The University of Cambridge’s Acceptance Rates

Everything You Need to Know

The University of Cambridge is internationally esteemed and offers world-class teaching. If you’re considering applying there, you’re probably wondering about acceptance rates and what it takes to get in. This guide will explore everything you need to know about Cambridge acceptance rates.

If you’re curious about how to get into Cambridge, check out our previous guide.

What are university acceptance rates?

University acceptance rates refer to the percentage of applicants who are offered admission to a particular university or college. Acceptance rates vary by institution and programme and are influenced by factors such as the number of applicants, the quality of applications, and the availability of resources such as faculty members and facilities.

Universities typically use a holistic admissions process which takes into account a range of factors such as academic performance, extracurricular activities, admissions tests, and interviews. Generally, acceptance rates are a good indicator of how popular the university is, how prestigious it is, and how difficult it is to get into.

Remember to check the acceptance rate for your specific course at Cambridge because it does vary! It is important to do your own research when it comes to your chosen course so that you are aware of everything you need to know about the entry requirements and admissions process. Information about specific courses at Cambridge can be found here.

What is Cambridge’s acceptance rate?

Cambridge University is one of the most prestigious and competitive universities in the world, with an undergraduate acceptance rate of around 18-19%, and a postgraduate acceptance rate of 34%.

At Cambridge, acceptance rates vary significantly by subject and college. For example, some subjects, such as Medicine and Law, are more competitive, with acceptance rates as low as 10%. On the other hand, some colleges are more selective than others, with acceptance rates ranging from 10% to 30%.

At Cambridge University, the collegiate system is in place to offer students an intimate college community, where they receive academic, social, and pastoral support. When you apply to Cambridge, you can choose to either apply directly to a specific college or make an open application, where the university will assign them to a college based on availability and fit.

If you’re set on going to Cambridge University but you’re daunted by its selective admission rate and high entry requirements, don’t be. The Profs are here to help you. We have a team of talented tutors, as well as experienced Cambridge admission advisors. Helping students get offers to top-tier universities is our speciality.

Cambridge’s entry requirements

If you want to stand a chance at getting into Cambridge, you’ll need to meet their admission requirements by proving excellent academic ability.

Cambridge has very high academic standards, and entry requirements vary by subject. Generally, successful applicants will have outstanding academic records, with strong grades in relevant subjects. Most subjects require from A*AA to A*A*A*, though this varies depending on the subject.

Additionally, applicants must submit a strong UCAS application with an excellent personal statement. They must also perform well on the admissions test for their chosen subject. If students do progress to the next stage of Cambridge’s admissions process, they are likely to be invited to an interview which will determine whether they receive an offer.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS. 

What universities have the most competitive success rates?

Admissions rates tend to be more competitive when it comes to Russell Group universities, especially Oxbridge. The higher in ranking the university is and the better its reputation, the more applicants it receives, and the more selective it can be. Cambridge is globally recognised as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Cambridge is currently ranked:

Given Cambridge’s outstanding reputation, it can afford to offer one of the most competitive application processes in the UK with an extremely selective acceptance rate.

Does Cambridge have the most competitive acceptance rate in the UK?

Cambridge is recognised as having one of the most competitive acceptance rates in the UK.

Generally, Cambridge places in the top bracket for most competitive UK universities, meaning it has one of the most elite acceptance rates. However, exact numbers vary depending on the desired course, college, and throughout the years.

Below is a table of Cambridge’s general acceptance rate for undergraduates, alongside the other most competitive UK universities (2020).

UniversityAcceptance rate
University of Oxford17.5%
University of Cambridge18%
Imperial College London20%
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)21%
University College London (UCL)22%
University of St Andrews22%
Durham University25%
University of Warwick25%
University of Bristol26%
University of Edinburgh27%

Is Cambridge or Oxford harder to get into?

Both Cambridge and Oxford are highly competitive universities with similar acceptance rates. As you can see in the table above, Cambridge’s general acceptance rate was 0.5% higher than Oxford’s in 2020. However, this can vary annually.

It is also important to note that acceptance rates and entry requirements vary by subject and college, making it difficult to determine which is harder to get into. Oxford has a higher acceptance rate for some subjects, while Cambridge has a higher acceptance rate for others.

Ultimately, the decision of which university to apply to should be based on your chosen course at that university, personal interests, academic strengths, and career goals.

And remember, you can’t apply to Cambridge and Oxford at the same time!

Here at The Profs, we have a dedicated team with plenty of experience in Cambridge applications. They can assist you in making the decision best suited for you, as well as with your admissions process. Thanks to our services, students who work with us are over 3 times more likely to get into their first or second-choice university.

Which of Cambridge’s courses have the most competitive acceptance rates?

Acceptance rates vary depending on the course. Cambridge has some particularly competitive degrees. If you’d like to gain admission into Cambridge, it’s worth considering the varying acceptance rates per course.

Take a look at the table below, detailing the acceptance rates for Cambridge’s most competitive and/or popular undergraduate courses.

