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Postgraduate Study

Apply using the Applicant Portal

The Apply Now button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal. There, you can create and submit your application and supporting documents, and you can also request your references.

An application is only complete when:

  1. you have submitted your application and supporting documents via the Applicant Portal
  2. you have paid the application fee if applicable. For further information on application fees, and which courses require an application fee, see here.
  3. your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

Selection Process

Each student is assigned a member of staff to guide their studies over their first term. They will also be assigned a supervisor to guide their dissertation research in the second and third terms. They will work closely with their dissertation supervisor. Acceptance of any applicant may be dependent upon specialist supervision being available. Please consult the research pages on the SPRI website to obtain an idea of current research interests of members of staff.

Applications are considered in two gathered fields. Applicants who apply by the December funding competition deadline will be reviewed in December-January and can usually expect to receive a decision between late January-February. Any applications received after this date will be considered in a second gathered field after the closing deadline. Decisions are usually made in April-May.

Further information on How To Apply


Things You'll Need

In order to apply for this course you'll need to think about getting a few things ready before you apply.

  • Two academic references  
  • Transcript  
  • CV/resume
  • Evidence of competence in English  
    If required - you can check using our tool
  • Polar Studies: Statement of interest
    A statement of up to 600 words explaining why I would like to enrol on the MPhil in Polar Studies, including how my previous studies/background relate to this MPhil.
  • Sample of work (1)
    Please upload a sample or samples of your work (between 3,000 and 5,000 words total ) that demonstrate your capacity to prepare and write a critical scholarly argument, using customary scholarly apparatus (e.g. references, footnotes, etc.) to a standard necessary to undertake a Master's level research degree. In the case of mature students hoping to return to university after some years away, a professional report on a subject related to the Polar Regions will also be accepted for consideration as part of the application.
  • Extra Materials
    Widening Participation: We are working to improve contextualised understanding of the applications we receive. This course is piloting a mandatory supplementary application form. For more information about what the pilot aims to do and how your data will be used, please see here: www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/pilot-selection-procedures.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

If you wish to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will also need to provide the following:

  • Gates Cambridge Reference  
  • Research Proposal (PhD applicants only)

See Gates Cambridge for more information.


How to Find a Supervisor

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.

Please visit the list of possible dissertation topics as well as the list of senior academic staff and indicate on your application form: i) the broad area of research you think you would like to undertake for your dissertation, ii) a possible topic or topics from the list, and iii) a prospective supervisor or supervisors you might wish to supervise you. 

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Key Information


9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Scott Polar Research Institute

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2024

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
March 26, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.


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