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 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, Wolfson). In most cases this comes down to personal preference. We hope that you will take time to read the Study at King's pages, as well as the information below, and think carefully about what would be best for you.

If you will have only just started a one-year course in the year you apply, it would be sensible to take advantage of the later application deadlines for many courses at the mature Colleges to give yourself a chance to see how you get on with your new course, and to enable your referee to provide an accurate reference and predicted grades once they have got to know you. The application deadline for all courses at King's is 15 October, which may be too early for some mature students to make a competitive application.

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

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.

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 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 interview 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?

It is important to be aware that 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 2016 entry (the UCAS application deadline was 18:00 UK time on 15 October 2015) and you will need to wait and apply in late September / October 2016 for October 2017 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).

If you're reading this between late October and early March and would like to start your course in October 2016, do read about the second application round at the mature Colleges. Although you have missed the deadline for King's,  you might like to consider applying to a 'mature' Cambridge College by 1 March 2016 if you would like to study one of the eligible subjects. The 'mature' Colleges are Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund's, and Wolfson.

International and mature students

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

Please check recent visa changes 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

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