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Applying to the PhD

Watch our PhD Director’s advice for applicants

Hello, I’m Professor Jennifer Howard-Grenville, and I’m the Director of our PhD programme here at the Cambridge Judge Business School We’ve prepared this short video to give you some tips on how our application process works. First, please do not apply directly to the PhD. We only consider applicants who already hold or are studying on one of our Research Masters degrees, the MPhil in ISO, SMO, or Finance. Or the MRes. In extremely rare cases, when a prospective student has already published in top journals in their field, we may consider a direct application.

Second, please ensure you meet the minimal requirement for the masters degree to which you are applying. Since it is a competitive process to apply to the PhD from our MPhil programmes, you should also ensure that you’re a strong contender for continuation. This means you have, at a minimum, a first class equivalent in your undergraduate degree. Please look under the International Qualifications tab on the University Admissions website to see what this equates to in your system.

Our MPhil degrees are designed for students without a graduate degree who are interested in exploring business and management research. The MRes is for those who already hold a research-oriented graduate degree, and who will then immerse themselves in the topics, literatures and methods for conducting research in a business school setting.

To apply for the MRes, you must have been within the top five per cent of your class on a prior research-oriented masters degree. I hope this helps you navigate our process. And we’re excited to welcome new students into our research programmes. Since it is a complex application process, please rest assured that if you apply for a programme that is not the right match and you’re within our minimum qualifications, we will redirect your application internally to make sure you’re considered for the most appropriate programme.

Admission via a standard research MPhil

One route to gain admission to Cambridge Judge Business School’s PhD programme is via one of the School’s research MPhil programmes. You will need to take a particular MPhil and specific modules within the programme in order to be eligible to continue to the PhD programme on your desired pathway.

Find out more about the standard MPhil routes to the PhD

MPhil application deadlines

25 February 2021

Apply to the MPhil in Innovation, Strategy & Organisation

25 February 2021

Apply to the MPhil in Finance

14 June 2021

Apply to the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations

Note that funding deadlines are earlier (9 October 2020 and 3 December 2020).

To progress to the PhD programme after your MPhil year you must:

  • submit an application for the PhD programme, which includes a research proposal, paper or literature review that will be assessed for quality and strong references
  • perform well in the first term of MPhil modules
  • perform well at an interview with a panel of faculty members
  • demonstrate a fit between the proposed research and the research expertise in the subject group (resulting in the interview panel recommending supervisors)
  • be ranked sufficiently highly by the panel in order to receive an offer (admissions offers are usually conditional on overall performance in the MPhil or parts thereof, and the usual conditions are an overall mark of 70 per cent and 70 per cent in any dissertation)

We automatically shortlist all PhD applicants from the above three research MPhil programmes for interview (applicants currently studying for the MPhil or those who previously completed the MPhil with a grade ≥70% overall and ≥70% in the dissertation).

Admission via the Master of Research

The School’s Master of Research (MRes) programme offers another route to the PhD for all pathways except Finance.

Find out more about the MRes route to the PhD

Students who obtain 70 per cent overall (modules and dissertation combined) and at least 70 per cent in the dissertation component in the School’s Master of Research programme will progress automatically to the PhD programme – no further application is necessary.

MRes application deadlines

3 December 2020

Apply to the Master of Research programme

Admission directly to the PhD

All applicants must apply for one of the three research MPhils or the MRes in the first instance, or in exceptional cases a Cambridge MPhil in Economics.

In very rare cases, outstanding MRes applicants who have exceptional prior research experience (as evidenced by journal publications in reputable management journals) and substantial relevant research methodology training may be considered for entry to the PhD programme directly (without taking the MRes year in the first instance). In this case their MRes application would be transferred to the PhD.

Funding deadlines

14 October 2020
Deadline for USA students who wish to be considered for Gates funding.

3 December 2020
Deadline for MPhil and MRes applicants eligible to be considered for Cambridge Trust funding.

7 January 2021
Deadline for PhD applicants eligible to be considered for Cambridge Trust funding.

Financial support

All PhD and MRes (Master of Research) students, as well as a number of MPhil research students, are fully funded through scholarships covering fees and maintenance.

Funding your PhD