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How to Apply

We welcome all applications to Pembroke.

We’re determined to ensure we admit the best students regardless of school background, ethnicity, political or religious views, social class or sexual orientation. We particularly encourage applications from groups currently under-represented at Cambridge, and are proud to be a founder college of the Group to Encourage Ethnic Minority Applications

We can also advise anyone applying with extenuating circumstances, and wishing to complete the Extenuating Circumstances Form. You can find out more about this from the Admissions Office.

Most importantly, we staunchly believe that strength comes from diversity. We may occupy historic buildings, but our ethos is absolutely forward-looking!

Applying Information

Please read the University Entrance Requirements carefully before you apply.

All UK and EU applicants should apply online via UCAS by 15 October of the year preceding the year you wish to start (or two years before, if you are hoping to take a gap year). 

Make sure that you select Pembroke as your preference, using the details below, and your online form will be sent directly to us.

  • Institution Name: CAM
  • Institution  Code: C05
  • College Code: P

Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)

Once you have submitted your UCAS application, you will automatically receive an email from Cambridge containing information that you will need to complete the SAQ. Once you have completed the online SAQ, it will be sent directly to us here at Pembroke.

BEWARE: Sometimes this email can go astray! If you haven't received it, and the SAQ deadline is coming up, check your Spam/Junk folder. If it's not there, contact us immediately. If you DON'T receive the email and you DON'T let us know, your SAQ application may arrive late and we may not be able to consider it.

Living outside the EU?

In addition to your UCAS application (see above) and before completing the SAQ, you must also complete a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA).

It's your responsibility to meet the deadlines for both your UCAS application and the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ). If you don't submit these in time, your application may be rejected.

When to apply for an undergraduate place

Applying with Post A-Level/equivalent qualifications

If you will complete your A-levels (or comparable exams such as International Baccalaureate or Scottish Advanced Highers) in the summer before applying to university, you can apply in the autumn  for a place in October the following year.

Please note you cannot apply directly after A-levels/equivalents for a place in the coming October.

Applying with Pre A-level/equivalent qualifications

Before you take your A-levels (or comparable exams), you can apply in the autumn of your final school year for a place in the following October, or for a deferred place in the year after that.

You may already have completed your qualifications and gained results that will meet the terms of any offer we would make. If not, our offer will be conditional on your achieving specified A-level (or comparable) results the following summer.

Deferred Entry

Postponing your start date to spend a constructive ‘gap year’ away from formal study is something we’re happy to welcome at Pembroke, if it will suit you.

We do expect you to have clearly thought-out plans for your gap year – but beyond that, what you do is up to you!

Changes to the Cambridge Admissions Process

We assess every single application using the clearest possible evidence we can gather. In 2016 the University introduced a system of common format written assessments, specifically tailored to each subject.

They did this in response to ongoing changes to post-16 qualifications in England. So these assessments cover all exam systems: linear A-levels, AS-levels and A-levels, Pre-U’s, the International Baccalaureate and other national qualifications. 

The results give us valuable additional evidence of your academic abilities, knowledge base and potential to succeed on your chosen Cambridge course. All this helps us make an informed decision about the strength of your application.

These assessments are designed by subject specialists in Cambridge, and we do not charge students a fee to sit them. Depending on the subject, they take place in schools in late October or early November, or on the day of your interview in Cambridge. 


We interview everyone who stands a realistic chance of gaining a place, and base our decisions on a holistic assessment of your whole application. If we want to interview you, we’ll let you know in mid/late November. You’ll usually have a minimum of two interviews.  

Written Work

Shortly after the October application deadlines have passed, the Admissions Office will email you to let you know if you need to send in any written work.

For some Arts and Social Sciences/Humanities degree courses, we ask candidates to send in two samples of written work by early November. We don’t expect you to write essays especially for your Cambridge application. You can send in pieces that you’ve done at school in the normal course of study and had marked by a teacher.

I'm not sure which work to send in...

If you don’t have samples, or are unsure what to send because you’re applying for a degree subject you don’t study at school (such as Land Economy, Linguistics), please read the information you have been sent carefully. If you are still unsure, contact the Admissions Office for advice.

You are responsible for making sure your written work/submissions reach us by the deadline. If they don’t, we may not be able to proceed with your application. Please include a stamped self-addressed postcard with your work if you’d like us to confirm we have received it.

PLEASE NOTE: We only read written work by candidates selected for interview. However, because of our short admissions timeframe, we do have to ask for written work soon after we receive your application. If we waited longer, candidates wouldn't have enough time to submit the work, or interviewers to read it before the actual interviews.

This means we may ask you to submit essays, then not call you for interview before or after you send them in. We really appreciate that this isn’t easy for you, but unfortunately the short turnaround time of our admissions process makes it unavoidable.

What is my chance of getting a place?

The overall success rate for Cambridge applicants is 1 in 5. The better your exam results and predicted future results, the better your chances.

That said, at Pembroke we assess candidates in a holistic way, looking at all academic elements of your application. This means no single factor determines who is offered a place. Instead we make our selection based on your exam results and predictions, plus your interview performance and other factors, which include:

  • School references
  • UCAS personal statement
  • Written work – for Arts/Social Science subjects
  • Portfolio – for Architecture
  • BMAT – for Medicine
  • Tests taken before or at time of interview in Cambridge – i.e. the Cambridge Law Test

When will I hear the result?

We’ll contact you with our decision in the first half of January. 

Need more information?

if you have a questions about any part of the Admissions process, please contact our Undergraduate Admissions Office.

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