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We mostly refer to UK qualifications (A levels and the International Baccalaureate) for our entry requirements.

We also welcome applications from applicants taking other UK qualifications and international qualifications.

We regularly assess a wide range of qualifications and have experience of assessing applicants with a variety of educational backgrounds. If you have any questions about qualifications in relation to your Cambridge application, please get in touch with the College you are considering applying to. You should do this early in the application process.

You can find out more about our entry requirements and typical offers on our entry requirements page. You should also check the requirements of your course.

Applying with a combination of qualifications

We know that some applicants may be taking a combination of different qualifications. For example, you might be taking some IB Higher Level subjects alongside your secondary school diploma, or have taken other qualifications like APs or A levels alongside your school-leaving exams. We welcome these applicants and we will assess your application individually. We expect a very high level of attainment in all qualifications that you’re taking. You should look at the grades required for each qualification for guidance as to what might be expected.

If you’re combining qualifications, contact your chosen College for advice as early as possible.

Qualifications

For international qualifications not listed here, please check International entry requirements.

A levels and AS levels (including International AS and A levels)

Choose subjects that will prepare you for the course you're interested in and that meet any specific entry requirements. If you're not sure which course you want to study, read how to choose A levels or high school subjects.

International AS and A Levels

We accept international A levels offered by Cambridge International, Oxford AQA or Pearson Edexcel, as they are comparable to UK AS and A levels.

If you’re taking international A levels offered by another exam board or awarding body, contact your chosen College for advice.

A level offers

Most applicants study 3 to 4 A level subjects and our offers are usually based on 3 A levels taken together in Year 13. Taking 4 A levels will not normally give you an advantage. However, strong applicants for STEM courses usually study Further Mathematics as a fourth subject.

If you’re studying in a country where an A* grade is not available, three A grades will usually be acceptable.

If you’re taking A levels in science subjects, we usually expect you to complete and pass the practical assessment.

We do not take Key Skills into consideration when assessing your academic ability.

Retaking A levels

We understand that you might need to resit an exam or retake an AS or A level unit.

However, we'd be concerned if you have to retake a lot of exams. This is because Cambridge students are regularly assessed by exam and it's not normally possible to resit them. An exception to this is for professional qualifying examinations in Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

If you need to retake a lot of exams because of circumstances beyond your control, your teacher should explain this. They can do this in your UCAS reference and the Extenuating Circumstances Form.

Courses that require A level Mathematics

For courses where A level Mathematics is required by all Colleges, we'll consider applicants who take:

  • A level Mathematics in Year 12
  • Further Mathematics and only one other A level in Year 13

In these cases, we'll also look at:

  • your individual circumstances
  • your combination of A level subjects
  • the grade you achieve in the early A level

We recommend that you contact your chosen College for advice and consider applying to other universities.

Access to HE Diploma

The Access to HE Diploma is accepted for the Foundation Year, with no specific subject requirements.

We may accept an Access to HE Diploma (with Distinctions in all relevant subject units) for:

An Access to HE Diploma alone is not enough for entry into sciences courses (excluding Psychological and Behavioural Sciences) or Economics at Cambridge.

The following requirements will also apply for individual courses.

  • Architecture – a good portfolio is required and an ability to draw. An interest in the History of Art is helpful. Mathematics is also required to a good GCSE standard.
  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Classics and History of Art – applicants will need to show an aptitude for languages.
  • Computer Science – A Level Mathematics is required.
  • Economics – A Level Mathematics is required.
  • Engineering – A Level Mathematics is required.
  • History – an aptitude for languages opens up more choices within the History course at Cambridge.
  • Law – applicants will need to show an aptitude for logical thinking, as well as competence in essay writing.
  • Mathematics – an Access to HE Diploma alone is not sufficient preparation.
  • Music – at least grade 5 piano is required.
  • Natural Sciences – A Level Mathematics is required for Physical Sciences and highly desirable for Biological Sciences. The better an applicants' mathematical ability before they come to Cambridge, the more they will succeed. Those applicants without A Level Mathematics must take Mathematical Biology in Year 1 and will need to complete some preparatory work before the start of the course. See the course information for more details.
  • Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion – applicants should be aware of the compulsory first-year scriptural language element. You should contact a College admissions office for advice if you are planning to make an application with an Access to HE Diploma.

If you are given a conditional offer, certain subject-specific requirements may be included in your offer. You should contact your chosen College for advice on subject-specific requirements.

If you are aged 21 or older (and will be a mature student) you should check information for mature applicants.

ACTs

If you have taken Advanced Placement examinations or equivalent qualifications alongside your ACTs, you will need to have an ACT composite score of:

  • at least 33 out of 36 for Economics and most Science courses (Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine, Natural Sciences, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine)
  • 32 out of 36 for all other courses

The above is accepted as equivalent to the SAT scores (see the SAT section for more information).

College Board and ACT qualifications can also be taken more generally to improve your application profile, especially in countries where the school leaving qualification alone is not regarded as suitable preparation for Cambridge.

