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Application procedure

Application deadlines - To start October 2018

Funding Round Deadline for applicants
Gates Cambridge US 11 October 2017
All other funding rounds 6 December 2017

All deadlines for the submission of the full application are 12:00pm (midday) UK time on the date stated.

Please note: Applicants who are applying to a DTP (MRC, BBSRC) will need to make a separate application to the DTP and Department if they wish their application to be considered for both. Applicants are now able to make three applications for one application fee.

The Department will continue to accept applications up until 26 April 2018 for candidates wishing to start in October 2018. Any applications submitted after 6 December 2017 will not be submitted to the funding round.

Step 1 - Identify a potential supervisor/supervisors

Prospective PhD and MPhil students MUST identify a potential supervisor from our website before making an application*. Go to the Research page to browse our major research themes or view the Academic Staff page for information and contact details of individuals. Prospective MPhil Biological Science (Psychology) students should browse our list of potential MPhil Biological Science (Psychology) supervisors.

You are expected to make email contact with those staff whose research is of interest to you in order to discuss research possibilities. Students wishing to be supervised by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen should apply for admission via the Department of Psychiatry.  When contacting a potential supervisor you are requested to state the degree for which you wish to be considered and provide the following:

  • curriculum vitae detailing your academic record
  • brief details of your area of interest

Individual members of staff will be pleased to answer informal enquiries about specific research areas, and indeed candidates who are certain of their field of interest are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor at an early stage, to discover whether their research interests match those of the potential supervisor. This need to identify a supervisor early in the application process differs from a North American graduate school. At Cambridge candidates do not spend an extended period conducting research projects in different labs or taking courses in a large range of fields. Instead they begin research work at once under the guidance of their supervisor, attending lectures devoted to their chosen field and to general principles of experimental design and analysis.

Please inform the of whom you intend to contact and the outcome of your discussions. If you receive a positive response to your enquiry and you wish to be considered for funding then you must proceed to step 2 as quickly as possible.  Please note funding deadlines.

*Getting the support of a prospective supervisor is just the first step in the admissions process and does not automatically guarantee you a place on the course.

Step 2 - Submit a formal application

In order to submit your online application, the Graduate Admission and Scholarship Application Form (GRADSAF), you must consult the University's central Graduate Admissions pages. Here you will find all the information you need to submit the GRADSAF.

It is important that you advise the Department's when you have submitted your application.

Research proposal

All prospective graduate students are required to submit a research proposal as part of the application procedure. 

The research proposal is an opportunity to show your prospective supervisor that you have interesting ideas, and that you have some idea of how to evaluate them.

It should consist of about two sides of A4, including references and it should include:

  • a clear empirical objective
  • some idea of the research methods you would use
  • relevant theoretical background

Firstly you need to lay out the theoretical background to your research question, and then provide a rationale for testing a hypothesis or two. You should briefly outline your methods, your sample, and the various techniques you hope to use. Finally give a brief statement of how the data will be analysed, and outline what various findings might mean.