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Recognising that mature students often have unconventional academic credentials, we look for students with potential and who are best suited to the course for which they have applied.

library tea and cake

Details of the application process can be found below. You can also find useful information on our Application FAQs page. 


Information relevant to all applicants.  

Mature Students Academic Requirements

As a mature student at Cambridge you are expected to have achieved the same academic standards as those required of school leavers. The intensive nature of Cambridge courses, with the requirement to produce independent work every week, does require rigorous academic preparation. Therefore, if you do not already meet our academic entrance requirements, we would recommend a course of study such as an Access to HE Diploma, A level(s) or Open University work in order to enhance subject knowledge, essay writing, autonomous study and examinations skills. Further guidance on the above qualifications can be found on the University of Cambridge website. You may also find guidance for mature students on the UCAS website.

If unsure about the suitability of your qualifications for entry to Wolfson College, please contact our Undergraduate Administrator by email at well in advance of an application.

We are looking for students with the academic ability and potential to flourish at Cambridge. The typical A level offer is A*AA or A*A*A, depending on the course (or equivalent grades in alternative qualifications). Competition for places at Cambridge is traditionally very strong, and Admissions Tutors have to choose between highly-qualified candidates. Places are offered to those who demonstrate greatest academic potential and who are best suited to the course for which they have applied. While grades are important, they comprise only part of our decision-making process.

Other vital information includes:

Academic potential and aptitude. Specific subject requirements are given on our subjects pages. We will be looking for an indication of your ability to think critically and independently, and a willingness to argue logically, while remaining open to new ideas. Interviews require you to grapple with concepts, ideas or problems you may be unfamiliar with.

Enthusiasm and commitment. We are looking for students who passionately want to immerse themselves in their subject and are not merely interested in the degree result at the end – important though this is. You may demonstrate this by the reading you have done around a subject, work experience and relevant extra-curricular activities.

Motivation and self-discipline. The teaching and learning system at Cambridge requires students to be extremely self-disciplined and hard-working. Successfully balancing academic work with other commitments provides important evidence of your time management skills.

How to Apply

All Mature applicants follow the standard application procedure for the University of Cambridge, applying through UCAS. Once your UCAS application has been received you will be prompted by email to complete the My Cambridge Application form. The email will give a link to the form. (Note that applicants for Graduate Medicine do not complete the "My Cambridge Application" form, but will be prompted by e-mail to complete a different online form).

You must send copies of all certificates you have received for academic qualifications at A level (or equivalent) and above, as well as transcripts relating to any university study. We also recommend that applicants enrolled on Access Diplomas, Open University modules, Foundation Years and Certificates in Higher Education provide a detailed course syllabus. You should submit such transcripts as part of My Cambridge Application (or the equivalent for Graduate Medicine).

A personal statement and reference must be provided as part of your UCAS application. You may be asked to take an admissions assessment or submit written work. 

Please note you must be 21 years old by 1 October in the year of entry to qualify as a Mature candidate and this rule of eligibility is strictly applied.

Dates and Deadlines

Main Round (all subjects)

September: In some subjects, registration deadlines for assessments (see the Admissions assessments dropdown below)

15 October: Undergraduate UCAS application deadline for all courses including the Graduate Course in Medicine. This must be submitted by 18:00 hrs (UK time).

22 October: Deadline for the submission of "My Cambridge Application" (or for Graduate Medicine an equivalent online form). This must be submitted by 18:00 hrs (UK time).

2 November: In some subjects, deadline for submission of written work (see the Written work dropdown below)

December: Interviews held in early December for all subjects except Graduate Medicine.

Jan/Feb: Interviews held for Graduate Medicine.


March Round (all subjects except Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Design, Engineering, History of Art, Medicine, Graduate Course in Medicine, Music, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and Veterinary Medicine)

1 March: Many mature students returning to education, and especially those currently studying on a one-year access course, can apply during our March admissions round for some subjects . This later application deadline is 1st March.

8 March: March round deadline for the submission of the My Cambridge Application form, and written work if the subject requires it.

March: Interviews held in late March or early April.

UCAS Personal Statement and Reference

The personal statement allows you to tell us about your subject interest, and the process of writing a personal statement can often help you better understand your own academic interests and intellectual motivations.

Admissions decisions at Cambridge are based solely on academic criteria (ability and potential). Personal statements are often used as a basis for discussion at interview. In a personal statement we are looking for you to explain your reasons for wanting to study the subject demonstrate your enthusiasm for and commitment to their chosen course express any particular interests within the field outline how you have pursued your interest in the subject in your own time.

As part of your UCAS application you will be required to provide a reference from a Referee. 

Please note that applicants for Graduate Medicine will need to have a second referee.

Guidelines for Referees

Below are some general guidelines which you can provide if your referee is not used to writing references for Cambridge applicants.