CourseAcceptance rateNumber of applicants
MB, BChir Medicine (Graduate Entry)7.8%591
BSc Computer Science8.5%1658
BA Economics11%1562
BA Economics11%1562
BA Architecture12%629
BA Psychological and Behavioural Sciences14%807
MB, BChir Medicine14%2022
BA Law14%1870
BA Human, Social, and Political Sciences15%1386
BA Land Economy18%440
BA/MSci Natural Sciences21%3070
BA Mathematics33%1603
BA English27%769

Alternatively, if you’re curious about applying to one of Cambridge’s undergraduate courses with the highest acceptance rate and/or least competition, look at the table below.

CourseAcceptance rateNumber of applicants
BA Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic53%57
BA Classics48%126
BA Archaeology48%62
BA Modern and Medieval Languages46%343
BA Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion42%110
BA Music40%124
BA Asian and Middle Eastern Studies35%130
BA History of Art33%99

For information on the acceptance rates for Cambridge’s postgraduate courses, check out this page.

Which Cambridge college has the most competitive acceptance rate?

Cambridge University is made up of 31 colleges, each with its own unique character and history. According to recent statistics, the college with the highest acceptance rate is Murray Edwards, with an acceptance rate of around 35%.

This is followed by Homerton and Robinson, both with acceptance rates above 30%. These colleges tend to be less well-known and less competitive than some of the more notable colleges.

On the other hand, some of the more established colleges, such as Trinity, King’s, and St John’s, have lower acceptance rates, ranging from around 10% to 20%. These colleges are highly selective and receive a large number of applications each year. However, it’s important to acknowledge that acceptance rates can vary significantly by subject, and some colleges may be more competitive than others for certain subjects.

Take a look at Cambridge’s colleges listed below, along with their acceptance rates and number of applicants (2020):

CollegeNumber of applicantsAcceptance rate
Christ’s College1,13619.3%
Churchill College1,02825.9%
Clare College1,35222.9%
Corpus Christi College1,02120.2%
Darwin College1,09834.3%
Downing College1,15217.6%
Emmanuel College1,267%18.3%
Fitzwilliam College1,69722.2%
Girton College1,31322.5%
Gonville & Caius College1,158720.4%
Homerton College1,50231.3%
Hughes Hall76240.2%
Jesus College1,62923.7%
King’s College2,26916.9%
Lucy Cavendish College58023.8%
Magdalene College1,23920.2%
Murray Edwards College1,09435.1%
Newnham College1,27624.5%
Pembroke College1,37920.7%
Peterhouse75416.4%
Queens’ College1,40421.1%
Robinson College1,24032.4%
St Catharine’s College1,43820.7%
St Edmund’s College1,09522.3%
St John’s College2,46715.4%
Selwyn College1,32718.6%
Sidney Sussex College1,22418.9%
Trinity College3,15712.3%
Trinity Hall1,16716.2%
Wolfson College83125.7%
Homerton College1,09032.6%

It’s worth noting that acceptance rates shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when choosing a college. Each college has its own unique culture, facilities, and resources, and it’s important to choose a college that feels like the right fit for you. Applicants should research the different colleges and their strengths, and consider factors such as location, accommodation, and extracurricular activities when making their decision.

What is Cambridge’s acceptance rate for international students?

International students are welcome to apply to Cambridge and are considered in the same way as UK applicants. The overall acceptance rate for all international applicants for the 2021 admissions cycle was around 9.9%. Check out the table below:

ApplicationsOffersAcceptancesSuccess rate (%)
7,9911,0827949.9%

It’s worth noting that international applicants may face additional challenges, such as language barriers and differences in education systems when applying to Cambridge. However, the university offers a range of resources and support to help international students throughout the application process, including guidance on admissions tests and English language requirements. Information on this is provided here.

To demonstrate their proficiency, international applicants are typically required to take an English language proficiency test, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test. The specific test required and the minimum score needed may vary by course and college.

In general, applicants must achieve a minimum score of 7.0 on the IELTS, a minimum score of 100 on the TOEFL, or a minimum grade of B on the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test. Some courses and colleges may require higher scores or have additional language requirements, so applicants should check the specific requirements for their chosen course and college.

More information on this can be found on Cambridge’s international students page.

What can I do to increase my chances of getting into Cambridge?

If you’d like to study at Cambridge, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of acceptance.

Firstly, make sure you have a strong academic record with excellent grades in relevant subjects. Secondly, take advantage of extracurricular activities that demonstrate your interests and skills, such as volunteering, leadership positions, and relevant work experience. Finally, prepare thoroughly for the admissions test for your chosen subject, and practise your interview skills. Take a look at our guide on how to get into Cambridge!

If you need help to nail your A levels and meet Cambridge’s entry requirements, or with doing your absolute best in the admissions process, The Profs are here to help. We can guide you through getting top grades, writing an excellent personal statement, and even delivering a fantastic interview. We have a 95% success rate of students receiving an offer from their first or second choice university, and we specialise in Oxbridge applications. The Profs can also continue to support you academically once you become a Cambridge student.