How to apply
You apply to Cambridge via UCAS, just as you would apply to any other UK university. However, applications at Cambridge are handled by the individual colleges, not by a department or faculty.
Most applicants select a college where they would like to live and work, and that college will then deal with their application. Most likely they will be interviewed in that college. However, you do not have to choose a college – instead you can make an ‘open application’ and the central Cambridge Admissions Office will then allocate you to one of the colleges, which will deal with your application in the usual way. We ensure that ‘open’ applicants have the same chance of gaining a place as ‘direct’ applicants to the college. However, from your point of view, you may well decide that you want to have direct control over which college you may end up at.
At the outset it is worth mentioning that entry is entirely on the basis of academic potential (with 'clinical' potential mixed in for prospective medics and vets). Most people who apply are very able, and will attain (or already have) excellent grades at A Level, or equivalent (see our page on admissions requirements for more information). Regrettably, we have to make difficult choices, and every year we turn away well-qualified applicants simply because we don’t have the capacity to teach every one. But if you don’t apply, you cannot be considered. So why not give us a try?
Below is a summary of the application process for Cambridge. If, after reading this, you have any further questions, see our FAQ page or get in touch using the details on the right sidebar.
Timetable for applying to St Catharine's in 2016-17
Before the main UCAS submission deadline - special cases
Applications for Organ Scholarships must be in by the start of September.
Prospective medics must have registered for the BMAT test by late September - check www.bmat.org.
Some non-UK applicants may have to apply early - please see our page for international students for more information.
Early October - medics sit the BMAT
Mid-October - UCAS form deadline
All applicants should submit a UCAS form, including CAM/CTH as one of their choices. The deadline is often 6pm on October 15, but check the UCAS website, as we cannot accept late applications.
Mid-October - same as the UCAS deadline
Applicants for subjects in which an admissions written assessment is set should reigister separately for this. See this link.
Mid-October, one week after UCAS deadline - Cambridge SAQ form
Soon after submitting your UCAS form, you will receive the online Cambridge Supplementary Application Questionnaire, which you can also download from the right sidebar. Please note that the deadline for submitting this may be as soon as one week after the UCAS deadline.
Early-November - pre-interview admissions assessments
These assessents are sat in a local exam centre (probably your school). See this link.
Mid-November - submission of written work
Please see this page for details of the written work you are required to submit for some subjects.
First three weeks of December - Interviews (and at-interview admissions assessments see this link)
Most (often 90% or so) of UK-interviewed candidates are called for interview between these dates. All candidates should ensure that they are free to come for interview during that period. Interview timetable adjustments are difficult and sometimes impossible - every year we have to turn down applicants because of this. (Accommodation during the interview season can be provided only when a very long journey is necessary, or in exceptional cases).
Please see this page for guidance on preparing for interviews.
By mid-January - decisions made
All candidates will receive a decision by post or email. The only exceptions are:
(1) A small number of applicants - mainly in arts subjects - may be called for further post-pool interviews in Cambridge on a single day in January.
(2) Medicine runs an 'open offer' system by which the University makes a small number of offers in Medicine which are allocated to colleges in the summer, following publication of A-level results - these few offers are usually made by the end of January. Open offers are usually also made in Veterinary Medicine, but these are often finalised in early January.
By mid-February - entry for STEP exams
All candidates whose offer of a place is conditional upon STEP grades (additional maths qualifications required for some courses) must be entered by their examination centre (school) for the relevant papers.
Early May - acceptance of offers
All offers made must be accepted (as firm or insurance offers) or rejected through UCAS. Check the UCAS website for the exact deadline for this.
Mid-August - examination results
Once A Level and STEP results have been published, places are guaranteed for all conditional offer candidates who achieve the grades set - your application status will be .changed on UCAS, and you need simply await information from us about accommodation adn starting here as a student
Some applicants who only narrowly missed achieving their offers may nevertheless have their places confirmed, or be placed in the summer Inercollegiate Pool which takes place the day after A-level results are published. If you have taken A-levels, please contact us as soon as you can on results day with details of your UMS marks. All decisions will be finalised by Friday evening.
Applicants who narrowly miss offers based on other examinations systems which publish their results earlier (e.g. the IB) must still wait until the A Level results are out, so we can consider everyone fairly.
Last day of August - re-mark deadline
All applicants who meet their offers following a re-mark by the last day of August will be allocated a place to start in their year they originally applied for. Applicants who meet their offers by re-marks finalised after that date cannot be guaranteed a place that year - although we will endeavour to provide a place to start in their year they originally applied for.