The University of Cambridge is one of the most internationally-recognized universities in the world with a student population of over 25,000. Over 140 different nations are represented at the school, even though a majority of its student population is made up of students from the UK. Cambridge offers up to 30 undergraduate degrees spread across 65 different subjects from arts and humanities to social sciences and engineering. The university also uses a collegiate system, similar to Oxford University, so students apply to the over 30 colleges spread throughout the city of Cambridge rather than directly applying to the school. This article will detail important admissions statistics, give you Cambridge personal statement examples, and other expert tips to help you get into one of the best universities in the world. 

>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<

Listen to the blog!

Article Contents
15 min read

Mission Statement Admission Statistics Selection Factors Cambridge Interviews How to Apply Tuition and Funding Opportunities Funding Opportunities List of Majors at Cambridge Campus and Faculty Contact Information FAQs

Mission Statement

“The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.”

Cambridge’s mission is clear from the outset and speaks to its longevity. It is the fourth-oldest university in the world and has produced or been associated with over 120 Nobel Prize winners, 50 different heads of state and over 100 Olympic gold medalists.

Want to learn 8 best study tactics to get the highest marks in your undergrad? Watch this video:

Admission Statistics

Percentage of Admitted UK Students: 58%

Percentage of Admitted EU Students: 15%

Percentage of International Students: 25%

Number of Applications: 20,426

Number of Admitted Students: 3,997

Acceptance Rate: 19%

Percentage of Admitted Students with AAA at A-Level (Arts): 29%

Percentage of Admitted Students with AAA at A-Level (Sciences): 39%

Selection Factors

Similar to the way Oxford organizes its programs, Cambridge also requires students to meet the specific entry requirements of their preferred program, as there are no general admission requirements. Each of the 30+ colleges at Cambridge are responsible for admitting students, and they each have different requirements, even if a student is interested in the same degree or program. For example, Economics is offered at 27 different colleges at Cambridge, but they do not all have the same requirements.

A majority of colleges require, for the Economics program:

  • An A*A*A grade in an A-level mathematics course

But one college, Sidney Sussex, requires applicants to have a AAA grade in an A-level course, along with an A* in maths or Further Maths, which is not required or recommended by other colleges. One more exception is Trinity Hall, which requires applicants to have the AAA grade in an A-level math course, but at least a A* in an “essay-based” A-level course, similar to a “writing-intensive” subject such as humanities or social sciences.

Cambridge Prerequisites

Cambridge prerequisites are also based on the college you are applying to, as each subject and college has different prerequisites, so not every college is the easiest college to get into. Aside from the Economics example above, one of the standard requirements for a course like History is the following:

  • One A* or higher in an A-level or IB-level history course (the IB grade equivalent would be between 40-42 points; the GPA equivalent would be 3.0)

But this requirement is not applicable to all colleges at Cambridge, so you would have to review the specific requirements of the college you choose to attend to see what they require. But even though each college has its own requirements, they typically ask for standard things such as:

  • Written work (completed essays from previous course work)
  • Assessment test
  • Additional testing or assessments (Classics requires Greek or Latin language proficiency)

Again, some subjects will not require supplemental college application essays so you will not need to know how to write a college essay. Usually, STEM subjects do not require additional written work, but rely more on the assessment tests that nearly every subject requires. If you are asked to submit written work, the college will often ask for two pieces of your previous written work.

But, for example, a course such as Modern and Medieval Languages asks for an essay written in the language you plan on studying at Cambridge. So, the “written work” requirement is not about you choosing from college essay topics and writing a college interest statement or college diversity essays, but more about judging your completed work on the subject.

Cambridge Personal Statement

Neither Cambridge nor any of its colleges asks students to submit a college personal statement, but the centralized application service used in the UK – UCAS (University and Colleges  Application Service) – for all applications to undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as all the medical schools in the UK, does require applicants to write a UCAS personal statement. The statement must be a maximum 4000 characters and you only need to write one for your application, regardless of the college or colleges you apply to.

