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How to apply

All applications must be made via the Applicant Portal available on the Graduate Admissions Office website.

It is important that you read through the information available on the Graduate Admissions Office website before submitting your application.

If you are seeking funding for your course, there are specific deadlines and eligibility criteria for each funding competition.  Please check the funding and funding deadlines section of the Graduate Admissions Office website for details.

The final deadline for applicants seeking funding is 4 January 2017, but earlier deadlines will apply (for example if you are an overseas applicant from outside the EU). Even if you are not seeking funding, we strongly recommend that you submit your application by 4 January, as no applications will be accepted once programmes are full. 

If places are still available on programmes beyond this deadline, self-funded applicants will continue to be considered until the final deadline of 31 May 2017.

After submitting your online application form, there may be a delay of up to 48 hours before you are able to access your self-service account and submit supporting documentation.

The instructions include a list of the supporting documents you will need to include with your application, such as transcripts and references. In addition to these, be sure to include the materials specified on the page for the programme for which you are applying (M.Phil.M.Mus., or Ph.D.). You do not need to include a CV with your application unless you are applying to specialise in composition on the M.Phil course.

The three main criteria for acceptance are:

  1. whether appropriate supervision for the topic can be found in the Faculty;
  2. whether the quality of the submitted materials justifies interview by the prospective supervisor and another senior Faculty member;
  3. whether the interview justifies that the applicant be accepted.

If a prospective supervisor is available, she or he is asked to produce an assessment of the application for the Graduate Committee. If this is negative the application will usually be declined; if positive, the applicant (if resident in this country) is invited for interview by the prospective supervisor and another senior Faculty member, who will report back to the Graduate Committee recommending acceptance or rejection. You will be informed of the outcome of the application by the Board of Graduate Studies.

You can follow the progress of your application online using the self-service facility on the CamSIS website.

Academic qualification requirements

We will not normally admit anyone to graduate work unless they have a high upper second, or first class, honours degree from a university in the UK, or a degree of an equivalent standard from an overseas university. If you have not yet completed your degree, you may be made an offer conditional on obtaining a particular class in that degree. Masters level qualifications are required for entry to the Ph.D. programme.

Applicants will normally hold a degree in Music, though suitably qualified applicants with a background in arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences are all welcome. Applicants from the European Union and from overseas are also encouraged.

Fees and funding

To be admitted to Cambridge, you must give evidence that you can meet the fees and maintenance costs as a graduate student for the entire period of your studies. Please check the Graduate Admissions website for details of the costs you will incur.

Prospective PhD students should note that all expenses, including fees, can be expected to rise substantially over a three-year period of research. Students from overseas should also allow for fluctuations in currency exchange rates and take steps to fix the amount available to them in sterling.

Please note that it is not possible to take paid work while you are studying full-time at Cambridge, and you must not expect to provide additional income in this way. The only exception to this is that PhD students can earn some money by giving supervisions to undergraduate students, but you should not rely upon this as a significant source of income as no more than six hours a week may be spent in teaching activities.

The PhD is also available in part-time mode over five years. Applicants from outside the EU should however note that it is not possible to obtain a student visa for part-time study.

Competence in the English language

Applicants who are not native English speakers must have a fluent command of the English language and must prove they have passed one of the required language proficiency examinations no more than two years before the start of the course. In the IELTS the minimum requirement is an overall band score of 7.5, with not less than 7.0 in the individual elements. In the TOEFL the minimum requirement is an overall score of 110 with not less than 25 in the individual elements. Test results can be uploaded either with your application or later to meet one of the terms of a conditional offer. Further information can be found on the International Students section of the Graduate Admissions website.



Graduate admission to Cambridge is a two-stage process. First, you must be accepted by the Faculty, then by a college. All the colleges are open to both men and women, except for three – Murray Edwards (formerly New Hall), Newnham and Lucy Cavendish – which are for women only. Students do not have to be, and often are not, in the same college as their supervisor, nor need your college choice be determined by your field of study.

There are five graduate colleges – Clare Hall, Darwin, Hughes Hall, St Edmund’s and Wolfson – which admit only graduate students and mature undergraduates. Because of the increasing number of graduate students, we strongly urge you to include at least one graduate college among your college options, since these colleges are more likely to accept you.

If the colleges you have chosen are not able to offer you membership, the Student Registry will make your papers available to other selected colleges. It is University policy that no student who has met all the other conditions of their offer will be prevented from taking up their place purely through want of a college place, so long as the student has not refused an offer of college membership.

For detailed information about each college, see the Graduate Studies Prospectus.

If you have any other queries regarding graduate study in the Faculty of Music please email

Study Music at Cambridge