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Education infographic - c. 34 admitted per year at Cambridge, English, Drama and the Arts track - English A Level required, other tracks - no specific subject requirements, c. 2 admitted per year at Pembroke


Cambridge has one of the largest and most renowned Faculties of Education in the world, with a huge variety of expertise and courses on offer. Education is an interdisciplinary field and is a key process through which societies and cultures reproduce themselves and change. There is huge political and policy interest in education as a means of increasing social mobility and enacting change. We teach about education through a wide range of subjects and topics: philosophy, politics, international development, sociology, psychology, economics, history, art, drama and literature. There are three different tracks you can follow within the Tripos; Education, Psychology & Learning; Education, English, Drama and the Arts; and Education, Policy and International Development.  A number of courses are shared with other departments, such as Sociology, Psychology, Geography and English. Learning at Cambridge involves lecture- and class-based teaching but also an emphasis on individual tutorials (‘supervisions’) and self-directed research. You will develop the ability and confidence to analyse a wide variety of educational themes; engage critically with issues such as social class, race and gender; and pursue your own ideas and research through projects, for example at the University of Cambridge Primary School, and a final year dissertation. You will develop important skills which employers value, particularly the ability to solve ambiguous problems characteristic of jobs in the knowledge economy. Those who have studied Education at Cambridge have gone on to be successful in very many different careers, for example in research, administration, finance, policy work, the civil service, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working on international development, educational charities, teaching, and the media.

Education at Pembroke

The multidisciplinary nature of the Education Tripos will attract students who have multiple interests. Pembroke has a diverse student body and has many students taking other Cambridge Triposes directly relevant to Education. That means there are opportunities to discuss issues that are directly relevant to the Education course with students who are not studying the same subject. We work hard to help our students realise their full potential.  All Cambridge colleges pool their teaching resources to provide supervisions to students in the University, so what students cover is not dependent on the expertise of the fellowship in the College.  Throughout the three years of the course, the main compulsory teaching that students receive is the weekly supervision. Preparation for the supervision involves guided and self-organised reading and writing an essay. This teaching is arranged by your College Director of Studies, currently Professor Geoff Hayward who also teaches and examines on the Education Tripos. We seek to find the best and most appropriate supervisors for each student and course. Much of this teaching is provided inside the College but the rest is organised by swap arrangements with other Colleges. Professor Hayward will meet with you regularly, arrange your supervisions, and provide oversight over your progress. He will also help you to navigate the Cambridge opportunities and experiences, both academic and extra-curricular, that will enable you to be successful in progressing from Cambridge University into work or further study. In addition to your weekly supervision, you will attend lectures, seminars and workshops put on by the Faculty of Education. Pembroke College also has a beautiful library with books and journals that will be relevant to your study. The University Library and the Education Faculty Library are two of the finest libraries in the country open to Education students.


Applicants wishing to study the English, Education, Drama and Arts track should be studying A level (or the equivalent) English Literature/Language. For the other two tracks there are no particular subjects that are required for entry to the Education Tripos. Pembroke is keen to attract the most able, interested and hard-working students to study Education; in selecting we place a good deal of emphasis on strong examinations results and predictions.  We are always keen to encourage the very best students from all backgrounds to consider applying to us.  We are looking for applicants who show a genuine engagement with their subject, and an ability to think laterally and analytically. You must also like reading and solving problems. The most important thing to demonstrate in your application is that you have a genuine interest in and passion for Education and your chosen track.

We make decisions about whom to admit to study Education at Pembroke on the basis of as many pieces of information as possible.  The admissions process involves the pre-interview Admissions Assessment and two interviews. Applicants will need to register for the Admissions Assessment by 15th October, more information about the format of the assessment can be found on the University course page. One interview will be a general academic interview with a Pembroke tutor, and the other will be a subject interview with the Director of Studies.

When we receive your application, we will ask you to send us two pieces of written work that you feel best reflect your interests. This should be work which has been prepared as part of your normal course of study and which has already been marked by a teacher. For the Education, English, Drama and the Arts track these should be on English Literature, for the other two tracks they can be on any relevant topic.

In making admission decisions we take into account all the information we have about an applicant including exam record and predictions, the school reference, the results of the University’s written assessment for Education, submitted written work, school or college essays, and UCAS personal statement. No specific preparation for interviews is necessary, other than to revise your course content and ensure you have done some wider reading. We send guidance notes about interviews beforehand. Each year, some undergraduates seeking to study at Pembroke take a year off after completing school before coming up to university, and the College is happy to accept deferred applications. If you apply for deferred entry your chance of securing a place is the same as for immediate entry.

Go to the Education faculty website