International Applicant FAQs
These are some of the questions we are asked most frequently by students applying or thinking of applying to Magdalene from overseas. Please also consult the general Admissions FAQs page, which has answers to many other questions relevant to all undergraduate applicants.
If you can't find an answer to your question here, please don't hesitate to contact the Academic Office.
Making an Application
What is a high school transcript? Do I need to send one?
A transcript is a record of your performance in internal high school assessments over the years you have studied there. Your school should be able to provide you with an official transcript on request. You should use this flowchart here to determine whether or not you need to provide one.
Will you accept my qualifications?
We are able to accept a wide range of international qualifications. Some school leaving qualifications, however, are not considered adequate preparation for the standard of study required at Cambridge, or for study in particular subjects. Applicants who have taken these qualifications will need to supplement them with others, such as A-levels, the International Baccalaureate, APs, or a suitable combination of these.
Please see this page here for details about the usual Cambridge entrance requirements for different international examination systems (scroll down the page and click on the name of the country in which you took or are taking your school leaving qualifications).
If you are still unsure whether your qualifications are sufficient for a valid application for your chosen subject, or if your qualifications are not listed here, then please contact the Academic Office for advice.
I am already at university elsewhere. Can I apply to Cambridge?
If you are currently studying at a university outside the UK, then you are eligible to apply to Cambridge. It is important to note, however, that it is not possible to transfer credits from your current course to Cambridge; if you are successful in making an undergraduate application to Cambridge then you will have to start here at the beginning of the course and complete the full three or four years (depending on subject) in order to graduate.
If you are currently studying at a UK university (and not expecting to complete your degree this year), then we will not normally accept an application from you in the current round.
If you have already completed an undergraduate degree, or expect to have completed one by the end of the current academic year, then you may be eligible to apply to Magdalene as an affiliated student.
Do I need to take IELTS before I apply?
You do not need to have completed IELTS before you make your application.
A good standard in spoken and written English is expected at the time of interview and, to be competitive, overseas applicants should be able comfortably to achieve the minimum English Language requirements at the time of interview. Formal certification of English language ability (such as IELTS), however, is not required at that stage.
Most overseas students for whom English is not their first language will be asked to achieve a certain IELTS grade as part of any offer condition. The usual IELTS condition is 7.5 overall with at least 7.0 in each section (which must all be achieved in one sitting). Occasionally a slightly higher level may be required.
How do I register for an admissions assessment?
If you are applying for a subject with a pre-interview assessment, then it is essential that you are registered with an authorised test centre by 15 October deadline (applicants for Medicine need to register for the BMAT by 1 October).
There are authorised test centres worldwide, and if there is not an authorised centre near to you then it is a simple process for your school or college to become one; alternatively you will need to find an open authorised centre.
Please note there may be an administration fee charged by the authorised centre in your country.
Please also check the start time of your pre-interview assessment with your test centre, as this will vary slightly depending on location.
If you are applying for a subject with an at-interview assessment, then there is no need to register. Arrangements will be made by the College for you to sit the assessment at the same time as your attend your interviews.
For overseas interviews, details about the at-interview assessment will be supplied to shortlisted applicants at the same time as they are intived to their interview. Please note that at-interview assessments at overseas interview locations will usually be in the same week, but may not be on the same day as the interview itself.
Do I need to send written work with my application?
Applicants for interview in Cambridge should consult this page to see if they need to submit additional written work. The requirement varies from subject to subject.
Those candidates called for interview in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Malaysia, Singapore, Mumbai or Toronto are not normally required to submit additional written work, though there are some exceptions.
Can I study at Magdalene as a visiting student?
We have a number of visiting undergraduates in Magdalene every year. We have two places available each year for students from international universities wishing to undertake a Junior Year Abroad.
Please note that the JYA scheme is suspended for the current admissions round (entry in 2021).
We also usually have three ERASMUS exchange students studying at Magdalene each year.
How much will it cost to study at Magdalene?
Tuition fees for overseas students depend on the course you’re studying (see table below).
Overseas students commencing in October 2021
The tuition fees for overseas students starting their course in 2021 are outlined below. See information at the top of the page regarding financial guarantees. Please note:
- fees listed are per year and are fixed for the duration of the course
- for overseas students undertaking a year abroad, the tuition fee payable to the University of Cambridge during the year abroad will be 50 percent of the full fee
- for overseas students taking Veterinary Medicine, the tuition fee payable in Year 3 will be the tuition fee for the course taken in that year – see the course page for details
Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic; Archaeology; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; Classics; Economics; Education; English; History; History of Art; History and Modern Languages; History and Politics; Human, Social, and Political Sciences; Land Economy; Law; Linguistics; Modern and Medieval Languages; Philosophy; Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion
Architecture, Geography, Music
Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Engineering, Management Studies, Manufacturing Engineering, Natural Sciences, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences
Medical and Veterinary Science (including for this purpose the Second M.B. and Second Vet.M.B. Examinations)
The UK Government has previously discussed whether international students at all publicly funded medical schools should pay the full cost of their clinical placements (undertaken during Years 4-6 of our course). No decision has been made and it is unclear whether this is still a possibility for 2022 entry onwards (there will be no such charges for 2021 entrants). Further information will be published here as soon as it is available.
