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Postgraduate Study


Research Councils (UKRI) funding comes from the UK Government. They support research in various subject areas. Apart from the AHRC, the University manages and allocates the funds through the admissions and funding process. The AHRC allocates the funds within a partnership of Universities. 

Research Councils are the largest funder of PhD students at Cambridge. There are six UK Research Councils:

International students are now eligible for Research Council-funded postgraduate studentships. Each Research Council will be able to offer a limited number of studentships to international students.

Research Councils studentships contribute towards: 

  • tuition fees at the home rate*
  • a stipend to support living costs (also referred to as maintenance cost)
  • and some also offer support towards research costs. 

*International students will need to find extra funding to make up the difference in fees. Often, but not always, students can find this top up of funding though the university. Students can also fund the difference themselves.

Each type of Research Councils funding has a Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) associated with it. These provide studentship-holders with extra teaching to support their research and personal development.

Research Councils base their selection criteria for the studentships on: 

  • academic excellence
  • and how your research project fits with the supervisor or research group. 

There is also a widening participation element that welcomes applications from belong to groups underrepresented in postgraduate study. 

Each Research Council-funded DTP or CDT offers studentships in a slightly different way. Some Research Councils need you to propose a project, whereas others will have predetermined lists you can choose from. You can find further information below and on their individual websites.

For more information please visit their website: Find Studentships and Doctoral Training.


The Arts and Humanities Research Council provides funding via a consortium model: applicants are nominated from multiple universities and ranked into a single list.

Cambridge is part of the OOC DTP, the Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership; applicants may only apply to one of these three institutions for AHRC funding.


The Economic and Social Research Council funds studentships in a range of broad social science areas:

  • Sustainability, prosperity and wellbeing
  • Inequality, equity, justice, and economic growth
  • Conflict, culture, mobility and development
  • Emerging technologies, human behaviour and productivity
  • Cognition, behaviour, language and learning

There are 26 eligible departments from across the University that take ESRC students. Find out more about the Cambridge ESRC DTP.


The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Programme funds approximately 60 studentships a year across:

  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics (Applied and Theoretical)
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Earth Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • and Materials Science

Find out more about the Cambridge EPSRC DTP.

The Cambridge EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) supports a further 80-90 funded studentships. Each Centre recruits on average 12 students a year in the departments mentioned above. Students can find more information and links to each of the CDTs on Cambridge EPSRC CDT.


The Medical Research Council funds approximately 5 MRC industrial Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering (iCASE) studentships a year across the School of Clinical Medicine and School of Biological Sciences. Students must apply to specific projects that fall under the following themes:

  • Data Science for Health
  • Molecular and Cellular Medicine
  • Neurosciences and Mental Health
  • Infection and Immunity

Find out more about the Cambridge MRC DTP.


The Natural Environment Research Council funds approximately 12 studentships a year. Students are required to apply to specific projects that fall within three major research themes:

  • Solid earth and geological hazards
  • Climate Change and environmental processes
  • Biology and conservation

Find out more about the Cambridge NERC DTP.


The Science and Technology Facilities Council funds studentships in

  • The Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics 
  • The Department of Physics
  • The Institute of Astronomy.

Postgraduate Funding Search

Search the University's database of postgraduate funding opportunities:

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