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Postgraduate Admissions


During their PhD, students are based in a research group, supported by their primary supervisor and the Institute's Postgraduate Education Committee and Postgraduate Student Committee. There is no taught or examined coursework, but students are encouraged to attend the wide variety of lectures and training courses available to them across the University. This includes the University Core Skills Training Programme, which includes sessions on Time Management, Presentation and Performance and Scientific Writing.

All students studying in the Institute will be required to undertake some essential induction training when they first start. This includes various safety inductions and facility introductory courses on Imaging, Flow Cytometry and Bioinformatics, as well as centrally-run Statistics courses.

One to one supervision

Students are supervised on a day-to-day basis by their Principal Supervisor plus often a senior postdoc within the group. Discussions are held on a daily basis at the bench and weekly during lab meetings. On average, the supervisor will meet with the students every two weeks to discuss progress. 

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

All first year postgraduate students at the Institute are encouraged to participate in the 'Stem Cell Discussion Course' which occurs weekly during term-time. 

All students are expected to attend all internal and external seminars held within the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre, including the 'Research Culture and Integrity' seminar series. 

Institute Staff and Students are also encouraged to attend the various research seminars, talks and workshops held across the Biomedical Research Campus and elsewhere within the University.

Students at the Institute will be members of the University’s Postgraduate School of Life Sciences (PSLS) who offer a wide variety of core skills and professional development training. Visit the Researcher Development page on the PSLS website for more information.

Small group teaching

Regular lab meetings within the research group.

Journal clubs

This varies according to the lab the student has chosen.


Throughout their PhD, students will give research talks and poster presentations within the Institute.

All PhD students at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute are expected to participate in the annual 'CSCI PhD Symposium', at which students entering their final year give an oral presentation, and all other postgraduate students are invited to present a poster.


Students receive feedback regarding their progress in the form of online termly reports (Postgraduate Feedback and Reporting System (PFRS)) completed by their supervisor.

Additional verbal feedback will be provided frequently by the project supervisor as part of the day-to-day supervision and in regular lab meetings.


Thesis / Dissertation

The PhD in Stem Cell Biology is examined by thesis and by viva. The word limit for PhD theses is 60,000 words.
The viva voce examination is conducted in Cambridge by an internal examiner of the University and an external expert examiner.


All PhD students are required to undergo formal assessment (by written report and viva) at the end of their first year ("The First Year Assessment"). If successful, the student moves from being "probationary" to being registered for the PhD and can proceed with their thesis project.

Throughout their PhD, students will give research talks at departmental events. In addition, they can take part in events and competitions organised within the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences and by the University.

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Key Information

4 years full-time

5 - 7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Wellcome - Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
June 30, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Lent 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2021
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2022
Course Starts
April 17, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2021, Lent 2022 and Easter 2022.

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