Cambridge and UCAS both have tips for what to include such as:

  • Showing what you have done to demonstrate your passion for your subject
  • Any interests, hobbies, or extracurriculars for college you participate in
  • Describing what you’ve done outside of your studies to excel in your area of interest

Cambridge and UCAS also stress how important it is to know how to start a college essay, and recommends students use the first sentence or paragraph to demonstrate their enthusiasm for their course and Cambridge. But the best tips for writing a personal statement center around honestly answering questions such as:

Here we’ll provide two Cambridge personal statement examples, which unlike Oxford personal statement examples, are not in response to a specific prompt or question, but written according to the course being applied to, in this case, the Anglo, Norse and Celtic program and the Psychology and Behavioural Sciences program.

Cambridge Personal Statement Example #1 (Anglo, Norse, and Celtic Program)

I am excited to share my deep-rooted passion for Celtic history and culture, nurtured by my own Celtic background and a transformative visit to Stonehenge. My journey from my hometown of Glasgow has sparked a curiosity about the ancient history of Britain and Northern Europe, particularly the interactions between the Celtic and other indigenous cultures of the region.

Growing up in Glasgow, a city steeped in Celtic heritage, I developed a profound connection to my Celtic roots. From the enchanting melodies of traditional Celtic music to the vibrant celebrations of cultural festivals, I have been immersed in the richness of Celtic traditions since childhood. This upbringing instilled in me a strong desire to explore and understand the historical significance of the Celtic peoples in Britain and their influence on the region's cultural tapestry.

During a visit to Stonehenge, I encountered the enigmatic beauty of the ancient monument, and it ignited a flame of curiosity within me. Standing amidst those colossal stones, I could not help but marvel at the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the Celtic ancestors who had a hand in its construction. It was a profound moment that awakened my fascination with the ancient history of Britain and Northern Europe.

After that day, I started to wonder if there were other monuments similar to Stonehenge in other parts of Britain and the UK and how far had this culture spread to other regions. I decided to delve further into the history of the intricate interactions between the Celtic and other indigenous cultures that spanned centuries. I became captivated by the stories of the Celts' encounters with the Norse, Anglo-Saxons, and other neighboring societies.

My passion for the subject extends beyond academic pursuits. Over the years, I have actively sought opportunities to engage with Celtic history and culture. I have participated in archaeological excavations, assisting in the discovery and preservation of ancient artifacts that offer glimpses into the lives of our Celtic ancestors. These hands-on experiences have deepened my appreciation for the importance of archaeological research in unraveling the mysteries of the past.

In preparation for the Anglo, Norse, and Celtic program at the University of Cambridge, I have immersed myself in extensive reading and coursework on Celtic history, mythology, and languages. I have engaged with seminal works such as "The Ancient Celts" by Barry Cunliffe and "The Mabinogion," which have expanded my understanding of the Celtic world and its enduring legacy.

I am particularly drawn to the University of Cambridge's Anglo, Norse, and Celtic program because of its esteemed faculty members, such as Dr. Máire Ní Mhaonaigh and Professor Elizabeth Rowe who are renowned experts in the field. Their research contributions on Celtic history, literature, and language align closely with my own academic interests. The vibrant intellectual community and exceptional resources at Cambridge offer an ideal environment for me to further explore the interactions between Celtic and other indigenous cultures of Britain and Northern Europe.

Cambridge Personal Statement Example #2 (Psychology and Behavioural Sciences)

Growing up, I witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of trauma within my family. Both of my parents hail from Chad, a country that has experienced its fair share of political instability and conflict. My father, in particular, endured harrowing experiences during his involvement in a tumultuous period in Chad's history. The resulting trauma had a profound effect on his mental well-being, leading to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The manifestation of my father's trauma was distressing for our entire family. His journey was marked by periods of extreme emotional distress, including bouts of violent behavior that ultimately led to his imprisonment. Witnessing the toll that trauma took on my father and the subsequent repercussions it had on our family dynamics ignited a deep desire within me to explore the field of psychology, specifically focusing on trauma and its treatment.

In my quest to better understand trauma, I have extensively researched various therapeutic modalities. One approach that particularly caught my attention is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a treatment method that has shown promising results in alleviating the symptoms of trauma. I have delved into the existing literature, exploring studies such as the groundbreaking research conducted by Shapiro et al. (2001) that demonstrated the efficacy of EMDR in reducing the distress associated with traumatic memories.

Moreover, I have eagerly engaged in online courses and workshops on trauma-focused therapies, attending sessions led by renowned psychologists like Dr. Francine Shapiro, the originator of EMDR. These experiences have not only enhanced my theoretical knowledge but have also fueled my passion for pursuing a deeper understanding of trauma and its psychological impact.

