Making your Application
The main University website for admissions has lots of information on applying, which is split into three stages:
- Research: choose a College or decide to make an open application
- Action: submit a UCAS Application and complete a Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)
- Selection: prepare for any College tests, attend an interview and await our decision.
There is also lots of information on student fees and finance, including why Cambridge has low living costs.
Applying with A-Levels
As with all subjects in Cambridge, admissions standards are set to seek out the best in the field, and a typical A-Level offer for Computer Science here is A*A*A. If you choose to study 50% mathematics in the first year a typical offer may require you to take STEP exams too. Formally, admission to Cambridge is decided by a College, not by the department and the College is likely to interview an applicant before deciding whether or not to make an offer. More details on the admissions process are available on the main University website.
The primary qualifications we look for are in mathematics, since we find a strong correlation with mathematics performance and subsequent performance on our degree. Therefore A-level mathematics is essential. Further mathematics to AS or A-level is desirable, although we recognise that not all schools currently offer it.
A-level Computing is not a prerequisite for entry. The Computing courses are relatively new and many schools do not offer them yet. Colleges will view good marks in a Computing A-level as a positive. However, since the published syllabuses overlap with much of our first year course (which is necessary since the majority of our students do not have Computing A-Level), many applicants prefer to broaden their horizons and avoid repetition by studying alternative subjects at A-Level. As a by-product, this may open up new first year options since some have additional entry requirements. Directors of Studies at individual Colleges will be happy to advise on specific circumstances.
Note that A-level ICT and IT are more vocational in nature and are generally less desirable than a physical science at admission.
Applying with Other Qualifications
We accept students with a wide range of qualifications including the International Baccalaureate, Scottish Highers, and the Irish Leaving Certificate. Broadly speaking we expect an equivalent standard to that achieved by our A-level candidates.
The University publishes typical offers and guidance for those with other qualifications on its main website: click here for the relevant pages.
Since admissions is primarily a college matter, if you have specific queries on whether certain qualifications are acceptable, you would do best to contact the admissions office of the college(s) you are interested in applying to. You can hfind a list of Directors of Studies for each college here.