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Magdalene College First Court

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

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 an English language qualification before I apply?

You do not need to have completed an English language qualification (such as 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, 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 grade as part of their offer conditions. IELTS is our preferred qualification at Magdalene, and 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.

The University’s minimum English language requirements are detailed here.

How do I register for an admissions assessment?

If you are applying for a subject with a pre-registration required assessment, then it is essential that you are registered with an authorised test centre by the respective deadline. Please visit the Cambridge Admissions Office page for further information.

Details about registering for pre-registration required admissions assessments can be found here.

There are authorised test centres worldwide, but if there is not an authorised centre near 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-registration required assessment with your test centre, as this will vary slightly depending on location.

If you are applying for a subject with a Cambridge College registered assessment, then there is no need to register. Arrangements will be made by the College for you to sit the assessment.

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 overseas are not normally required to submit additional written work, though there are some exceptions (to be confirmed).

Can I study at Magdalene as a visiting student?

Magdalene currently accepts 2-3 incoming exchange students from partner institutions as part of successor schemes to the Erasmus+ programme. We usually have two students in residence studying Modern and Medieval Languages, and sometimes one studying History and Modern Languages or Law. Queries about such opportunities should be directed to the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics in the first instance.

Financial Matters

How much will it cost to study at Magdalene?

Tuition fees for overseas students depend on the course you’re studying.

For information please see the Undergraduate Study International fees and costs webpage.

See Tuition fee status if you're unsure whether you're classed as Home or overseas for fee purposes. More information can also be found on the UKCISA website and in the main finance section.

College Fee

The Magdalene College fees for 2021-2022 are £10,347. The Magdalene College fees for 2022-23 will be £10,863.

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.

Living Costs

Your living expenses may be higher than for a UK student (e.g. if you stay in Cambridge/the UK during vacations). In 2022-23, the minimum resources needed in Cambridge for the year (excluding tuition and College fees) are estimated to be approximately £11,790, 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).

Interviews and Admissions Assessments


Can I have an interview in my own country?

 ** Admissions interviews at Magdalene for the 2023-24 admissions round will be held virtually. For further information please visit the University’s webpage on interviews. **

The University of Cambridge, on behalf of the college, conducts overseas interviews each year in a number of locations outside the UK.

There are some restrictions on eligibility for interviews in these countries; please follow this link for more information. Please also note that there is an earlier application deadline for those applying to the overseas interview scheme.

How do I apply for an overseas interview?

 ** Admissions interviews at Magdalene for the 2023-24 admissions round will be held virtually. For further information please visit the University’s webpage on interviews. **

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 the earlier application deadline of mid-late September (date to be confirmed) for applicants applying for the October interview slots with the international interviews team.

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?

** Admissions interviews at Magdalene for the 2023-24 admissions round will be held virtually. For further information please visit the University’s webpage on interviews. **

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?

 ** Admissions interviews at Magdalene for the 2023-24 admissions round will be held virtually. For further information please visit the University’s webpage on interviews. **

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.

Receiving an Offer

Why does my offer include an IELTS condition?

We routinely attach an IELTS condition to offers made to people who are likely to require a student 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?

IELTS is our preferred English language qualification at Magdalene, but we may set a TOEFL condition as an alternative to IELTS, or depending on circumstances and at our discretion accept one of the qualifications listed here.

Using IELTS (or more rarely TOEFL) means we are testing everybody to the same standard.

How do I apply for a Student Visa?

Information about applying for a student visa to study at Cambridge can be found on the International Students website by following this link.