Research course

Antarctic Studies

University of Cambridge · Department of Zoology

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK high 2:1 honours degree or equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

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

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 the British Antarctic Survey 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, or Chemistry.

Our eight Polar Science for Planet Earth teams consist of “Atmosphere, Ice & Climate”, “Biodiversity, Evolution & Adaptation”, “Ecosystems”, “Geology & Geophysics”, “Ice Dynamics & Palaeoclimate”, “Palaeo Environments, Ice Sheets & Climate Change”, “Polar Oceans” and “Space Weather & Atmosphere”, covering a broad spectrum of science.

We welcome research inquiries from those working for first degrees or Masters in earth science subjects, physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and related subjects. Further projects may be available in the University Department.

All research students registered at British Antarctic Survey 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.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

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

Course contact details