Frequently asked questions
At Cambridge we have full-time undergraduate courses ranging from Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic to Veterinary Medicine, and lots in between. A list of all the courses available can be found at Subject A-Z.
A College is where you live when studying at the University of Cambridge, but it is much more than a hall of residence. Colleges are responsible for admitting students, and they also provide ‘supervisions’ (small group teaching sessions that support the lectures and practicals that you attend).
For more information about the College system at Cambridge, and profiles on each of the 29 Cambridge Colleges, have a look at Colleges.
It might seem a bit daunting trying to choose a College, but don't worry, Colleges are more alike than they are different! Our cross-College moderation procedures mean that your choice of College does not affect your chances of being made an offer.
When choosing a College you might want to consider the following:
- Course - Most Colleges take students in all subjects, but there are a handful that don't.
- Your age - Four Colleges are for mature students, and their facilities are geared accordingly.
- Your gender - Three Colleges only consider applications from female students.
- College size
- Special facilities
- Location in the city
- Particular facilities
- Personal instinct - Many students cant explain why they were drawn to their College other than it just felt right.
Each College has a profile at College contacts (including links to their own websites). It can be helpful to make a shortlist of perhaps half a dozen Colleges based on their profiles and then either contact the Colleges for further information or arrange a visit.
No, you don't have to choose a College. Instead you can submit an ‘open’ application. Open applications are allocated to individual Colleges after the closing date. Once allocated to a College your application will be treated exactly the same as any other application to that College.
For more advice about making an open application please see choosing a College.
The application process is really quite straightforward. To apply to the University of Cambridge you need to submit a UCAS application by 15 October the year before you wish to start at the University. Applicants living in countries outside the EU are also asked to submit a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application Form (COPA).
If you want to know what happens to your application once it is submitted, the ‘Applying’ section of our website has all the details.
The deadline for your UCAS application is 15 October.
There is also a later deadline for mature applicants who meet certain criteria – see the mature students section for more information.
A useful summary of important dates and deadlines can be found in the Applying section.
There’s no age requirement for admission to Cambridge, although the vast majority of undergraduates are 18 years or older when they come into residence. You’ll need to demonstrate that you have the maturity and personal skills to cope with university level study. If you’ll be over 21 when you start your course you are classified as a mature student.
About one in ten students coming to Cambridge takes a gap year before starting their studies. This year out is a very useful time in which to improve skills, earn money, travel and generally gain maturity and self-reliance.
You should state on your UCAS application if you wish to defer entry. You’ll probably be asked about your plans at interview, so be prepared to talk about your year out.
If you’re applying for Mathematics most Colleges have a preference for immediate entry. However, if you’re applying for Engineering many Colleges generally prefer applicants to take a year out, to gain some industrial experience. Please note that it’s not possible to defer entry for the Graduate Course in Medicine.
Over 80% of applicants to the University are interviewed. So, if you apply, it is very likely that you will be invited to Cambridge for an admissions interview. Interviews usually take place during the second and third weeks of December, and advice about what to expect can be found in the applying section.
That depends on the course you have applied for and which College you have applied to.
Please note that all applicants for Medicine and for Veterinary Medicine must sit the BMAT in November. Applicants for Law are asked to take the Cambridge Law Test. You may be asked to sit the TSA or a short College test when you come to Cambridge for your interview or you may be asked to submit an essay that you have written at school/college.
For details of how Colleges assess applicants and whether or not you will be asked to sit an admissions test please see the Applying section.
It is not possible for a student to transfer to Cambridge to pursue only part of a degree course. All students must start in the first year of our three or four-year undergraduate programmes.
We do have a system of admitting graduates from other universities to do a second undergraduate degree as an affiliated student at Cambridge, in which case the course takes two years instead of the usual three. More information about applying as an affiliated student is available in the affiliated students section.
The majority of applicants apply with A Levels, although other school/national examinations at an equivalent level (such as Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers, Irish Leaving Certificate, Welsh Baccalaureate, French Baccalaureate, German Abitur, Italian Maturita, and International Baccalaureate) are also acceptable. If in doubt you can check that the qualifications you are taking provide an appropriate preparation for study at Cambridge by contacting the Cambridge Admissions Office.
Whatever school or college system you are being educated in, entry standards at Cambridge require you to have studied to the highest level available for school students, and to have achieved top grades. For those studying A Levels we are looking for A*AA. For details of the typical requirements if you are taking qualifications other than A Levels please see entrance requirements or contact the College you are thinking of applying to or Cambridge Admissions Office.
This depends upon the course you are planning to study. For certain courses at Cambridge, some subjects are essential and some are desirable, while for others there are no subject requirements.
