Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Graduate work in Cambridge is intense and very intellectually demanding and so the University has high academic entry requirements. You are normally expected to hold or to be about to achieve:

  • at least a 2i honours degree from a UK university
  • an equivalent standard from an overseas university
  • a fluent command of the English Language (see below)
  • completion of any current training or education course
  • release from your current institution for the duration of your study (if you are coming to Cambridge as a visitor).

Some faculties and departments may have higher requirements or require you to take other tests such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Where this is required it will appear in the application details for each course. If you are returning to study after a career break, please consult the faculty you are applying to.

Research degrees

If you wish to undertake a research degree you should first make sure that the appropriate faculty or department has the necessary expertise and resources. Some faculties ask that you identify a suitable supervisor before you submit your application. Please consult the faculty or department website in the first instance, and if you are still unsure contact the faculty directly, for advice.

Part-time research degrees

You will need to provide a letter from your employer (if any) confirming that you may have time off, if necessary, to attend the University as required for the whole duration of your course. You will be interviewed by the department to which you apply. Your proposed topic of research must be suitable for part-time study and you must live close enough to Cambridge to fulfil the attendance requirements.

Competence in English

If your first language is not English you should take a language proficiency test to show you have the necessary command of the language to get the most out of your course. You do not need to take the test before you apply, but, if you are made an offer and have not already met our English language requirements, one of the conditions of admission will be that you pass a test at the correct level. You must achieve the minimum requirements in the same sitting, and no more than two years before the start of your course.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System: www.ielts.org/) is the University's preferred test. Details can be obtained from local British Council Offices.

  • Minimum requirement: an overall band score of 7.0 with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading.

Where the IELTS test is not available you may take the Princeton TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language: www.toefl.org/). If you do this, you must take the Test of Written English (TWE) at the same time. A TOEFL score without TWE is not acceptable.

  • Minimum requirement: 600 in the paper-based TOEFL test with 5.0 in the Test of Written English or 250 in the computer-based TOEFL test with 5.0 in the Essay Writing Test; the minimum score must be achieved in both parts of the test in the same sitting.
  • TOEFL internet-based Test (iBT) minimum requirement: overall score of 100.

The University's institution code is 0908.

Some courses stipulate a higher level of English language competence:

  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies: IELTS minimum score of 7.5 overall; TOEFL minimum 620 or 260 in the computer-based test, plus 5.0 TWE.
  • Biotechnology: MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise: IELTS minimum overall score of 7.5 with 7.0 in each element; TOEFL minimum 630 or 267 in computer-based test, plus 5.0 TWE; 107 in iBT with minimum of 25 in each element.
  • Classics: TOEFL paper-based minimum 630 and 6.0 in TWE; 110 in iBT.
  • Criminology: as Law (below)
  • Development Studies: MPhil in Development Studies: IELTS minimum overall score of 7.0 with 7.0 in each element.
  • Economics: all courses: IELTS minimum 7.0 in all elements.
  • English: MPhil in English and Applied Linguistics only: IELTS 7.5 overall; TOEFL minimum 620 or 260 in the computer-based test, plus 5.0 TWE; 109 in iBT.
  • Geography: all MPhils incl. Polar Studies: IELTS minimum 7.0 in all elements.
  • Law: all courses: TOEFL minimum 637 or 270 in computer-based test, plus 5.5 TWE; 110 in iBT. IELTS
  • minimum overall score 7.5 with at least 7.0 in each element.
  • International Studies: MPhil in International Relations and PhD in International Studies: IELTS 7.5 overall (minimum of 7.0 in each component); TOEFL minimum score in computer-based test of 260 with 5.0 in the Essay Writing Test; 109 in iBT.
  • Modern and Medieval Languages: all MPhils: IELTS minimum overall score 7.5; 110 in iBT.

English language requirements are also stated in the course information. If higher English Language Proficiency Test scores are required, this will be specified in your letter of conditional offer.

You will need to arrange for us to receive an original test result or a certified copy. Test results can be enclosed with paper applications or sent on later to meet one of the terms of any conditional offer. Do not delay sending in your application in order to include test results.

For details of English for Academic Purposes and the intensive English language training course run by the University’s Language Centre, see 'Learning languages'.