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Join us for a PhD


Coming to Cambridge for a PhD in Chemistry means you will be joining a community of over 50 academics, 350 PhD students and more than 200 postdoctoral researchers. The research opportunities are vast and career development is second to none. 

The route to a PhD takes up to four years of full-time research, culminating in a substantial thesis of up to 60,000 words which is examined by viva. The postgraduate chemistry lecture series offered by the Department  aims to bring everyone up to the same high-level of foundational knowledge; irrespective of prior educational background at Masters level. You will present your research at seminars and conferences as you progress. Most PhD students go to at least one international and national chemistry conference in the course of their studies.

General information

  • PhD students typically start in October (Michaelmas Term) but can start in January (Lent Term) or April (Easter Term).

  • To be eligible for Departmental Scholarships formal applications must be received by the Department before the start of December (note: this includes references).

  • We encourage applicants to contact us before the end of November if they wish to apply for a funded PhD commencing the following October by emailing and using "PhD application Michaelmas 2024" in the subject line.  

  • PhD applicants should have (or be about to receive) a Masters degree (at least 2:1 or equivalent) in Chemistry, or another relevant discipline. If you have queries regarding your eligability, please be in touch.

  • Please contact us before submitting your application on the applicant portal.

Important Dates for PhD Applicants (Michaelmas 2024 entry):

  • 4th September 2023 | University of Cambridge Postgraduate Admissions Applicant Portal open

  • 11th October 2023 | US Gates Funding Deadline

  • 5th December 2023 | Application deadline for all those seeking funding from the University or Department of Chemistry.  

  • 16th May 2024 | Final deadline for Michaelmas applications - please note that any application after 5th December will not be eligible to be put forward for the funding competition.


The department funds a large number of PhD studentships through research council and industry funded routes. They also support over 25 or more exceptional postgraduate applications through the Postgraduate Funding Competition each year. The Gates Scholarships which is open to international applicants provides full-funding. 

PhD Fellowships

If you are planning to carry out your PhD in the Scherman Group, we recommend you to look into independent research fellowships. 

Internal (Cambridge) Funding:


External Funding:

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