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Prospective Graduate Students

If you are exploring the possibility of postgraduate study in the Cambridge Earth Sciences Department you will:

  • have either done an undergraduate degree in an Earth science subject, or perhaps want to use your degree from another science subject such as physics, chemistry, mathematics or biological sciences;
  • be relishing the stimulus of one of the UK's premier research departments;
  • probably be looking for a PhD or MPhil research course (the only taught graduate course we offer is the MASt).

As a large, integrated department the expertise and current research of the staff in Cambridge spans many areas of the Earth Sciences.  We have an academic staff of 34 plus16 long term Research Fellows and Senior Research Associates.

We welcome research enquiries from those working for first degrees in Earth science subjects, physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials, biology and related subjects. Most research studentships lead to the PhD degree.  We are also happy to devise projects with you, if you have specific interests that we share.  

If you wish to find out more about a project, or the Department, you are advised to contact one of our academic staff working in the relevant research area and discuss with them; they may also be able to arrange an informal visit the department prior to our interview days. When you complete the on-line application you will have to indicate a college choice, it may help to discuss this with your prospective supervisor before submitting your application.

Studentships will be funded by NERC, EPSRC, ERC, industry and several Cambridge Colleges. 

We have a number of CASE awards which offer at least £1,000 a year extra student maintenance grant.


PhD Topics for October 2020

Studentships proposed by Cambridge staff will be in one of the 3 interdisciplinary themes of the Cambridge NERC DTP in Earth System Science (Climate, Solid Earth and Biological) but our staff will also be happy to devise projects with you, if you have specific interests that we share. 

A full list of PhD topics for students hoping to start PhDs in 2020 is available online at:  Cambridge NERC DTP - Earth Sciences

A listing of the projects in this department is available here

To make a formal application for a PhD place please go to the University's Applicant Portal.


See PhDs for Overseas Students if you are applying from outside the UK.

We occasionally admit students to do a one-year MPhil by Research Thesis applicants for the MPhil are usually from countries which operate shorter degree courses than in the UK.


The Administrator
Department of Earth Sciences
Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ.
Fax: + 44 (0) 1223 33 34 50