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Do I need a language test to apply?

Our courses have English language requirements, but providing proof is not mandatory at the application stage. If you have taken a test less than 2 years prior to the course start date, please upload the results. If you haven't, you can go ahead and apply without these test results. The language requirement might be set as a condition if you are made an offer. 

Please note that students who have been studying in an English speaking country for 3 years prior to the course start date are not usually set a language condition if they are made an offer. For everyone else, the University cannot waive the language requirement. We are not usually able to respond to requests for a waiver.

If you have taken a language test and miss the required scores, please upload the results anyway. You might be eligible for a referral to the University Language Centre.

Further information about the language requirements is here

Can I amend my application after it is submitted?

Unfortunately it is not usually possible to amend the application or any supporting documents after submission. It might be possible to amend referees: see here

Does applying early improve admission and scholarship prospects?

Applying early provides a good opportunity to connect with the supervisor and get on their radar. However all complete applications received before the 5 December deadline will be viewed as a gathered field after the deadline and be treated equally in terms decision and funding nominations. We recommend allowing plenty of time to collect supporting documents and references to ensure you meet the deadline. Applications submitted after the December deadline (not considered for University Scholarship Competition) should apply as soon as possible to ensure research group capacity is not filled for the academic year of entry.

Who should I ask to provide my academic references?

Your academic references need to be from someone in your current institution (wherever you might be studying or undertaking a research placement etc.) who can: a) verify your current academic ranking within your cohort; and b) verify your research potential.

Further information on who to nominate as a referee can be found on the Postgraduate Admissions website.

Can a reference be from research employment?

Yes. You can choose one of your referees (verifying your research capability) from an industry placement or research position you have held during (internship) or post studies.

Do I need to submit a separate application per supervisor?

Only one application is needed for each course in the Department. Multiple potential supervisors from the Department can be listed on the application.

If you are interested in working with supervisors from multiple Departments, you must submit separate applications to each Department. If you apply to the Chemistry Department and list supervisors from other Departments (includes NERC projects), there is no guarantee that your application will be passed on and seen by those supervisors. 

Is it down to the supervisior to accept an application or is the decision more central?

It is supervisors final decision on whether they wish to accept you into their research group. In some cases, where the supervisor is supportive of your application, there will a a panel interview whether interviewers can make a recommendation that student may not be suitable.

Is there special support for disabled applicants during the interview stage?

Interview adjustments can be requested in your application. If you are invited for an interview and the adjustments are not mentioned, please reply and discuss them with the interview organiser.

What is the difference between the Syntech CDT PhD and the Research PhD? Is the qualification the same?

You will be graduating with a PhD in both programs. A CDT is a Centre for Doctoral Training which is one of the approaches used by some UK Research Councils to fund and train doctoral students in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It combines a four-year research degree with other training that usually a traditional PhD may not have. The Department of Chemistry is however, unusual in that respect and also offers you the opportunity to pursue other training elements to complement your research project. SynTech CDT in particular may offer a wider set of training skills that is not available through pursuing a PhD in Chemistry.

Do I need to apply separately for CDT and DTC progams?

Yes, these courses require separate applications. Please check the prospectus for further information. The Syntech CDT course is currently not in the prospectus for October 2024 entry, they will be added if their funding is renewed (we hope to receive the outcome in the next few weeks).

Is it crucial to have a research paper to apply for postgraduate studies in the department?

It is not essential to have published paper for admission. However, if you did, this may be a bonus for your admission and rank you slightly higher. Many of our students do not have published papers at the time of admission.

I am an African applicant, will I be considered as a viable candidate?

As long as you meet the minimum requirements for MPhil or PhD entry, you will be considered alongside all applicants. There are specific scholarships that you could be eligible for through the Cambridge Trusts. Additionally, please check details of the Mastercard Foundation Programme at the University of Cambridge, if you are interested in studying MPhil.

Is it mandatory to commit to the research proposal when submitting it?

It is not mandatory to commit to a PhD proposal that you submit as part of your application. The nature of how science research unfolds means that it is ever changing and it is likely that your final thesis will have evolved from your initial proposal. If you are made an offer, a complete change in research direction/supervisor might require a new ATAS/visa application (if applicable). In these cases, the International Student Office should be consulted.