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Cambridge CDT Application with repeats on transcript

I am heading into my fourth and final year of materials science at a fairly well-reputed university (considered the best in my country, although it's a small country). I am hoping to apply to the MRes+PhD programme in Sensor Technologies at Cambridge this coming semester as that is the area that has begun to interest me most over the past year and I am currently doing an overseas research internship in quantum sensing which I am loving.

I had two questions on which I would appreciate any knowledgeable person's two cents:

1) The course states that it requires a "good 2:1 honours degree". I got a high first in year 1, a low 2:1 in year 2 and this year I am on track to achieve a mid first (around 74-76%) SUBJECT to repeating three of my exams. The lower grades in second year and these three fails are in part because I was on medication for ADHD that had terrible side effects, making it difficult to keep up with college, and only recently switched to a much better suited prescription for me. As such I can get my uni's disability officer to fill out an extenuating circumstances forum although I know the grounds are pretty weak. For some reason my university does not place a capped mark on resit exams, meaning if I achieve firsts on these, which I expect to, I will have a good profile but the transcript will still specify that these are second attempts. I wonder how much of a concern this would be for the Cambridge admissions board?

2) They require two academic references. As the programme is in sensor technologies it would surely make sense to get a reference from the professor I'm working with on my internship at a different university. Does anybody know if this is allowed? I haven't fostered much of a relationship with the professors at my home university bar my course director who I know would write me a LOR so if it has to be both from home that's not ideal.

Would appreciate any input. Thanks :smile:
Reply 1
Not sure about your first question, but having LOR from different universities is absolutely fine, and in fact may even help you, as it signals that you're well regarded not just in your home uni
Studying in halls, University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
Cambridge
Reply 2
Original post by TheoAM97
I am heading into my fourth and final year of materials science at a fairly well-reputed university (considered the best in my country, although it's a small country). I am hoping to apply to the MRes+PhD programme in Sensor Technologies at Cambridge this coming semester as that is the area that has begun to interest me most over the past year and I am currently doing an overseas research internship in quantum sensing which I am loving.

I had two questions on which I would appreciate any knowledgeable person's two cents:

1) The course states that it requires a "good 2:1 honours degree". I got a high first in year 1, a low 2:1 in year 2 and this year I am on track to achieve a mid first (around 74-76%) SUBJECT to repeating three of my exams. The lower grades in second year and these three fails are in part because I was on medication for ADHD that had terrible side effects, making it difficult to keep up with college, and only recently switched to a much better suited prescription for me. As such I can get my uni's disability officer to fill out an extenuating circumstances forum although I know the grounds are pretty weak. For some reason my university does not place a capped mark on resit exams, meaning if I achieve firsts on these, which I expect to, I will have a good profile but the transcript will still specify that these are second attempts. I wonder how much of a concern this would be for the Cambridge admissions board?

2) They require two academic references. As the programme is in sensor technologies it would surely make sense to get a reference from the professor I'm working with on my internship at a different university. Does anybody know if this is allowed? I haven't fostered much of a relationship with the professors at my home university bar my course director who I know would write me a LOR so if it has to be both from home that's not ideal.

Would appreciate any input. Thanks :smile:

Hi, I'm starting in the Sensor CDT in October so I'm happy to answer any questions about the application process. Are you applying for the Michaelmas 2024 start date?

Provided you have excellent grades, I'd say the retakes probably won't be that big of a deal. Either way, the Sensor CDT usually runs webinars with Q&As each year, so you can ask the admissions team directly then. You can watch their previous webinars on their YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/@SensorCDT.

Provided your references are both from an institutional (university) email address, they should be fine. You can find out more about the university's reference requirements at https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/how-do-i-apply/supporting-documentation/references.
Original post by LeonWBA
Hi, I'm starting in the Sensor CDT in October so I'm happy to answer any questions about the application process. Are you applying for the Michaelmas 2024 start date?

Provided you have excellent grades, I'd say the retakes probably won't be that big of a deal. Either way, the Sensor CDT usually runs webinars with Q&As each year, so you can ask the admissions team directly then. You can watch their previous webinars on their YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/@SensorCDT.

