Mature students

Students in Chetwynd Court

We welcome applications from students who will be 21 or over at the start of their undergraduate course.

  1. College choice
  2. How do we assess mature applicants?
  3. Choosing a course to prepare for your application to King's
  4. Who should write my reference?
  5. How many places are there at King's for mature students?
  6. When should I apply?
  7. International and mature applicants
  8. Graduate Society membership
  9. Further information

College choice

King's runners

A relay team of King's students, academics and staff win an inter-college cup! Credit: Sir Cam @ camdiary / University of Cambridge

King's is a standard age College so most undergraduates are eighteen when they start their course. The diversity of King's students and our large fellowship and graduate community makes for a very welcoming and supportive environment for mature students, but only you can decide whether you would prefer to apply to a standard age College such as King's or one of the four mature Colleges (Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund's, or Wolfson). 

In most cases your choice of College comes down to personal preference, and we hope that the Study at King's pages will help as you find out more about King's. For some mature students there are also some practical details which may affect your choice as a mature student. We therefore advise all mature students who are interested in King's to read our College choice advice page below before making a decision:

The application deadline for all courses at King's is 15 October, including for mature applicants. See When should I apply?

How do we assess mature applicants?


At King's we are looking for academic potential and motivation in all cases. We assess each application individually so mature applicants should not be concerned that their profile will be different from that of our standard age applicants. Although we will want to know the results of all exams taken both recently and in the past, mature candidates who performed below the level of our standard entrance requirements the first time around should not be put off applying, since this is a forward-looking process: what interests us is your ability and motivation now and what you would be able to achieve during your course at Cambridge. Entry is very competitive but if you are now achieving highly you are welcome to apply.

We set written assessments and interview the majority of our applicants, which helps us to assess potential and compare applicants fairly even against very different educational backgrounds. More information about the interviews, written assessments and selection process is given if you scroll down our how to apply page.

Choosing a course to prepare for your application to King's

A student reading

We will need evidence of your current performance and assurance that if you have taken a break from education you are fully back in the routine of dealing with a heavy and challenging academic workload.

If you can, the option of pursuing the same qualifications taken by school leavers (A levels, IB etc.) and achieving the standard entrance requirements is a good one.

If taking such qualifications is not possible or appropriate in your case, we also accept relevant Access, Open University and other foundation courses. We will need you to provide full details of the courses you have taken and the grades achieved and/or predicted when you apply. If you cannot find a way to provide the information on your UCAS form please send us appropriate documents (transcripts, mark schemes etc) by post at the time you apply.

When choosing a course we advise you to:

  • think carefully about the subject requirements for your proposed course. You can check these in the applying section of the relevant subject page.
  • think about what the Cambridge course will involve and the skills you need to develop. If your course will involve weekly essays, for example, it is important that you choose a pre-Cambridge course that will give you adequate practice and training in essay research and writing.
  • ensure that your workload will be sufficient to prepare you for the demands of a Cambridge course.

Who should write my reference?

Your reference can be written by anybody who is familiar with your current academic work. In most cases this will be a tutor from the current course you are doing. If you are not currently studying, your referee may be a current or former employer but they must be able to comment on your application and potential. Cambridge provides information for referees.

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

A student with a laptop

In an average year we would expect to admit a small handful of mature students, but there is no quota. We admit those students who we think show the most potential, whatever their age.

When should I apply?

No matter what course you are applying for, applications to King's College must be submitted a full year before the October in which you hope to start your course. So it is already too late to apply for October 2017 entry (the UCAS application deadline was 18:00 UK time on 15 October 2016) and you will need to wait and apply in late September / October 2017 for October 2018 entry.  This is the same for courses at all 'standard age' Colleges, as well as for all applications for Architecture, History of Art, Law, Medicine, Music, Philosophy (and some other courses that King's doesn't offer).

For some mature students, especially those starting a one-year course in September, the 15 October deadline can be difficult. The four mature colleges have a second application of 1 March for some courses. Please see the application deadlines page and the information about college choice for mature students.  The 'mature' colleges are Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund's, and Wolfson.

Which courses do you offer?

King's does not accept mature students in the following subjects: Education, Land Economy, Veterinary Medicine.

If you already have an undergraduate degree then you must apply as an affiliated student, whatever your age.

International and mature students

Mature students from outside the UK will find useful information on the page for international students.

Please check visa regulations if you are thinking of bringing dependents with you to the UK: it is likely that your dependents will not be eligible for a visa. The Points Based Immigration Office has further information on their website.

Graduate Society membership

Punt and punt oles

In addition to being part of the King's College Student Union (KCSU), which all undergraduates belong to, mature students at King's are made members of the King's College Graduate Society (KCGS). For more information see the representation page.

Further information

How to apply | Undergraduate study | Back to the top