With a desire to delve further into the field, I am drawn to the Psychology and Behavioural Sciences program at the University of Cambridge. The program's interdisciplinary approach, encompassing psychological theories, neuroscience, and sociocultural perspectives, aligns perfectly with my aspirations. The opportunity to learn from esteemed faculty members like Professor Claire Hughes and Professor Trevor Robbins, who have made significant contributions to the field of developmental psychopathology and cognitive neuroscience, is truly inspiring.

I am eager to contribute to ongoing research initiatives in the program, leveraging the vast resources and cutting-edge facilities available at Cambridge. I am particularly interested in exploring the neurobiological underpinnings of trauma and its effects on cognitive processes, emotional regulation, and social functioning. By investigating the neural mechanisms involved in trauma-related disorders, I hope to contribute to the development of more effective and evidence-based treatment approaches.

Cambridge Interviews

The interview portion of the application process to Cambridge is essential and no one is admitted without one, so it is crucial that you know how to prepare for a college interview. Typically, only candidates that are academically qualified and have demonstrated potential will be invited to interview. Colleges do not invite all applicants to an interview and if you submit an application and are not invited, this means your application will not be moving forward.

While many Cambridge colleges are holding online interviews for the foreseeable future, some are opting to hold in-person interviews with UK-based applicants. The interviews begin in December and continue on throughout January, but some colleges begin their interview in January instead. The format and content of the interview depends on the program and college, but they often feature standard college admissions interview questions. If invited for an interview, the college will send any materials you need to prepare (essay, video, artistic work, etc.) if the format involves you responding to this work.

Other programs will ask direct questions about your application and personal statement, so remember to re-read your materials as part of your college interview prep. They may also ask subject-related questions where you have to respond with a creative, original answer to gauge whether you comfort level with the subject matter. But there is only the possibility that your interviewers will want to know something personal about you, regarding your extracurriculars for college or some other hobby or passion project you are involved in.

How to Apply

Cambridge, like all other universities and colleges in the UK, uses the UCAS application service to accept and review all its applications. The service provides a streamlined application for all UK universities and colleges including Oxford and Cambridge so there are some universal elements. According to the official UCAS timeline, the deadline to submit an application for the following year is October 16. Students using the UCAS application typically have to submit the following information:

  • Personal statements
  • Official transcripts
  • College letters of recommendation
  • Results from official admissions assessment tests

Tuition and Funding Opportunities

Tuition for Home/UK Students: £9,250

Tuition for EU/Overseas Students: £24,507

College Fees for All Students: college-dependent

Living Expenses for All Students: £11,020

The tuition for home students is regulated by the government so all UK students receive assistance in that way, while also being eligible for loans via Student Finance England. However, Cambridge does charge higher fees for students pursuing their second undergraduate degree at Cambridge. These students must also pay a yearly fee to the college they belong to, as each college charges different fees.

Funding Opportunities

All first-year UK students can apply for a low-interest loan from the government to cover their full tuition cost. They can also apply for a Maintenance Loan, which covers living expenses and all other incidentals associated with pursuing their degree. The amount of the Maintenance Loan is determined by your household income and whether you will be living at Cambridge or at home with your parents.

There are further programs geared to specific demographics and needs. Students can also qualify for the Cambridge Bursary Scheme, which awards non-repayable loans to UK students (international and EU students are also eligible if they have lived in the UK for three consecutive years) or apply to various internal scholarships and awards given out by the 30+ individual colleges at Cambridge.

1. The Stormzy Scholarship

This scholarship is directed at Black UK students and gives up to 10 incoming undergraduates a full tuition scholarship, and a Maintenance stipend. The program has expanded since its first year where it only awarded two scholarships; the ultimate goal is to provide 30 incoming home students with the financial assistance to attend Cambridge. The eligibility criteria include:

  • Must be a Black African, Black Caribbean, or other Black nationality (bi-racial students – Black and White – are also eligible)
  • Be accepted into a program and college at Cambridge for the upcoming year of study
  • Be a UK resident
  • Demonstrate financial need based on the Student Finance England application

2. Formula 1® Engineering Scholarships

This scholarship sponsored by Formula 1 aims to give students entering the engineering program at Cambridge the financial assistance they need to successfully complete their degree. Like the Stormzy scholarship, this award covers the entirety of a winning student’s tuition, while also giving them a grant to cover yearly living expenses for all four years of their degree. This award is only for students accepted into the engineering program, but other eligibility criteria include:

  • Being Black African, Black Caribbean, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, or mixed race
  • Being a UK resident
  • Demonstrate financial need

The program awards a total of £20,000 each year, which is renewable every year, and does not affect a winning student's eligibility for other forms of financial assistance.

