To make a strong application, students must:

  1. Be suitably qualified
  2. Be interested in our courses
  3. Have the potential to thrive at Cambridge

Be suitably qualified

Applicants should either hold or be currently studying for qualifications which meet our entry requirements. Where qualifications are ongoing, we will usually make any offer conditional on meeting the requirements and the qualification must be completed by the 31st August.

Qualifications must be relevant to the course applied for and recent (completed within the last 3 years). Where students hold older qualifications they are strongly encouraged to refresh their knowledge and academic skills with a short formal course. Providers such as the Open University or Oxford or Cambridge’s Institutes of Continuing Education are particularly suitable.

Be interested in our courses

Applicants are applying to study a demanding subject for several years. We want to see evidence that candidates have researched the courses offered and are particularly interested in the way the course is structured at Cambridge. It is much more encouraging for a candidate to want to apply because they’re fascinated by the approach the Cambridge course takes rather than a candidate who applies because of the University’s reputation without looking at how our course differs from that at other universities.

Our assessment of interest will is done primarily through reading the personal statement. Candidates are encouraged to keep this at least 80% academic and to give evidence and examples of how they have pursue their interest in the subject.

Have the potential to thrive at Cambridge

Cambridge terms are very short (8 weeks long) which means that the workload can at times be heavy. We want to be sure that candidates are capable of excelling and can handle a busy schedule.

Much of the teaching in Cambridge is delivered through ‘supervisions’ where a small group of students (typically 1 or 2) meet with an academic for around an hour to discuss lectures and reading and to review the work set in the previous supervision. Students typically have between 1 and 4 supervisions a week. Although supervisions are not assessed, supervisions and the associated work will take up a significant portion of a student’s week. The conversational and discursive nature of supervision teaching is not for everyone; one of the primary aims of admissions interviews is to find candidates who could thrive in the teaching environment we offer.