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Postgraduate Admissions

The Department of Psychiatry is an internationally leading centre for research and teaching in psychiatry, with particular focus on the determinants of mental health conditions, their treatments and the promotion of mental health through innovative translational research. The Department’s senior staff support several research groups, covering various aspects of mental health and disorder throughout the life course. Sitting within the School of Clinical Medicine, the department occupies four separate locations and has approximately 130 members.

A doctorate in Psychiatry from the University of Cambridge is primarily a research degree and involves minimal formal teaching; students are integrated into the research culture of the Department and the Institute in which they are based.

Each student conducts their PhD project under the direction of their principal supervisor, with additional teaching and guidance provided by an adviser, to increase access to staff members and accommodate a diversity of viewpoints.

The subject of the research project is determined during the application process and is influenced by the research interests of the student’s supervisor; students should apply to study with a group leader whose area of research most appeals to them.

To broaden their knowledge of their chosen field, students are strongly encouraged to attend relevant seminars, lectures and training courses, including transferable skills training provided by the Graduate School of Life Sciences. We also require our students to attend their research group’s "research in progress/laboratory meetings", at which they are expected to regularly present their ongoing work.

Following the successful completion of a research report at the end of the first year, students are registered for the PhD.

Course objectives

The PhD course enables the students to significantly develop their analytical and research skills, and is intended as preparation for further research.

The PhD programme provides:

a period of a sustained in-depth study of a specific topic;

an environment that encourages the student’s originality and creativity in their research;

skills to enable the student to critically examine the background literature relevant to their specific research area;

the opportunity to develop skills in making and testing hypotheses, in developing new theories, and in planning and conducting experiments;

the opportunity to expand the student’s knowledge of their research area, including its theoretical foundations and the specific techniques, used to study it;

the opportunity to gain knowledge of the broader field of research in psychiatry; and

an environment in which to develop skills in written work, oral presentation and publishing the results of their research in high-profile scientific journals, through constructive feedback of written work and oral presentations.

At the end of the course, examination for the PhD degree involves the submission of a written thesis, followed by an oral examination based on both the thesis and a broader knowledge of the chosen area of research.


Continuing

Continuation from an MPhil to a PhD is not automatic and subject to a separate application and eligibility criteria and consideration by the department and degree committee.


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.

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Key Information


3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Psychiatry

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2019
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2020
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2021

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

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2019
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2021
Course Starts
April 17, 2021

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

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.

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
Dec. 3, 2020
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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