develop public speaking and science communication skills.