Research course

Antarctic Studies

University of Cambridge · Department of Zoology

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree.

If your degree is not from the UK, please check International Qualifications to find the equivalent in your country.

Months of entry


Course content

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is among the leading environmental research centres in the world. It is an institute of the UK Research & Innovation - Natural Environment Research Council (UKRI-NERC) and is responsible for the UK's national scientific activities in Antarctica.

Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth and our impact on it.

Through its extensive logistic capability and know-how, BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure, help sustain a world-leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs. The UK is one of over thirty countries operating scientific research facilities in Antarctica.

In partnership with the University of Cambridge, BAS offers a PhD in Antarctic Studies. Students undertake a research project under the joint supervision of a research scientist at BAS and a University supervisor in a relevant partner Department. Students are usually based at BAS in Cambridge but will be registered for their degree at the University of Cambridge under one of the partnering departments: Archaeology & Anthropology, Land Economy, Plant Sciences, Zoology, Earth Sciences, Geography and Scott Polar Research Institute, Applied Mathematics & Theoretical Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, or Computer Science & Technology.

Our seven Polar Science for Planet Earth teams consist of Atmosphere, Ice & Climate; Biodiversity, Evolution & Adaptation; Ecosystems; Ice Dynamics Palaeoclimate; Palaeo Environments, Ice Sheets & Climate Change; Polar Oceans; Space Weather & Atmosphere.

We welcome research enquiries from those working for first degrees or Masters in earth science subjects, physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and related areas. BAS is a UKRI institution, hence, our students undertake advertised projects in partnership with NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships (C-CLEAR DTP) or UKRI Centres for Doctoral Training.

All research students registered at the institution have a BAS supervisor and a University supervisor in a cognate department; progression and examination requirements are as for research students in the partner department.

Information for international students

IELTS (Academic)

Element Score

Listening 7.0

Writing 7.0

Reading 6.5

Speaking 7.0

Total 7.0

TOEFL Internet Score

Element Score

Listening 25

Writing 25

Reading 25

Speaking 25

Total 100


Score: Grade A & B (overall score of 193, with no element lower than 185 plus a Language Centre assessment)


Score: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 with no element lower than 185).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    48-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details