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Postgraduate Admissions

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is one of the world's premier genomics research institutes and is at the forefront of this fast-developing field. We use large-scale DNA sequencing, informatics and analysis of genetic variation to further our understanding of gene function in health and disease, and the genomic diversity of complex organisms. The Institute’s PhD programme is open to UK, EU and overseas applicants, and we aim to attract the brightest and best young scientists from all around the world.

The PhD programme aims to provide training and research opportunities in the field of genomic science that reflect the unique nature of Sanger Institute science, with an emphasis on large-scale, high-throughput approaches and the development of a blend of wet-lab and computational skills. The Institute also aims to provide students with general research and transferable skills training in addition to training in their specific research area. Applicants will generally have a bioscience background, but applicants with a computational or mathematical background can also apply.

During the first eight months, students on our PhD programme undertake rotations in three different research groups. This ensures exposure to different disciplines in genomics and allows the students to gain a better overall picture of the scientific nature of the Institute and the different technologies that are available. In particular, all students are required to carry out at least one informatics rotation and one experimental laboratory rotation. This helps students to develop wide-ranging skills both at the bench and in data analysis. The final PhD project is chosen towards the end of the third rotation period, and students start their PhD project on 1 June. Students are expected to submit their PhD thesis within four years of starting on the programme.

Students are also expected to attend a number of training courses in transferable and general research skills, the postgraduate student lecture series and the students' journal club. There is an active seminar programme on site and at the University of Cambridge, and students are encouraged to present their work at both national and international scientific meetings, as well as to the Institute. Since our students are registered with the University of Cambridge and are members of a Cambridge college, they are able to take an active part in the University's academic and social life. They have access to events and courses run by the Postgraduate School of Life Sciences, and University facilities such as the library and the careers service. For further details, visit the PhD Programme page on our website.

To apply for a place funded by the Sanger Institute, please apply directly to the Institute - follow the link for further information.

Please note that applications submitted directly to the Sanger Institute are not applications to the course through the University of Cambridge admissions portal and students who are successful in gaining a funded place through the Sanger Institute will also subsequently be required to submit an application through the University’s Application Portal.


Open Days

The Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. The event is suitable for those considering applying for postgraduate study at the University. It provides opportunities to meet with academics, explore the Colleges, and find out more about the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Candidates shortlisted for our PhD programme will be invited to attend a PhD Open Day held towards the end of January, at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hinxton, where they will have three interviews with individual Sanger Institute Faculty members and one-panel interview with three Sanger Institute Faculty members. Any applicant unable to attend the PhD Open Day can be interviewed via a series of Skype or telephone interviews (during the two weeks before the Open Day).

 

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Key Information


3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Wellcome Sanger Institute

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2021

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.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 3, 2020
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

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