How to get into AI Ethics and Society at Cambridge

MSt AI Ethics and Society is an academically rigorous course at the University of Cambridge. It’s a small programme; in 2021, 49 applicants out of 113 were successful in receiving an offer. Hence it’s important to ensure that your application stands out to Cambridge’s admissions officers.

If you’re thinking of applying for the MSt in AI Ethics and Society or you’re just curious about what it takes to get into an intensive postgraduate programme at Cambridge, this guide contains everything you need to know – from entry requirements to tips on how to prepare from our expert Computer Science and Machine Learning tutors.

The Profs’ admissions consultants have first-hand experience of Cambridge’s university application process and what is required to succeed at each stage. Thanks to our expert support, students who work with The Profs are more than three times more likely to receive an offer from Cambridge University. Reach out to our team today to maximise your chances of success.

What is AI Ethics and Society?

AI Ethics and Society is a multidisciplinary postgraduate programme at the University of Cambridge that explores the fundamental principles of ethical, societal, and technological disciplines. It offers a unique curriculum, allowing students to study subjects across ethics, technology, sociology, and artificial intelligence. 

The course aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the ethical implications of AI and equips students with analytical, critical thinking, and ethical decision-making skills so that they can effectively manage AI ethics within their sector. These abilities apply to a range of technology and society-focused careers.

Keep in mind that this is a new course that has been created in response to the changing world caused by the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology which now poses significant ethical and societal challenges. Hence this course is a reaction to the global need to enable future leaders and decision-makers to manage these challenges. 2021-2023 was the first year for the MSt AI Ethics and Society at Cambridge.

This particular programme functions as an award as well as a degree.

Who studies it?

As AI Ethics and Society is a Master of Studies course, applicants are required to have already completed an undergraduate degree. It is designed for professionals from an array of backgrounds, including but not limited to business, management, policy, technology, design, consultancy, law, and communications. The part-time nature of the course is intended to accommodate students’ work life. Many MSt students will have some years of experience in the field before undertaking the programme.

What is the course structure?

The AI Ethics and Society MSt programme at the University of Cambridge spans two years and encompasses 180 credits. 

The course has a comprehensive structure which seamlessly blends taught modules with a research project and dissertation, fostering a well-rounded academic experience. The modular format, featuring consolidated teaching blocks, accommodates students globally, ensuring accessibility for international participants. 

Students of this course will collaborate with peers from diverse fields and tap into the expertise of global leaders in machine learning, algorithmic bias, applied ethics, data privacy, and AI governance. 

The delivery of this course is hybrid, hence it integrates face-to-face teaching with an interactive Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) enriched with multimedia content, discussion forums, and synchronous sessions. The programme includes five four-week residentials, providing valuable in-person interactions. 

Students will have access to Cambridge’s extensive library resources, including the main University Library and 115 smaller libraries. It is the aspiration that mandatory texts will be available online.

Year oneYear two
Term oneThe nature and history of AIAI governance
Term twoEthics and societal challengesDissertation
Term threeTheories and methodsDissertation

You can view the exact module options for the course here.

What are the entry requirements for AI Ethics and Society?

Like all courses at Cambridge, AI Ethics and Society has top entry requirements, including accomplished scores in higher education. 

The table below shows the entry requirements for AI Ethics and Society:

DegreeLanguage test
  • 2:1 or above (or equivalent)
  • All disciplines accepted
Either:

  • IELTS: No element lower than 7
  • TOEFL iBT 110: No element lower than 25
  • C1 Cambridge Advanced: Grade A or B (with no less than 193 in any paper)
  • C2 Cambridge Proficiency: Grade A, B or C (with no less than 200 in any paper)

Are you an international student? See international grade requirements here.

Note that if you’re not yet finished with your undergraduate degree you can apply for this course. If Cambridge accepts you onto the course it will be on the basis that you meet the standard academic criteria before the course start date.

Keep in mind that you should try to match or exceed the undergraduate grade requirements. Also, suitable professional work experience will boost your application as this course is targeted towards professionals who wish to apply what they learn from it to their careers.

Even though Cambridge states that all subjects are accepted, on the course page they refer to a degree in a ‘relevant’ subject. So, having a degree in a subject like the following could make your application more competitive: Computer Science, Programming, Data Science, Machine Learning, Business, Marketing and/or something quantitative. 

You should also articulate any links that you can find between your degree and profession with this course in your personal statement, especially if there is no clear relevance.

We’ve compiled Cambridge’s courses, acceptance rates, and entry requirements in our undergraduate and postgraduate tables for clear comparison. Check them out!

Worried that you won’t achieve the necessary grades to study AI Ethics and Society at Cambridge? The Profs’ expert university-level tutors can help. We have extensive experience helping students excel in their coursework and final exams and achieve the entry grades for this competitive course. Reach out to our team for support.

How hard is it to get into AI Ethics and Society at Cambridge?

Getting into Cambridge is highly competitive, as Cambridge is one of the most prestigious and sought-after universities in the world. Not only are the grade requirements high (and the average grades of successful students even higher), but students are also expected to submit an outstanding personal statement with excellent references, as well as a compelling piece of written work, and perform exceptionally in their interview. 

