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Department of Plant Sciences


Prospective Postgraduate students are required to apply through the University's Applicant Portal. For full information on how to apply, including course entry requirements, deadlines and application fee, please visit the Postgraduate Admissions website.

Applicants should contact a potential supervisor before proceeding with their application. You can browse the personal/group pages of the Research Group Leaders to check details of their research and to contact them directly. The Department of Plant Sciences and University of Cambridge actively support equality, diversity and inclusion and we encourage applications from eligible applicants from all sections of society. Once a full application submitted through the University portal has been received by the Department, each applicant will be assessed. Following an initial Departmental evaluation and interview, eligible applicants will be selected for each funding scheme and submitted for consideration. Some funding schemes will require a formal competitive interview in January or February, for which full information will be circulated to individuals when details are available. 


Finding a supervisor in the Department

  1. Browse the personal/group pages of the Research Group Leaders to check details of their research. If you are not sure which area you are interested in, you can search the List of studentships
  2. If you have a particular interest or project in mind, contact the most appropriate Group Leader to explore the possibility that your plans are of interest to them.
  3. If you are interested in more than one supervisor within this Department, you can name them as first and second choice in your application, but if you want to apply to supervisors in different departments, you will have to make separate applications (one to each department).
  4. Because of the need for separate applications for each department, we encourage you to make informal enquiries first, and if desired, arrange a visit. Only once you have made a firm choice you should complete the University’s online application form.


University Admission

Prospective Postgraduate students are required to apply through the University's Applicant Portal. For full information on how to apply, including course entry requirements, deadlines and application fee, please visit the Postgraduate Admissions website.

The Postgraduate School of Life Sciences has a scheme which enables three applications to be made with payment of a single application fee. For more details see here.


Are you eligible to apply for admission?

Information on Entry Requirements can be found on the University’s Postgraduate Admissions website.

You are normally expected to hold or to have achieved by the start of your course:

  • minimum of a good upper second class (good 2:1) honours degree from a UK university or an equivalent standard from an overseas university; and
  • completion of, or release from, any current training or education course

To check if your international qualification meets the University minimum requirement, please consult the International section.

You should be aware that meeting the University’s or departments’ minimum academic requirements does not guarantee entry; it is only one of the factors taken into account when academic selectors make their decision. Many other factors are also important, such as suitability for the course, proficiency in English, relevant experience, references, availability of a suitable supervisor, and the number of available places.


Which qualification do you want to apply for?

MPhil in Biological Sciences - course code: BLPSM1
PhD in Plant Sciences - course code: BLPS22


How to apply

1) Take a look at the projects on offer and make contact with the lead supervisor for those that particularly interest you, as our prospective supervisors can often provide useful advice and information about the project. We are also happy to devise a project with you if you have research interests that we share; you must contact a prospective supervisor before applying.

There are two ways to search:


2) You will need to apply through the University's Applicant Portal.

As you complete your application, please note the following:

Please select a Michaelmas Term start, unless you are self-funded or have made other arrangements with a specific supervisor.

If you are applying to an advertised project or studentship please specify under the Project/Studentship Applications section which projects you are interested in and why, in order of preference, giving the project code(s)/title(s) and supervisor(s). Normally, not more than 3 projects or studentships should be specified. Applicants applying with their own research proposal need not answer this section and should upload a Research Proposal when applying through the Applicant Portal, indicating a supervisor.

There is no need to repeat the project description which has been posted for a particular project, but feel free to use the space to describe your motivation for applying for the project(s) you have chosen.

Funding section: When asked ‘Do you wish to apply for funding?’ please tick the box ‘Yes-I wish to apply for funding’.

Cambridge Trust & Gates Cambridge sections: We encourage you to complete the Cambridge Trust and Gates Cambridge sections so that you are eligible for as many sources of funding as possible (be aware that earlier deadlines may apply).

Research Council Funding: All UK and a limited number of Overseas Students (now including EU) are currently considered eligible for Research Council Funding, but the difference between UK fees and Overseas fees will not be covered in the award for most programmes, unless supported by another source of funding. Where asked ‘If you are interested in a particular studentship’, please list projects title(s) and any code(s) here. If listing multiple studentships please indicate these in priority order.

Attachments: Application attachments may vary by course (for example some will request a CV and/or research proposal); please provide all information requested by the course(s) for which you would like to be considered. 



If you are applying for funding, there are two deadlines to consider:

Application for both is via the same online form but you must apply by whichever deadline comes first. Check relevant deadline very carefully.

Applications are considered by the Department for admission and then assessed for funding.

Full details on the application process for postgraduate funding are available here. (see Q. How is funding allocated (when applied for through the Applicant Portal)?)


1) Deadlines:

For course admission deadlines see link above.

The final deadline/closing date for applications to be considered for the next Postgraduate Funding Competition (academic year 2023-24) is 5th January 2023.  All supporting documentation including references must be submitted by this date. Please try to submit your application well in advance of this date.

By completing your application by the above funding application deadline date, the Department will also consider you for other funding schemes, if associated deadlines permit. Applications relying on externally funded support (Government Scholarships etc.) may be made up until the relevant course application deadlines for entry in October 2023, January 2024 or April 2024. For details see here.


2) Interviews: 

The Department will assess and then select eligible applicants for each programme and an initial interview for admission will be undertaken by the potential supervisor and a member of the Departmental Postgraduate Education Committee. However, the selection process for the BBSRC DTP will be administered by the School of Biological Sciences.

For specific funding schemes and awards, competitive interviews are expected to be held during January / February (dates to be confirmed). For NERC and BBSRC DTP awards, these are arranged independently of other schemes managed through the Department of Plant Sciences. Full information will be circulated to individuals when details are available.


3) Offers


The Department considers applications as they are received on a rolling basis and you should usually expect to hear about the outcome of your application within twelve weeks of submitting your completed application and all required supporting documents.


The majority of funding is offered in March and April. However, some Research Councils (NERC and MRC) may offer as early as February and other funding offers (for example from the Cambridge Trust) may be as late as July. If you have not heard by the end of July, you should assume you have not been successful in securing University funding. For full details see here.


If you have any questions, we are happy to help. Contact the departmental Postgraduate Administrator at