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Applying within funding deadlines

If you would like to be considered for Cambridge University financial support and scholarships, you must make sure your application is submitted by the December University funding deadline (

To apply for an MPhil or PhD in Chemistry use the University of Cambridge online Applicant Portal. To complete the submission you will need to have details of your referees, academic transcripts, CV, and an English language proficiency documentation (if required) ready to upload, this year you will also need to complete and upload a quick questionnaire to your application.  

The first task before completing your online application is to identify one or more prospective supervisors whose research area interests you.  If you do not indicate a prospective supervisor(s) your application will be severely delayed. To see who is accepting students please look at the tables on either the PhD or MPhil pages.

We encourage you to correspond with potential supervisors early and well in advance of submitting your application. The Postgraduate Admissions Open Day is a good opportunity to make connections by registering your interest with research groups in the department. Our experience is that most successful applications come from people who have researched what they want to study and with whom. Although success in the application process cannot be guaranteed, a well-researched, focused and thoroughly written application is the expectation.

Applications that are incomplete, lacking one or more academic references by the University deadline will not be considered.

Application Timeline

The Department will be conducting interviews by panels of at least two academic members of staff of shortlisted applicants. Most of these interviews will take place in January, but some groups (particularly Synthesis Research Interest Group) may schedule interviews in December. Successful applicants will be made offers and entered for the funding competition by mid-February. 

There are several categories of outcomes you could fall into following your application submission. Please make a note of the dates below before contacting admissions regarding the status of your application:

  • Shortlisted scholarship eligible candidates interviewed for competition – January.
  • Entered into scholarship competition – your offer will be processed at Departmental level and you will be informed that you have been entered into the scholarship competition by mid-February. Candidates who require an offer for specific external funding should inform the graduate office of this before mid-February
  • Interviewed but not entered into scholarship competition – your application may be on hold until the outcome of the scholarship competition is known (this can be up to the end of June) in order to gauge available places. During this time, you may be offered a place if other funding becomes available – this should be discussed directly with your prospective supervisorIf you are able to self-fund, please indicate this on your application. 
  • Not interviewed for scholarship competition - Your application will be considered with the gathered field for supervisor’s own funding. You will either receive a rejection or your application may be kept on hold until the outcome of the scholarship competition is known.

If you have not heard anything by April, please get in touch

Applying after funding deadlines

Applicants who do not wish to apply for funding may apply until 16 May 2024 for PhD and 31 January 2024 for MPhil. We suggest that you apply at least 14 days before these deadlines in order that we can process your applications in a timely fashion.

To avoid disappointment, it is strongly recommended that you contact your preferred supervisor in advance of submitting an application to see whether they are still willing to consider applications as places are limited and may already have been filled.

What constitutes a "good" application?

Before applying, please carefully review the information available on our website.

In your application:

  • Supervisors - Familiarise yourself with the work conducted by or department/faculty/ and the research interests and projects of potential supervisors. This will help you identify the academic staff whose expertise aligns with your own research interests.
  • Research Experience - demonstrate your familiarity with related academic work in the field and how your relevant experience and aptitude makes you suited to independent research.
  • Research Interests - Identify and describe a novel research direction, considering why it is both interesting and relevant to pursue research in that particular area. Write clearly and concisely. Structure this section with headings such as introduction, proposed research etc. This is your chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject you want to research, and highlight your ideas for your PhD or MPhil.