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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

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

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 £75 application fee. Further information on application fees 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.

Applicants for research in polar studies should select the following course: PhD (probationary) in Polar Studies at the Scott Polar Research Institute. The Institute / Department will then decide into which category – Polar Studies (Natural Science) or Polar Studies (Social Sciences and Humanities) – your application falls. This will affect the level of fee paid by applicants with overseas fee status.

Selection Process

Each postgraduate student is assigned a principal supervisor to guide their research. They will work closely with their supervisor. Acceptance of any applicant will be dependent upon specialist supervision being available.

Applications received up to the December funding competition deadline will be reviewed as a gathered field, and can usually expect to receive a decision in February. Any applications received after this date will be considered in further gathered fields up to the March deadline with decisions usually made in April-May, but such applications will not be put into the University funding competition.

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
  • Reasons for applying (1500 characters)
  • Research proposal (M)
    You should include a statement (approximately 2,000 words) of your research proposal, including aims and methods, sources and the location of the proposed research. Please state which academic in the Department could supervise your research. Physical Geography applicants, choosing from the list of topics available on the SPRI/Department or the NERC DTP website, do not need to include a research proposal but should include a statement saying why they have chosen a topic or topics and their suitability for the chosen topic or topics. Your proposal or statement should include a list of specific resource needs for your research (such as travel budget, fieldwork, laboratory equipment, chemical, IT needs, etc) and an outline of relevant experience (including employment and non-academic experience) relevant to your application.

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 consult the Research page on the Institute website to obtain an idea of the Academic Staff research interests.

You will find there a list of their research interests, together with topics of their current and recently completed PhD students. If your research interests falls generally into one or more of these areas, please e-mail the relevant supervisors to make contact.

Please note: part-time study may not always be viable and will be considered on a case-by-case basis, so please discuss this option with your proposed supervisor before making an application for this mode of study.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Scott Polar Research Institute

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
March 31, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 2, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.