International students

Students on the Back Lawn

The diversity of King's students makes the College an especially welcoming environment for students from outside the UK. International students should read all of the Study at King's section of this website as well as the information below.

  1. Introduction to King's
  2. How do we assess international applications?
  3. How many places are there at King's for international students?
  4. English Language requirements
  5. How do I apply to King's?
  6. Support for current international applicants
  7. When should I apply?
  8. Who should write my reference? What information should be included?
  9. Sending in written work
  10. The academic year
  11. What if I need a visa to study in the UK?
  12. What are the fees? Can I get a scholarship?
  13. International student perspectives
  14. Further Information

Introduction to King's

King's from the Backs

International students often cannot visit King's in person, but you can use our 360° virtual tour to look around the College grounds (click on 'Navigate the grounds' to see other parts of the College). Similar tours enable you to explore inside King's College Library and Chapel. The College map and facilities section are also useful.

You might like to read what some of our international students say about living and studying at King's in the student perspectives section.

Robin Osborne

In this audio clip, Prof Robin Osborne (an academic in Classics and former Senior Tutor) talks about the unique environment and intellectual opportunities here at King's.

 

How do we assess international applications?

Our admissions principles are exactly the same for international students as for any other applicant: we are looking for academic potential. Applicants in different parts of the world work in all kinds of different exam systems. This is nothing to worry about:

  • We receive a large number of international applications each year and you can see a list of our most common standard offers on the entrance requirements page. We are happy to provide further advice by email if your qualification is not listed and you are unsure of its suitability.
  • We assess each application individually. We ask international applicants to provide full details of any exams taken from the age of 15/16 (whether formal exams or internal school exams). We will need to know your result in each subject as well as any overall grades. If you have a certificate showing your results, you will need to submit a copy at the time you apply. Otherwise, you should ask your school to write a document stating the exams you took each year and the grades you achieved (in the UK we call this a high school transcript - see the transcript page). You will be prompted to submit your transcript online when you fill in the Cambridge application forms (COPA / SAQ).
  • We interview most candidates and in some subjects we set written tests or ask you to send written work (see the subject pages for further details). Interviews and tests are not designed to test a particular syllabus but more generally to find out how you work and how you would respond to the kind of academic challenges you would meet as an undergraduate at King's. We can find out a lot about your interests, motivation and potential by discussing your subject with you. There is further information about interviews and what we are looking for if you scroll down the how to apply page.

How many places are there at King's for international students?

We make offers to those students who we think show the most academic promise. We can admit as many international candidates as we want to based on the strength of the applications. There is therefore no set number or proportion of places for international students: we are only interested in your academic ability.

The one exception to this rule is for Medicine applications. There are only 22 places available across Cambridge University for overseas (non-EU) Medicine students.

English language requirements

Your English language skills need to be good enough for you to undertake an intensive and challenging academic course that is taught and examined in English. We usually require international students who are not native speakers of English to sit the IELTS examination and to offer an overall score of 7.5 with no individual element under 7.0. Many international applicants take the IELTS before they apply to King's and include the certificate with their high school transcript.

Since we interview most of our applicants, we also use the interview (along with any written work or tests that are required for your course) to assess your communication skills in English. Some international students study English as part of their school qualifications - it is not a question of exactly which exams you have taken, but rather how good your English is when we meet you.

If you have not already taken the IELTS examination we may include an English language requirement as a condition of any offer we make in January. You would then have until the following August to sit the IELTS examination and provide us with evidence that you have achieved the required grades. Please note that we always specify the IELTS examination rather than any alternative English language test. Some students will not be set an IELTS condition because we are already happy with their level of English.

Students who will need a visa should note that there are UK entry language requirements as well. See the UK Border Agency website. Students applying for overseas interviews should check the requirements for their interview location.

How do I apply to King's?

First you must work out whether you should apply as a European Union or Overseas (non-EU) student. This depends on where you go to school. It has nothing to do with fee status (which may be different and is sorted out later).

European Union applications

EU students apply in the same way as UK students except that they must provide a high school transcript. Please read the how to apply page thoroughly. If you are studying in an EU country then you would come to Cambridge for interviews in early December if invited.

Overseas applications

Overseas applicants (from schools outside the European Union) follow the same basic procedure, but have to submit a Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) and high school transcript in addition to the UCAS form and SAQ. Please read the King's how to apply page thoroughly.