You are required to inform us in your application of all tests taken and scores achieved (including retakes). If you do not tell us about any of the tests you have taken or your scores, this may disadvantage your application. The Cambridge Colleges reserve the right to contact ACT or your school to confirm your results.

Further information on ACTs can be found on the ACT website.

Advanced Diplomas

We accept the Advanced Diploma in Environmental and Land-based Studies for Geography and Natural Sciences (Biological), as long as you’ve taken two appropriate A Levels within the Additional Specialist Learning component.

For Natural Sciences (Biological), you should take A Level Chemistry and either A Level Biology, Mathematics or Physics. The requirements for Geography are more flexible.

If you are taking A Level Physics and A Level Mathematics or the Level 3 Certificate in Mathematics for Engineering, the Principal Learning components of the Advanced Diploma in Engineering are accepted for the Engineering course. See the Department of Engineering website for further guidance. Contact the admissions office of the College(s) that you’re considering applying to for advice.

Advanced Placement (AP) Tests

We require a minimum of five AP Test scores at Score 5. Usually, these need to have been taken within a two-year period and with your most recent test results achieved within two years of application.

You should take AP Tests in subjects that are particularly relevant to the course you are applying for. You don’t have to have completed a minimum of five AP Courses to meet this requirement, as an AP Test can be sat without completing the relevant AP Course. Advice on how to study for and take AP Tests is available on the College Board AP website.

In addition to the AP Tests, we usually expect you to have:

  • high passing marks on your school qualification (eg the relevant US High School Diploma)
  • a high score on the SAT Test or ACT

You are required to inform us in your application of all tests taken and scores achieved (including retakes). If you do not tell us about any of the tests you have taken or your scores, this may disadvantage your application. The Cambridge Colleges reserve the right to contact ACT, College Board, or your school to confirm your results.

See the SATs and ACTs drop-downs on this page for more information.

AP Capstone

The University welcomes AP Capstone. We also encourage applicants to undertake AP Research and Seminar courses. It will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education.

AP Capstone courses will not usually be a requirement of your offer. AP Capstone scores will not usually count towards the requirements for five or more scores of Score 5.

Choosing AP Tests

When choosing which AP Tests to sit for, you should check our course pages to identify close subject matches. Please note that for Cambridge courses that ask for Mathematics and Further Mathematics A Level, we strongly prefer you to take Calculus BC. For courses that ask for Physics A level, we prefer you to take the two Physics C Tests. AP Tests do not have to be completed in a single sitting to fulfil this requirement.

Applied Certificates and Diplomas

We do not accept Applied Certificates and Diplomas for any courses at Cambridge.

We may consider them for admission to the Foundation Year.

AQA Baccalaureate

If you are taking the AQA Baccalaureate, your offer will be conditional on achievement in the A Levels within the qualification, rather than the overall Baccalaureate award.

Core Maths

At Cambridge, Core Maths is not a suitable alternative to A Level or IB Higher Level Mathematics. This means that it won’t be part of any offer we make you.

But we encourage students to take Core Maths (where appropriate) as it strengthens mathematical ability.

You may use your Core Maths grade towards the UCAS tariff for the Foundation Year. But we would expect you to combine it with your other qualifications to meet the total tariff required.

Edexcel International Diploma (Academic Route)

If you are taking this qualification, your offer will be conditional on achievement in the A Levels within the qualification, rather than the overall Diploma award.

English language requirements

Check our Entry requirements page for more information on English Language requirements.

European Baccalaureate

Successful applicants are typically asked for at least 85 per cent overall, with scores of 9 or more in the subjects most closely related to the course they want to study.

Extended Project (EPQ)

We encourage applicants to take an EPQ. It will help to develop independent study and research skills, which are valuable for higher education.

We know that not all students have equal access to the EPQ. The completion of the EPQ won’t normally be a requirement of offers.

You may use your EPQ grade towards the UCAS tariff for the Foundation Year. But we would expect you to combine it with your other qualifications to meet the total tariff required.

Foundation Year programmes

Standalone Foundation Year programmes may be accepted for some arts courses at Cambridge.

They are generally not accepted for our science courses.

You should contact a College admissions office at an early stage and provide full details of your Foundation Year programme. The College will tell you whether it will be enough to meet the requirements of the course you want to study.

The University offers a Foundation Year in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Completing the course to the required standard will allow you to progress onto one of 18 degree courses at the University. Please check the Foundation Year course page for full details.

GCSEs

There are no GCSE (or equivalent) requirements for entry to Cambridge.

We will look at your GCSE results as an indicator of your academic performance. But this will be within the context of the performance of the school/college where you achieved your GCSEs.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB)
  • Typical offers are 41-42 points out of 45, with 776 in Higher Level subjects.
  • Some Colleges may ask you to achieve 777 or a higher points total.
  • You may also be required to achieve 7 in particular subjects.
  • Standard Level subjects will meet our AS Level subject requirements.
  • Higher Level subjects will meet A level subject requirements.

See our course pages for details of the IB requirements at individual Colleges.

