Charlie Barty King doing a tour for students

Application FAQs

The most common questions asked by students applying as mature undergraduates.

Charlie Barty King doing a tour for students

This page aims to answer some of the more common questions that are asked by potential applicants. If you would like further information please contact the Undergraduate Administrator, who will be happy to answer your questions.



Which courses are taught at Wolfson College?

Wolfson admits undergraduates for all subjects except Mathematics and Economics.

It is one of only four colleges to accept applicants for the Cambridge Graduate Course in Medicine, or for affiliated entry to Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

How old are Wolfson undergraduates?

We accept applicants who will be twenty-one or over at the time of their admission to Cambridge (1 October in any given year). The majority of our students are in their early to mid-twenties, but we also regularly admit undergraduates in their thirties, forties and beyond. No matter where you fall on this scale, you will find that Wolfson, both socially and academically, is tailored to your needs.


Requirements & Qualifications

Should I take A-Levels?

The majority of school leavers come to Cambridge with A-levels (or an international equivalent) and many mature students choose to do the same. For some courses, especially in the sciences, specific subjects are a requirement and it is difficult to find alternative UK qualifications; for others, it is sometimes reassuring for mature students to know that they have followed the same syllabus and attained a comparable standard to their younger peers.

Should I take an Access to Higher Education Diploma?

An Access to HE Diploma is formally recognised as qualifications for admission to most arts & humanities subjects, and can be a good choice if you lack confidence in basic study skills. In any Access to HE Diploma you will achieve 60 credits with 45 of those credits at Level 3. We would be looking for a distinction grade in every graded subject unit. In addition, you will need to check that your Access to HE Diploma meets any specific subject requirements.

It is a good idea to declare your intention to apply to Cambridge when you enrol on an Access to HE Diploma, so that your tutors will know what you are aiming for, and can advise and support you accordingly.

An Access to HE Diploma alone is not sufficient preparation to study a science subject or a medical course at Cambridge. Psychological and Behavioural Sciences is an exception to this (though in that instance we would expect the Access course to contains significant maths and/or biology).

Will a 'false start' on another degree programme count against me?

A significant proportion of our applicants have made subject choices at school and/or university that they later regret, and one 'false start' elsewhere is unlikely to have a bearing on our assessment, provided you explain it sensibly. Please note, however, that applications from students who have failed at or been excluded from another medical school will not normally be considered for entry to Medicine at Cambridge.

How important is additional preparation for candidates who have met the entrance requirements some time ago?

We recommend that all applicants who achieved the academic standards required for entry more than two years prior to application undertake some additional preparation, and applicants who have taken a break from study lasting more than three years are likely to be disadvantaged if they do not prepare formally.
Many recent applicants who were initially reluctant to undertake additional preparation have reported how much they enjoyed modules offered by Birkbeck College, Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, the University of London International Programme, Oxford Department for Continuing Education, and the Open University, amongst others.

Will I be disadvantaged if I apply in the March Round?

We assess all applications in exactly the same way, and competitive applicants for subjects available in the second round stand as good a chance of securing a place as those who apply in October. Delaying your application may, in fact, be to your advantage if you have only recently returned to study, since it allows you more time to build core knowledge and academic interview skills, collect examples of written work, and obtain an appropriate reference.

The three 'mature' Colleges operate a small March Round Pool which operates in the same way as the Winter Pool. Find out more here.

Who should write my reference?

Ideally, your UCAS reference should be written by someone who is familiar with your academic work as well as your recent history. For example a teacher on a recent relevant further education course. If this is not possible, you should ask a responsible person who knows you. This could be an employer, training officer, careers adviser, or senior colleague in employment or voluntary work.

What if my first language is not English?

It is essential that your English language skills are 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.

What if I have a disability or chronic illness?

We welcome applications from disabled students and will do all that we can to accommodate you. You can find more information and resources on our Applying with a disability, SpLD or long-term health condition page. Please contact us well in advance of an application to discuss any supporting facilities that the College or University could provide. The University has a Disability Resource Centre offering specialist help, information and advice to people with a disability or chronic illness.


Standard Medicine (A100)

Will the minimum pre-medical requirements and a good pass in the BMAT examination be suitable requirements for a place to read Medicine?

Although the minimum pre-medical requirements are all that is formally required to be considered for the medicine course, to make a competitive application it is desirable for at least three science/maths subjects to be offered at A level. To put this into perspective, mature applicants are in direct competition with school-leavers who have achieved at least three science/maths subjects at A level at grades A and A*.
All mature and affiliated medical students applying to the mature Colleges are expected to have passed A level Chemistry or its equivalent.

We also look for relevant healthcare experience from applicants. You should look to support your application with proof of sustained and varied experience of over a year or more in patient care in order to show your commitment to the course.


Graduate Medicine (A101)

What are the minimum requirements?

In order to be considered we expect applicants to either have a first-class degree and a minimum of AAB at A-level, or a 2.1 degree with a minimum of A*A*A at A-level. Those still to complete their degree will need A*A*A at A-level to be considered. International equivalents are accepted (though note that this course is only open to students with UK home-fee status). If a candidate has significant extenuating circumstances that have affected their academic achievement but they are still very close to this standard, they may be considered.

What are the subject requirements?

A-level or equivalent Chemistry, passed within the last 7 years before entry, and one other science. Grades of A or above are expected.

What if I don't have these subjects (or the required grades)?

It is possible to sit the A-level exams in the summer before entry.

What if I have Chemistry at the required level but 7 years ago or more?

Depending on what you have been doing since and whether it involves study and/or use of Chemistry, the requirement may be waived. We would seek further details from those being interviewed. If the requirement is not waived, It is possible to sit the A-level exams in the summer before entry.


Other Types of Application

Can I transfer from another University?

It is not possible to transfer from another University directly onto a Cambridge degree course, or to take into account credit accumulated elsewhere. Work undertaken as part of another degree course would be taken into consideration within an application, but it can only be regarded in preparatory terms for a degree course that is started afresh.

Can I apply through Clearing?

The University of Cambridge does not normally enter Clearing.

If your examination results are much better than expected and you decide that you wish to try for a place at Cambridge, you will need to apply within the following year’s application round.