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Applying for Graduate Studies

Admission requirements

Applicants to the postgraduate programmes require a high 2:1 or a 1st at BA and/or MPhil level from a UK university or the equivalent from an overseas university. They must submit a viable and interesting research proposal and have the necessary academic knowledge and skills to pursue their project. Your application should show that you have explored the research and teaching offerings of the Faculty and University. Indication of who you would like to work with as a supervisor is helpful. You probably want to talk to potential supervisors before applying.

Admission is at the discretion of the Degree Committee, which judges each applicant on his or her own merits and according to the supervisory capacity of the Faculty.

Language requirements

Prospective graduate students must have a working knowledge of the language relevant to the area in which they wish to study. For all PhDs, whether students are analysing texts or conducting fieldwork, excellent knowledge of the relevant language(s) is required.

Any specific language requirements are also given in the main subject areas.

One-year MPhil in East Asian Studies: Very good knowledge of Modern Japanese and/or Modern Chinese and/or Modern Korean, both oral and written.

One-year MPhil in Chinese Studies: Very good knowledge of at least Modern Chinese, both oral and written. If the thesis deals with premodern China, good knowledge of classical Chinese is required.

One-year MPhil in Japanese Studies (by ‘thesis only’): Very good knowledge of Japanese, both oral and written. If the thesis deals with premodern Japan, good knowledge of classical Japanese is required.

One year MPhil in Arabic and/or Persian Studies: Very good overall knowledge of Arabic and/or Persian, including the capability to use relevant classical or contemporary sources.

One year MPhil in Hebrew Studies: Evidence of a good knowledge of Hebrew or Hebrew and Aramaic. 

One year MPhil in South Asian Studies (by ‘thesis only’): Evidence of a good knowledge of Sanskrit (at least two years of formal courses or the equivalent).

English language certificate 
(for non-native English speakers)

Applicants who are non-native speakers of English or who have not taken a degree course in an English-speaking university will need to prove appropriate English language skills before taking up their studies at the University of Cambridge.

Minimum scores on the accepted English language tests are:

  • an IELTS minimum score of 7.5 overall (with minimum 7.0 in each element); or
  • a TOEFL minimum score of 620 or 260 in the computer-based test; or
  • 110 in iBT, plus 5.0 TWE.

Applicants should note that they can submit their application before passing the test. It is also possible to re-take the test. However, any offer will be conditional on the English language certificate prior to taking up the course and applicants will not be accepted if they have not successfully passed the test.

Student visa (Tier 4)

All international graduate students must obtain a Student Visa (Tier 4) before they start their course. For further information about the current regulations for the Tier 4, please consult with the International Student Team at the University. EU citizens do not require a visa:

Fees and funding

As a graduate student at the University you must pay a University Composition Fee (UCF) and a College Fee. You are also expected to have 'maintenance' funds to support your living costs while you are studying. The value of the UCF is dependent on your 'fee status', which is determined according to your nationality and place of permanent residence. Students have to meet the financial conditions before they start their course.

A number of funding schemes are available to help prospective graduate students cover their university tuition fees, College fees and/or living costs. Some of these schemes are available to all students at the University, others are only for specific subject areas and are administered by the Faculty.

Further information on fees and funding is available from the University's Student Registry:

Further information about financial support available to graduate students at FAMES may be found in our 'Fees and Funding' section:

Choosing a College

All postgraduate students are a member of a College during their time at Cambridge. On the application form, you can indicate your first two choices of a College or make an ‘open’ application.

When choosing a College, you should consider factors such as location and look at the webpages of various colleges to get a sense of what makes them distinctive. You may wish to consider whether the Fellowship includes scholars working in your field.

Most Colleges admit both undergraduate and postgraduate students, but not all. Clare Hall and Darwin admit only postgraduate students. Lucy Cavendish, Murray Edwards and Newnham admit only female students.

Further information about College membership is available from the University's Graduate Admissions website: