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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


Photo: Sir Cam

Applications for 2021 entry are now closed and successful candidates have been notified

We are delighted that you are interested in applying for a Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship. 
Applications for 2021 entry are now closed and candidates who have been awarded a Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship have been notified.
Applications will reopen for 2022 entry in September 2021.
You can find historical details of the eligibility criteria and applications process for 2021 entry on this page. If you're interested in applying for 2022 entry, please return to this page in September 2021 for all the latest information.



Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarships are available to candidates applying to pursue a full-time or part-time PhD course of study at the University of Cambridge.

Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarships are open to PhD students of any nationality.   
Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarships are open to PhD students in any discipline. 

You will automatically be considered for a Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship if:

  1. You indicate that you wish to be considered for funding when making your application for PhD study and you apply by the funding deadline for your course.  
  2. The Department or Faculty to which you have applied assesses you as being academically outstanding.
  3. You have applied to one of the following eligible Colleges:
Christ’s College   Churchill College   Clare College   Clare Hall




Darwin College   Downing College   Fitzwilliam College   Girton College
Homerton College   Hughes Hall   Jesus College   Lucy Cavendish College
Magdalene College   Murray Edwards College   Newnham College   Queens’ College
Robinson College   Selwyn College   Sidney Sussex College   St Catharine’s College
St Edmund’s College   Trinity Hall   Wolfson College    

A significant proportion of the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarships (25-33% each year) will be at St Catharine’s College. The larger group at St Catharine’s College reflects David Harding’s previous association with the College. However, the remainder will be distributed so as to guarantee excellent postgraduate students across the whole Collegiate University.

Not applied to one of the Colleges listed above?

If you haven't applied to one of the Colleges listed above, this will not preclude you from being considered for a Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship. However, please be aware that you might be asked to change Colleges in order to take up the Scholarship.

Already studying at the University of Cambridge?

If you are currently studying at Cambridge and you wish to apply for a new PhD course here then you will be eligible for consideration for a Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship, provided you fulfil the eligibility criteria provided above. For example, you would be eligible if you are currently studying for an MPhil at Cambridge and you are applying to pursue a PhD here.

However, if you have already started your PhD course at the University of Cambridge, you cannot ask to be considered for a Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship to fund the remainder of it.


How to apply

  • You can apply for admission to a PhD course, a College place and various sources of funding via the University’s online Graduate Applicant Portal
  • When you make your application, you do not need to provide an additional, bespoke statement specifically for the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme (HDPSP) and there is no HDPSP sub-section to complete.  However, you must:
  1. Indicate that you wish to be considered for funding by answering 'yes' to the question: 'Do you wish to apply for funding?' in the Funding section of the online Graduate Application form.
  2. Apply by the funding deadline for your course.

Applicants who do not follow both these steps will not be considered for a Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholarship. 



There are two possible application deadlines and these are determined by the funding deadline for the PhD course to which you are applying. For 2021 entry, your funding deadline will be either 3 December 2020 or 7 January 2021.  You can find the funding deadline for your course by checking the course directory.





Applications open

1 September 2020

Application deadline

Dependent on your course – either 3 December 2020 or 7 January 2021

Departmental scoring

December 2020 – February 2021

Scholarship selection

Late February 2021

Scholarships offered

Late February – early March 2021

Scholarships accepted

Usually within 7 days of offer notification

Please note that the HDPSP is not able to give advice on individual applications or provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants. 


Find out more about Postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge

Watch the University's short film about applying for Postgraduate admission and funding.