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About the Department of Chemistry

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

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. To find out more about being a postgraduate student at the University please click here to learn more about Student Life.

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.

Important dates

We particularly encourage BAME applicants, LGBTQIA+ applicants, applicants with disabilities and other underrepresented groups in the chemical sciences. If you are interested in applying, please click here for more information on how to apply.

We accept applications all year round but can only enter candidates for University Scholarships if they apply by the appropriate deadline in early December. If you apply outside of the deadlines, you should contact potential supervisors to see if they are willing to consider applications and you may need to secure your own funding. For more information and important dates check PhD and MPhil prospectus. Exact dates vary year on year so please click the links below to find out more.

  • 4th September | University of Cambridge Postgraduate Admissions Applicant Portal opens
  • 11th October | US Gates Funding Deadline (12:00 GMT)
  • 26th October 2023 The Chemistry PG Open Day will be virtual.
  • 5th December 2023 | Application deadline for all those seeking funding from the University or Department of Chemistry.  
  • 16th May 2024 | Final deadline for Michaelmas 2024 applications - please note that any application after 5th December will not be eligible to be put forward for the funding competition

***Please contact if you have any questions***


Gates Scholar Akhila Denduluri on why she chose Cambridge

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.