Cambridge Application Essay

If you want to apply to the University, you do so through UCAS. However, at Cambridge the process starts earlier to allow time for all of the application information to be gathered and considered. This section guides you through the process and explains what we’re looking for in prospective students and how we assess applications.

1. Choose a course

You’re going to be studying to a very high level for several years so make sure you choose a course you’re personally interested in and will really enjoy studying! Check, also, that you meet the entrance requirements of the course you want to study.

2. Choose a College

Where would you like to live when you’re here? In your UCAS application, indicate if you have a preference College or if you’re making an open application.

3. Apply

UCAS application

Submit your UCAS application by 15 October – our institution code is CAM C05.

Other application deadlines apply for those wishing to be interviewed in overseas countries, and for some mature applicants.

Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)

Shortly after submitting the UCAS application, you'll be asked (via email) to complete the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) – a few extra questions requesting information not included in your UCAS application, which we find helpful. To make a valid application to the University of Cambridge, you must submit your SAQ by the deadline set. In the majority of cases this deadline will be 6.00pm (UK time) on 22 October 2018.

Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA)

If you're living or attending school/college outside the EU and/or applying for an Organ Scholarship, you need to submit the Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA), and the deadline for submitting this may be earlier than 15 October (see the relevant page for information).

There's an additional application form if you're applying for the Graduate Course in Medicine.


You may be required to submit an academic transcript.

4. Written assessment

Most applicants are required to take a written admission assessment, either pre-interview or at interview (if interviewed).

5. Interview

Everyone with a realistic chance of being offered a place is invited to attend an interview. That’s around 75 per cent of applicants each year.

6. Decision

We’ll advise you of our decision before the end of January.

Application statistics

Number of undergraduate applications and admissions from USA:

All applications307347279347
All offers50524640
All admissions23322520

Total number of students at Cambridge from USA:


If a student holds more than one nationality, then the nationality given as the primary nationality is reported.

You may find our other undergraduate application statistics interesting as well.

Entry requirements

Applicants from the USA taking College Board SATs and Advanced Placement (AP) Tests should note that offers are usually made on an individual basis. High passes in the High School Diploma and the SAT are expected. Recent reforms have altered the SAT scoring system and the new format has been in place since March 2016. A detailed and updated explanation of the changes can be found on the CollegeBoard website. For applicants who took the SAT before March 2016, a high pass in the SAT equates to at least 1,400 in Critical Reading and Mathematics and also 700 or more in Writing, to give a combined score of at least 2,100. For applicants who took the new SAT (first offered in March 2016) a high pass equates to at least 730 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 730 in Mathematics, to give a combined score of at least 1,460. An ACT score of at least 32 out of 36 may be accepted instead of the SAT.

We also require five College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Tests at grade 5 in appropriate subjects. Please note that SAT Subject Tests are not normally viewed as being equivalent to A Level/IB Higher Level/Advanced Placement (AP) Tests.

Applicants taking College Board SATs and/or Advanced Placement (AP) Tests are required to disclose all qualifications taken and scores achieved. Failure to disclose any scores may disadvantage your application and the Cambridge Colleges reserve the right to contact your school to confirm your results.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language then any offer made is likely to include English language requirements. See which English language qualifications we accept on our English language requirements page.

Fees and finance

As an international student, fees vary between different courses. You may be eligible for a US federal loan; and limited financial support may be available from the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust, or College funds.

If you're unsure as to whether your fee status would be Home or international, please see our fee status page.


If you think you may meet the entry requirements that we require from your country, we would suggest that you familiarise yourself with how to apply to Cambridge. There is also specific information for international applicants and an application timetable with dates and deadlines relevant for international students.

USA remote interview scheme

The University conducts a remote interview scheme for some applicants from the USA and surrounding countries. This year, remote interviews will take place in New York during 4-6 December.

A small number of Colleges don't participate in the remote interview scheme – Fitzwilliam, Girton, Jesus, King's, Magdalene. Therefore, if you wish to be considered for remote interview, you're advised not to select one of these in your application.

To be considered for the remote interview scheme, you should select 'New York [Remote Interview]' as your preferred overseas interview location in your COPA. If you're invited to be interviewed through the scheme you'll be required to travel to our video conference centre in New York, where your interview will be conducted using a video conference call. You'll also be required to pay a remote interview fee – the fee for remote interviews held in 2017 will be £80. Further information on this payment and when to pay it will be provided in the correspondence inviting you to attend an interview.

Please note that remote interviews aren't possible for some courses; and remote interviews can't be guaranteed for all courses included in the scheme (depending on availability of interviewers).

Remote interview consideredIn-person interview only

Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic; Architecture; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; Classics; Economics; Education; English; Geography; History; History and Modern Languages; History and Politics; History of Art; Human, Social, and Political Sciences; Land Economy; Law; Linguistics; Modern and Medieval Languages; Music; Philosophy; Psychological and behavioural Sciences; Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion

Computer Science, Engineering (including Chemical Engineering via Engineering), Mathematics, Medicine (including Graduate Medicine), Natural Sciences (including Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences), Veterinary Medicine

Admissions Assessments

Please also refer to the information about admission assessments. If the course you’re applying for requires you to take a pre-interview written assessment, you must be registered in advance for the assessment. The assessment centre where you’ll take the assessment must register you (you can’t register yourself) by the relevant assessment registration deadline.

International Events

The University of Cambridge attends some events overseas where our representatives will be happy to chat with you and answer any questions you may have about applying to and studying at the University. To find out when we are visiting your country please visit the International Events webpage.

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