Applying this year
Applying can seem daunting, but the process is more straightforward than you might think. To find out more, take a look at the information below.
Don't forget that for all our online resources to support your application, you can head to our Resources Archive.
St John’s offers 32 subjects for study at Undergraduate level. When applying for a subject please make sure to carefully read the subject information here.
Undergraduate applications to St John’s are made online via UCAS and further information about the UCAS application process can be found here. Applications should be submitted by 18:00 BST on the 16 October 2023 for entry in October 2024, or for deferred entry to the following year (October 2025).
Please note that your application cannot be submitted until your chosen referee has completed and added your reference to the application. You will need to ensure your referee has time to do this before the deadline.
When applying to Cambridge you will need to use a Campus Code to nominate your chosen College. St John's College’s Campus Code is X. If you do not have a preference College you can make an Open application (Campus Code 9) and your application will be randomly allocated to a College after the application deadline.
You’ll then be asked to supply extra information through My Cambridge Application, which ensures that we have complete and consistent information about applicants.
As part of a UCAS form, you will be asked to complete a personal statement. This is an opportunity to give specific information about yourself that you feel it is important for us to know. This could be detailed reasons for why you want to study your chosen course, what motivated you, your hobbies and interests outside school, or your future aspirations, to name but a few. Interviewers at St John’s may use your personal statement as a basis for discussion. For guidance on what to include, we advise you to follow the UCAS advice on personal statements. You might also be interested in our resources available on the page here.
My Cambridge Application includes space to provide an additional personal statement, giving you the opportunity to expand on your UCAS personal statement, allowing you to include information specific to the course you are applying for at Cambridge. There is no need to repeat information included in the UCAS personal statement.
The information displayed on this webpage applies to the vast majority of applicants to St John's. However, an applicant's circumstances can affect what they must submit in order for their application to be considered, or specific deadlines for when they must apply.
If any of the below circumstances apply to your application, please also look for further information on this webpage:
- You live outside the UK
- English is not your first language
- You are planning to take a year out between school and university
- You will be over the age of 21 on the 1st October of the year you hope to come to Cambridge
- You already have a degree from another university
- You wish to apply for an Organ Scholarship or Choral Scholarship.
Some subjects require applicants to complete a written assessment, either pre-registration required or Cambridge College registered. A list of these subjects and the type of assessment they require can be found on the University website, each subject webpage will also state whether a pre- or at- interview assessment is applicable.
Cambridge College Registered Assessments
A list of subjects with a Cambridge College registered, with further information on the format of each assessment, can be found on this University webpage. You do not need to register for an Cambridge College registered assessment, and there is no charge associated with taking an assessment at interview. Detailed information about each At-Interview assessment will be sent to those invited to interview in their invitation email.
Pre-registration Required Assessments
A list of subjects with a pre-registration required assessment, with further information on the format of each assessment and relevant dates and deadlines, can be found on this University webpage.
Please note that in 2022, Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (CAAT) made changes to the registration deadlines and test dates for all pre-registration assessments other than the LNAT. The registration and test dates are earlier than in previous years. For subjects with a pre-registration required assessment, registration is required in order for your application to be considered so please do review this information carefully.
The following subjects have additional requirements for applicants:
- Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic - submit two pieces of written work
- Archaeology - submit one piece of written work
- Architecture - must submit your original artwork and original sketchbooks (further details here)
- Asian and Middle Eastern Studies - submit two pieces of written work
- Design - must submit your original artwork and original sketchbooks (further details here)
- Education - submit two pieces of written work
- Classics - submit two pieces of written work
- English - submit two pieces of written work
- History - submit two pieces of written work
- History and Modern Languages - submit two pieces of written work
- History and Politics - submit two pieces of written work
- Human, Social and Political Sciences - submit two pieces of written work
- Modern and Medieval Languages - submit two pieces of written work
- Music - submit two pieces of work, written and music-based
- Theology - submit two pieces of written work
Submitted written work should be essays or pieces of coursework you have produced in the course of your school work and marked by a teacher, not specially written for your application. If your work is not in English (excluding applications that include Modern Languages), you will have to provide a translation (verified by your school or a suitable third party) along with the original document.
Please see the following section for how to submit written work.
Correspondence and Supporting Information
This section is for those who have applied to St John's College and who have received an email acknowledging their application.
All correspondence regarding your application will be sent via e-mail to the address provided in your UCAS application. Any questions about your application can be sent to email@example.com. Please ensure your email account is configured correctly, so that emails from the University or College are not rejected. Any email sent to the College should include in the subject line: your name, UCAS Personal ID, and subject you have applied for.
Documents to Upload
1. Written work
Who needs to submit cover sheets and written work? Only applicants for subjects which are listed here as requiring written work.
How should the written work and cover sheets be submitted? All applicants are sent an email containing a link to the Applicant Additional Documentation Form where written work needs to be uploaded. Please create a single, multi-page PDF file containing all the pages of your document. If asked for two essays, please submit these as separate files. Download the cover sheet and find guidance here.
