Opportunities for graduate research in visual science at Cambridge
Topics currently of interest to the Vision Group in the Department of Experimental Psychology include:
You can gain a feel for our research by consulting the list of the laboratory's recent publications
The lab is well equipped with computer-controlled displays, and with computer-controlled optical systems, as well as the calibration equipment that is needed for reliable work in visual science. The group uses mainly psychophysical techniques, but there are possibilities of collaborations with other biological departments, and candidates wanting, say, to pursue an interdisciplinary PhD in the molecular genetics of vision or in the ecology of primate vision should certainly contact us to discover what is feasible. We should also welcome candidates wishing to do serious historical research in the fields of sensory theory or experimental psychology.
The Department of Experimental Psychology provides graduate students with formal training in statistics, experimental design and research methods. Detailed guidance on the methods of visual science is given within the lab on a day-to-day basis, and there are frequent seminars on visual topics. Students are expected to begin on their chosen research project shortly after arriving in Cambridge. It is in the need for an early choice of research area that the Cambridge system most notably differs from that of a North American graduate school: candidates do not spend an extended period conducting research projects in different labs or taking courses in a large range of fields, but begin research at once under the guidance of their supervisor. It is not permitted to take on part-time paid work while doing research for a PhD in Cambridge, but there are opportunities to earn a little extra income by demonstrating in practical classes and (in the second and third years of a PhD) giving 'supervisions' to small groups of undergraduates on behalf of particular colleges.
Procedure for Application and Sources of Funding.
Full details of how to make a formal application to the Department and to the University are given on the Department's web site
For candidates applying from the United Kingdom, the Department has a
small number of quota studentships awarded annually by the Research
Councils. If you wish to be considered for such a studentship, be sure to
apply to the Department before February 15 in a given year. For local
candidates, it is
possible to apply for a Domestic Studentship in Easter Term (see
For candidates applying from overseas, three major sources of awards are the Gates Cambridge Trust
Cambridge is a federation of autonomous colleges, and most of the colleges
offer a small number of studentships linked to particular disciplines or
to particular countries of origin. To find out about these, you may need
to delve deep into the web sites of individual colleges. Access to all
these separate sites is available from the central web pages of the
University of Cambridge
A useful annual handbook that lists sources of funding for both home and overseas students is 'The Grants Register', published by Palgrave. In general, it is a good idea to make multiple applications: different funding bodies apply different criteria, and you will increase your chances by searching hard on the web for alternative studentships for which you are eligible.
We do accept self-funded students from overseas, but in these cases it is usually necessary for the candidate to come to Cambridge for interview. An interview may not be necessary if you have secured a major scholarship in your own country: in this case, the Department's Admissions Committee may rely on the selection process of the awarding body.
Last modified August 2 2008