Many overseas applicants apply to be interviewed at King's College, Cambridge in the normal way. We are happy to provide one night's free accommodation for you at King's when you come for your interview if you need it and there are travel instructions on the Getting to King's page. If you have an overseas address we will provide an official document to enable you to apply for a visa to enter the UK for your interview. Please note that time will be very tight. If the visa application process in your country takes a long time it would be worth considering applying for an overseas interview.

Some overseas students apply to be interviewed overseas. This means that if selected you are seen locally by an overseas team from Cambridge who interview you on behalf of the University and administer any test required. The University has in the recent past conducted admissions interviews in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and PR China. King's candidates for overseas interviews should:

We realise that mail takes some time to arrive in certain parts of the world. Accordingly we issue interview invitations and decision letters by email as well as post.

Support for current international applicants

When should I apply?

The river Cam running through King's

The River Cam runs through King's

It is important to be aware that applications must be submitted a full year before the October in which you hope to start your course at King's. So it is already too late to apply for October 2015 entry, and you must wait until the second half of September/early October 2015 to apply for October 2016 entry (or for deferred entry in October 2017).

Applying with predicted grades

Many students apply in the September/October of their final year of school with predicted grades for school-leaving examinations which they will take in the summer. If we make an offer in January, it is conditional on examination performance and we write to confirm conditional places in late August once examination results have been achieved. This enables students to start at King's the October after they leave school.

Students (e.g. Australian students) whose academic year ends in December can still apply with predicted grades in September/October but will have a gap between the end of their school year and starting at King's the following October.

Applying after you have taken your school-leaving exams

The other option is to apply to King's the October after you have received your school-leaving exam results, and take a gap year between school and studying at Cambridge. If you have already met our entrance requirements, an offer we make in January would not normally have academic conditions.

Please read how to apply thoroughly for further details of the application timetable.

Your reference

When you submit your UCAS form you will need somebody to write a reference for you. This must be somebody (usually a teacher or adviser) who is familiar with your current academic work and can comment in detail about your application and academic potential. Please explain to your referee that you will be assessed on academic grounds so the more specific they can be about your academic ability the better.

Your referee must provide grade predictions for any exams you have not yet taken.

Cambridge provides information for referees and you should also consult the reference section on the UCAS website.

How to submit a UCAS reference

It will not be possible to assess your application unless we receive a reference for you. Ideally your reference should be in English. If this is really not possible, please send us an official translation by post. You must not translate the reference yourself.

Sending in written work

Depending on your subject, you may be asked to send us one or more essays after you have applied.

  • We are aware of differences in syllabus and methodology in different countries so you will not be disadvantaged if your essays are not written in the same style as those we receive from UK applicants.
  • We can be very flexible and will work with whatever essays you choose to send us.
  • The essays must be in English. We are happy to accept translations (either official translations or a translation by you) if you want to submit work originally written in another language.

We will provide full information and guidance after you have applied to us. Please don't worry in the meantime.

The academic year

The academic year at Cambridge runs from October to mid June each year.

There are three terms:

  • Michaelmas term (early October to early December)
  • Lent term (mid January to mid March)
  • Easter term (mid April to mid June)

The exact dates vary a little depending on when Easter is. Students are expected to do some work during the vacations as well.

Students at King's Funday

A May Week party on the back lawn

Terms are short and very intensive. They officially last eight weeks though there will be meetings and social activities in the few days either side of lectures. In Easter term, there are four weeks of teaching before the exam period, and the final week (called May week though it actually takes place in June!) is a fun week of end-of-year parties and activities of all kinds to celebrate the end of exams.

What if I need a visa to study in the UK?

The UK Border Agency is your primary source of information, and on their website you can check whether you will need a visa.

Please also see the information from Cambridge International Students' Team. You should find their information on visas for interview candidates and their page for new and prospective students particularly useful.

King's cannot provide advice about visas, but you may wish to contact:

  • the Points Based Immigration Office:
  • the International Office:

What are the fees? How is my fee status decided? Can I get a scholarship?

In the finance section you will find:

The Cambridge Admissions website provides details of further support for students from Canada and Hong Kong. More generally, you may find this external University Scholarship Search website helpful.

The College will ask all overseas undergraduate offer-holders to document their financial circumstances and any potential need soon after academic offers have been made in January.

International student perspectives

What do international students say about studying at King's? In the documents below, current students have written about their experiences, including what attracted them to the Cambridge course, the application process, teaching, the workload and what they do in their spare time.

See the student perspectives page for more accounts.

Further Information

Undergraduate study | Study at King's