How to Apply

Pembroke welcomes all applications, and does not discriminate on grounds of race, political or religious views, social class, educational background, or sexual orientation. Pembroke was a founder college of the Group to Encourage Ethnic Minority Applications. We are happy to encourage and give advice to those applying through the Extenuating Circumstances Scheme – details of this are available from the Admissions Office.

Applying in 2017 for a place in 2018 or 2019

All UK and EU applicants must now apply on-line via UCAS by 15th October 2017. Applicants with Pembroke [Institution name: CAM, Institution code :C05, and College code: P] as their preference will have their on-line form sent directly to Pembroke electronically. You will then be prompted to complete the on-line Supplementary Questionnaire (SAQ), which will also be sent to Pembroke College. Applicants living outside the EU must complete a Cambridge On-line Preliminary Application (COPA) details of which can be obtained from the following page of the University website, and must also apply on-line to UCAS by 15th October. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet both the UCAS deadline and that for the Cambridge Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ). Failure to do so may lead to your application being rejected. Once you have submitted your UCAS application, you will automatically receive an email from the University with the information necessary to fill in the SAQ. Sometimes this email can go to your spam/junk mail. If you have not received this email and the deadline for submission of the SAQ is looming, you should first check your spam/junk mail and, if you do not find it there, you must contact us to obtain the information. We may not be able to consider an application where the SAQ is submitted late and the candidate did not contact us to indicate that they had not received their automatic email.

There are two ways of applying for an undergraduate place:
Post A-level/Equivalent Qualification

If you will be completing your A-levels (or comparable exams such as the International Baccalaureate or Scottish Advanced Highers) in the summer of 2017 you may apply in the autumn for a place in October 2018. It is not possible to apply after A-levels for a place in the immediately following October (i.e. October 2017).

Pre A-level/Equivalent Qualification

You may apply in the autumn of 2017 before taking your A-level examinations (or Advanced Highers, etc.) for a place the following October or for a deferred place in 2019. Any offer will be conditional on achieving certain specified A-level (or comparable) results in the following summer. In the event you do not quite achieve the required grades, you may still be offered a place, but only if there are places to spare.

Deferred Entry

Pembroke welcomes applications for deferred entry; a well-spent year away from formal study can be beneficial both academically and generally. We particularly encourage deferral for those who are very young, and we do not normally admit students who will be significantly under the age of 18 on arrival. Apart from wishing to ensure that plans for the ‘gap’ year are coherent and appropriate, we operate no strict policy in this matter. For Medicine and Veterinary Medicine most applicants want direct entry because of the length of the course. Deferred entry is also rare for Mathematics; the mathematical skills tend to get ‘rusty’ during a year away! For Engineering, we are happy to consider applications for deferred entry.  Deferred entry enables applicants to gain a year of industrial or other appropriate experience, possibly with a sponsoring company; the number of deferred applications and offers is thus higher for Engineering than other subjects, but again usually accounts for the minority of applicants.

Changes to the Cambridge admission process in 2016

We are committed to making decisions about applications on the basis of the fullest and clearest possible base of evidence.  In response to on-going changes now affecting post-16 qualifications in England, and to help provide the colleges with as much evidence of applicants’ skills and knowledge as possible, whether they are taking linear A-levels, AS-levels and A-levels, Pre-Us, the International Baccalaureate or other national qualifications, the Collegiate University is introducing a system of common format written assessments, specifically tailored to each subject.  This will give us valuable additional evidence of an applicant’s academic abilities, knowledge base and potential to succeed in the Cambridge course for which they have applied.  These assessments will be designed by subject specialists in Cambridge and, depending on the subject, will be administered in early November in schools, without cost to applicants, or on the day of their interview in Cambridge.  The assessments will provide a useful new element in informing decisions about the comparative strength of all applications.  They will help us gauge your potential to success in the Cambridge course applied for as part of our holistic admissions process.  For further details please go to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.


We interview 75%-80% of those who apply.  We look at predicted grades in examination systems and make our judgement based on the strength of those predictions.  We advise all applicants to look closely at the University’s Entrance Requirement pages for further information before applying: Those called to interview will usually receive a minimum of two interviews and will be sent information about their interviews when they are invited, sometime between mid and late November. For more details about interviews, please see our Interviews page:

Written Work

In some arts/social sciences degree courses, we ask candidates to send in two samples of their written work by mid November. The Admissions Office will contact you shortly after the application deadlines have passed in October to let you know what we require from you, by email. The essays we request should ordinarily not be work that you complete specially for your Cambridge application, but rather essays done at school in the normal course of study, and marked by a teacher. If you do not have samples of written work or are unsure what to send in because you are applying for a degree subject that you are not studying at school (e.g. Land Economy, Linguistics, etc.), the Admissions Office will advise you about what to send in. It is your responsibility to ensure that your written work or other submissions reach us by the deadline; if you don’t send your essays in on time, it may mean that we cannot take your application forward, so it’s very important that you meet the deadline. If you would like us to acknowledge receipt, please include a stamped self-addressed postcard with the written work. Please note that written work is only read for candidates who are selected for interview. However, because of the very short timeframe in which our admissions process takes place, we have to ask for written work routinely soon after applications have been received. If we waited until we had decided who to call to interview before we requested this work, it would not give candidates enough time to submit work, and interviewers sufficient time to read it, in advance of interviews. This means that you may be asked for essays and then not called for interview after or before you have sent the work in. We understand that this is not easy for candidates, but unfortunately the tightness of the timeframe for our admissions process makes this unavoidable.

What are my chances of getting a place?

The overall success rate for Cambridge applicants is 1 in 5, but there is no doubt that your chances improve the better your exam results and predictions are.  We should stress, however, that our assessment of candidates is holistic. This means that no one factor alone determines who is offered a place. Among the other factors that influence our selection are school references and UCAS personal statement, written work (for arts/social science degree subjects), the portfolio for Architects, the BMAT for Medics and Vets, tests sat for some subjects at time of interview in Cambridge (e.g. the Cambridge Law Test) and interviews.

When will I hear the result of my application?

Applicants receive a decision from us in the first half of January.