Deadline: 2nd November 2023
Who needs to submit this form? ONLY applicants for Architecture or Design
How should the Portfolio and cover sheet be submitted? All applicants are sent an email containing a link to the Applicant Additional Documentation Form where your Architecture portfolio needs to be uploaded. Full information on what should be included in your portfolio can be found here. Please upload your sample artwork using this link and include the relevant cover sheet. Download the cover sheet here.
Your portfolio should be:
- a PDF file
- 6-pages long (7 pages including cover sheet)
- using A4-sized pages
- maximum of 15MB file size
Deadline: 2nd November 2023
3. Disability/Specific Learning/ Long-term illness Difficulties Interview Adjustment Form
Who needs to submit this form? Applicants with a disability or specific learning difficulty. If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, please complete the form and return this to us as soon as possible. We wish to ensure that, wherever possible and required, we can make appropriate arrangements if you are called for interview.
How should the form be submitted? Please complete the form here. Please upload this document using the link to the Applicant Additional Documentation Form you have been emailed.
Deadline: 2nd November 2023
4. Extenuating Circumstances Form (ECF)
Who needs to submit this form? Applicants who have experienced particular personal, social or educational disadvantage. More information is available here.
How should the form be submitted? Submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form here. The ECF should normally be completed and submitted by the applicant's school/college.
Deadline: 23 October 2023. If there will be any delay to the submission of your ECF then please let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By applying to St John's College applicants give consent for their data to be processed in accordance to the University of Cambridge's guidelines on data protection. Applicant information is retained by the College and University for as long as it remains relevant. In the case of unsuccessful applications this normally means that personal information will be destroyed on the 1st September in the year following the application, and electronic files are anonymised and kept for research and statistical purposes.
St John's interviews all applicants using Zoom, so there is no need to travel to Cambridge or take several days off school. You will need a reliable wifi connection, a device with video and audio capability, and a room where you can be on your own. Some subjects* require you to use a Zoom whiteboard, which means you will need a tablet and stylus in addition to the device you are using for the interview. If you have any trouble accessing one to use in your interview or for practice, please contact the Admissions Office here at St John's and we will help you.
Your interview(s) will typically take place within a small window on the same day. We try hard to minimise disruption to your school day. Candidates who are in different time zones will normally have their interviews scheduled at a reasonable time for them. St John's applicants are typically given one or two interviews, with two interviewers per interview and a total interview time of between 35-50 minutes in length. The interview panel will usually include the Director of Studies and College Fellows within the subject you've applied for, who wish to learn more about your aptitude and interest for the course. You are not being assessed on your clothes or appearance or Zoom background but we recommend wearing something comfortable and having a plain wall behind you to minimise distractions during the interview. We want you to be able to concentrate on our questions, rather than on anything extraneous. We try to make the interviews as relaxed as possible, so if you have any questions or problems do let us know in advance and we will do our best to help. Our interviews are designed to find out what you do know, not what you don't. The interviewers want to see how you think spontaneously, and where your interests and enthusiasms lie, particularly in relation to the course you are applying for.
* Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Economics, Engineering and Physical Natural Sciences
Preparing for your interview
The University's guide to preparing for interviews gives general advice on preparation for Cambridge interviews.
The Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions will be hosting webinars to help applicants prepare for their interview. These will be held on the following dates/times. All times are given in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
• Friday 24 November: 6 – 6.45pm
• Saturday 25 November: 8.30 – 9.15am
• Tuesday 28 November: 6 – 6.45pm
• Thursday 30 November: 8 – 8.45am
Joining instructions will be provided via email to shortlisted applicants in their invitation to interview. Please note that attendance is not mandatory and links to useful online interview preparation information will also be included in interview invites.
Interview arrangements have not yet been finalised for the 2023-24 Admissions Round but interviews typically take place during the first three weeks of December. We will try to give each applicant at least two weeks' advance notice of the timing of interviews, but there may be occasions when this is not possible.
Dates for each subject's interviews be will be listed as they become available and will otherwise be listed as to be confirmed (tbc). All dates are provisional and subject to change should unforeseen circumstances arise.
- Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic - 8 December
- Archaeology - 7 December
- Architecture - 11-13 December
- Asian and Middle Eastern Studies - to be confirmed
- Chemical Engineering - 6 December
- Classics - 5 December
- Computer Science - 4-7 December
- Design - 11-13 December
- Economics - 4-7 December
- Education - 4 December
- Engineering - 4-8 December
- English - 4-6 December
- Geography - between 4, 5, 7, 8 December (tbc)
- History - 1, 4, 5 December
- History of Art - 4 December
- History and Modern Languages - 4-8 December (N.B. History interviews and ML interviews may take place on different days)
- History and Politics - 5-6 December
- Human, Social and Political Sciences - 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 December
- Land Economy - 4-5 December
- Law - 4-8 December
- Linguistics - 5 December
- Mathematics - 5-8 December
- Medical Sciences - 4-8 December
- Modern and Medieval Languages - 6-8 December
- Music - 12-13 December
- Natural Sciences (Biological) - 1, 4, 5, 6 December
- Natural Sciences (Physical) - 1, 4, 5, 6 December
- Philosophy -12-13 December
- Psychological and Behavioural Sciences - 4-6 December
- Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion - 1 December
- Veterinary Medicine - 30 November - 1 December
Please avoid other fixed commitments that might clash with interviews during this period as we may not be able to re-arrange interview times assigned to you. The College does not normally offer undergraduate places to candidates who are unavailable for interview.
