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Course options

  • Qualification

    PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

  • Location

    University of Cambridge

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    3 years

Course summary

The Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC) trained a number of PhD students under normal academic grants during its period as part of the Department of Chemistry (1965–89). In 1991, the independent CCDC set aside funds for the support of postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge, at other universities in the UK and abroad, and at the CCDC itself. Since 1991, around 50 students have received full or partial CCDC funding.

In all cases, the research projects have had relevance to the scientific interests and objectives of the CCDC, and in all cases, a CCDC staff member has been the official supervisor or a designated co-supervisor. Students have been supported at 16 different institutions (including the CCDC itself and the University of Cambridge). Thus, the CCDC has considerable experience of managing and supervising PhD students, both locally in Cambridge, and at external institutions in the UK and abroad.

The Centre is fully committed to the support and welfare of students, including the active management of any problems that may arise. In the local environment, the Centre collaborates fully with the policies and procedures of the Board of Graduate Studies, Degree Committees, and the Colleges. Relevant Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge and the customs and practices of the cognate department (Chemistry) are strictly adhered to. Direct feedback from students is both sought and welcomed.



Submission of a thesis, not exceeding 60,000 words, including summary or abstract, tables, and footnotes, but excluding table of contents, photographs, diagrams, figure captions, list of figures and diagrams, list of abbreviations, bibliography, appendices and acknowledgements. The thesis is examined by two examiners and includes an oral 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.

Towards the end of the first year, students are required to submit a written progress report. In addition to covering the research work completed during the year, this should contain a review of appropriate literature and a clear indication of how the PhD will develop in the second and third years. The report is assessed by two assessors and an oral examination of the report will be undertaken.

By the end of the programme, students will have:

  • a comprehensive understanding of techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature, applicable to their own research;
  • demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field;
  • shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research, research techniques and methodologies;
  • demonstrated some self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research; and
  • taken up relevant and highly useful researcher development training opportunities to develop skills and attributes for their desired future career.

Application deadline

30 June 2020

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 30,813per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Cambridge

  • University League Table


  • Campus address

    University of Cambridge, The Old Schools, Trinity Lane, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 1TN, England

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    2nd out of 59

  • Entry standards

    / Max 240
    228 100%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    84 84%


  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5

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