For further information please see the Undergraduate Study International fees and costs webpage.
The Magdalene College fees for 2020-21 are £9,855. The Magdalene College fees for 2021-22 will be updated once they have been approved.
Please note that overseas students are also recommended to make an extra provision of £350 to cover costs of settling when moving to the UK from overseas.
Your living expenses may be higher than for a UK student (eg if you stay in Cambridge/the UK during vacations). In 2020-21, the minimum resources needed in Cambridge for the year (excluding tuition and College fees) are estimated to be approximately £11,230, depending on lifestyle (you should allow for increases in future years).
Please note that all students should ordinarily be available to live and study in Cambridge for the full duration of their course (with the exception of the year abroad where part of the course).
What financial support is available?
Please see the information on the Sources of Funding webpage.
Interviews and Admissions Assessments
Can I have an interview in my own country?
The University of Cambridge, on behalf of the college, conducts overeseas interviews each year in a number of locations outside the UK, namely:
- Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
- PR China (Shanghai)
- Hong Kong
- India (Mumbai)
- Canada (Toronto)
There are some restrictions on eligibility for interviews in these countries; please follow this link for more information. Please also note that for applicants wishing to be considered for interview in Singapore and Malaysia the application deadline is 20 September. For others, the application deadline is the same as for applicants for interview in Cambridge (15 October).
The University also organises a remote interview scheme for applicant from the United States. Magdalene currently accepts applications for arts subjects only under this scheme.
How do I apply for an overseas interview?
You apply for an overseas interview in the same way as other applicants, but ensuring that you state your preferred interview location when given the opportunity during the application process. The only major difference is that for applicants for interview in Singapore and Malaysia, the application deadline is earlier than for all other applicants. The deadline for application for interviews in these locations is 20 September.
The number of days available for overseas interviews in each location is limited and it is not always possible to see everybody in their preferred location. You will also be asked to indicate in your application, therefore, whether or not you would be willing to travel to Cambridge for interview in the event that there are not enough time slots available in the location you prefer.
Please note that there is an additional fee for those selected for interview overseas. Please see here for more details.
Does it matter whether I am interviewed in Cambridge or overseas?
No. Our overseas interviewers are extremely experienced and if you are interviewed outside the UK you will be considered alongside and on the same basis as those interviewed in Cambridge.
What if I can't afford to travel for an interview?
Whilst we appreciate the considerable expense of travelling a long way for an interview, we also consider the interviews to be an extremely important part of the Cambridge application process. In exceptional cases, where travel to Cambridge or to one of the overseas interview locations is impossible, we can consider an application without interview. It is likely in these circumstances that we will ask you to provide additional materials (possibly additional written work, for example) to help us in our assessment.
You should not assume that we will be able to assess your application without an interview. This is only very occasionally permitted. If you are considering applying to Magdalene but will be unable to attend an interview you should contact the Academic Office in good time before the application deadline in order to discuss your circumstances.
Can I have an interview by Skype?
Magdalene is not ordinarily able to offer remote interviews by Skype (or similar), but special provision is being made for the coming (2020-21) interview round due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In order to minimise Covid-related risk to our applicants, students, and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can.
Do I need a Visa to attend an interview in Cambridge?
If you would normally require a visa to travel to the UK, then you will need a visa in order to come to Cambridge for interview. Please see the advice on the International Students website.
Receiving an Offer
Why does my offer include an IELTS condition?
We routinely attach an IELTS condition to all offers made to people who are likely to require a Tier 4 visa to study at Cambridge. As part of the visa process we will need to attest to your English language ability (even if you have routinely spoken perfect English for years), and setting the IELTS condition now means that we can be reassured that the language condition is unlikely to hold up your visa application in the month before you start your studies.
We also usually attach an IELTS condition to offers made to people whose first language is not English. Whilst this might be an inconvenience in the short term, it is ultimately to the student's benefit. The standard of English required to study at Cambridge is high and you need to be comfortable with it from the first day of your course. The IELTS condition helps reassure us and you that you have the level of English language fluency required to flourish at Cambridge. We do this because highly intelligent students have come unstuck in the past because their English language ability has been less than that required, and that has affected both their grades and their enjoyment of the course.
Will you accept an alternative to IELTS?
Not usually. As things stand, IELTS is one of only two qualifications accepted by the UK immigration authorities for visa purposes and is the most widely available. Using IELTS means we are testing everybody to the same standard.