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University of Cambridge Course/Program Name
Application closes on
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International :04 Oct 
EU :04 Oct 

MPhil Polar Studies (Scott Polar Research Institute)

 Course Level
Masters / PG
 Type
Full Time

 Duration
9 Months
 Start month
January

 Tuition fee

International
30455 GBP
National
17472 GBP
EU
17822 GBP

Application fee

International 50 GBP
National 50 GBP
EU 50 GBP
Department
Department of Geography and Scott Polar Research Institute
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7.5
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
4

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About this course

The aims of the course are to provide an understanding of key contemporary research problems in a range of disciplines in either the humanities and social sciences or physical sciences relating to the Arctic and Antarctica, and for students to undertake original research on a topic selected in consultation with members of staff.

Taught material is presented in the Michaelmas Term, usually in the form of  seminars. The material is organized in two strands, suitable for students interested in the humanities and social sciences or in the natural sciences. It is examined through the submission of three essays, which can take the form of research papers. In the Lent and Easter terms students carry out research towards their dissertations. Dissertation topics are agreed with supervisors and are closely integrated with the ongoing research activities of the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI).

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Graduate work in Cambridge is intense and very intellectually demanding and so the University has high academic entry requirements. Academic requirements will vary from course to course, and you should check the individual course entry in the course directory for the course specific requirements. You are normally expected to hold or to have achieved by the start of your course:

At least a 2i honours degree from a UK university or an equivalent standard from an overseas university; and
Completion of, or release from, any current training or education course.
A directory on international qualifications that meet the University's minimum academic requirement may be found in the International section of our website.

Applicants should be aware that meeting the University’s or Department’s minimum academic requirements does not guarantee entry; it is only one of the factors taken into account when selectors make their decision. Many other factors are also important, such as: suitability for the course, proficiency in English, relevant experience, references, availability of a suitable supervisor, and the ratio of available places.

English language requirement:

  • IELTS: 7
  • TOEFL-IBT: 100

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

The outcomes of the course are achieved both through focused study of specialised aspects of research on the Arctic and Antarctic, either in terms of Arts and Humanities or the Sciences, and through the development of research skills and methods. The following outcomes of student learning are sought:

Knowledge of ideas: Students gain familiarity with an appropriate range of intellectual and methodological traditions relevant to the study of the Arctic and Antarctic. For the Humanities and Social Science strand, students draw on material from Geography, Anthropology, Political Science and other social sciences, and understand the significance of different epistemological positions that provide the context for research. For the physical sciences strand, students will become familiar with theories and empirical work from, amongst other areas, the fields of glaciology, oceanography and atmospheric science. They will gain knowledge and understanding of the field-based, remote sensing and modelling techniques used in polar science research. The teaching is provided via lectures and seminars, research supervision via bi-weekly meetings between students and their supervisor and sessions concerning research skills.  Students also attend the research seminars held in their research groups.  This allows exchange of ideas and debate with more experienced academic researchers and their peers;

Critical skills: Students become skilled and critical readers of Arctic and/or Antarctic publications and data sets. This is achieved through structured reading associated with each module, as well as via supervision on the essays and dissertation;

Substantive knowledge of ideas: Students gain in-depth knowledge of substantive areas of Arctic and/or Antarctic research. This knowledge is gained in the modules taught under the Polar Physical Sciences strand and in the modules taught in the Arts and Humanities strand.  Students gain an in-depth knowledge either of underlying patterns of development, conservation and cultural transformation in the Arctic and/or Antarctic regions, or of the physical processes at work in these regions, how these have changed in the past and are changing currently, and the methods and techniques for investigating them;

Research design skills: Students develop their capacity to frame research questions, to derive appropriate research designs, and develop awareness of different epistemological approaches. This is achieved through the ‘Research Training’ sections of course;

Practical research skills: Students gain a competence and confidence in using a range of qualitative and/or quantitative methods for gathering, analysing and interpreting data. This is achieved through the ‘Research Training’ sections of course and the dissertation;

Presentation skills: Students gain skills in the presentation of research-based evidence and argument. Students are expected to take an active role in the research seminars of the research groups to which they belong and to contribute actively to seminar discussions. They are also expected to present their dissertation aims, methods, preliminary results, and plans for future work at a student forum held part way through their dissertation research period;

Management and other transferable skills: Students gain skills in managing a research project, and its execution (including, where appropriate, elements of data management, understanding ethics and codes of good practice in cross-cultural research, understanding uncertainty, disseminating research). Several of these elements are taught in the ‘Research Training’ sections of course, and then are extended and applied via the dissertation research, which has individual supervision from an experienced researcher.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

The Apply Online button on the right will take you to the Applicant Portal, where you can create and submit your application, and request references.

An application is only complete when:

  • you have submitted your application via the Applicant Portal and paid the £50 application fee
  • you have uploaded the required supporting documents via the Applicant Self-Service
  • your referees have provided their references.

If you miss the deadlines specified in this section, you will not be able to submit your application.

Before applying formally, students should contact individual PIs at the Metabolic Research Laboratories whose work interests them, to enlist their support for the application. Only applications supported by an MRL PI will be considered.  Applications are considered throughout the year on a rolling basis.

Offers made to places on this course are conditional on clearing any security checks the University deems necessary. Security checks are routinely required for all individuals involved in research activities that include working with sensitive information; working with children and vulnerable adults; working with live animals or with tissues supplied from live animals or working in an environment in which such work is pursued by others; working with dangerous pathogens or in a category 3 containment laboratory; or working with some other sensitive technologies. Where necessary the University will ensure that applicants are not disproportionately impacted by the requirement for any security checks by allowing new students to take up places and start appropriate areas of their work prior to a check in other areas being completed.

Check further details on University website

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