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Centre of Development Studies







When can I apply?

The application window for 2022 entry opens on 1st September 2021. Please see the Postgraduate Admissions website ( for deadlines. 

What are the academic requirements for entry?

Prospective applicants should have a high 2:1 undergraduate Honours degree from a UK university, a minimum GPA of 3.60 from students who have studied at a university that uses the US grading system or international equivalent (please use this website to find out the international equivalent). Candidates should also have a Master's degree with an overall Merit or the equivalent. 

What are the language requirements?

A fluent command of written and spoken English is essential.  Students must be able to demonstrate that they are able to communicate in English at a level and in an idiom suitable to the subject.

Accepted English Language Tests and minimum levels

IELTS score of 7.5 (with a minimum of 7.0 in each individual component).

TOEFL score of 110 (with 25 in each element). 

What supporting documents are required?

In addition to a completed application form;

  • two academic references;
  • transcripts of previous higher education degree results;
  • a statement of intent (one side of A4 paper is sufficient) explaining why they wish to do this course and how it fits into their long-term career plans. Applicants should not be concerned about any overlap between their statement of intent and the application form;
  • evidence of Competence in English if English is not your first language;
  • an outline (three or four pages) of the proposed research topic, indicating: the background and aims of the research and the methodology and data to be applied (if relevant). This is in addition to information provided on the application form;
  • writing sample (not more than 5,000 words). This could be a published article or an essay from the student's Bachelor or Master programme, where possible relevant to Development Studies.

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications for 2022 entry is to be confirmed.

Do I need to submit a GRE/GMAT score as part of the application process?

Not required.

Which college should I apply to?

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate university, and each college offers an extra dimension to student life.  All students are required to be members of a college.

Cambridge colleges are not associated with particular academic disciplines.  All teaching for graduate students is provided by the Centre or faculty, not by the college. You are therefore free to apply to any college you choose. When you are choosing your college, you may like to think about the following questions:

  • Would I prefer an all-postgraduate college or an undergraduate college with postgraduate students?
  • How likely is it that the colleges I am considering will be able to provide me with living accommodation?
  • Do the colleges I am considering have large international communities?
  • Are these colleges able to offer travel or other grants?
  • (For women applicants) Would I prefer a women-only college or a mixed college?

When completing the application form for admission, you can indicate two college preferences for college membership or you can make an open application which will allow a computer program to make college choices for you.

The academic decision on whether to recommend you for a place on your chosen course is made by the Centre to which you apply, not the college. Your application papers will be sent to the colleges only after a formal academic offer of admission has been made by the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

Can I choose when I start my studies?

All courses start in Michaelmas Term (first week in October), unfortunately it is not possible to start mid-year.

Does the Centre have mature students?

The Centre has a number of mature students, and there are no age restrictions.

Are decisions regarding applications made on a rolling basis?

Decisions on applications are made on a rolling basis, however all applications received prior to the deadline will be given equal consideration.

When will I find out your decision?

Although applications will be considered on a rolling basis, it may be several months before the Centre makes a decision on your application.


Am I eligible for funding?

The funding bodies are separate to the Centre, your eligibility will be subject to your own circumstances and by the terms of which each body award their scholarships.

The University holds two main funding rounds for all postgraduate applicants with deadlines in October and January for admittance the following academic year.

Further details can be found in the Funding section of the Postgraduate Admissions website.

Am I eligible to work during my studies?

The University does not allow students to undertake paid work more than 10 hours per week (with the approval of both supervisor and college) while they are studying full-time, and you should not expect to accrue additional income in this way.

It is a requirement of the University that all full-time postgraduate students have their funding fully in place before they start their course. 

How much will it cost?

As a postgraduate student at the University you are liable to pay a University Composition Fee (UCF) and you are also expected to have 'maintenance' funds to support your living costs whilst you are studying. The value of the UCF is dependent on your 'fee status', which is determined according to your nationality and place of permanent residence.

If you are made a conditional offer of admission to Cambridge, you will need to obtain sufficient funding for the full duration of your course. Evidence of funding is required before your admission to the University can be confirmed. This is known as a financial undertaking. 

Please click here for further information. 

I have missed the funding deadlines, are there any other opportunities available?

There may be other external funding opportunities, please consult the Cambridge Funding Search for further details.


Can I bring my family?

If you have a dependent partner, or children, you can bring them with you to Cambridge but you should think through the implications before you do so. There will be financial considerations and you will also have to plan your time very carefully so that no aspect of your life suffers.

Do I need to reside in Cambridge for the duration of my course?

If you are accepted for full-time postgraduate study at the University, you will be required to live in or close to Cambridge for at least the minimum period of study.

This means:

  • Living within ten miles of the city centre for research students and those taking most other graduate courses.

How do I organise my accommodation?

The colleges are able to house many of their full-time postgraduate students, either in the colleges themselves or in postgraduate hostels or purpose-built flats. However, few colleges can house all their student members. You may prefer to find your own living accommodation independently of the college, or may have to do so; this can be the case if you come to Cambridge with a partner or children as there is only limited college accommodation for couples and families. If your college is unable to provide accommodation for you, you can get help from the Accommodation Service and the Postgraduate Union. The Accommodation Service is responsible for letting 360 University-owned properties. These are a mixture of furnished and unfurnished one-, two- and three- bedroom flats and houses located at different sites across the city. Demand for these is high and priority is given to those who are new to Cambridge.

 Accommodation Service

Can I leave Cambridge during the academic year?

The University year consists of three terms. Term dates are published on the University's website. No full-time student can be a candidate for a Cambridge degree unless he or she has spent at least three terms resident in Cambridge; for a term to be 'kept' a student has to reside in Cambridge for a minimum number of nights (59 for the Michaelmas and Lent Terms and 56 for the Easter Term).

Please click here for Cambridge term dates. 

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