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Faculty of Economics




What advice would you give a student thinking of applying to study Economics?


Undergraduate admissions in Cambridge are conducted by the individual Colleges; the Faculty does not process any undergraduate applications, but it does specify the course prerequisites.

The admissions procedure involves an online application via UCAS (just as for other UK universities), followed by the online Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) for Cambridge. The application deadline is mid October, about one year before intended entry. Applicants studying outside the European Union also have to submit the Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA).

In the application you specify the College to which you would like to be admitted, or you could submit an 'open' application which is randomly allocated to one of the Colleges.

All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment in Economics organised by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing on 31 October 2018 at a local authorised test centre (which could be your school/college), which has to register you by 15 October 2018. The two-hour Economics admissions assessment has two sections:

  • Problem solving and advanced mathematics multiple-choice questions (80 minutes).
  • An extended essay responding to an excerpt of text (40 minutes).

Detailed information about the contents of the Economics admissions assessment is available at

If your application suggests you have a reasonable chance of being offered a place, you will be invited for interview by your College. The interviews in Cambridge are held in early December and may involve some additional written assessment in the form of a test or essay (contact your College for details). You are informed of the admissions decision before the end of January.

Also useful is the University of Cambridge Undergraduate Prospectus.

Further information about the applications process for Cambridge is available at or, for overseas applicants, at

If you have any further questions about the admissions process, please contact a College or the Cambridge Admissions Office (email:, or come to an Open Day.



About the application process at Cambridge



The course requirements for Economics at Cambridge stipulate that A-level or IB Higher Level Mathematics (or an equivalent qualification) is essential. This reflects the fact that the Cambridge Economics course is rigorous and uses mathematical models to analyse economic problems. It is therefore important that you are very proficient in Mathematics. Offers to Cambridge Economics candidates are typically conditional on achieving an A* for A-level Maths or 7 for IB Higher Level Maths (or an equivalent requirement).

Considering the mathematical and statistical contents of the Cambridge Economics course, taking Further Mathematics at AS/A level or IB Higher Level is very useful. For AS/A-level Further Maths, you will benefit from choosing Pure Maths and Statistics modules (rather than Mechanics or Decision Maths). If your school does not offer Further Maths (or the desired modules), you still have the opportunity to take it using the Further Mathematics Support Programme. In previous years most successful applicants for the Economics course at Cambridge did A-level Further Maths.

Although A-level or IB Higher Level Economics is not required, it is useful because it familiarises you with some of the basic principles and terminology of Economics. If your school does not offer Economics, you could take Geography or Business Studies, although the latter should only be considered if Economics is not available. The typical successful applicant has taken Economics at A-level or IB Higher Level.

In previous years, A-level applicants who received an offer were usually doing (at least) 4 subjects. The ability to cope with a high workload is important since studying at Cambridge is intensive. The broad nature of the Economics course makes both sciences (e.g. Physics) and essay-based subjects (e.g. History) useful.

The typical offer to Economics candidates is conditional on A*A*A for A-level or 40-42 points with 776 at Higher Level for IB (or similarly high grades for comparable qualifications), although this varies by College. Most Colleges have a strong preference for academic subjects and may not count more vocational subjects (e.g. Accounting) in this respect (although Business Studies is accepted if Economics is not available). If you are in any doubt as to whether your combination of A-levels (or other qualification) will be regarded as acceptable, you should discuss this with the Admissions Tutor or Director of Studies in Economics of your preferred College, before applying.