Courses that require Mathematics

For most courses where Mathematics is a requirement, IB applicants are expected to take IB Higher Level 'Analysis and Approaches'. If this option is not available at your school, please contact the College that you wish to apply to directly for further advice and guidance. For Medicine, Natural Sciences (Biological) and Psychological and Behavioural Sciences we recommend Analysis and Approaches for the most competitive application, but Applications and Interpretations will also be considered.

International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme

If you’re taking the IB Careers-Related Programme with three Higher Level Diploma subjects, contact your chosen College for advice. They will tell you whether your qualifications are suitable for your chosen course.

International qualifications

If the qualification you're taking isn't listed here, please check the webpage for International entry requirements.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Offers are based on achievement in Higher Level subjects, with H1 in subjects most relevant to the course.

Courses with a typical A Level offer of A*AA generally require H1, H1, H1, H2, H2, H2; and for courses with a typical A Level offer of A*A*A, Leaving Certificate offers are usually H1, H1, H1, H1, H2, H2.

SATs

When you have taken Advanced Placement examinations or equivalent qualifications alongside your SATs, you will need to have a minimum combined score of 1,500 with a Mathematics section score of at least 750 for the following courses:

  • most Science courses (Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine, Natural Sciences, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine)
  • Economics

For all other courses at Cambridge, you will need:

  • a minimum combined score of at least 1,460
  • and
  • a score in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing of at least 730

You are required to inform us in your application of all tests taken and scores achieved (including retakes). If you do not tell us about any of the tests you have taken or your scores, this may disadvantage your application. The Cambridge Colleges reserve the right to contact College Board or your school to confirm your results.

Information on SATs can be found on College Board SAT website.

SAT Subject Tests

We do not usually consider SAT Subject Tests as equivalent to AP Tests, so they cannot normally be used as substitutes for our AP typical offer level. SAT Subject Tests were phased out by College Board by the end of Summer 2021.

Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers

You should also refer to our Applying to Cambridge from Scotland page.

  • Courses with a typical offer of A*AA generally require A1, A2, A2 in Advanced Highers
  • Courses with a typical A Level offer of A*A*A, offers are usually A1, A1, A2 in Advanced Highers

In some cases, we may accept two Advanced Highers and an additional Higher. For example, if you were prevented from studying more than two Advanced Highers by circumstances outside of your control. We will look at this on a case-by-case basis. You should seek advice from the College you’re considering applying to as early as possible.

If your school/college can only offer a limited range of Advanced Higher qualifications, or taking three Advanced Highers would mean you have to travel to different schools, please say this on your My Cambridge Application. We can then consider this when we assess your application.

If you're studying towards a Scottish Baccalaureate qualification, you're expected to do three Advanced Highers as part of it.

Choosing Higher and Advanced Higher subjects

Check the subject requirements on our course pages for advice about which subjects to choose. Highers will meet AS Level subject requirements. Advanced Highers will meet A Level subject requirements.

Curriculum reform

We recognise that the Scottish secondary school sector is undergoing significant curriculum reform. For more information, please see the University's admissions policy statement on Curriculum for Excellence.

Sixth Term Examination Papers in Mathematics (STEP)
  • STEP Mathematics is used to assess aptitude for university study in mathematical subjects.
  • It’s used as part of almost all conditional offers from Cambridge for Mathematics. Some Colleges require or may require STEP for other courses needing strong mathematical ability.

Find out more about STEP.

T-Levels

T-Levels are not accepted for our undergraduate degree courses.

We may consider them for admission to our Foundation Year. The Foundation Year course page provides information on the T-Level subjects that we may considered.

VCE and Applied A Levels, GNVQs and BTECs

VCE A Levels, Applied A Levels, GNVQs and BTECs can’t usually be used to replace the A Level requirements for our courses.

We may accept a combination of A Levels and VCE or other qualifications for some Cambridge courses.

In these cases, you would need to have taken any required or highly desirable subjects. A six-unit VCE or Applied A Level could then be taken instead of a third A Level or as an additional fourth broadening subject.

If you are taking these qualifications, we recommend that you contact a College Admissions Office as soon as possible.

BTECs and other Level 3 qualifications (eg Cambridge Technicals) are generally accepted for admission to our Foundation Year. There are some restrictions. Please see the Foundation Year course page for details.

Welsh qualifications

We regularly receive applications from Welsh students. This includes students whose first and main language is Welsh. If you have any queries about our entry requirements or admissions process, contact the admissions office of a Cambridge College.

You should also refer to our Applying to Cambridge from Wales page.

Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate

If you are taking the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate, any offer we make you would be conditional on three A Level subjects studied as options for the Advanced Diploma.

We may take The Skills Challenge into consideration when we assess your application. But we wouldn't normally include it as part of an offer. You may use your Skills Challenge grade towards the UCAS tariff for the Foundation Year. Please see the Foundation Year course page for details.

English language requirements and submitted work

If English isn't your first language and you're taught in a Welsh-medium school, you should check our English language requirements and guidance on interviews.

If we ask you to provide any examples of written work, then you need to submit work that is written in English. This can either be translated into English or written in English. See our Written Work and Portfolios page for more information.