If you wish to apply for an undergraduate place at Cambridge you need to be studying towards a qualification of an equivalent standard to A Levels and be hoping to achieve top marks in it. It is likely that you will also be asked for a particular level of achievement in the subject area you are hoping to study at university.
To check the appropriateness of your qualifications you should contact the Cambridge Admissions Office in the first instance enclosing brief details of the courses that you have taken/are taking, together with your achieved/expected grades and indicate clearly the subject that you are intending to study at the University.
It is essential that your English language skills are good enough for you to undertake an intensive and challenging academic course that is taught and examined in English. As a result if your first language is not English you will also be asked to meet a specific English language requirement such as IELTS or GCSE English. More information about acceptable English language qualifications can be found in the International students section.
The level of fees for international students varies depending on the course you are studying. Full details can be found at in the International students finance section.
There is a very limited amount of financial support available for international students through the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust and College awards. For more information see the International students section.
International applicants need to submit a UCAS application and a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA). Each year the University conducts interviews in certain overseas countries. If you would like an interview in one of these countries an earlier application deadline applies – see international applications for more information.
The academic standards expected of mature students are the same as those expected of school leavers, but there is considerable flexibility in the entrance requirements. Every mature applicant is considered on an individual basis allowing personal qualities and experience to be taken into account in the selection process. If you are considering applying to Cambridge it is advisable to contact a couple of Colleges for advice about academic requirements. They are likely to suggest that an Access to HE Diploma or even an A Level or two would help you, but this does depend on your circumstances and the course you wish to take.
Mature applicants need to submit a UCAS application just like standard age applicants. If you are applying from a country outside the EU, you should also submit a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA). There is also a later deadline for mature applicants who meet certain criteria – see Mature Students for more information.
Yes. You can apply to any of the 29 undergraduate Colleges. The majority of students are 18 or 19 years old when they start their course, so if you are a bit (or a lot) older you may prefer to consider one of the four ‘mature’ Colleges (Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund’s and Wolfson) where all students are over 21 years old. The choice is up to you.
Yes of course. There are a number of students with a disability studying at the University. The Disability Resource Centre and the College system will ensure you receive the support that you require. More information about the support available and things that you should consider when applying can be found in the Support section.
Having a disability does not change how you apply for a place at the University. Applicants with a severe mobility or sensory impairment, however, are encouraged to visit Cambridge to assess the suitability of their intended College and department before making an application.
If you are a graduate with an approved degree from another university, you can apply to take a Cambridge BA course as an affiliated applicant. This means you could take the degree in two years instead of the usual three. Most Colleges admit affiliated applicants, however, only Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund's and Wolfson consider affiliated applications for Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. It is not possible to apply as an affiliated applicant for Architecture.
Affiliated applicants need to submit a UCAS application just like any other applicant. If you are applying from a country outside the EU, you should also submit a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA). Please note that affiliated applicants need to apply to a specific College. You can not make an open application as an affiliated applicant.
More information about applying as an affiliated student is available in the Mature affiliated students section.
There are different levels of tuition fees depending on if you are classed as a ‘home’ (UK or EU) student or an ‘overseas’ student.
More information about tuition fees for UK/EU students is available in the Finance section.
Fees are set at a higher level for ‘overseas’ students, and more information is available in the International section.
The cost of studying at Cambridge is comparable with the costs at other universities in England, and in fact it can be cheaper thanks to the extensive financial support available to Cambridge students. The Colleges can offer accommodation to undergraduates throughout their studies, as well as many other facilities from libraries and computers to sports and social facilities. Financial support is also available to undergraduates who need it at both a University and College level.
Yes. Cambridge is fortunate to have a large amount of financial support available for its students. First of all there is the Cambridge Bursary Scheme for UK students, offering bursaries of up to £3,500 a year (£5,650 per year for mature students). Colleges also offer financial support to students, and there are additional awards available for outstanding sportspeople, musicians and students with a disability.
For more information please see Financial support
There are over 100 different open days organised by the University and the Colleges throughout the year. These events include the Cambridge Open Day, College open days, Department open days and specialist open days. To find out what the differences are between these types of open day and the dates of forthcoming events, please see Open days.
But don’t worry if you can’t manage to visit Cambridge. You don’t have to attend an open day in order to apply.
You are guaranteed accommodation by your College for at least three years*. You can expect to have your own study bedroom either on the College’s main site, a nearby annex or in a College-owned house. Meals will be available in the College cafeteria and you will also have access to a small kitchen for the preparation of snacks and light meals. Each College has its own library and computer cluster, and the majority of study bedrooms are connected to the Internet.
* with the exception of St Edmund’s College.
Where do we start? There are over 700 sporting clubs and societies with which you can get involved. Everything ranging from table football to yoga and archaeology to film. More details are available at the CUSU societies directory.