Supporting international applications

If you are applying to Cambridge from outside the UK, there are a few things you will need to consider when making your application

St Catharine's is a welcoming and supportive environment for students from outside the UK. If you are applying to Cambridge from the European Union or beyond, there are a few additional things you will need to consider when making your application. Please feel free to get in touch directly with the Admissions Office if you have any unanswered questions.

A unique educational opportunity

St Catharine's welcomes applications from candidates from outside the EU. There are no limits on numbers (maximum or minimum) of such applicants we can admit, so you would be assessed solely on you academic potential alongside all other applicants. (The only exception to this is Medicine - for which the University has an overall maximum non-EU quota. Please see the our Medicine subject page for details,)

We are used to assessing applicants who have taken, or are soon to take, exams in a wide range of examination systems. In general, should we decide to make you a conditional offer, we would usually set this with reference to the University's typical offer levels listed here. If you are unclear about what qualifications we accept, you should contact the College Admissions Office for advice. 

You should also be aware that if you are situated outside the EU when you make your application, you will have to fill out an additional form – the ‘COPA’. Overseas students who are made an offer of a place will need to produce evidence of their ability to pay the fees for the course, before their place can be confirmed.

Non-EU applicants can apply to be interviewed by one of the University's overseas panels in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore or Toronto - indeed, we recommend you take this option if one of these centres is closer to you than Cambridge. The interviews take place in October and November.

In addition, you should read the University's website for guidance on how to apply.

What academic qualifications do we accept?

St Catharine's is happy to consider applications from candidates taking any of the academic qualifications listed on the University's main website. Especially useful are the A-Z list of qualifications by country and the general entry requirements pages. We would usually require applicants to meet the levels suggested in those pages.

The forms you must complete

Most applicants from outside the EU must complete the following three forms.

  • applicants to undergraduate courses at most UK university must complete a UCAS form (Cambridge applicants in many subjects must also be registered for the University's own 'pre-interview admissions assessments' by this date, too)
  • all applicants to Cambridge must complete the online Supplementary Application Questionnaire
  • applicants located outside the EU at the time they apply must also fill in a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA)

In addition, applicants in many subjects must ensure they are registered for an admissions assessment.

Please make sure you know the deadlines for these forms, as some may depend on where you would prefer to be interviewed - see this page.

Interview in Cambridge or outside the EU?

If you live or are at school outside the EU, we strongly encourage you to consider applying for interview by one of the University's overseas interview panels. Every year between September and November teams of Cambridge academics travel to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore and Toronto. Your opportunity to gain an offer is the same if you are interviewed away from Cambridge, and you may save a large amount in air fares and carbon emissions.

In addition, the timing of the interview season is very tight, and it can be difficult to obtain a visa to travel to the UK in the time available once applicants are called to interview. Every year we must unfortunately turn down applicants who could have requested a non-UK interview, but did not, and then could not obtain a visa to travel to the UK in time. 

English language requirements

During the admissions process (especially the interview and admissions assessment), we will assess the English language proficiency (reading, writing, speaking, listening) of international applicants whose first language is not English. We will then decide whether any additional qualification in English is required. If an English language requirement is set, it will be one of the University's typical requirements - see this link.

You do not need to have achieved this qualification by the time you apply, and indeed many have not - for many international applicants it is made part of their conditional offer, so must be completed by the August after they apply. Having the qualification when you apply will not affect your chances of being called for interview.

Applicants who wish to defer entry to undertake national service in their home country

In certain circumstances we will consider applicants who wish to defer for two years - in the past this has usually, but not always, been applicants from Singapore who are expected to undertake national service. If you are in this situation, then you should apply via UCAS to defer for one year, but also email the St Catharine's Admissions Office to advise us of your intentions. Then, if you are successful, we would make you an offer deferred for one year in the first instance, but then move your entry year one further year into the future once this becomes possible in the UCAS system.


If after reading this website you still have questions about applying to St Catharine's for an undergraduate degree, please email us at