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The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.

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. 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 scheme and submitted for consideration. Some 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?

Competition for admission to the University of Cambridge Postgraduate programme is intense. Like all departments in the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences, we require our Postgraduate entrants to have;

  1. at least a 2:1 Honours degree from a UK university or an equivalent standard from an overseas university in a relevant subject;
  2. two outstanding academic references;
  3. fluency in the English language.

Full details on the University’s entry requirements can be found on the website.

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 several 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 2021 start (01-Oct-2021), unless the 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 Pages: We encourage you to complete the Cambridge Trust and Gates Cambridge sections so that you are eligible for as many sources of PhD funding as possible (be aware that earlier deadlines may apply)

Research Council Funding: All UK and 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 one of the Cambridge Trusts awards. 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.

Application Fee and Fee Waiver Scheme:  There is a fee waiver that applies in certain circumstances, please see: Where applicable, the fee waiver request form must be submitted by 30 November 2020.


1) Deadlines:

The final deadline/ closing date for applications to be considered for the current Postgraduate Funding Competition is  12:00 pm (noon) GMT, Thursday 7 January 2021. 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 date, the Department will consider you for other PhD funding schemes (Cambridge Trusts, etc), if associated deadlines permit. Applications relying on externally funded support (Government Scholarships etc.) may be made up until 30 June 2021 for entry in October 2021, or later for entry in January 2022 or April 2022. For details see

2) Interviews: The Department will assess and select eligible applicants for each programme and an initial interview will be undertaken by the potential supervisor and a member of the Departmental Postgraduate Education Committee.

For specific funding schemes and awards, competitive interviews will be held online during February 2021. For NERC DTP awards, these are arranged independently of other schemes managed through the Department of Plant Sciences. 

3) Offers

Offers will be communicated starting in late February (for NERC DTP awards, decisions need to be made by the Universal Acceptance Date agreed by NERC on noon Wednesday 17 March 2021).

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