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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.

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Applying to Wolfson College

Mature applicants follow the standard application procedure for the University of Cambridge, applying through UCAS.

Once your application has been received you will be prompted by email to complete a Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ). The email will give a link to the SAQ. You must submit this by 18:00 hrs (UK time) on the 22 October to make a valid application.

The Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) is a required part of the admissions process for anyone applying from outside the European Union (or for anyone wishing to be considered for an Organ Scholarship).

Whether or not you are required to complete the COPA is based on where you are located geographically at the time of application, and is not related to fee status or citizenship.

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 transcripts as part of the SAQ or COPA or you can send them directly to the Undergraduate Administrator at Wolfson either by post or e-mail.

You must provide a Personal Statement and references. You may be asked to take an admissions assessment or submit written work. All students being considered for admission are invited to an interview, which we expect them to attend interview in person. If you cannot travel to Cambridge, you should consider applying to be interviewed overseas. Telephone or Skype interviews may be possible if there are extenuating circumstances, and requests for this should be sent to the Undergraduate Administrator as early as possible after application.

If you have a disability, a Specific Learning Difficulty, or a long-term health condition, you can find out more information on our Applying with a disability, SpLD r long-term health condition page.  


15 October: All standard undergraduate applications and those applying for Architecture, History of Art, Law, Medicine, Graduate Course in Medicine, Music, Philosophy, or Veterinary Medicine. Applications received after this date for other standard subjects will be held over to the next admissions round in March.

Earlier deadlines apply to applicants wishing to be interviewed overseas; please see the University of Cambridge website for details.

22 October: Applicants for the Graduate Course in Medicine must complete a separate application in addition to their UCAS application and send it by email to the the Undergraduate Admissions Administrator.

22 October: Deadline for the submission of the SAQ. This must be submitted by 18:00 hrs (UK time).

1 March: Many mature students returning to education, and especially those currently studying on a one-year access course, apply during our second admission round in March for some subjects (all courses except Architecture, History of Art, Law, Medicine, Graduate Course in Medicine, Music, Philosophy and Veterinary Medicine).

The interviews will take place at the end of March/beginning of April 2021, dates to be confirmed. Please keep these dates free as we will not be able to interview outside of this week. Please note all interviews for the March round will take place online, via Zoom or similar, and will consist of one interview of up to 45 minutes. All at-interview assessments are being arranged to take place remotely a week or so before the interviews, exact dates to be confirmed.

8 March: March round deadline for the submission of the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) and written work, if the subject requires it.

All decision will be confirmed and sent out early April 2021.

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 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.

Admissions assessments

As a mature student applying to Wolfson College you are not required to take any pre-interview assessments, except the Biomedical Admission Test (BMAT) when applying for A100 Medicine and the Natural Science Admissions Assessment when applying for Veterinary Medicine (D100).

For all other courses with a pre-interview assessment, you will take a common format written assessment if asked to interview at Wolfson.

Mature students wishing to be considered for interview overseas must take any required pre-interview assessment (please note that you must register in advance for pre-interview assessments).

Written work

Applicants invited for interview in the following subjects will be asked to submit two pieces of written work:

Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic, Archaeology, Classics, Education, English, Geography, History, History & Modern Languages, History & Politics,  History of Art, Human Social & Political Sciences, Land Economy, Law, Linguistics, MML, Music, Philosophy, Theology Religion & Philosophy of Religion.

We will request this when we invite you for interview. Usually you should send two pieces of 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.
If requested, copies of marked essays should be send to the Undergraduate Administrator either as scanned copies via e-mail or per mail. If sending hard copies please note that copies should be sent, as the originals will not be returned to you.
Personal statement

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


You will be required to provide a reference from a Referee. Please share with your Referee(s) these Guidelines for Writing References for Oxbridge Applicants.

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 must arrive by 15 October or 1 March, depending on the admissions round.

The majority of applicants to Wolfson College will have extenuating circumstances and we actively take the context of an applicants' background into consideration in all cases. For this reason, in many cases minor incidences can be noted in the Supplementary Application Questionnaire rather than submitting this separate form.

Circumstances it would be appropriate to inform us of via this form:

  • a serious, acute or chronic medical condition (especially since the age of 14) which caused significant educational disruption
  • significant caring responsibilities, or recent bereavement or serious illness within close family
  • living independently of the family (estranged students)
  • any kind of serious disruption due to adverse family circumstances serious disruption to educational provision at school/college
  • where the applicant has been the victim of a serious crime other circumstances
  • where serious disruption has occurred – the school/college, doctor or social worker is welcome to contact a College admissions office to discuss an applicant's particular circumstances

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.

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. If your degree is from the EU or overseas, you may wish to contact the national agency for recognition of international qualifications, UK NARIC, to verify your eligibility for affiliated status.

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. Those 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. Also take a look at our Application Timeline for information specific to applying to Wolfson College.

Please note that affiliated applicants cannot submit an open application.

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 Home fee status.  For information about fee status, see here

Please note that you must complete a separate Graduate Course in Medicine application form in addition to your UCAS application to apply for this course. The deadline for receipt of your UCAS application is 15 October 2020. The deadline to email your completed Graduate Course in Medicine application form for 2021 entry is 22 October 2020.