3. Geography Scholarship

Despite its name, this scholarship is also aimed at Black and other ethnic minorities to give them an advantage when pursuing a degree in the geography program. This scholarship is another intended to help students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds a leg-up when attending Cambridge. To be eligible for this scholarship students must:

  • Be Black African, Black Caribbean, or mixed race
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Be a UK resident
  • Be accepted into the geography program

4. Gordon Edge Scholarship

This prize is for economically disadvantaged UK students from a specific set of towns and cities across the UK (Britain, Wales, Northern Ireland) who are enrolled in any of the science or math programs at Cambridge. The award pays out a maximum £10,000 per year for every year of study (three or four), and is intended to help students cover expenses, while they are studying. The accepted programs that students must be enrolled in to be eligible for this scholarship include:

  • Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences

List of Majors at Cambridge

1. Architecture

Number of Accepted Students: 66

Grade Requirements: A*AA at A-level; 40-42 points at IB level

Prerequisites (college-specific): a single A-level mathematics or physics; A-level intensive writing course

Degree Options: BA (three years) or MArch (two years)

Colleges Offered: All colleges except Hughes Hall and St Catharine’s

This program offers two different degrees – Architecture or Design – which students can choose when they are applying. The Architecture degree is a course focused solely on architecture theory, history and practice, whereas the Design program blends engineering, and building sciences. The program also offers several pathways to becoming registered with the Royal Insititute of British Architects, which involves either a two-year program culminating with a Bachelor’s or an accelerated Master program that takes two years and includes an additional year of post-graduate training.

2. Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Number of Accepted Students: 54

Grade Requirements: A*AA at A-level; 40-42 points at IB level

Prerequisites (college-specific): a single A-level in a European language (if desired); students who want to study another language – Arabic or Japanese – do not need any previous experience

Degree Options: BA Honors (four years) 

Colleges Offered: All colleges

The breadth of this program stretches from North Africa to Japan and gives students a comprehensive education in the social, cultural and linguistic significance of all major cultures and periods of this region. The school recommends students have at least a background in English or history, and have some familiarity with a European language if they want to study one. Students interested in learning a new language do not need to take any proficiency tests or assessments as they will learn the language as beginners. Accepted students typically have met the suggested prerequisites but have also taken a combination of subjects from English, mathematics and history.

3. Education

Number of Accepted Students: 41

Grade Requirements: A*AA at A-level; 40-42 points at IB level

Prerequisites (college-specific): no required course, but many colleges recommended a background in arts, humanities, social sciences, or sciences

Degree Options: BA Honors (three years) 

Colleges Offered: All colleges except Corpus Christi, Girton, King’s, Murray Edwards, Peterhouse, St Catharine’s, Sidney Sussex, Trinity and Trinity Hall.

The Education degree is aimed at students interested in becoming teachers, as the program unpacks the fundamentals of human learning and development but also introduces new modalities in line with contemporary teaching practices. The program has few to little prerequisites and applicants with a combination of courses from various subjects, such as the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences will be more competitive. The program requires two written work samples, which can either be a newly written work or taken from an applicant’s previous academic work. The course is also an excellent way to begin graduate studies as many of its graduates move on to Master and PhD degrees.

4. Music

Number of Accepted Students: 71

Grade Requirements: A*AA in at least one A-level course; 40-42 points at IB level

Prerequisites (college-specific): one A-level Higher Level music course

Degree Options: BA Honors (three years) 

Colleges Offered: All colleges except Lucy Cavendish

The Music program at Cambridge does not require a lot of prerequisites but it has more technical and written assessments than other programs. Nearly all (95%) of accepted students took A-level music, but they also had backgrounds in English, mathematics, and history. The highest grade a majority of entrants reached was also A*AA. The music program affords students professional-grade recording facilities, state-of-the-art music laboratories and one of the largest music archives in the UK. There is no specific written test or assessment applicants must take, but each applicant who reaches the interview stage is assessed by their interviewers in written form. The written work component involves submitting either new or previously written essays, but also written musical compositions.

