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Graduate School of Life Sciences

An inspiring educational experience in a unique environment

Studying at Cambridge


Fees and Funding


Information on the costs of studying at Cambridge can be found on the Graduate Admissions website.  This includes rates of University Composition fee and College fees and information on a minimum amount for maintenance.  The tuition fees for all graduate degrees in Life Sciences are currently charged at the Science rate, even if you wish to study in the School of Clinical Medicine).

Applicants can check their fee status - that is, whether they will pay tuition fees at the 'UK/EU' rate or at the 'Overseas' rate (opens in new tab/window)



The University of Cambridge has been successful in attracting a particularly wide range of studentships to support research training. In the Graduate School of Life Sciences, the proportion of our graduate students obtaining a full or partial studentship from one of these sources is very high.   Around 400 (30%) of our current UK/EU graduate students are funded by the UK Research Councils (BBSRC, MRC, NERC). Many others receive funding from major medical research charities (Wellcome Trust, CRUK, BHF, ARC etc). Nearly 20% of our students receive funding from the University itself and almost 25% of our overseas students have been successful in obtaining full or partial studentships from one of the Cambridge Trusts.

The deadlines for applying for funding are one of the main considerations in the schedule for applying for admission to the University, so applicants should familiarise themselves with the funding deadlines set out in this section. For some scholarship programmes, applications for specific advertised funding should be made direct to the programme before completing the University online application form.

Studentships from a range of sources are awarded to Departments and Institutes to be awarded competitively to the best candidates either in any subject falling within the remit of the funding body and the department/institute or for a specific programme of study.

Some departments and institutes advertise all their studentships in one go and hold a single round of interviews. Others advertise and interview for programme studentships separately. Consult the Department and Institute and programme websites for full details of awards and how to apply.



University Funding

The University has a number of funding streams for students depending on their circumstances.  The Graduate Admissions website provides an overview of the range of awards and sources of financial aid available to prospective students.  These include major scholarships such as:

For all the competitions above, the University's Graduate Scholarship and Admission Form (GRADSAF) is the form of application and must be submitted online by the dates shown.

The University has a searchable funding database to help you find which of the hundreds of separate sources of funding offered by the University may be relevant to you.

Other scholarships and bursaries including some specific to Life Sciences and the deadlines attached to them can be found using the Board of Graduate Studies searchable funding database.


Research Councils

The UK Research Councils are public bodies charged with investing taxpayers' money in science and research in the UK. Each of the seven Research Councils funds research and training activities in a different area and together they support around 30,000 researchers, including 15,500 doctoral students in UK universities and in their own Research Institutes, a number of which are members of the Graduate School of Life Sciences.

In Life Sciences, we currently offer studentships funded by the following:

A proportion of our Research Council studentships are CASE and Industrial CASE awards; these provide excellent opportunities for research collaboration with an industrial partner.

What these studentships offer

Follow the links to the individual Research Councils' studentship websites above, where you will also find the student handbooks.


All RC studentship holders must fulfil certain academic and residency criteria. Rules regarding the eligibility of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals are now extremely complicated. The BBSRC website offers a summary. Note that EU nationals may be eligible for full awards only if they fulfill certain residency criteria, (otherwise they will be offered 'fees only' awards), but that EU nationals, together with other EEA/Swiss candidates may qualify for a full award if they qualify as 'migrant workers'.

How to apply

These awards are advertised by the departments and institutes to which the awards have been allocated. Look out for Advertisements in, for example,

Follow the application instructions given in the advertisement. Closing dates vary but most are normally in January-February.


Other Funding Opportunities

The University and its Partner Institutions offer a number of programmes that are funded by the Research Councils or major charities, such as the Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK etc.

These programmes advertise studentships that are awarded specifically for the particular programme of study on a strictly competitive basis; candidates are normally interviewed in Cambridge for these awards.

Current examples of 'Programme' studentships include:


What these studentships offer: varies according to the sponsor; consult the programme websites

Eligibility: this varies according to the sponsoring body; consult the programme websites

How to apply: Closing dates for applications and interviews vary, although most closing dates are in January - consult the programme websites for full details. Look out for advertisements in November-December in, for example,





Welcome to the Graduate School of Life Sciences

We are the largest centre for research and professional training in the Life Sciences in the UK, offering a very special experience to a community of around 2000 graduate students across departments within the School of the Biological Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine and eleven University Partner Institutes in the Cambridge area.

Every year some of the world's brightest and most determined students are attracted by the opportunity to carry out research projects with renowned scientists in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment at one of the world's most respected research-led universities.

The School co-ordinates funding opportunities within the Life Sciences for their postgraduate education, as well as ensuring students receive the highest quality supervision and training.