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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

The backs view of King;s College Chapel at dusk amounst the tree.

Visiting Scholars at the Department of POLIS

The Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) Visitors Programme welcomes a small number of scholars each year. The Programme is aimed at scholars in established posts in other academic institutions.

What do we offer?

Visitors are granted access to the University’s Library and network facilities and are able to attend lectures and seminars organised by the Department. Visiting scholars are also entitled to membership of the University Centre. We are not in a position to offer an office or desk space, secretarial services, academic supervision, housing, visa processing, living or travel expenses or other Departmental resources.

What does it cost?

In addition to needing funds to cover living expenses, there is a bench fee of £3000 per term or £2500 over the summer payable in advance (all figures are inclusive of VAT) to cover incidental and administrative overheads. The Department will be asking for proof that bench fees have been paid before a Visiting Scholar arrives in Cambridge.

Our academic year comprises three terms: Michaelmas (October-December), Lent (January-March) and Easter (April-June). The minimum period for a Visiting Scholar is one month, and the maximum is one year (three terms).

For those engaged in a substantial ongoing research collaboration with a POLIS permanent staff member or making a major teaching contribution to the Department, this fee may be waived at the discretion of the Departmental Executive Committee.


The Department does not provide accommodation, nor can it assist applicants with finding accommodation in Cambridge.

For accommodation assistance please log on to the University of Cambridge Accommodation Service.

You would also have access to Newcomers and Visiting Scholars, which is run by the University. The society provides a termly programme of social activities for university scholars and their families.

How to apply?

Applications are considered throughout the year and should be addressed to

Applications should include:

  • A completed application form>>
  • An up-to-date CV/ resumé
  • A passport photograph of yourself (for University ID card)
  • An outline of the proposed research to be undertaken at Cambridge

In your application form, you should nominate an academic sponsor who will act as a departmental liaison during the period of your stay. This should be a permanent member of POLIS staff. When we receive your documents, that sponsor will be asked to fill in a Declaration Form by the administrator with a short supporting statement, detailing the nature of your proposed research collaboration and/or teaching contribution. We do not require them to send a separate letter of support.


Methods of Payment

Visiting Scholars accepted onto our Visiting Scholar Program will be invoiced the appropriate bench fees approximately 4 weeks prior to their arrival and is required to be paid by the following methods before arrival at the Department. We reserve the right to cancel applicants from our Visiting Scholars Program should payment not be received. 

The preferred method of payment is via our online store>>

Anyone wishing to pay by bank transfer should notify us in advance so that we can provide details of the relevant bank account in Cambridge. Any bank clearance charges must be added by the applicant to their International Payment Form when arranging payment transfer.

Entry to the UK and Work Permits

If you are not a person with settled status in the UK or a national of a country within the European Economic Area, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland then you will probably need a visa - this would normally be via the Academic Visitor route. More information is available here >>

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that compliance with UK immigration/visa requirements is met.

Visiting Students

The Department cannot accept applications from undergraduate students. Undergraduates wishing to spend time at Cambridge must apply directly to a college to be an Affiliated Student. Each college has its own quota and fees for such students. This process must be managed entirely by the applicant and does not involve the Department of POLIS.

At present the CamPo scheme is the only mechanism for welcoming visiting PhD students to the Department. We are unable to accept any applications outside of this scheme.

Postdocs should consult our opportunities page here>>