Applying for a PhD

The Hall

Positions to study at the Institute are typically open between October and December each year.

Applications should be made via the University of Cambridge Graduate Application Portal (GAP). Further information on how to apply is included in the page below, please read everything here carefully before applying.

Other positions may become available from other sources throughout the year and can be found on our vacancies page. Applicants are encouraged to contact possible supervisors to discuss research projects informally before applying.


Step 1 - Eligibility

Competition for admission to the Babraham Institute and University of Cambridge graduate programmes is intense. Like all departments in the Graduate School, we require all our graduate entrants to have:


  • At least a 2i in an Honours degree or equivalent (e.g CGPA 3.5/4.0) in a relevant subject

  • Two outstanding references from senior university staff at your most recent university

  • Fluency in the English language – recent IELTS test with an overall band score of at least 7.0 with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading.

For more details of the University’s academic requirements, see the University’s Graduate Prospectus.


Step 2 - Before applying

Before filling in the Graduate Application Form (GRADSAF) on the Application Portal:


  1. Ensure you meet the necessary funding requirements as laid out on the Funding page.
  2. Decide which two Babraham Institute Projects/Supervisors you are most interested in applying for (current opportunities can be found here). These should be selected from the list of currently available projects. You will need to show your preferred and back-up choice.
    • The name of your chosen supervisors should be added to the University's application form 'Research Supervisor' section in the format: 'Prof Reik (1st)/ Dr Kelsey (2nd)'
  3. Decide which sources of funding you wish to apply for. The Application Portal will allow you to apply for relevant studentships advertised by the Babraham Institute as well as University-wide funding and College studentships. Please check the University of Cambridge Funding Search web page before applying.
  4. Check appropriate deadlines for application for the PhD Programme (typically in early December) and for any relevant funding opportunities. Note that you will need to complete your application before the earliest of any/all of these deadlines. All supporting documents and references must be received by the University before the deadline. Late and incomplete applications cannot not be considered.


Step 3 - Application information

Information needed to fill in on the Graduate Application Form (GRADSAF) on the Application Portal


  1. Course details:
    • Course Description: Biological Sciences
    • Programme of Study: PhD in Biological Sciences (Babraham Institute)
    • Course code: NUAN22
    • Duration: 3/3.5/4 years (dependant on funding)
    • Study mode: Full time
  2. Research Supervisor details. These can be filled in on the Research Supervisor box.
    • You should choose two supervisors (preferred and back-up) in the format: 'Prof Reik (1st)/ Dr Kelsey (2nd)'
  3. Brief details of the projects you are applying for can be added to the Research Project box.
  4. The names and addresses (including email) of the two academic referees you intend to use. One should be a person familiar with your practical skills and one must be from a person familiar with your academic performance. If you are applying for Gates Cambridge Trust funding, you will also need to add a personal (character) referee.
    • Please note that you are not required to obtain these references personally. Once details of your referees have been uploaded into your GRADSAF form, the referees will then receive an automated email. This will give each referee access to the University’s online Electronic Referencing System and they will then have 7 days in which to submit their reference.
  5. Follow the other instructions on the GRADSAF form as indicated.


Step 4 - Making your Application

Please follow all instructions on the Application Portal to upload all supporting documents for your Graduate Application Form


  1. Full Curriculum Vitae. This should include:
    • Nationality and Residence in UK information
    • Details of Schooling including GCSE and A Level results (or other qualifications)
    • Details of University Education including courses taken and results of any examinations to date
    • List of any Scholarships and Awards that you have received
    • Degree result (if already known)
    • Details of any lab based projects or laboratory placements or any other Research Experience
    • Details of any industrial placements
    • Details of any previous employment
    • The names and addresses (including email) of the two academic referees you intend to use.
    • Your contact details for the January following your application
  2. Statement of Research Interests/Reasons for applying
  3. Details of your two chosen Babraham Institute Research projects and why you are specifically applying for them.
  4. Your language test certificate (for non-native English speakers).
  5. University transcripts, if available, or module/exam results to date if you are a current undergraduate


Step 5 – Open Day

We hope to be able to invite short-listed applicants to attend our Institute Graduate Open Day on to attend our Institute Graduate Open Day in mid-January 2024 for a series of interviews. This will give applicants an opportunity to meet Group Leaders and their research groups, as well as receiving a tour of our research facilities. Reasonable travel expenses will be paid to those invited.

Students will not be able to take up an award unless they meet all University eligibility criteria and are successful in securing admission to the University. In addition, they will not be able to apply for a visa (if needed) until they hold an unconditional offer from the University.

The deadline for submission of applications via the Graduate Application Portal is Friday 1st December 2023. Incomplete applications will not be considered.



If you would like more information or have any questions not answered on this website or the universities graduate application site please contact us: The Graduate Studies Assistant, Babraham Hall, Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge CB22 3AT





The Babraham Institute abides by the principles of the government’s Disability Confident Scheme and has a positive approach to employing disabled people. We support equality and diversity through our equity4success committee and hold an Athena SWAN award for promoting gender equality. The Babraham Institute receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.