5. Human, Social, and Political Sciences

Number of Accepted Students: 168

Grade Requirements: A*AA in at least one A-level course; 40-42 points at IB level

Prerequisites (college-specific): one A-level writing intensive course

Degree Options: BA Honors (three years) 

Colleges Offered: All colleges

The Human, Social and Political Sciences is a popular program at Cambridge given its large application pool and dearth of hard academic requirements, which means that many students are able to enter the program without any additional requirements. A majority of applicants (84%) had some background in English, but also took subjects in Mathematics, and Economics. Applicants must perform a written assessment and submit previous written work as part of the application process.

Campus and Faculty

As its sister university, Oxford, the University of Cambridge is a city university, in that it is part of the city of Cambridge and there is no central or main campus building. The 30+ colleges that make up the school’s entire learning infrastructure along with hosting the 150 different departments associated with the school are spread throughout the city with the school’s oldest colleges, such as St. John’s, Queens, and Kings College taking up much of the center of the city. The colleges are responsible for admitting students and each has its own character or identity. Two colleges are women-only, but the rest are mixed. Three of its colleges admit only mature students (anyone over 21).

Faculty and Alumni

Given its nearly 800-year history, Cambridge has seen an outsized number of famous (and infamous), notable alumni and faculty pass through its doors. Over 70 Cambridge graduates have become Nobel laureates, while seven of its graduates have won the Turing Award, named after one of its most famous alumnus Alan Turing. Cambridge is also considered the place where the modern computer was invented, along with the camera. DNA, the laws of thermodynamics, and the Big Bang theory were all discovered at Cambridge by various alumni. Charles Darwin, Francis Bacon, and Lord Byron are among the most famous classical alumni, but more recent examples include Francis Crick and James Watson, Jane Goodall, David Attenborough and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Contact Information

University of Cambridge

The Old Schools

Trinity Lane



United Kingdom

Cambridge Admissions Office

Student Services Centre

New Museums Site



01223 333308

mailto: [email protected]


1. What is the mission of University of Cambridge?

The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to the advancement of humanity through teaching and research. 

2. What are the GPA requirements to get into the University of Cambridge?

Every program at Cambridge has its own requirements but the standard requirement suggested by Cambridge is a single A* or higher in an A-level course, which is the equivalent to a 3.0 GPA in the US. 

3. Is it hard to get into Cambridge?

The acceptance rate for Cambridge is higher than that of Oxford and it is much higher than other elite schools, such as Harvard University. The school does focus specifically on academic achievement but many of its courses do not require more than a single prerequisite course and a few recommended courses, so if you have genuine passion for your subject and have demonstrated that through your grades, and extracurricular activities. 

4. Is Cambridge an Ivy League school?

No, Cambridge is not part of the Ivy League, which is something that only refers to a few elite schools in the US. Cambridge, however, does rank high on several important lists including the second-best university in the world (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology being #1) and the best university in Europe. 

5. What are the qualities that University of Oxford looks for?

Cambridge looks for several qualities in candidates but it is most focused on your academic ability and passion for your particular subject.  

6. Does Cambridge require interviews?

Yes, the school, via its individual colleges, interviews all prospective students to determine their suitability for their particular program. Only select applicants are invited for an interview, meaning if you are not sent an invitation to interview then your application has been terminated. 

7. Does Cambridge have a waitlist?

Cambridge has something called the Winter pool, which is similar to a college waitlist, as it is a list of applicants who have applied to a variety of programs and colleges, but who’s primary college is full or oversaturated. Applicants in the Winter pool may be offered a spot at a college that has space even if it is not the applicant’s first choice. The school advises waitlisted students not to contact the school or its preferred college for any updates or to ask about their application status. Students will be notified of their status when it is known. 

8. Do I need to ACT or SAT scores to Cambridge?

No, Cambridge does not use any the American ACT or SAT to assess any potential applicant’s aptitude. Rather, every program at Cambridge has a specific test or assessment that students must take to be granted admission into a specific program. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Want more free tips? Subscribe to our channels for more free and useful content!




Apple Podcasts




Like our blog? Write for us! >>

Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!