Undergraduate Study at University of Cambridge
College admissions decisions are based entirely on academic criteria – your abilities and potential. We rate each one individually, which means we look and look for different things in different people for different courses. As a result, there is no silver bullet that guarantees that you will be offered a spot. However, all admissions tutors look for students who believe:
have the highest academic ability and potential
benefit and prosper in the Cambridge learning environment
are better suited to the course they requested
Academic potential and skills
We are looking for students with the academic abilities and potential to thrive in college. Therefore, you should aim for excellent test scores.
Typical A Level / IB offerings and specialist requirements are listed on the appropriate course pages.
You can find the typical admission requirements and offerings for a number of other exam / grading systems in the application section.
Our Technical Issues brochure gives GCSE students advice on how to choose the most appropriate subjects and subject combinations at level A.
Study in Cambridge
We look for an indication of your ability to think critically and independently and your willingness to reason logically while open to new ideas. You also need self-discipline, motivation, commitment, and the desire and potential to go beyond what you’ve learned so far.
Suitability and enthusiasm for your course
At the end of the day, we are looking for students who are eager to learn about the subject they applied for, and not only interested in the degree at the end, although it is important. Think carefully about the options you have and which courses and departments will excite and inspire you the most for years to come.
If you think you have these qualities, we are looking for students like you and we hope you apply.
Don’t let the prospect of not getting a spot keep you from applying. We can’t offer you a place if it doesn’t apply to us!
How do we rate the requests?
There is no blueprint for an ideal Cambridge student and we want to offer applicants as many opportunities as possible to show their strengths and potential. Therefore, each application is viewed individually and holistically, using all of the following information:
- academic record
- school/college reference
- personal statement
- any written work submitted
- performance in any written assessment
- contextual data
- performance at interview
What is the most important part of my application?
The approval tutors review all available information together before making decisions. While recent academic achievement carries the greatest weight, the relative importance of each item varies as each student is different. No part of an application is considered in isolation. For example, a student’s performance in an interview alone does not determine the outcome of her request.
you should verify that you have or are likely to have the correct grades at the correct level and in the appropriate / relevant subjects for the course you have chosen. Regardless of the system you are training in, we need the best grades in the highest grades available to students. The most successful applicants eventually outgrow the terms of their offer.
Offers are generally made to complete the thirteenth year (or equivalent) of qualifications.
Typical offers and requirements
Although this website primarily talks about A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, many other school and national exams at the same level are equally acceptable and are listed below. We are happy to consider applicants who acquire a combination of scores from different examination systems, provided that individual scores are acceptable and all professional requirements are met. If the rating you are getting is not listed here, check out the EU and international ratings.
One of the strengths of the Cambridge admissions system is its ability to assess all applicants individually, and all universities can change offerings to suit individual circumstances. This means that some applicants may be offered less or more challenging offers than those listed on these pages / in the course listings, and some offers may indicate qualifications to be achieved in certain subjects.
All student admissions decisions are the responsibility of Cambridge Colleges. The university specific information on this website was provided by the individual Cambridge universities. If you have any questions about specific college requirements, please contact the appropriate admissions office.
Please note that you may be asked to submit a transcript with your application detailing your qualifications.
You should choose a combination of AS and / or A level subjects that provide good preparation for your chosen course at the university.
If you are taking modular courses, you will be asked to provide details of your Uniform Mark Scheme (UMS) performance for all AS and A-level modular units used to date, certified or not (generally we expect good grades A in relevant subjects if the SA takes place at the end of the 12th school year). Colleges do not make unconditional offers based solely on AS-level grades.
They only have UMS grades for AS / A level modular subjects. As you acquire linear grades, your teachers will provide us with information on your performance through your UCAS referral.
The typical A-Level conditional offer is A * AA or A * A * A, depending on the course. In countries where there is no A * grade available in A-Level, three A-grades would be accepted.
Some applicants may receive lower or more demanding offers. Depending on individual circumstances, applicants may be required to earn A * in a particular subject.
We generally expect students graduating from high school in science to complete and pass the practical assessment.
Critical thinking is not considered an acceptable third level subject for any Cambridge course. While considered a valuable addition to your portfolio as a fourth AS or A-level subject, it is unlikely to be part of a conditional offering.
Key competencies and general studies are not required or not included in the academic assessment.
Cambridge universities accept applications from people with international A-Levels (offered by Cambridge International, Oxford AQA or Pearson Edexcel). These are recognized as equivalent to the GCE AS and A levels of the UK Board of Directors.
Number of levels A
Our typical offerings are based on students taking three A-Levels in their combined thirteenth year, with the majority of Cambridge applicants studying three or four A-Level subjects in their 12th and 13th year. This is usually sufficient to show the breadth of interests and the ability to manage a variety of diverse academic assignments. We want applicants to develop a broader and deeper understanding of the subjects that are most relevant / closest to their chosen course rather than accumulating additional A-Levels.
Applicants taking four subjects generally have no advantage over applicants taking three subjects, although competitive candidates for STEM courses often continue to have math as their fourth subject.
For courses in which all colleges require an A-level math level – Computer Science, Business, Engineering, Science – in natural sciences – students who are in the 12th year in A-level math and A-level math and only one more level of A level in year 13 can be considered.
In such cases, your individual circumstances will be taken into account; including the context of your application, the combination of A-Level subjects, the grade obtained in the early A-Level and your commitment to other relevant subjects in the 13th year in and out of the classroom.
We recommend that you seek advice from a college admissions office and consider the potential impact on your other college options as well.
If you want to apply for our math course, read the instructions in the entry requirements on the course page.
AS / A level repeats
We understand that even the best students can have “bad days” when a test doesn’t go as planned. Therefore, we are not concerned if an applicant has repeated or plans to repeat or plans to repeat one or two AS / A2 level modular units for which the results obtained are clearly atypical.
At Cambridge, students are regularly assessed through examinations and there is no option to retake the exams (with the exception of professional exams in medicine and veterinary medicine). Therefore, we would be concerned that an applicant reruns a large number of tests, unless that number of repetitions has been justified by circumstances beyond the applicant’s control and has been explained in their UCAS referral form and / or extenuating circumstance.