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Postgraduate Study


The University offers a number of research internships for undergraduates from underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing postgraduate studies and have the potential to become the future of research.

These internships are aimed at students who, due to socioeconomic barriers or life circumstances, have not had the chance to demonstrate their full potential and may otherwise not feel they can easily access research opportunities.

What to expect

These paid 6-8 week summer programmes aim to provide participants with a real, day-to-day experience of a postgraduate research student at Cambridge, including:

  • meeting and working with our researchers, academic staff and students
  • undertaking a research project
  • developing your academic and personal skills
  • getting hands-on, lab-based experience
  • learning more about how to prepare a postgraduate application
  • living in a College
  • socialising and meeting new people
  • exploring the city of Cambridge

Accommodation is provided free of charge in one of our Colleges, where a range of social activities will also be on offer.

The research internships are designed to offer tangible benefits in terms of confidence, skills and experience that will enhance both their CV and any future postgraduate applications.


Who can take part?

The internships are open to those who:

  • have the right to live and work in the UK full-time during the programme and can provide evidence of this
  • are in their penultimate or final year of undergraduate study in a UK or Republic of Ireland university
  • either face socioeconomic barriers or come from a background currently underrepresented at postgraduate level 
  • have a strong academic record in the relevant subject area
  • have an interest in undertaking a research-based postgraduate degree

Additional eligibility criteria may apply and you should check the internship website for full details.

What will I be doing?

Typically, you'll begin by conducting background research and devising a plan for the project, including the aims and research methodology. You can also expect to read and explore a lot of related academic literature.

Once you have completed your plan, you'll primarily be working in your department, research group or lab. Here, you'll have many hands-on opportunities to use specialized software, run experiments, and even explore the rare books section of the University Library. Additionally, you'll attend research skills workshops and general information sessions to learn more about what postgraduate studies are like at Cambridge.

There will be opportunities for you to meet academic staff, researchers, and current students. You may also have a mentor - a current PhD student - who will be there for you along the way for both academic advice and tips about living in Cambridge.

During the internship, you'll produce a final piece of work, such as a poster or a 4,000-word essay, which you'll present to a wider audience in your department at the end-of-programme showcase.

Please refer to the internship website for specific programme information.

How much time do I have to commit?

During the programme, you'll generally be expected to live in Cambridge and spend 35 hours per week working on your research.

We're committed to ensuring that selected applicants are able to take part in our programmes regardless of medical, accessibility and disability requirements or ongoing caring responsibilities. We make every effort to ensure that reasonable adjustments are made, including the possibility of part-time or remote internships.

In order to support your participation in a programme and to allow us to make reasonable adjustments, we encourage you to disclose any specific requirements that you may have.

Is there a cost?

There is no cost to participate in the research internships.

As an intern, you will be paid for your placement. However, we request that you do not take up any other employment during the programme, since the payment is designed to compensate for your inability to work during this time.

Accommodation will be provided free of charge. For full details of the provisions of each programme, see the respective internship website. 

Do I need a background in a specific subject area to take part?

Yes. You’ll need to make sure that your academic background and research interests are a good fit for the programme you're applying to. There are a number of programmes available in a range of subject areas. See Internships for 2024 above for details of current opportunities available. 

How do I find out about available opportunities and how to apply?

Internships for 2024 are listed above. Please check the individual programme's website for full details and how to apply. 

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