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Undergraduate Study


The University of Cambridge will be participating in the UCAS Adjustment process in 2021. Please see the Adjustment 2021 page for further information.

UCAS Adjustment allows students who have met all the conditions of their conditional-firm offer, and exceeded at least one, the opportunity to be considered by other universities without jeopardising their place.

Eligibility criteria

As part of our continued outreach and access endeavours, Cambridge will consider applicants through Adjustment from UK domiciled students studying at UK schools, who applied in the 2020/21 admissions cycle, were interviewed by a Cambridge College and whose applications were flagged as meeting our widening participation criteria. These criteria are defined as:

Those who meet three of the following five contextual flags:

  • Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) – measures produced by regional governments within the UK that identify relative deprivation. Areas within each region are assessed according to a series of indicators – such as income, crime, and healthcare – and then ranked against each other and placed into deciles. Students are given a flag if their home postcode indicates they live in an area that is ranked in the bottom 40% of their region by these measures.
  • Output Area Classification (OAC2011) – a classification of areas produced by the Office of National Statistics using data from the 2011 census. Since 2014, the Cambridge Admissions Office has conducted research into how these classifications interact with underrepresentation at Cambridge and other indicators of socio-economic and educational disadvantage including household income and parental occupation. This research allows us to flag applicants whose home postcodes indicate they are resident in areas with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics and/or low progression to the University of Cambridge.
  • Participation of Local Areas (POLAR) – a measure produced by HEFCE which ranks areas based on the rate at which young people have historically progressed to higher education.  These ranks are then used to divide areas into quintiles.  Students are given a flag if their home postcode falls into the bottom 40% of areas ranked by this measure. 
  • Attending a school/college for post-16 education where fewer than five students have been made an offer by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge over the past five years
  • Attending a maintained sector school/college post-16.


  • When an applicant declares on their UCAS application that they have spent time in local authority care


  • When an applicant declares in their additional questionnaire that they are eligible, or have been eligible during the last 6 years, for Free School Meals (with proof of eligibility being provided by 30 June 2021)

Mature applicants from widening participation backgrounds will be considered on a case-by-case basis by their interviewing College and nominated for consideration in the scheme; such applicants will be notified. 

In addition to the widening participation criteria, applicants must also be eligible for UCAS Adjustment - see the UCAS website for further details. Applicants must have achieved at least the typical Cambridge offer for the course to which they applied.

The process

Applicants who meet the above criteria will have been notified within the decision letter or email sent in January 2021. Applicants who do not meet the above criteria will not be considered.

Any applicant who is eligible for UCAS Adjustment and is notified within their decision letter can choose to enquire about the potential for a place at Cambridge through Adjustment once the scheme opens in August 2021. Being eligible for UCAS Adjustment does not guarantee a place will be available at Cambridge. We will only consider Adjustment applications for the same course you originally applied for; see the Adjustment 2021 webpage in August 2021 for a list of courses which have places available through Adjustment. Eligible applications will be reviewed by all Colleges, and not just the one that conducted the interview. It is anticipated that the majority of Adjustment places will be for October 2021 entry, although consideration can be given to deferred entry to October 2022.

Expressions of interest from those who meet the above criteria will initially be taken by an online registration form. Following this, the Cambridge Admissions Office will be in touch via email to confirm your eligibility and next steps (in some cases, this may include a call-back from an administrator at the Cambridge Admissions Office). Adjustment applications will be considered by the Cambridge Colleges and applicants will be notified the following day. As it will be a competitive process, final awarded grades will be important, as well as performance in the application process. There will be no further interview as part of Adjustment applications.

If an offer is made through Adjustment, College Accommodation will be guaranteed. Those offered a place through Adjustment will remain eligible for the Cambridge Bursary in exactly the same way as those offered a place during the main cycle.

For further information, see Adjustment 2021 and Adjustment FAQs.

Apply via Adjustment

Applications to Cambridge via Adjustment in 2021 are now closed.