International Students Admission to the University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge stands as a beacon of academic excellence, drawing students from around the globe to its historic halls. For international students aspiring to study in the United Kingdom, Cambridge represents not only a prestigious educational opportunity but also a chance to immerse themselves in centuries of scholarly tradition. Understanding the admission process for international students is crucial, as it can be complex and competitive.

In this guide, we will explore the details of international student admission to the University of Cambridge, providing a comprehensive overview of the requirements, application process, scholarships, student life, and support services available. Whether you’re considering applying or have already started your journey, this guide aims to be a valuable resource to help you navigate the path to studying at one of the world’s most renowned universities.

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Brief Overview of the University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge, located in Cambridge, England, is a public collegiate research university with a rich history dating back to its founding in 1209, making it the world’s third-oldest university in continuous operation. Its establishment followed a dispute at the University of Oxford, leading scholars to relocate to Cambridge. Despite being seen as rivals, both universities, known as Oxbridge, share many common features.

The university was officially recognized with a royal charter from King Henry III in 1231. Presently, 31 semi-autonomous constituent colleges and over 150 academic departments, faculties, and institutions organized into six schools makes up the University of Cambridge. These colleges are self-governing and manage their personnel and policies, with all students required to have a college affiliation.

Undergraduate teaching at Cambridge is centered on weekly small-group supervisions in the colleges, supplemented by lectures, seminars, laboratory work, and further supervision from central university faculties and departments. The university also operates eight cultural and scientific museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

The university’s 116 libraries collectively hold approximately 16 million books, with Cambridge University Library being a legal deposit library and one of the world’s largest academic libraries. Notable alumni, academics, and affiliates of the University of Cambridge have been awarded a total of 121 Nobel Prizes. Among its alumni are 194 Olympic medal-winning athletes and several iconic figures in various fields.

The University of Cambridge continues to uphold its reputation as a prestigious institution, offering a wealth of academic opportunities and a vibrant student life experience.

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Why University of Cambridge?

Cambridge is renowned worldwide as one of the premier academic institutions, consistently ranked among the best universities globally. With a rich history dating back to 1209, Cambridge offers a unique and prestigious academic experience for students from around the globe.

1. Academic Excellence:

Cambridge is home to over 24,000 students from more than 140 countries, offering undergraduate degree courses in the arts and humanities, social sciences, sciences, and engineering. The university’s commitment to academic excellence reflects in its rankings. This consistently places it in the top positions across various university guides.

2. Top Rankings:

Cambridge is consistently ranked among the top universities globally. It is ranked number 1 in the Complete University Guide 2024, top 3 in the Guardian University Guide 2024, and in the top 5 in the 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities. This demonstrates the university’s commitment to providing exceptional education and research opportunities.

3. World-Class Research:

Cambridge is famous for its world-class research contributions. It is ranked in the top 3 for research quality (Complete University Guide 2024). Also, an impressive 121 affiliates of the University have been awarded the Nobel Prize since 1904. This highlights Cambridge’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and innovation.

4. Supportive Environment:

Cambridge offers a supportive environment for students, guaranteeing almost all students College-owned accommodation for at least three years. Additionally, the university provides support to help students settle in and offers more than 500 societies, ensuring a vibrant and inclusive community.

5. Great Prospects:

Graduates from Cambridge have excellent prospects, with 91% of students who responded to the Graduate Outcomes Survey being in work or further study within 15 months of graduating. Furthermore, Cambridge is one of the top ten universities most often targeted by Britain’s leading graduate employers, offering promising career opportunities for its graduates.

In conclusion, the University of Cambridge offers a world-class academic experience, with a strong emphasis on academic excellence, research, and student support. It provides a vibrant and inclusive community for students from around the world, ensuring a fulfilling and enriching university experience.

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International Students Application Process at the University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge welcomes applications from international students, recognizing the academic and cultural value they bring to its diverse student body. Admission is based solely on academic achievement and potential, with no preference given to those paying overseas fees.

Before You Apply:

  • Explore undergraduate courses and entry requirements.
  • Check tuition fees, living costs, and admission assessments.
  • Learn about the Colleges and choose one when applying.
  • Attend open days or events to discover Cambridge.
  • Seek advice on high school subjects and improving your application.

How to Apply:

  • Register and prepare for admissions assessments if required.
  • Complete the UCAS application and write a strong personal statement.
  • Fill out the My Cambridge Application, an additional form after UCAS.
  • Notify Cambridge if your studies have been disrupted.

After You Apply:

  • Submit any required written work or portfolios.
  • Prepare for interviews and written College admission assessments if needed.
  • Understand the decision process and what to do after receiving an offer.
  • Follow instructions for exam result submission and next steps.

External Consultants:

The University cautions against commercial enterprises offering admissions advice for a fee, as they do not have access to additional information beyond what is freely available from official channels.

Application Fee:

Most international and EU applicants (excluding residents of Ireland and the Crown Dependencies) must pay a £60 application fee. This supports the administration of the application process and system maintenance.

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International Entry Requirements

Before applying to the University of Cambridge as an international student, it’s crucial to ensure that you meet the entry requirements for your chosen course. Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding the international entry requirements:

1. Academic Requirements:

  • Check the specific grade requirements for your course. Cambridge expects students to achieve the highest grades in their respective qualifications.
  • Verify whether your course requires you to take an admissions assessment. Some courses may require you to register for or complete an assessment before submitting your application. Visit the admissions assessment pages on the official Cambridge website for more details.

