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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Polar Studies (Scott Polar Research Institute) is no longer accepting new applications.

Research in polar studies embraces both the natural sciences (physical geography, biogeography) and social sciences. The PhD in Polar Studies is a full-time three-year research degree (or five years part-time), examined by a dissertation. A successful dissertation will represent "a substantial contribution to knowledge" and will also represent a realistic amount of work for three years' full-time study (or equivalent part-time).

In the first year, students attend a comprehensive training programme based around seminars and workshops, dealing with fundamental ideas in geography, the design of research projects, and empirical methods and techniques. The University of Cambridge also offers a wide range of training courses for personal and professional development. There is no set course material.

Each graduate student is assigned a principal supervisor to guide their research. They will work closely with their supervisor. Therefore before making an application you must satisfy yourself that advanced study in your chosen field can be effectively supervised by the Scott Polar Research Institute. Acceptance of any applicant will be dependent upon specialist supervision being available. Please consult the Research page on the Institute website to obtain an idea of its current research interests.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Geography and Scott Polar Research Institute


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 3, 2018
Application deadline
March 29, 2019
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2019

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 10, 2018