If you are unable to attend an interview during this period please contact the Admissions Office as soon as possible as well as noting these restrictions in your additional application questionnaire. If enough notice is given, it may be possible to avoid scheduling your interviews on particular days.
Interviews can start as early as 8.00am, with the later ones finishing at 6.30pm UK time. It may not be possible to make any changes after you have been notified of your interview times. Any special arrangements for interviews in individual subjects will be communicated when you are notified of your interview date.
All applicants for entry in 2024 and deferred entry in 2025 across the University will be informed of the outcome of their application via UCAS on 25 January 2024.
Decisions on which candidates will receive an offer of a place are made on a holistic basis, combining performance in interviews, the school or college reference, actual and predicted exam results, and any other relevant factors concerning the application. So far as possible, both intellectual achievement and potential are taken into consideration. Our aim is to choose students of high ability who have a keen interest in their subject and who are likely to benefit most from the unique opportunities in this field of education at Cambridge.
There are three possible outcomes of the application process:
- Your application is successful and you receive a conditional (or unconditional) offer to study at St John’s. You will be notified of your offer via UCAS and will receive an e-mail confirming your offer shortly thereafter. You will need to accept your offer via UCAS.
- Your application is placed in the Winter Pool. This means that whilst we are unable to offer you a place at St John's, we believe that your application should be considered by other Cambridge Colleges. If your application is picked out by another College in the Winter Pool, they may make you an offer straight away, or you might be invited for an interview at another College. Pool interviews will be conducted in late January 2024.
- Your application is unsuccessful.
Whatever happens, don’t let the fear of being unsuccessful put you off – we can’t offer you a place if you don’t apply!
Undergraduate Admissions Complaints and Appeals
Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office in the first instance to discuss your appeal or complaint and see if we can resolve any doubts or concerns about procedural errors or the way your application was treated. If direct contact with the Undergraduate Admissions Office does not allay your concerns, please follow the procedures outlined here.
During the 2023-24 admissions round, the Undergraduate Admissions Tutor is able to provide subject specific feedback for unsuccessful applicants who have been interviewed by the College, but have failed to secure an offer, either in the first instance from St John’s College or subsequently from a pool College. Feedback will be sent to the writer of the UCAS reference by 17 April 2024. Applicants who have left school at the time of applying can receive feedback directly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Due to the volume of applicants it can take time for the College's Admissions Office to respond to enquiries. This web page has been designed to provide as much information as possible to applicants, so before contacting the Admissions Office please carefully read the content presented here as your query might already be answered.
The University also provides a list of questions frequently asked each year by undergraduate applicants, below are frequently asked questions specific to St John's College. If you still require assistance then please contact the Admissions Office and they will be happy to help you.
Is my combination of subjects at A-Level acceptable for my chosen course?
Many Triposes accept applications from students with a wide variety of subjects studied at A-Level (or equivalent) which may not be directly related to the course they have applied for. Every Tripos is different however so you are encouraged to consult your course’s subject web page on the College website for further information on essential and desirable subjects, where appropriate. For more general advice you may like to consult a helpful leaflet produced by the University.
My written work is ready but the cover sheet is not, can I send in my cover sheet later?
All written work must be submitted with a completed cover sheet to be considered a valid part of your application. Each piece of written work, including the cover sheet, should be submitted as a single document. Applicants are encouraged to prepare their work in good time ahead of the deadline and to allow for any planned school closures which could delay completion of the cover sheet. Incomplete written work, or submitting written work after the deadline, may disadvantage your application.
I have left school and will not be able to have my cover sheet completed by my teacher – what should I do?
Please contact the Admissions Office for further advice.
What should I write about in my personal statement?
It is useful for those assessing your application to understand what draws you to the course you have applied for and why you feel you would be well suited to studying this subject. For guidance on what to include, we advise you to follow the UCAS advice on personal statements. You might also be interested in our resources available on the page here.
I cannot attend an interview on certain dates during the interview period, what should I do?
Applicants who know that they will not be available on certain days in the interview period should note this in their additional application questionnaire. If you discover that you will be unavailable for part of the interview period after submitting your application please contact the Admissions Office as soon as possible for advice.
Due to the time pressures of the interview period and the number of applicants being interviewed we are very rarely able to amend an applicant’s interview date or time once they have been notified of their interview timetable. If you become aware that you will not be able to attend you interview at the allocated date and time after receiving your interview timetable please contact the Admissions Office as soon as possible for advice
I have special arrangements for my exams at School, what do I need to do for the interviews?
Please submit a Disability/Specific Learning Difficulties interview adjustment form by 31st October. If your arrangements only become necessary after you have submitted your application please submit the Disability/Specific Learning Difficulties interview adjustment form as soon as possible and contact the Admissions Office for further advice.