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Department of Plant Sciences


Full guidance from the University on applications (and application fees including guidance for students living with disabilities, continuing students and International students can be found at


1) For the MPhil by thesis and PhD, take a look at the projects on offer and make contact with the lead supervisor for those that particularly interest you. Our prospective supervisors can 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.

You can 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.

Details on what documents you will need to supply for the MPhil by thesis and PhD in Plant Sciences are listed in the course descriptions (please add the links on those courses from the “what do you want to apply for” section). Check what is needed for individual CDT, CTP and DTP schemes on their websites.

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). More information on Gates Scholarships can be found here: Gates Cambridge Scholarships.

UK students of Black or Black-mixed ethnicity are eligible for Alexander Crummel Scholarships for the MPhil by thesis ( or PhD (

We invite students from Africa who wish to study for an MPhil (advanced study or thesis) with us to consider their eligibility for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme.

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.

You can search for more funding opportunities through the Cambridge Funding Search page  and by exploring studentships available through Colleges. Please consult individual College websites for details.

If you are applying for a BBSRC DTP studentship, an AI4ER studentship or a CTP SAI studentship you can make a separate application for the PhD in Plant Sciences at no cost.

We also welcome applications from international applicants seeking national Government scholarships or local awards. In such cases, we ask that potential applicants identify an appropriate Supervisor and agree an area of research before submitting a full application via the Applicant Portal. Our Postgraduate Administrator will respond directly to any enquiries (


3) Deadlines

As noted previously, application and funding application deadlines vary; please check the relevant CTP,CDT and DTP sites if you are applying for their studentships. For example, the deadline for the BBSRC DTP is December 5th 2023.

For US citizens resident in the USA who want to be considered for Gates funding, the deadline is 11th October 2023.

The final deadline/closing date for applications to be considered for the University’s next Postgraduate Funding Competition (admission to academic year 2024-25 supported by Cambridge Trust) is 4th January 2024.  This covers the MPhil in Crop Science, MPhil by thesis and PhD in Plant Sciences. 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 2024, January 2025 or April 2025.


4) 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 CDT,CTP and DTP  will be administered by those programmes. For specific funding schemes and awards, competitive interviews are expected to be held during January/February.


5) Offers

The Department considers applications as they are received on a rolling basis and you should expect to hear about the outcome of your application well 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 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. Candidates holding an offer for the MPhil in Crop Sciences should consider their eligibility for a Masters Bursary Award.

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