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How to Apply

While it can seem daunting, the process for applying to Cambridge is much the same as that for other universities. At Cambridge the process starts earlier to allow time for all of the application information to be gathered and considered, and applicants are asked to indicate a college preference or submit an ‘open’ application on their UCAS form.

6 Simple Steps

The application process is outlined on the University’s website – click here to find out more


In order to apply to Cambridge for 2020 entry (or deferred entry in 2021) you must submit a UCAS application by 15 October 2019, 6.00pm (UK time). Your UCAS application must be submitted online using UCAS Apply. The UCAS institution code for Cambridge is CAM 05, and the campus code for Hughes Hall is 7.

There are earlier application deadlines for applicants wishing to be considered for interview overseas which can be found on the Overseas Interviews page.

Hughes Hall also offers a second round application, the deadline for which is the 1st March.

Applications to UCAS are made online using the UCAS Apply web-based application system. Click ‘Apply 2020’ for application for 2020 entry or 2021 deferred entry to the University of Cambridge. Your school or college will be able to advise you about the process. If you’ve left school or college or are a resident abroad, you should contact UCAS for more information. Click here to find out more.

Your Personal Statement

Personal statements allow students to tell us about their subject interest, and the process of writing a personal statement can often help a student better understand their academic interests and intellectual motivations. Admissions decisions at Cambridge are based solely on academic criteria (ability and potential). Personal statements are sometimes used as a basis for discussion at interview. In a personal statement we are looking for applicants to:

  • explain your reasons for wanting to study the subject
  • demonstrate your enthusiasm for and commitment to your chosen course
  • express any particular interests within the field
  • outline how you have pursued your interest in the subject in your own time

UCAS also provides further guidance.


You will need an academic reference. References are most effective when they are written by someone who is familiar with your academic work, as well as your recent history. For more information advice your reference please see the UCAS website.


Shortly after submitting your UCAS application, you’ll be asked via email to complete an online Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ).

In order to make a valid application to the University of Cambridge, you must submit your SAQ by the deadline set. In the majority of cases this deadline will be 18.00 (UK time) on 22 October 2016.

COPA (International Students ONLY)

The Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) allows us to collect useful information that isn’t part of your UCAS application, and to make arrangements for overseas interviews. The COPA should be completed in addition to a UCAS application – your application to the University of Cambridge won’t be valid unless both are received by the relevant deadline.

The COPA is a required part of the admissions process for anyone applying from outside the European Union (EU), and for anyone wishing to be considered for an Organ Scholarship. The COPA is not related to fee status or citizenship.