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  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 27.8k
  • Foreign: $ 52.8k
  • Deadline:
  • 30 June 2017
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 370pts.
  • Duration:
  • 4 years

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    The PhD in Physics is a full-time period of research which introduces, or builds upon, research skills and specialist knowledge. Students  are assigned to a research supervisor, a specialist in part or all of the student's chosen research field, and join a research group which might vary in size between 4 and 80 individuals.

    Although the Supervisor is responsible for the progress of a student's research programme, the extent to which a graduate student is assisted by the Supervisor or by other members of the group depends almost entirely on the structure and character of the group concerned. The research field is normally determined at entry, after consideration of the student's interests and facilities available. The student, however, may work within a given field for a period of time before his or her personal topic is determined.

    There is no requirement made by the University for graduate students to attend formal courses or lectures for the PhD. Graduate work is largely a matter of independent research and successful graduates require a high degree of self-motivation. Nevertheless, lectures and classes may be arranged, and students are expected to attend both seminars (delivered regularly by members of the University and by visiting scholars and industrialists) and external conferences. Graduate students are also expected to demonstrate in the undergraduate classes at some time whilst they are based at the Cavendish, in order to develop their teaching, outreach, organisational and person-management skills.

    Learning Outcomes

    By the end of the research programme, students will have demonstrated:

    • the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication;
    • a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice;
    • the general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems;
    • a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry;
    • the development of a PhD thesis for examination that they can defend  in an oral examination and, if successful, graduate with a PhD.

    The PhD in Physics is a full-time period of research and involves minimal formal teaching. Students are expected to attend an appropriate subset of the Department’s programme of research seminars and other graduate courses but most research training is provided within the group structure and overseen by their Supervisor. Informal opportunities to develop research skills also exist through mentoring and other opportunities offered by fellow students and members of staff.

    One to one supervision

    The supervisory team consists of the Principal Supervisor (normally referred to as the Supervisor) and an Adviser. The Supervisor is the main person appointed to oversee and help with a student's PhD study and an Adviser is appointed to act as a second point of contact for academic advice.

    The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision


    Seminars & classes

    Students will be advised by their Supervisor which seminars and classes to attend based on their relevance to the chosen research project and also to best facilitate integration into the host research group.


    Students will be advised by their Supervisor which lectures to attend based on their relevance to the chosen research project and also to best facilitate integration into the host research group.

    Journal clubs

    Students will be advised by their Supervisor which journal clubs to attend based on their relevance to the chosen research project and also to best facilitate integration into the host research group.


    The Cavendish Graduate Student Conference is held annually, organised by graduate students, and is a one-day event of talks and poster presentations by graduate students from all research groups.


    Supervisors report termly on the progress of their students and these reports are available to the student.

    Graduate students are represented on the Department's Graduate Student Consultative Committee, which normally meets five times a year, and consists of one or more student representatives from each of the research groups. The Committee exists to enable discussion of any issue affecting graduate students and students may approach any member of the Committee to suggest items for discussion.



    The final PhD assessment will be of a submitted thesis of 60,000 words and subsequent viva voce examination.


    All PhD students are probationary in the first year and progression to the second year (and registration for the PhD) depends on a successful first year review.

    UK requirements for international applications

    Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).

    Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.

    All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.

    University requirements

    Program requirements

    Apply using the Applicant Portal

    The Apply Online button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal, where you can create and submit your application, and request references.

    An application is only complete when:

    1. you have submitted your application via the Applicant Portal and paid the £50 application fee
    2. you have uploaded the required supporting documents via the Applicant Self-Service
    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.

    On your application, in Section A(12), please clearly indicate which of the Research Groups you would prefer to work with. If you are unsure state whether it is Condensed Matter Physics, Astrophysics, High Energy Physics or another topic within the Department that interests you. You may list more than one area of interest and, if doing so, should indicate your order of preference. It is not necessary to nominate a prospective supervisor, although you may if you wish.

    All applications are considered as they are received (rolling admissions). However the department operates internal review dates from January through to April in order to allocate funding. The deadlines for University-wide funding competitions are listed on the Graduate Admissions webpages and  UK Research Councils, EC and other studentship deadlines are listed on the departmental webpages.

    Any applications received after these dates will be considered but funding opportunities may be limited.

    Selection Process

    Selected candidates will be interviewed by Skype, telephone or in person.

    • Magistr (Master's Degree) at Pass level. Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of good or 4/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 4/5 Bologna Bachelor's from other institutions with an overall grade of 5/5, Excellent
    • Diploma Specialista (completed post-1991) with a minimum overall grade of Excellent or 5/5 Bachelor's from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and other prestigious institutions with an overall grade of 5/5
    • IELTS (Academic) 7.0
    • TOEFL Internet Score 100
    • £50 application fee
    • First Academic Reference
    • Second Academic Reference
    • Transcript
    • Personal Reference
    • Global Education
    • Gates Cambridge Scholarships
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