The Center for Life Beyond Reed


Sperling Studentship Internal Application Instructions

Spend some time on the Cambridge postgraduate course directory, looking at some of the course offerings and identifying which might be a good fit. With the Sperling program you can apply for a master's degree or a doctoral degree (with up to three years of funding).

If you are a current Sperling awardee in a master's program and applying to Cambridge to continue into a doctoral program, you must reapply to Reed's Sperling Studentship to continue your funding for up to three years for the doctoral program.

You have to apply to be based at King's College (in the UK system, colleges are more residential/social, so King's College is less an academic entity, and more where your life would be based). King's College makes the final selections from Reed's Sperling nominees, and nominees must receive an offer of admission from Cambridge's Postgraduate Admissions Office before King's will receive their application.

Internal Application Deadline

September 20th, 2023 at 12:00 PM noon, Pacific Time

Application Steps

Please note: Cambridge postgraduate admissions require a minimum 3.5 GPA (3.7 if the course has a UK First Class Honours requirement).

Please attach your application documents as PDF files to an email and submit to by the internal application deadline. Application documents include:

  1. CV or resume (the Cambridge application will also require a CV or resume).

  2. Personal statement outlining your reasons for wishing to study at Cambridge and how this program relates to your future goals—no more than 500 words.

  3. Project statement: Provide a research proposal or outline of your academic plans and goals, not to exceed 500 words. If the department to which you are applying has a required academic statement, you can use that statement for this purpose (though you must still honor the 500 word maximum). If not, please convey what you hope to accomplish at Cambridge academically and why you have selected this particular program.

    1. Separate from your project statement, list the name of the course to which you are applying, along with the url for the course from the course directory.

  4. Your Reed transcript (you may obtain this for free via these instructions).

Apply to Cambridge

You will need to apply in parallel to the University of Cambridge. Make certain to list King's College as your primary college in your application to Cambridge. Please check the University of Cambridge Postgraduate Admissions for specific application details. Because of Cambridge’s rolling admissions, you'll need to submit your application to Cambridge by the deadline for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which is in October. Cambridge's application process opens in mid-September. If you wish, you may submit your application to Cambridge before you hear back about a Sperling nomination; this will not be factored into consideration of your internal Sperling application.

Funding at Cambridge

Since Reed will nominate more applicants than there will be available Sperling Studentships, having a backup funding plan will increase your chances of being able to study at Cambridge. We recommend also applying to the Gates Cambridge Scholarship and/or applying to funding sources available through Cambridge.

Letters of Recommendation

Have two faculty, at least one of whom is at Reed, send internal letters of recommendation to by the internal application deadline. Your recommenders should know you and your academic work well enough be able to make an academic judgement of you in the following areas:

  • your academic performance to date;
  • your potential to be original, creative and/or independent of thought;
  • your suitability for the course you are applying to.

Make sure to give your recommenders several weeks notice and read our guidance on requesting letters of recommendation.


You will need to complete this online waiver form as the final step in submitting your internal application.

Waiver Form

Applicants submitting application materials electronically by email will generally receive a confirmation within twenty-four hours. If you do not receive a confirmation during this time, please follow up with the Center for Life Beyond Reed at to ensure that the application was successfully submitted.

Next Steps

The Reed fellowships and awards faculty committee will meet the week after the deadline to consider applications. Notifications are typically done within a week of the internal deadline.

If you are selected as a nominee, you will be notified. CLBR will then send a list of Reed's Sperling nominees directly to King's College. Please note that you must receive an offer of admission (or conditional offer of admission) from Cambridge's Postgraduate Admissions Office before King's will receive your application.

Important: If you receive an offer (or conditional offer) of admission to Cambridge, tell CLBR staff as soon as you can via email at We can help to ensure that staff at King's College receive your application.

If King's College receives your application, they intend to offer admission in most cases. If more than one of Reed's nominees makes it to this stage of the application then King's College makes the final decision, with input from Reed College. One studentship can be offered per year, but in rare cases, King's may decide to offer studentships to two nominees. It is also possible that more than one Reed nominee could be admitted to King's, with only one of them being offered a studentship. You can review Cambridge's timeline of admissions on their "What Happens Next?" page.

Remember that if you are accepted for a master's program, and if you plan to apply to continue into a doctoral program, you will need to reapply for the Sperling through Reed for that doctoral program.

Sperling Homepage