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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

Clinical Medicine is no longer accepting new applications.

The Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Clinicians is currently under consideration of renewal for October 2022 intake. More information on the outcome of that decision will be known in the Autumn of 2021 and an announcement will be added to this website if successful. If renewed, the course will be opened for applications for academic year 2022 via the postgraduate online portal from ~1 September 2021. Please send queries to Teresa Wallman, Administrator (


This programme is designed to allow clinical academics to reach their full potential and pursue a successful academic career.  Up to ten scholarships are offered each year with a single round of admissions each year.

Fellowships supported either by the University or Wellcome Sanger Institute cover the broad themes of genetic medicine, infection and immunity, neuroscience and mental health, structural and cell biology applied to medicine, cardiovascular medicine, developmental biology, and epidemiology, public health and primary care. To be eligible to apply for the fellowships, you must be qualified in clinical or veterinary medicine and in a training (i.e., not Consultant or equivalent) grade.  Although veterinary postgraduates are not eligible for a Sanger Institute fellowship, they can undertake research at the Sanger Institute supervised either solely or jointly by a Sanger faculty member, whilst supported by another fellowship from the programme.

The programme includes a series of lectures, workshops, and taught modules aimed at developing a personal portfolio of training. There is also the opportunity for a three month "out of programme experience" (OOPE) for individuals who do not hold academic clinical fellowships. During this time you can attend appropriate lectures, workshops, meet a range of supervisors and undertake mini-projects in laboratories in your area of interest that enable students to select a PhD supervisor and second supervisor, and to prepare a PhD research proposal in the form of a "project grant application".

Students choosing to undertake a PhD in epidemiology, public health and primary care, or requiring computational biology knowledge can undertake an MPhil before embarking on a PhD.

At the start of the Programme, all students attend induction events for postgraduate students organised by the School of Clinical Medicine.  They also have the opportunity to attend various transferable skills training sessions throughout the year.  It is expected that students spend approximately two weeks each year on transferable skills training.  The Graduate School of Life Sciences provides a large selection of both taught and online courses to choose from.

Throughout the Programme and after completion, you will be mentored by one or more individuals from the Faculty and Management Committee of the PhD programme.

Year one

During year one, students are encouraged to present regularly at lab meetings and to attend journal clubs and seminars. Under University of Cambridge regulations, all PhD students are "probationary" in their first year and must undergo an assessment after 12 months in order to be registered for the PhD. Students are therefore required to write a report on their work to date and plans for forthcoming work, and attend a viva. There is also a summer symposium where students present their work.

Year two

You will be encouraged to present regularly at lab meetings, departmental seminars and at meetings of learned societies. You will also prepare for, and present at the summer symposium. Your progress will also be reviewed by the mentoring committee.

Year three

Regular presentation at lab meetings, departmental seminars and meetings of learned societies. Your progress will be reviewed by a mentoring committee and you will again present at the summer symposium. You will prepare your thesis for submission (deadline of 30 September) and your final viva will take place in October or November.

Further information can be found on the programme website.


Those who wish to progress to a PhD after completing an MPhil will be required to satisfy their potential supervisor, Head of Department and the Faculty Degree Committee that they have the skills and ability to achieve the higher degree.

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.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Dec. 15, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

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

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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