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Frequently asked questions about PhD Admissions

When does my course begin?

The Department only accepts applications for PhD for an October start.

I did not receive my previous training in a UK university. Will I still be considered for admission?

Yes. Many of our students have international backgrounds.

Can I apply before I have funding?

Yes. Your application will be judged on merit, not on your ability to pay. If you are accepted by the department, you will be sent a letter detailing what other conditions, such as funding, you must fulfil before coming to Cambridge.

Do I need a laptop?

Yes, it would be very helpful to you. See specification under Resources and Costs.

After I send in my application, how long will it take to receive a response?

We normally strive to respond within two months. But we cannot process your application until we have all of it, including transcripts, references and your research proposal. If we do not receive missing materials within a reasonable period of time and have not heard from you regarding the delay, we will decline your application.

What are some of the reasons why my application would be declined?

The department is unable to respond to specific requests for explanations regarding declined applications. A few possible reasons for declining applications are listed below:

  1. Your application is missing documents.
  2. Based on your personal statement/research proposal, it is felt that the department cannot provide you with the correct academic support.
  3. Your academic record and/or work experience does not indicate your suitability for a PhD at Cambridge.
  4. The person best able to supervise your topic is unavailable during the period when you want to undertake your degree.

I’ve been admitted, but I haven’t heard from any of the scholarship bodies to which I’ve applied.

You will receive news regarding scholarships directly from the funding bodies themselves. The department does not receive any notice regarding the results of your scholarship applications before you do, so we cannot provide you with the results of your applications before you receive them yourself.

I have begun a PhD elsewhere. Can I transfer into the Department of Geography to finish it?

Unfortunately, it is not normally possible to transfer into the department to finish a PhD. You would have to apply for the full three years.

Do you accept part-time PhD study?

Yes, part-time PhD study is available. Please contact the Postgraduate Office prior to applying through Postgraduate Admissions, outlining the time you would have available to do a PhD, your proposed timetable of study and a research proposal.

As for full-time students, each case is considered on its merits but also requires an interview with the potential supervisor. Such study inevitably takes longer and applicants are advised to consider full time study as the preferred option.