The AI Ethics and Society course is very new and hence, a small and intimate programme. This means that spaces are limited! The admissions process is rigorous, and applicants are expected to demonstrate exceptional grades, a compelling professional background, and academic and/or professional achievements. Cambridge’s postgraduate admittance rate comes to about 19% (2020-2021).

Thankfully, The Profs’ Oxbridge admissions tutors can help you triple your chances of getting into Cambridge to study AI Ethics and Society. Many of our experienced tutors are Oxbridge graduates and ex-admissions officers themselves, with the very latest and best knowledge on what Cambridge is looking for in applicants. Get in touch with us today to chat with a member of our team about how we can help you.

What are the fees for AI Ethics and Society at Cambridge?

The table below shows the fees for Cambridge’s AI Ethics and Society course for both home (UK) and overseas students for 2023-2025:

Student statusCourse fees (per year)
Home£23,706
Overseas/EU£35,556

The above fees include college membership and are payable in instalments over the two academic years.

Currently, Cambridge does not have any scholarships or bursaries for this course. You can find out more information about what fees you will pay on the fees and funding section of the course page. It’s also worth checking here if you’re eligible for government funding and financial support, including professional and/or career development loans.

Colleges that students on this course can apply to: Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish and St Edmund’s.

6 tips on how to get into AI Ethics and Society at Cambridge

When applying to study AI Ethics and Society at Cambridge, there are many stages of the admissions process to consider, and you should prepare for each one thoroughly. Check out the following tips to succeed!

1. Mastering academia for the AI ethics and society course

Demonstrate your academic aptitude.

As previously mentioned, a minimum 2:1 degree is essential but a first-class honours degree could boost your chances. 

Highlight your academic background, emphasising any high A-level or IB grades (or equivalent). If you won any academic awards or competitions, mention them!

For instance, if you have completed any quantitative tests like the TMUA, STEP or GMAT/GRE this is certainly worth mentioning, especially if you can draw links between the test content and this degree. Similarly, any academic experience you have in Philosophy, Sociology or Psychology could be great to highlight if you can reference how this has given you insight into the moral and dystopian conversation on hand about AI.

Tailor your application by showcasing relevant subjects, experiences and achievements to align seamlessly with the course requirements. Worried your academic background isn’t related to the course? Take a MOOC or a free online course with a great university in a related area and talk about what this taught you. For example, you could take a course in Machine Learning Computer Science or Philosophy Machine Learning Computer Science. You can also attend public lectures or online webinars and discuss this.

For postgraduate applicants, Cambridge often places a lot of value on undergraduate dissertations. So, it’s highly recommended that you have a first in your dissertation. If you don’t, consider retaking this part of your undergraduate course. Our top-tier dissertation tours can help make it simple.

We have tutors for every subject and every level; they have a proven track record of helping students in their first takes or retakes to achieve the highest scores. So, if you’re in need of a boost, reach out to the Profs for support.

2. Claim your professional edge

The course is designed for professionals, making a robust career advantageous. Emphasise your professional achievements, particularly those relevant to AI or ethical considerations. 

Demonstrate how your existing career aligns with the course, emphasising your unique contributions and any relevant transferable skills. 

If you fear your profession isn’t related to your course or you don’t have one to speak of altogether, then go out and collect as much experience as you can. What opportunities can you help out with or get involved in? 

Reach out to people on LinkedIn who are in the kind of jobs that this degree could assist you with and ask to shadow them. Apply for internships and consider unpaid roles, like volunteering. This step is an investment in your future!

Worried about this part of the application process? Our admissions experts can help you put your best foot forward.

3. Crafting a compelling personal statement: Your gateway to Cambridge

To apply, you will need to craft a compelling 500-600-word personal statement, expressing your motivation for the course and most relevant experiences in AI Ethics and Society. 

A top piece of advice is to emphasise your reading, research and/or projects. Highlight any research, projects, or significant readings related to AI and ethics. Showcase your proactive engagement with the subject matter beyond academic requirements, underlining your genuine passion for the field. 

Demonstrate your wealth of knowledge in AI-related fields, underlining your preparedness for the rigours of the AI Ethics and Society course. You might discuss computer science policy law or the technological sectors posing significant ethical concerns. Remember, don’t reference classic undergraduate literature or cliche texts that your peers might very well mention, go deep and go niche! The more specific you get, the better.

