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How do I apply?

 

How do I apply?

"Apply! You won't regret being in this incredible place reading one of the most diverse and interesting degrees Cambridge offers - a truly interdisciplinary subject which allows you, whatever your perspective, to develop crucial skills for the future."

Dominic, third-year student

All applications for undergraduate first degree programmes are handled by the individual colleges that make up the University of Cambridge. The University has an excellent admissions website which will guide you through the process. We welcome students from all over the world. If you are an international applicant, please refer to the relevant pages on the Cambridge Admissions website.

Many applicants worry a great deal over whether they have chosen the 'right' College for their application. The admissions process for Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion is designed to ensure that it really does not matter which College you apply to: strong candidates will have a good chance of gaining a place at one of the Colleges in the University.

No particular subjects at A level (or equivalent) are required for Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion and it is not necessary to have studied Religious Studies at AS or A level. Subjects such as Religious Studies, History, English and modern languages can be helpful, but so can any other subjects that encourage clear, logical thinking and careful analysis of evidence. Students with a completely science background study for the degree and do very well. We have some student profiles to show you some of the different combinations our students have studied. If you aren't studying religion at the moment, you may wish to supplement your knowledge of the area by reading appraopriate text. The King's College subject pages have some suggestions for where to get started.

Some colleges may require you to have studied an essay-based subject. Please check individual college webpages for this information.

Our entry requirements are A*AA at A-level or 40-41 points with 776 at Higher Level for IB; more information is available on the University's Undergraduate Study pages.

No personal faith is required or assumed. We are looking for interest, engagement, and a demonstrable belief that Religion (for better or worse) is important in the world.

Assessments and Interviews

"Although applying can seem daunting, I enjoyed narrowing down my preferences and really focusing on the reasons why I am interested in what I am interested in. The interview was great fun as well - although it is a scary prospect, those twenty minutes fly by and are a really great opportunity to talk about what you are passionate about."

Hannah, first year student

 

At-interview assessment

If you are invited to interview (about 80% of applicants) you will sit a 60 minute assessment when you come to Cambridge in December.

It will take the form of a pre-recorded sample lecture. This will give you an opportunity to demonstrate how you have developed academically since you took your GCSEs. It will be skills-based, looking at your comprehension and writing skills, but will not assume any prior knowledge.

The purpose is to determine a candidate’s potential to achieve in an academically demanding undergraduate degree course. The assessment is designed to be challenging, in order to differentiate effectively between able applicants, including those who may have achieved the highest possible grades in school examinations. The assessment will take one hour and consists of two sections:

Section 1

Candidates will watch a brief video of a sample lecture in the Faculty of Divinity on a subject related to religion. Candidates will be expected to make notes during this.

Section 1 will last for approximately 20 minutes.

Section 2

Candidates will provide written answers to a series of comprehension questions about the content of the video. Marks are not deducted for incorrect answers, so candidates are advised to answer all questions. It will be skills based and no prior knowledge of any particular religion will be assumed. The purpose of this exercise is to allow the candidates to show recall, comprehension and analytical skills in respect to a lecture.

Section two will last for approximately 40 minutes.

We have three sample lectures available for you to practise recall, comprehension and analysis before sitting the assessment:

School Essays

Applicants to the following Colleges are also required to submit one or two School/college essays as examples of written work prior to interview. See individual College websites for further details.

  • Christ's
  • Clare
  • Corpus Christi
  • Downing
  • Emmanuel
  • Fitzwilliam
  • Girton
  • Gonville and Caius
  • Homerton
  • Jesus
  • King's
  • Lucy Cavendish
  • Magdalene
  • Murray Edwards
  • Newnham
  • Pembroke
  • Peterhouse
  • Queens'
  • Robinson
  • St Catharine's
  • St John's
  • Selwyn
  • Sidney Sussex
  • Trinity
  • Trinity Hall
  • Wolfson

 

Interviews

The Faculty has an Admissions Co-ordinator (who is one of the College Directors of Studies) who will receive a copy of every application for Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion across the Colleges. Before the interviewing begins, all Directors of Studies meet to consider the whole field of applicants. At that meeting, each candidate is assigned an interview at a second College - this process not only compensates for peaks and troughs in applications to particular Colleges but also gives you a second chance, with a different interviewer, who may draw out a different response. To see a mock interview, see the Interviews in Action page.

Applicants are interviewed in all Colleges on the same two days. Immediately afterwards the Directors of Studies meet again to compare notes; at this point they flag up to colleagues strong applicants for whom they might not have room at their College, but who deserve a place at another College.

 

Outcomes

Strong applicants who have not been made an offer by their first choice College are placed in the January Pool. If you are, you might then be made an offer by your second interview College, or by another College which is happy to rely on the information already available. It is possible that a third College might ask you to a further interview in January.

The Second Interview Scheme has proved to be very successful: over the last few years one offer in four has been made via the Pool.

 

It is worth remembering that the closing date for applications to Oxford and Cambridge is on 15 October, earlier than for other Universities. Don't leave it too late!