PhD in Computer Science
applications and admission
An applicant who has secured full external funding may apply for admission as a research student up until 30 June 2016 (to commence October 2016). Those who are applying for one of the Computer Laboratory's PhD studentships should use the deadline published on the individual job listing.
For those applicants who have not secured external scholarships, applications for admission in October 2017 will open on 1 September 2016. The closing date is 30 June 2017. Some funding agencies require earlier submission.
Applicants are expected to have
- a very good degree (in the UK a First Class Honours degree) in Computer Science or a related subject;
- a masters-level degree (or other post-graduate work) is increasingly desirable; some PhD applicants may find prior study of our MPhil in Advanced Computer Science useful;
- a Research Proposal;
- a good IELTS or TOEFL score is also required where an English language qualification is necessary.
Students are not assigned to prespecified projects. They are expected to propose an area or topic, and will be accepted only if an appropriate and willing supervisor is available. Applicants should therefore prepare a statement of proposed research of no more than 3000 words (in addition to the usual personal statement) indicating their intended topic and research strategy. This should:
- show an understanding of existing work in the field,
- identify an area for new work,
- have concrete goals and deliverables for the first year, and
- indicate that you know how to achieve them.
This could usefully be drafted in collaboration with the
supervisor and candidates are invited to make informal contact with
the Computer Laboratory, either through individual staff members or the Graduate
Education Manager (address below), before submitting a formal
application. Staff members belong to one or more research groups and may be contacted by email in the first instance.
If you contact more than one person in the Computer Laboratory, please make sure that all the people you contact are aware of all the others so that we do not duplicate effort. The Laboratory may suggest an informal visit, and may interview applicants in person or by telephone.
Applications for admission in October 2017 will open in early September 2016 and close on 30 June 2017.
Applicants should refer to the Graduate Admissions page for links to the GRADSAF application form, deadlines, guidance and information.
Please note the following:
- Applications for funding support from the University and Cambridge Trust must be submitted earlier than the deadline above: see University funding deadlines.
- Research students are admitted to the Certificate of Postgraduate Studies in Computer Science (see CPGS) in the first instance.
- The Course code is CSC1.
- Applicants will also need to include a brief research abstract within the section of the GRADSAF which asks for a research topic and to indicate a potential supervisor's name.
- Please note that there is an application fee.
- Applications are considered as they are received.
Please note that your application will be activated by the University's Graduate Admissions Office once supporting documentation has been received, (that is, within two weeks of submitting the GRADSAF application form).
Incomplete applications will be withdrawn and may not be reinstated if supporting material is not received by the relevant closing date.
It is therefore very important to have all your supporting material, including agreement from your referees to provide you with references, your transcripts and research project proposal, ready to submit before you apply.
Funding competitions and grants
Applicants wishing to be considered for funding competitions should check their eligibility on the University-wide Sources of Funding web page.
The GRADSAF acts as a scholarship funding application as well as an application for admission. In most cases, no further funding application form is required. There are some exceptions, however: we recommend checking CamFunds which provides information about other grants for students applying to Cambridge and their closing dates.
The current costs of a PhD are available from the Student Registry's Graduate Course Costs and Fee Status page. You will need sufficient funding to cover the University Tuition Fee, and at least the minimum maintenance for three years.
Home and EU Students
The Laboratory makes awards to UK and eligible EU students both from funds supplied, for example the EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant, and from its own funds such as the Premium Studentship. In the year starting October 2015, the Computer Laboratory helped to fund eight research students from its Doctoral Training Grant. These funds are limited and the Laboratory encourages applicants to seek other funding, for example scholarships from their home countries, to come to Cambridge. The Applications Panel considers all applicants for funding awards within its gift and submits the names of highly ranked home and EU students to the Cambridge Trusts.
The Laboratory may also have positions associated with industrial collaborations and particular research projects. Such studentships are advertised on the University's Jobs web page.
The Computer Laboratory will contact applicants directly about its internal awards such as the Premium Studentship.
It is worth noting that full funding must be secured before starting a course at Cambridge. Most of the scholarships will not accept applications from students who are already in residence. Do not assert that you will be able to support yourself and hope that something else will turn up once you are in Cambridge.
The Faculty's Degree Committee makes recommendations to offer places to successful applicants via the University's central Graduate Admissions Office, the only body with the authority to make an offer of a place as a graduate student. Offers from Graduate Admissions are usually conditional. A deadline will be set by which date all conditions must be met and, once met, the offer is confirmed by the Graduate Admissions Office.
Standard conditions include securing sufficient funding for three years to meet the financial conditions of the University and College membership. Additionally, applicants may be asked to achieve a certain grade in their current studies; to take or retake an English Language proficiency test; and any other conditions the Graduate Admissions Office might apply.
Successful applicants who have applied online may be required to send original documents to the University's Graduate Admissions Office for validation. We strongly recommend the use of a reputable courier and that you obtain a tracking number.
Please contact the Computer Laboratory's Graduate Education Manager with any
questions not answered above.
Email: Graduate Education Manager
William Gates Building
15 JJ Thomson Avenue
Cambridge CB3 0FD
Tel: +44 1223 334656
Graduate Admissions Office
4 Mill Lane
Cambridge CB2 1RX