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Frequently Asked Questions

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When can I apply?

We have one annual application round each year. Applications are welcomed from October each year, with an application deadline of early January. For further information, visit: 'How to Apply' 

Do I need to complete an application through the University's new Applicant Portal?

All students must complete the departmental application form, available to download here 

Only 'Overseas' applicants wanting to apply for the any of the Cambridge Scholarships (to cover their overseas funding), will need also to complete a University of Cambridge application through the University's Applicant Portal, as well as the departmental application form.

What is the University Course Code for the Wellcome Trust 4-Year 'Stem Cell Biology' Programme?

BLSTR1 - 'MRes in Stem Cell Biology' 

Do I have to do the rotation projects in year 1?

All students must take the MRes course in year one (even if you have completed a Masters course already), which includes rotating in 3 different labs (of your choice). This is a vital part of the 4-Year Programme, because it helps you to decide where/what you would like to do for your 3-year PhD project. If you want to go straight into a specific lab, this is probably not the PhD Programme for you and you should look at other options available to you. 

How many places are available on this PhD Programme?

The Wellcome Trust provide funding for up to 4 students each year. 

What kind of research experience will the programme be looking for?

Any evidence of research experience is important (for example, summer research projects, or perhaps longer research projects), before you can really know whether a research PhD is the right path for you. 

What if I've already completed a Masters course?

All students must take the MRes course in year one, even if you have already completed a Masters course. 

My Masters achieved a higher mark than my Bachelors degree. Would my Masters degree mark outweigh my Bachelors - if my Bachelors was a lower grade?

Yes. For example, if you achieved a 2:2 in your Bachelors, but a higher Masters mark, you would be eligible. 

Can International students apply for this PhD Programme?

Yes you can. Students of any nationality are eligible to apply for this studentship, however please note that the funding that the Wellcome Trust provides does not cover the 'Overseas Fees' that International students incur. International students are therefore required to find alternative funding to cover the 'Overseas Fees'. 

For further information: 

Do I need to take a language test?

You do not need to take a language test at application stage. If you are interviewed and offered a place on the programme, you will be asked to complete and submit an application form through the University's Applicant Portal (unless you are an overseas student and have already submitted one). Once you have submitted the application through the portal system, your application will be assessed by the Graduate Admissions Office and if you need to take language test, you will be given a "pre-offer language condition". You would then need to arrange and complete a language test and will be given a "conditional offer" until you have met your language requirements. 

For further information: 

Where can I apply to for funding to cover my 'Overseas Fees'?

International students will have to find additional funding to cover the 'overseas fees'. There are some University of Cambridge Scholarships you can apply for - check the deadlines carefully, because some are sooner than our application deadline.

For further information:

The departmental application deadline is in January, but the University funding deadline (for applying for Overseas Fees) through the University's Graduate Applicant Portal is in December. Does this mean I have to submit both applications by December? 

Only the University application to the Applicant Portal needs to be submitted by the December deadline. You still have until the later deadline to submit our Departmental Application.   

References: If I am applying for 'Overseas Fees' through the University's Graduate Applicant Portal, will my referees have to supply their references for both this and the Departmental application?

Yes they will have to. The difference is that you can request references directly through the University's Applicant Portal, but we ask you to request that your referees email their references directly to the department.  See 'How to Apply'.

I have my own funding to pay for a PhD - can I still apply?

This Programme is specifically funded by the Wellcome Trust. Therefore all students accepted onto the Programme will be awarded the Wellcome Trust funding. 

Because of this generous funding, this PhD Programme is highly competitive (we receive many more applications than places available) so if you have your own source of funding to cover your PhD studies, you should consider contacting PIs directly that you might like to work with, to see if they can offer you a position straight in their laboratory. You will not be able to join this Programme with your own funding.

I would like to study for a Masters, rather than a PhD.  Do you offer Masters programmes?

We do not run an independent Masters programme within the Stem Cell Institute. However, if you have a particular area of interest which is aligned with one of our principal investigators, you should get in touch with them directly.  Here is a list of research groups, including contact details. 


I still need some help please!

Please contact our Graduate Administrator, Jo Jack, by email at