Assessors use all modes of available information to identify the students most suited to Cambridge. One such source is the UCAS reference.

Predicted Grades & Actual Results

Predicted grades should be clearly stated where relevant. The candidate will have declared all grades achieved so far, and it is helpful if these can be placed within the context of the standard of the college’s teaching and the candidate’s personal background – i.e. are these grades fair to and representative of the candidate?

Student's Personal Circumstances - Section 2

Referees should signal if a student’s academic performance has been adversely effected by personal difficulties. If an applicant's education has been interrupted due to illness, additional information would help to set this properly into context.

No disability of any sort will affect an application, and knowledge of an applicant’s circumstances will help the College to plan appropriate support for the student, both at interview and after admission.

Student Specific Comments - Section 3

Comments on any of the following can be helpful:

  • The student’s technical ability in the subject he or she is applying for;
  • The progress made in each of the student’s subjects and an assessment of the student’s written and verbal skills;
  • The student’s holistic potential;
  • The student’s level of self discipline, maturity, self motivation and commitment;
  • The student’s enthusiasm for the subject;
  • The suitability of the match between the candidate and the course he or she has applied for;
  • The student’s willingness and ability to argue logically and lucidly;
  • The student’s intellectual flexibility;
  • Other interests or activities in which the student has performed outstandingly.

Student's Comparative Ability - Section 3

We encourage the use of any form of objective ranking, as for instance a student’s class position in appropriate subjects, or comparison with other candidates applying to a comparable university in the same or previous years.

You can find further information on the University of Cambridge website.

Written Work

Applicants for the following subjects will be asked to submit written work. In the Main Admissions Round written work must be submitted by 2 November (in the March Round by 8 March).

This information is for 2023/24 and is to be updated.

Anglo-Saxon, Norse and CelticApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
ArchaeologyApplicants are required to submit one piece of written work. This should be in essay format (not science coursework or a timed exam) with a word limit of up to 1500 words. The work can be extracted from an EPQ.
Architecture Applicants are required to submit a PDF (6 A4 pages, and less than 15MB in size) of their own artwork. The selection of images should, in part, reflect material you might bring to interview as part of your portfolio.
ClassicsApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
DesignApplicants are required to submit a PDF (6 A4 pages, and less than 15MB in size) of their own artwork. The selection of images should, in part, reflect material you might bring to interview as part of your portfolio.
EducationApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work. This should be in essay format (not science coursework or a timed exam) and can be extracted from an EPQ.
EnglishApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
HistoryApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
History & PoliticsApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
History and Modern LanguagesApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work. If you are applying for a post-A Level language, one piece of written work should be in the language you intend to study.
HSPSApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
Land EconomyApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work. 
LinguisticsApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
MMLApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work. These should be recent examples of writing completed for school, one of which should be in one of the languages you intend to study at University. 
MusicApplicants are required to submit representative written work and musical material. This should include one essay on the history or analysis of music; and one technical exercise (if studied) or your own composition.
PhilosophyApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.
TheologyApplicants are required to submit two pieces of written work.

No written work is required for Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, Engineering, Geography, History of Art, Law, Medicine, Natural Sciences, PBS or Vet Med.

Usually you should send written work that you have produced as part of your current, or most recent, academic course. Ideally these will be marked by a teacher, tutor or lecturer, however this is not a requirement. If your course does not include any essay work, or you are not currently taking a relevant course, we would recommend that you complete sample essays between 1000-2000 words in your own time. Choose your own questions, or talk to a teacher. Please indicate clearly when and under what circumstances the work was done.

Written work should be uploaded via the Qualtrics form (applicants in relevant subjects will be sent a link) as scanned PDF or Word documents.

Further guidance is also available on the University of Cambridge website

Admissions Assessments

You can find further information regarding tests and assessments for all subjects on the University of Cambridge website

Applicants for following subjects are required to pre-register for the admissions test. 

Registration deadlines are earlier than application deadline. It is important to check via the links above for your subject. 

Chemical EngineeringEngineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT)
Computer ScienceTest of Mathematics for University Admission (TMUA)
EngineeringEngineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT)
LawLaw National Aptitude Test (LNAT)
MedicineUniversity Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT)
Medicine (Graduate)University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT)
Natural SciencesEngineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT)
Veterinary MedicineEngineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT)

Applicants for following subjects do not need to register. Those shortlisted for interview will sit a College Admissions Assessment. These will be held online and usually take place in the week or two preceding interview.

Archaeology90 minutes
Architecture60 minutes
AMES*60 minutes
Classics60 minutes
Design60 minutes
English90 minutes
History & Modern Languages60 minutes
Linguistics60 minutes
MML60 minutes

*Only applicants wishing to study a European language will be required sit a college assessment.