2. Qualifications Accepted:

  • Cambridge accepts a wide range of qualifications from around the world. Check the general entry requirements on the Cambridge website for typical offer levels for qualifications such as the European Baccalaureate, International A Levels, and the International Baccalaureate.
  • If your qualification is not listed, contact the admissions office at for guidance.

3. English Language Proficiency:

  • A good standard of English is essential for studying at Cambridge. If English is not your first language, you must meet the university’s English language requirements.
  • Check the English language requirements on the Cambridge website for details on the acceptable qualifications and scores. For further help and advice regarding international entry requirements, contact By ensuring you meet the international entry requirements, you can increase your chances of securing a place at the prestigious University of Cambridge.

Note: The entry requirements are currently being reviewed for 2025 entry. Before submitting your application, check the entry requirements for your qualification on the Cambridge website for the most up-to-date information.

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International Fees and Costs at the University of Cambridge

Studying at the University of Cambridge as an international student involves careful financial planning. Below’s a breakdown of the costs:

Tuition Fees:

Tuition fees are different depending on the secific course you’re studying.

  • For Group 1 courses like Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic; Archaeology; and Economics, the tuition fee is £25,734 per year.
  • Group 2 courses such as Mathematics have a tuition fee of £28,704 per year.
  • Group 3 courses like Architecture and Geography have a tuition fee of £33,672 per year.
  • Group 4 courses including Computer Science and Natural Sciences have a tuition fee of £39,162 per year.
  • Group 5 courses like Medical and Veterinary Science have a tuition fee of £67,194 per year.
  • If you’re undertaking a year abroad, the tuition fee payable during that year is 50% of the full fee.

College Fees:

  • International and overseas fee status students, as well as some Home fee status students, are required to pay an annual College fee in addition to University tuition fees.
  • The College fee covers the cost of educational, domestic, and pastoral services provided by your College.
  • College fees may vary between Colleges and are often fixed for the duration of your course.

Living Expenses:

  • Your living expenses may be higher than for UK students, especially if you stay in Cambridge or the UK during vacations.
  • The estimated minimum resources needed in Cambridge for a full 12 months (excluding tuition and College fees) is approximately £14,600, depending on your lifestyle.
  • This figure was calculated in May 2023 based on the Bank of England inflation forecast at that time and will be reviewed regularly.
  • New students should also budget for settling-in costs, including visas, travel, and equipment.

It’s important to note that these costs are indicative and subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit the International Student Office website.

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International Financial Support for Undergraduate Students at the University of Cambridge

For international undergraduates, financial support at Cambridge includes various scholarships and awards, although it is important to note that full scholarships are rare, and most support is partial and means-tested. Here’s an overview of the financial support available:

Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust Awards:

The Trust offers part-cost awards to overseas students, including affiliated students, who have been accepted for admission by a Cambridge College. Applicants cannot apply for funding through the Trust until they have been offered a place at one of the Colleges. Awards are means-tested, and details can be found on the Trust website.

College Awards:

Some Colleges provide partial financial support for international students. For more information, applicants can contact College admissions offices directly.

International Disabled Students’ Fund (IDS Fund):

Administered by the Disability Resource Centre, this fund supports eligible offer holders and students classified as international for fee purposes in meeting the costs of academic-related disability support. Details are available on the Disability Resource Centre website.

Prince Philip Scholarship for Hong Kong Applicants:

Permanent residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region applying for a first degree at Cambridge are eligible to apply for this scholarship. It offers cash awards and means-tested support for tuition fees and maintenance. Applications for the Prince Philip Scholarship should be submitted at the same time as the application to Cambridge. More information can be found on the Prince Philip Scholarship website.

International undergraduate students at the University of Cambridge have access to various financial support options, including scholarships, awards, and funds designed to help them cover the costs of their education. While full scholarships are limited, these partial contributions and means-tested awards can significantly assist international students in pursuing their academic goals at Cambridge.

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Visas and Immigration

The University’s International Student Office serves as a valuable resource for information on visas required to study at Cambridge. They offer an advice service tailored to students sponsored by the University, assisting them in navigating the student visa application process.

For comprehensive and up-to-date information on immigration matters, it is crucial to regularly check the Home Office website. This is the primary source for the latest updates and requirements regarding visas and immigration.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you understand and fulfill the immigration requirements for your visa application. Additionally, it is important to comply with the conditions of your visa throughout your studies at Cambridge.

If you are not a UK or Irish national, you must provide evidence of holding valid immigration permission that allows for study before starting your course at Cambridge. However, if you already possess UK immigration permission in another capacity, such as through residency, you may not require a student visa. The University will verify this as part of the admissions process.

Understanding and complying with visa and immigration requirements is essential for a smooth transition to studying at the University of Cambridge. By staying informed and prepared, you can ensure a successful start to your academic journey at this prestigious institution.

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In conclusion, the University of Cambridge offers a world-class education and a vibrant academic community for international students. By understanding the admission requirements, application process, and available scholarships, prospective students can navigate the application process with confidence. The university’s commitment to supporting international students ensures a smooth transition to student life in Cambridge. Whether you’re interested in pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate studies, Cambridge provides a rich academic experience that prepares students for success in their future endeavors. Explore the opportunities awaiting you at the University of Cambridge and embark on an exciting educational journey.

For more information, visit the University of Cambridge’s official website.

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