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How To Apply

There is no typical Music student at Cambridge. While entry to Cambridge is certainly competitive, if you are among the brightest students in your school or college, if you are really interested in music, and if you are on course to achieve top grades in your forthcoming exams, you should definitely consider applying. You are likely to be a serious candidate.

We welcome and warmly encourage applications from talented students from every educational and social background. We seek students with diverse casts of mind, and diverse personal, ethnic, educational, and geographical backgrounds. What we all share is intellectual curiosity, and delight in the subject. Our Students have initiative in solving puzzles or finding topics for enquiry for themselves. They have the capacity to manage the independent parts of their studies, and meet their deadlines.


In Cambridge, admissions are handled by individual Colleges, so you should consult the webpage of the College to which you would like to apply (or to which you are assigned, if you make an Open Application) for details of the likely format of the interview, or any written test.

For general guidelines, advice, and deadlines, please visit the University's Undergraduate Admissions pages:

There's no common format written assessment for Music – the Colleges will assess aptitude, knowledge base and potential through short tasks at the time of interview (if interviewed). See individual College websites for details and the Colleges provide details of arrangements in the letters inviting applicants to interview:

Please note that your performance in the assessment at interview will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to the frequently asked questions we receive from candidates applying to study Music:

I haven’t taken A level music but I have ABRSM grade 8 theory; can I still apply to Cambridge?
Yes. All colleges will consider an application with Grade 8 theory instead of A level music.

I study music technology insteadof music; can I still apply to Cambridge?
Not normally.
Because of the nature of our curriculum, we are happy to accept A level Music Technology as a supplement to A level Music, but not as a substitute for it. However, individual Colleges assess each application on its merits, and those responsible for admissions are always willing to discuss special circumstances.

Do I have to have Grade 5 piano? What if I haven't studied harmony and counterpoint?
Our teaching takes account of individual abilities, and for this reason we don't impose absolute requirements. Some ability to play the piano is helpful, and if you have the option to take A level harmony and counterpoint elements we would recommend that you do so. All this will increase your preparedness for our programme.

What if I have taken the IB or other qualifications instead of A levels?
The University accepts students with a wide range of qualifications at a level equivalent to A level from the UK and internationally.  Full details of entrance requirements for a variety of these qualifications are available on the Undergraduate Admissions pages.

Do you accept VCE, Applied A levels, GNVQs and BTECs?
Not normally. VCE A levels, Applied A levels, GNVQs and/or BTECs are not ideal preparation for most Cambridge courses, where the emphasis is more academic than vocational. As such, these qualifications will not normallybe accepted in place of either A levelor ABRSM grade 8 theory, but maybe accepted as an additional fourth broadening subject. Prospective applicants taking these qualifications should seek further advice from a College Admissions Tutor.

What factors do I need to consider when choosing my College?
It depends on you and what you are looking for. We suggest you take the following into account: age, gender, size, facilities and location. Don’t agonise about it for too long - there are more similarities than differences between colleges and most students settle in and enjoy their college wherever they end up. If you really can’t make a decision, you can consider an open application.  Further information is available on the Undergraduate Admissions pages.

Will my choice of College affect my chances of getting in?
Some Colleges attract many more applications than others. But the Colleges all look for the same basic characteristics in a successful applicant, and there is a pooling system. As a result, when a College can't accept a strong application, it is passed to another College that can.  See the Undergraduate Admissions pages for more information.

Will I get a piano in my room?
All Colleges will provide either a piano or a keyboard in the rooms of their music students. You should check with the College you are applying to for more details about their provision for music students.

Do you provide instrumental tuition?
For students taking performance options, support of normally at least £420 is provided to help towards the cost of instrumental or vocal tuition in the first year, followed normally by a minimum of £540 in the second year and £700 in the third. Students who are not taking any performance options may still be eligible for financial support. Check with individual Colleges for the exact figures

How many practice rooms are there?
The Faculty doesn't have designated practice rooms because these facilities are provided by Colleges. However, Faculty teaching rooms (including the large recital room and the concert hall) can be booked for individual or group rehearsals when not in use for other purposes.

Will I get to perform as part of the course?
Yes, if you choose to. You can offer performance as part of your assessment in all three years. However, even if you don't opt for this, performing can take up much of your time here. There are a huge number of music societies and ensembles active in the University,with at least one concert taking place somewhere virtually every night, so you will never be without an opportunity to perform.

I'm applying as an international student, where can I find information about the process for me?
For information about applying as an international student, visit the University's Undergraduate Admissions pages.

I'm over 21. Does that make a difference?
We welcome mature students, and four of the colleges specialise in admitting students like you. Our links section includes a University website with further information.

What if I have a disability?
Like any other student, you can thrive here. Every effort will be made to provide a suitable and supportive learning environment for you. The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) is an essential first point of contact. They can provide you with advice on the proximity and accessibility of Colleges in relation to the Music Faculty, and information on the support available
to you; they may even be able to put you in touch with a student who has a disability similar to yours, so that you can find out about their experiences here. We recommend that you disclose your disability in your UCAS application so that you can be contacted to arrange any special requirements for interviews. For further information, visit our Undergraduate Admissions pages.

Study Music at Cambridge