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How to apply

All applications for undergraduate study at Cambridge are handled by the individual Colleges that make up the University of Cambridge. Information about the application procedure can be found on the University’s Undergraduate Admissions pages where you will be guided through the process.

Please bear in mind that the application process for Cambridge starts earlier than at many other universities. More information about application dates and deadlines can also be found on the Undergraduate Admissions web pages.

Entry Requirements

Each application is considered on its own merits, but typical offers are:

  • A-Level: A*AA
  • IB: 7.7.7 or 7.7.6 and a total score 38–42
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB or AAA
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: AAAAA to AAABB

If you have taken A levels, the essential requirement is normally A level Music and A levels in two other academic subjects. The choice of subjects is not critical, and humanities subjects, languages and sciences are all good choices. We also accept qualifications from other examination systems; there is a University web page with further information about this. ABRSM Grade 8 Theory (Merit) can be offered as a substitute for A Level Music. A Level Music Technology is recognised as an additional A Level, but not considered a substitute for Music A Level.

Finally, we expect you to have some familiarity with the Western classical repertoire, and to have experience of writing about music. A well developed musical ear, basic facility at the keyboard, and some proficiency in harmony and counterpoint are also desirable, though few successful applicants have equal facility in all these areas.

To find out more, browse or download the Music Faculty Prospectus, or visit the music page of the University’s Undergraduate Prospectus. There is also admissions information from the various Colleges, through whom you make your application.

Tests and Interview

Before coming to interview you will be asked to submit representative written work and musical material. This will normally include:

  1. essays on the history or analysis of music
  2. technical exercises (if studied) and/or your own compositions.

When you come to Cambridge for interview, you will be invited to demonstrate your skills in a number of different areas.  We do not expect you to excel in all areas; rather, we use the interviews to explore your musical experience and interests, and to form an impression of your skills and capabilities as well as your potential to develop further as a student within the context of the music course at Cambridge. 

As part of the interview process, you will be asked to comment either verbally or in written form on a reading and/or a score; these will be set by the individual college where your interview is taking place.  In addition, you will be asked to talk about the areas of music that you have studied to date.  At some colleges, additional technical exercises are set (for example, a harmony and counterpoint exercise), and you may be asked to undertake keyboard and aural tests, and/or perform a short piece. Candidates should contact the admissions offices at individual colleges for further details.

Study Music at Cambridge