Wolfson does not provide specimen assessment papers. However, the University of Cambridge website has specimen papers for some subjects. If a course has specimen and/or past papers available, these will be available College Admissions Assessment page. 


Interviews are a staple part of the Cambridge admissions process, and are co-ordinated by the colleges at undergraduate level. Everyone with a realistic chance of being offered a place to study at Cambridge is invited to attend an interview – that's around 75 per cent of applicants each year. So if you receive an interview invitation it means we are seriously considering you for a place at Wolfson. Remember, the interview is just one part of the admissions process, so don't think of it as make-or-break, it's just another chance for you to shine!

You will also be given the opportunity to ask us anything you wish us to know and to discuss the course, College or Cambridge University.

Shortlisted applicants are interviewed online. You can find further advice and guidance on the University of Cambridge website


Additional information which maybe relevant for some applicants.  

Applying with a Disability, Specific Learning Difficulty, or Long Term Health Condition

At Wolfson, we provide lots of support for students who might have a disability, a Specific Learning Difficulty (such as dyslexia or dyspraxia), or a long-term mental or physical illness. You can find further information about the available support here.

Before applying to Wolfson, make sure you read all the information on the Disability Resource Centre website.  

When you complete your UCAS form, please tick the disability disclosure box and choose the most relevant category for you. All candidates who tick this box will be sent further information.

Additionally, most applicants are also required to take an admission assessment. Disclosing a disability, specific learning difficulty, or health condition in your UCAS application will also help us to make appropriate adjustments to the admission assessment and interview process, if required.

If your disability, Specific Learning Difficulty, or long-term illness has seriously disrupted or disadvantaged your education, we would also encourage you to submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form. This provides additional context against which we can consider a candidate's academic record or, where appropriate, interview performance.

Extenuating Circumstances

The Cambridge Extenuating Circumstances Form has been designed to ensure that Cambridge Colleges have the information they require to accurately assess an applicant who has experienced particular personal or educational disadvantage. It should arrive by 22 October or 8 March, depending on the admissions round, and should be submitted via the Qualtrics link you will be sent as part of your application.

It is not unusual for applicants to Wolfson College to have extenuating circumstances and we actively take the context of an applicant's background into consideration in all cases. For this reason, in many cases minor incidences can be noted in the "My Cambridge application" rather than submitting this separate form.

We look for potential as well as achievement in our applicants. Where this form can be used to explain past results or gaps in education, we still expect our applicants to have achieved, and be ready to achieve, the same academic standards as school leavers. 

International Students

Academic Requirements

Whatever system you are being educated in, undergraduate work at Cambridge is intense and very intellectually demanding and so the University has high academic entry requirements.

If you have not previously studied in the UK, check your relevant country guidelines to ensure the qualifications you hold are considered suitable preparation for entry on to your chosen course.

English Language Requirements

Your English language skills must be good enough for you to undertake an intensive and challenging academic course that is taught and examined in English. Therefore, if your first language is not English, you may be asked to achieve a formal English language qualification as part of the conditions of any offer. It may also be necessary for you to have a language qualification to satisfy visa requirements.

Wolfson College considers that the Singapore Integrated Programme (SIP) can act as an acceptable English language qualification.

Dispensation may be made if you don't have one of these formal qualifications but are currently being taught in English.

Helpful links for international students:

International Student Office

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)


There are also two specific course routes for applicants who already hold a degree.

Affiliated Undergraduates

If you are a graduate with an approved degree from another university (equivalent to grade 2:1 in a UK BA or BSc honours degree) you can apply to take a Cambridge BA course as an affiliated student.

Affiliated students take their BA degree in one year less than the standard route, for most subjects this means in two instead of three years.

Wolfson College is one of three colleges to consider affiliated applications for Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. UK home-fee students applying for the affiliated Medicine programme might also wish to consider the Cambridge Graduate Course in Medicine.

Affiliated applicants must follow the standard application procedure as stated on the University of Cambridge website. You specify that you are an affiliated applicant when completing "My Cambridge application" (there is no separate UCAS course code).

Graduate Course in Medicine

The Graduate Course in Medicine is an accelerated four-year programme. The emphasis is the acquisition of clinical skills by direct patient contact in hospital and community environments, and the integration of core medical science with clinical medicine. 

The Graduate Course in Medicine (A101) is open only to applicants who qualify for UK Home fee status.  For information about fee status, see here

Please note that you must complete a separate online form in addition to your UCAS application to apply for this course. This additional form includes a healthcare experience log and also seeks an additional reference. The deadline for receipt of your UCAS application is 15 October. The deadline for the completed additional online application form is 22 October. Those who submit the UCAS application by the deadline will be sent the link for the supplementary form.

Additionally, applicants must also register for the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). Deadlines will be in September 2024 please check the UCAT carefully. 

You can find further details on our Graduate Medicine subject page.