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CamGuides: Software for Academic Use


A robot called Pepper holds a tablet and looks up at the camera

It may come as no surprise to you that graduate students are increasingly expected to use software in the course of their studies. This software might be very specific to your subject, or it might be more generic. It might be absolutely essential to your study, or it might be optional, something which improves or streamlines your work practices, or makes it possible for you to work across multiple devices or on the go.

There is software available to help you structure your writing, to design beautiful posters, to manage your referencing easily, to work with statistics, to create equations, to be organised, to make notes, and more.


There are so many apps out there on the internet, don't shy away from trying out a few things for a few weeks, especially before you come to Cambridge.

- MPhil Linguistics student, 2017-18


With thanks to:

#1 and #4 Yolanda Murillo (MPhil Maths)

#2 Alexandre Weil (MPhil Economics and Finance)

#3 Tooshan Srivastava (MPhil Education)

What's in this section?

In this section of CamGuides we'll cover some of the key options available to you in terms of software, connected to the sorts of academic, information and research practices you may be using. Use the links at the bottom of each page to move through the different topics, or skip ahead to those you think are most relevant to you by using the menu on the left hand side (or at the top if you're using a mobile device).

Aside from the information given under Essentials, everything given in this section of CamGuides is optional, and you are advised to think critically about your choice and use of software, to read terms and conditions carefully, especially before signing up or giving away personal data. IT support is available to you in Cambridge, and more information about how to access this is given here.

A blue clock face indicating 30 minutes

To complete this section, you'll need:

  • Approximately 30 minutes, though more or less depending on your assessment of your proficiency with these practices already.
  • Access to the internet. Nearly all the resources mentioned here are available freely; where an institutional subscription is required, this is made clear.
  • A policy to work through each part, or select the ones you feel are most relevant. Either approach is fine, and valid.
  • Nothing else. You don't need to sign up to any platform or give away personal details.
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How would you rate your proficiency with the software you need to use?

It might be that you already feel confident and comfortable with the software that you will be using as part of your Master's course, but if you don't, this might be a good time to explore some of the options available to you. Read through each of the pages on this guide, and assess whether you personally would benefit from using any of the software here.

Image credits

CC0 by Alex Knight via Unsplash