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, Economics and the combination of Computer Science with Mathematics.
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 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 each 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.
In most instances, an Access to HE Diploma alone is not sufficient preparation to study a science subject (except Psychology and Behavioural Sciences) or a medical course at Cambridge.
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.
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.
Will I be offered accommodation?
Yes. Undergraduate students are guaranteed College accommodation for 3 years.
If you wish to live in College with young children, the College has five dedicated family units on site, but demand for these sometimes exceeds supply. If you are applying with a family, you are advised to contact the Admissions Office for advice about available accommodation.
Do I have to live in Cambridge?
The University requires that all undergraduates remain in residence during Full Term. This means that you should live within three miles of central Cambridge, although with permission from the Senior Tutor our students are in exceptional cases allowed to live within a ten mile radius of the College. We find this rule is more helpful than it may at first sound, because commuting is an additional drain on time that no Cambridge student can afford. It is also more difficult to take part in University and College activities if you live at a distance.
Other Types of Application
Can I transfer from another University?
Under existing regulations 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 or the adjustment period?
In 2021, for unsuccessful candidates who had applied to Cambridge, the University did enter Adjustment for certain subjects. More information and eligibility criteria are available on the University's website.
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.