Prospective Graduate Student FAQ

Is the HEP group offering new PhD projects for October 2018?

Yes. We will be offering projects in particle physics theory, and to work on the ATLAS and LHCb experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the Neutrino programme in the USA. (The date of the interviews for prospective students for entry in October 2018 has not yet been announced. The 1st of February 2018 is the best date to plan for. The interviews for prospective students for entry in October 2017 were held on the 6th - 8th February 2017.) (back to top)

How does the application procedure work?

All applications are made through the University Admissions Process (see Cavendish Admissions in the left sidebar for more information). Within the University application form (Applicant Portal) choose "PhD in Physics". If you also specify HEP as your area of interest, the form will be passed on to the group for consideration. Those candidates who meet our academic criteria will be invited for interview (see below). If you are eligle for scholarships, please indicate this on the form and you will be contacted before the relevant deadline. (back to top)

What happens during the interview?

The interview process normally takes one day. During the morning, you will be given the opportunity to meet our existing graduate students and post-docs who will show you around the group facilities, and discuss day-to-day life. You will also meet the staff members who are offering projects to discuss the work involved. In the afternoon you will be given a more formal interview where a panel will ask you about your academic interests and assess your suitability for a PhD place within the group. (back to top)

Do I need to prepare for the interview?

No. The staff will have copies of your application, including your CV. They will ask you questions about the courses or projects you have completed, but we do not set any formal tests. (back to top)

What happens following the interview?

After interview, the HEP group selects the best candidates for our available projects, and makes informal offers to the successful candidates. A formal offer is then made through the University Admissions process, which then lists successful candidates as "Accepted subject to funding". Note that "Accepted" does not guarantee a place - the University conditions must also be met, and the University must be satisfied that you have adequate funding, the correct visa status etc. (back to top)

What are the University conditions?

The University requires that you demonstrate that you have sufficient funding to complete the course, and that you are accepted by a College. Entry to a College is normally a formality, although you may not get into the College of your choice. The University may impose other conditions such as academic and language conditions and sometimes supplying original documents can also be set as a condition. (back to top)

How much funding do I need?

The University Board of Graduate Studies provides information on costs here. Be aware that the figures provided are the absolute minimum needed. In addition, applicants for experimental HEP projects should be aware that a lot of travel to CERN or the USA is involved in our work. Students are normally based in Geneva for one year during their course, and travel regularly to CERN or the USA during their time in Cambridge. A week trip to CERN costs around £500. Living costs in Geneva are similar to Cambridge, but it is wise to allow for some extra costs for moving, and to insure against changes in currency exchange rates. The HEP group has very limited travel funds, so students should ensure that their financial package can support the necessary travel. The cost of all travel is covered for STFC-funded students. (back to top)

Does the HEP Group offer funding for PhD studies?

The group normally has funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council for around 3 students. These awards cover fees, maintenance and travel to CERN or the USA. UK citizens are eligible for the full award, and EU citizens are eligible for partial awards. See details here (Follow the TG Frequently Asked Questions link for the rules governing funding). (back to top)

Are there other sources of funding?

Cambridge University has various Trust funds which offer funding for PhD studies, including the Gates Cambridge Trust. The Cambridge Colleges also offer Research Studentships. Details can be found on their web pages, the University admissions pages offer the latest information on these opportunities (there is a page providing search facilities here), and we have brought together the various competitions on this page. Note that candidates are advised to apply at least one year before the date on which they intend to begin their studies and should tick the appropriate boxes on the application form. (back to top)

Does the HEP Group offer MPhil places?

The group only offers MPhil places in exceptional circumstances. (back to top)

How can I get to the interviews?

Check our information pages, for details on how to get to the Cavendish Laboratory. (back to top)

Can I just turn up on the day?

No, we will be unable to interview anyone who has not applied. (back to top)