As already mentioned, you should highlight your academic and professional background and achievements in relation to the course. For the rest, try to apply the following advice:

  • Time management: It’s important that you demonstrate your ability to balance part-time study with your career and other commitments.
  • Showcase ethical perspectives: Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of ethical considerations in AI. Discuss relevant ethical frameworks, showcasing your awareness of societal impacts and your ability to critically analyse the ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence. If you stay informed about current achievements, controversies and challenges in AI, this will be easy to do!
  • Integrate your personal experience: If applicable, talk about moments in your life where you had to make ethical considerations in AI or technology. Showcase how your practical insights will contribute to meaningful discussions in the programme.
  • Connect to future goals: Clearly articulate your end goals and how the MSt in AI Ethics and Society is instrumental in achieving them. What is the necessity of pursuing this degree? Discuss how the programme aligns with your career aspirations, emphasising the unique contributions you plan to make in the field. It’s great if you can include a clear and specific career plan (whether that’s starting a new career or elevating your current one). Just remember that your ambition should be balanced with remaining realistic.
  • Reference course structure: Illustrate your awareness of the MSt programme’s structure. Discuss how the hybrid delivery, teaching styles and residentials will complement your learning style and contribute to your overall academic experience. It’s great if you can refer to specific modules and learning material you’re interested in!
  • Address the ‘why Cambridge’ question: Clearly articulate why Cambridge and its AI Ethics and Society programme specifically. Discuss unique resources, faculty expertise, or institutional aspects that attract you to this particular academic journey.
  • Show cultural awareness: Acknowledge and discuss the global relevance of AI ethics. Demonstrate an understanding of diverse cultural perspectives on technology and AI, showcasing your ability to engage with an international cohort.

Don’t forget, The Profs have excellent personal statement tutors with a track record of success. We can help you nail this step!

Please note: To apply successfully candidates must upload their personal statement twice. This is a glitch which they are hoping to resolve.

4. Illuminate your expertise through written work

Submit a writing sample within the 5,000-word limit, emphasising your ability to articulate complex ideas for diverse audiences e.g. professional, academic or public. 

Cambridge states that written work can be on any topic but topics related to AI and/or ethics are especially encouraged. Hence, you should opt for a relevant topic to align seamlessly with the course focus. If you don’t have any relevant written work, it could certainly be worth your time to write something, especially for this requirement. Just remember to have it reviewed by your colleagues and/or professors.

Choose from various formats like news articles, professional reports, academic papers, blog posts or another form of published or unpublished text, showcasing your proficiency in written communication.

Before submitting, remember the admissions team for this course and what they might be looking for in your piece of work. Beyond demonstrating strong writing skills, are you conveying the ability to think critically, uniquely and deeply? Are you proving that you would enrich and contribute to the course? 

Worried about handing in written work that puts Cambridge off? Don’t be, we’ve got your back. We have incredible writing tutors who can coach you through the process.

Please note: The word count includes references and biographies.

5. Master your interview 

If you are shortlisted you will be invited to an interview, which is typically scheduled during April.

It’s important to prepare diligently for the interview. Revise your CV, personal statement and written work as you might be asked questions about these. 

Ensure that you’re up-to-date with the industry of AI and Ethics so that you can talk about current issues and challenges or answer any questions about this. At this very moment, what are the societal challenges of AI and what could the future ones be? It’s also a good idea to have readings and experiences in mind that you can talk about or reference when answering questions.

Elevate your candidacy by showcasing your knowledge, experiences, and aspirations related to AI Ethics. Demonstrate your commitment to the field through courses, research projects, and readings, highlighting your unique contributions.

A top tip for Cambridge interviews is that they might ask technical or academic questions. These are not trick questions and interviewers are usually looking at how you answer the question and how you think, as opposed to if you’re “right” or “wrong”. So, don’t panic and talk the interviewer through your thinking process. 

Check out our previous article on how to smash a postgraduate interview!

Remember: if you get an interview, it’s your last chance to impress the university and prove that you are an excellent candidate for the course. Oxbridge interviews are like oral admissions tests and there is often an interview mark scheme your interviewers will be scoring you against, so it’s important to seek professional help from our expert interview coaches to prepare effectively. 

6. Dedicate yourself to AI Ethics and Society

Prove your genuine commitment to AI and its ethical dimensions. Express your sincere passion for the subject, demonstrating how it aligns with your broader interest in societal impacts and ethical considerations. Showcase your unique perspective and contributions to the evolving landscape of AI and its ethical implications.

It’s also recommended that you check the course page on Cambridge for live updates regarding the course and entry requirements.

You should genuinely dedicate yourself to the field by investing in your success within it! For personalised support and expert guidance tailored to your AI Ethics and Society application, consider benefitting from The Profs’ expert tutoring services. Elevate your application with comprehensive insights and refined strategies to secure your place in this esteemed programme!

Get 1-to-1 help from an expert

AI Ethics and Society is an academically rigorous part-time course at the prestigious University of Cambridge. It requires you to perform well in multiple factors of the application process to be in with a chance of securing an offer. 

Oxbridge runs a competitive and unique application process compared to the majority of UK universities. As a result, we advise seeking one of our expert Oxbridge admissions tutors to help you through the process. They have a track record of success! In fact, if you work with one of The Profs’ tutors, you are over three times more likely to get into Cambridge. 

The Profs’ Computer Science and Machine Learning tutors have many years of experience helping students develop their academic profiles and excel in managing AI. With their guidance, you’ll gain a deeper and broader understanding of a wide range of fundamental concepts within AI Ethics and Society and more specialised areas. 

Reach out to our experienced team today to get started.