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How to apply

We are looking for applicants with a real passion for their chosen course

Girton admits around 145 undergraduates each year and about half of our students read science subjects and half the arts and social sciences.  We offer places in every subject available at Cambridge except Education and History of Art.

  • We are committed to admitting students of the highest intellectual potential, irrespective of social, religious or financial considerations. 
  • We are not looking for a specific background or school. 
  • We are looking for students with a passion for their subject, who will thrive in their chosen subject and are prepared for a challenge.

The Application Process

Cambridge has an earlier application deadline than that of most other universities and in 2023, UCAS applications must be submitted online by 16 October. Detailed information about the application process, including dates and deadlines can be found in the Applying section on the University website.

Please note that there is a different application process for the Cambridge Foundation Year.

Admissions Assessments

Most applicants to Cambridge are required to sit a subject-specific written assessment, either pre-interview (pre-registration required) or at interview (Cambridge College registered). They are designed to enable us to assess skills such as comprehension and thinking skills, and levels of knowledge and understanding, relevant to the subject you have applied for. There is no pass/fail or specific marks looked for in these assessments, they are looked at as part of our consideration of all elements of your application. Detailed information about the admissions assessments, including past papers, can be found on the University website.

Important changes to pre-registration required admissions assessments

Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) made some changes to the registration deadlines and dates from September 2022.  Please visit their website for full details: Dates and costs | Cambridge pre-registration assessments | Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing.

CAAT is to withdraw from running BMAT (medicine), ENGAA (engineering), NSAA (natural sciences) and TMUA (mathematical skills) tests with effect from 2024. The University is working on the process for 2024 onwards and changes will be clearly communicated in advance. 

Written Work

Depending on the subject you have applied for, you may be asked to submit written work as part of your application. We normally ask for two essays written as part of your school work. This does not have to be sent with your application. We will write to you once you have been invited for interview to let you know what you need to send and when.
Written work is sometimes referred to during an interview, so you should make sure to keep a copy of what you have sent in so that you can read it again beforehand.

Interviews – a discussion, not an exam

Interviews are important in how we select our students – but they are only one component in the selection process. The interview is your chance to show the interviewers that you are more than just information on an application form.  It is also your opportunity to ask questions and discover if the course and style of learning a Cambridge are really right for you.

There are no trick questions. Our interviewers want to help you to show your full potential, and are aware that you may be nervous. However, they are going to challenge you to think. They are not necessarily looking for a vast body of knowledge on a particular topic, but are interested to see how you apply the skills and techniques you have learnt to interpret new material and form a logical argument.
The interviewers will want you to be honest and genuine, and are able to spot rehearsed answers easily. Try to keep calm and listen to what you are being asked. They are not looking for a polished performance so give yourself time to think before answering and if you don’t understand the question ask for clarification.
At Girton most candidates will have two interviews, each with two interviewers. Interviews normally take place in early December each year. Please note: all of our interviews in 2023 will take place virtually.

Check out the videos below for tips on online interviews. You can also find more guidance on how to prepare for an interview on the University website.

Preparing for your online interview

What to expect at your online interview

Examination results are an important part of the admission criteria but they are not the only thing we look at.  We also consider your references, personal statement, performance in admissions assessments and at interview, and your individual circumstances.

Before applying, you should check that you have, or are going to achieve the right grades and that you are studying the appropriate subjects for the course you are choosing.

Below are typical offers Girton would make on some of the most common national examination systems. The University website contains a list of common qualifications and grades required.  If you are taking an examination system that is not listed there, please contact the Tutorial and Admissions Office for advice.

Qualifications and Typical Offers:


A*A*A (Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Medicine, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences), A*AA (all other subjects). The subject in which the A* is to be achieved is unlikely to be specified in most cases.

International Baccalaureate

41-42 points overall with 7,7,6 or (sometimes) 7,7,7 in three higher level subjects. If a candidate is taking at subsidiary level a subject deemed to be important for the proposed course of study, we would also ask for a 7 in that subject.

Scottish Advanced Highers           

Grades AAA. We are unable to consider applications from candidates with fewer than 3 Advanced Highers, but will consider applications with a mixture of Advanced Highers and A2 Levels.
Details of essential subjects, and those considered to be desirable or helpful, to study at Girton can be found on our individual subject pages. 

If there are extenuating circumstances that have caused significant education or home life disruption or disadvantage, it may be appropriate for your school/college referee or your doctor or social worker to complete and submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form (ECF).
The ECF has been designed to make sure that the College has the information required to accurately assess applicants who have experienced particular personal or educational disadvantage.

Girton welcomes applications from students with disabilities.  We strongly recommend that you disclose your disability in your UCAS application, so that if you are invited for interview we can contact you to discuss your specific needs and ensure that appropriate adjustments can be made, such a scheduling interviews in accessible rooms or allowing extra time for readings or written tests.   Further information for students with disabilities can be found on the University website

There is no age requirement for admission to Girton, although the vast majority of our undergraduates are 18 years or older when they come into residence.  Whatever your age you will need to demonstrate that you have the maturity and personal skills to cope with university level study.
There are age requirements for applicants for Medicine; students under the age of 18 cannot undertake any clinical elements of the Medicine course. Therefore, medical students are required to be 18 years of age by 1 November in their first year to be eligible to apply for Medicine.

We are happy to consider anyone who wishes to defer entry for one year, providing that we feel the student would really benefit from having a year out of academic life.  We realise that many students come to university better prepared to study because of it.  You should state on your UCAS application if you wish to defer entry and you should have some idea of how you are going to spend your time and be prepared to talk about this at interview.

The College will not normally consider applications from students who are currently studying at another UK university unless there are exceptional circumstances.  Any application would need strong support from your course director or other academic tutor at your current university.  A reference/letter of recommendation from the person to the College would be required before any application could be considered.  You should contact the Tutorial & Admissions Office for further guidance.

When interviews are held in person, to enable applicants to come to Cambridge, the Colleges are pleased to provide support for travel costs to students who are in local authority care and/or are currently in receipt of free school meals and who attend a UK maintained sector school/college.  Eligible candidates will be contacted directly by the college when they’re invited for interview.

Visits & Open Days

Why not come and see us for yourself?

Come and see us