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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics

When applying to study for the PhD in Land Economy applicants are required to submit a detailed research proposal outlining their intended research topic, objectives and proposed methodology. The topic of research is the Candidate’s own choice and will be provisionally approved by the Degree Committee when accepting the applicant to the course.

Applicants are advised to consider carefully the topic of their PhD research. The research proposal submitted with the application should be sufficiently developed to give a clear indication of the research to be undertaken and to show that the topic is suitable for research at PhD level. It must cover the background and aims of the research; the methodology and data to be applied (if relevant); the analysis to be adopted; the possible conclusions to be reached.  The PhD is independent, student-led research and the Department does not provide applicants with suggestions for research topics or provide guidance on how an initial research idea should be developed.

In all cases a suitable and available supervisor must be identified before the Department will make an applicant an offer of a place. Normally, it will be a member of the Department.

The Department expects applicants to investigate the research interests and expertise of the academic and research staff prior to making a formal application. More information on the research interests of academic staff in Land Economy can be found at:

The name(s) of academic and research staff who have been identified by the applicant as possible supervisors for the research should be clearly stated in the relevant field of the application form.  Information on the Department’s research and the work of academic staff are available from this website.  The Department will not accept a student who’s proposed research falls outside its areas of interest or if it believes that Cambridge is not the most appropriate place to undertake the research both in terms of location and the expertise available.

Ultimately allocation of a supervisor is the responsibility of the Department's Degree Committee.  Informal agreement between a member of staff and a student is therefore not in itself guarantee that an offer of a place will be made, or that the relevant member of staff will be the allocated supervisor.  This will only be confirmed following consideration of a formal application."

Please note the Department and its academic staff are not in a position to enter into lengthy discussion with applicants about potential research topics and/or supervision arrangements prior to receipt of a formal application. 

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