Provided your references are both from an institutional (university) email address, they should be fine. You can find out more about the university's reference requirements at https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/how-do-i-apply/supporting-documentation/references.

Hi, thanks for the response! Good to hear that it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. I would indeed be applying for Michaelmas 2024.

I actually have quite a few questions, I will PM you :smile:
Original post by LeonWBA
Hi, I'm starting in the Sensor CDT in October so I'm happy to answer any questions about the application process. Are you applying for the Michaelmas 2024 start date?

Provided you have excellent grades, I'd say the retakes probably won't be that big of a deal. Either way, the Sensor CDT usually runs webinars with Q&As each year, so you can ask the admissions team directly then. You can watch their previous webinars on their YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/@SensorCDT.

Provided your references are both from an institutional (university) email address, they should be fine. You can find out more about the university's reference requirements at https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/how-do-i-apply/supporting-documentation/references.

It seems TSR refuses to let me send a message because it thinks I'm a spam bot, so I'll just ask them here instead. No rush at all in replying, but would really appreciate the insight!

1. Regarding interviews, are they conducted online or in person? And how many are there?

2. Is there a certain list of colleges you can apply to for this course or is it available in all of them?

3. I'm assuming they are interested in how your relevant experience relates to sensors and why you have an interest in researching sensor technology. Would you say this was the main focus of the interview or were they also asking questions to generally test your academic knowledge and approach to problem solving?

4. Does everyone who receives an offer automatically qualify for EPSRC funding, or is it possible that they'd make you an offer but you'd have to find alternative funding or self-fund?

5. I don't know if you applied during your final year of undergrad, but if so, was the offer conditional on receiving a certain mark?

6. If you don't mind me asking, what subject did you do your prior degree(s) in?

Thanks very much :smile:
Reply 5
Original post by TheoAM97
It seems TSR refuses to let me send a message because it thinks I'm a spam bot, so I'll just ask them here instead. No rush at all in replying, but would really appreciate the insight!

1. Regarding interviews, are they conducted online or in person? And how many are there?

2. Is there a certain list of colleges you can apply to for this course or is it available in all of them?

3. I'm assuming they are interested in how your relevant experience relates to sensors and why you have an interest in researching sensor technology. Would you say this was the main focus of the interview or were they also asking questions to generally test your academic knowledge and approach to problem solving?

4. Does everyone who receives an offer automatically qualify for EPSRC funding, or is it possible that they'd make you an offer but you'd have to find alternative funding or self-fund?

5. I don't know if you applied during your final year of undergrad, but if so, was the offer conditional on receiving a certain mark?

6. If you don't mind me asking, what subject did you do your prior degree(s) in?

Thanks very much :smile:

No worries, I've added some answers below.

1. My interview was online, but I'm not sure about next year's format. There was one in total.

2. You're eligible for any college in the university (e.g. I've been allocated to Gonville and Caius).

3. I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say regarding the interview, but they've talked about the subject in their webinars so you should watch them when you have the time. Anyway, they're conducted in February so you've got lots of time to prepare.

4. I'm not sure about this question, but you can ask the CDT directly.

5. I applied during my final year of an MEng degree, and the offer was conditional on me graduating without a specific mark required (as academic performance is taken into account during the offer making process instead).

6. I studied Electronic Engineering, but people join the CDT after a fairly wide variety of undergraduate courses.
Original post by LeonWBA
No worries, I've added some answers below.

1. My interview was online, but I'm not sure about next year's format. There was one in total.

2. You're eligible for any college in the university (e.g. I've been allocated to Gonville and Caius).

3. I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say regarding the interview, but they've talked about the subject in their webinars so you should watch them when you have the time. Anyway, they're conducted in February so you've got lots of time to prepare.

4. I'm not sure about this question, but you can ask the CDT directly.

5. I applied during my final year of an MEng degree, and the offer was conditional on me graduating without a specific mark required (as academic performance is taken into account during the offer making process instead).

6. I studied Electronic Engineering, but people join the CDT after a fairly wide variety of undergraduate courses.


This is much appreciated. Caius is actually the college I had my eye on so that's good to hear too. Best of luck with the course.

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