Churchill is an academic community devoted to excellence in learning, scholarship, and research.
Every year, we admit as undergraduates the very best students from across the globe and provide them with a world-class education, challenging them to achieve their full potential.
Regularly ranking amongst the top Cambridge Colleges in exam results and with over 30 Nobel Prize winners amongst our Fellowship, Churchill has the very strongest intellectual reputation.
This page indexes content about the Churchill (Cambridge) undergraduate admissions process, so you can easily find what’s relevant to you. If you’d prefer a comprehensive start-to-finish overview of the process, check out our undergraduate pre-applicant pack.
Choosing a College
Cambridge University is collegiate, meaning that if you come here you’ll be a member of both the University and one of its Colleges. When you apply to Cambridge through UCAS, you can choose a preference College if you want, in which case that College will assess you for admission on behalf of the University. If you have no preferred College, you can make an open application, in which case a College will be allocated to you.
Your College choice won’t affect your chances of being admitted to Cambridge, nor will it fundamentally change your educational experience. All undergraduates of the University on the same course attend the same lectures, seminars, and practicals, regardless of the College they attend. They sit the same exams and assessments too, and the degree they eventually get is from the University, not their College. For most students, the key things about their College is that it’s where they live and where their Directors of Studies and Tutors (core providers of academic and pastoral support) are based.
Differences between Colleges include age, look, location, size (physical and/or student numbers), and provision of facilities on-site, like accommodation, extra-curricular resources, etc. Also, some Colleges don’t offer all the University’s courses. Churchill, for instance, doesn’t offer Land Economy or Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion. Again though, these differences are mainly cosmetic, not fundamental to the educational experience.
Churchill admits around 140 new undergraduates each year, making us one of the larger undergraduate Colleges. Our modern campus-based site is the largest in Cambridge and uniquely combines in one place huge swathes of open space with pretty much everything you could need for work or play. We guarantee all undergraduates on-site accommodation for the three or four years of their course.
Teaching at Churchill
Cambridge Colleges provide each of our undergraduates with a Director of Studies (DoS), who is responsible for steering and facilitating their learning. Each DoS is expert in their subject(s). A great many are world-class researchers.
In Churchill, most DoSs are Fellows (academic staff members) of the College. DoSs meet you at the beginning and end of each term to give formal advice and guidance, but they’re also available throughout your undergraduate career if issues crop up that need attention or action. Churchill’s DoSs are notably pro-active and immensely committed to their students’ academic development and well-being.
The main job of our DoSs is to arrange your supervisions – the weekly, small-group tuition that characterises teaching and learning at Cambridge. Supervisions are tremendously rewarding, for you and your supervisors. They allow us to challenge and stretch you, and enable you to develop your understanding of the topics that interest you most. The result is that your learning is broadened, deepened, and made as stimulating and enjoyable as possible.
If you need to improve particular aspects of your learning, Churchill runs specialist support and study skills sessions, covering everything from note-taking and essay-writing through to examination technique.
Course-related socialising and community building are important to academic development. At Churchill, many subjects run academic student societies in which outside speakers give talks or students make presentations on their work. Sessions are often linked to social events and each year whole-College subject dinners allow Fellows, postgraduates, and undergraduates to get together and talk in a less academic setting.
Undergraduate courses at Churchill
Churchill is unusual amongst Cambridge Colleges, in that 70% of Churchill students study courses within sciences, technologies, engineering, and maths. However, because we’re overall such a large College, students in the arts, humanities, and social sciences are as numerous at Churchill as they are in many other Cambridge Colleges. Consequently, our academic community is advantageously diverse, and a great environment for the future’s thinkers.
You’ll need to know what subject you want to study before you apply, and choosing the course that’s right for you is perhaps the most important preparation you can undertake to make an informed and successful university application. If you haven’t already done so, take a deep dive now to make sure you’re on the correct path. Remember, you don’t necessarily need to pursue a degree in a subject you’ve previously studied at school or college.
Cambridge seeks to admit students whose academic record places them in the very top percentiles of their cohorts. Consequently, Cambridge applicants are frequently predicted – and achieve – maximal grades in the highest-level academic qualifications they undertake. As such, admitted students usually exceed the University’s typical offers, often by quite some margin.
At Churchill, we take a careful, individualised approach to offer-setting, in our students’ interests. We want to make sure that our entrants each year thrive and excel in the highly academic Cambridge environment. Accordingly, should you receive an offer from Churchill, it could vary from the University’s typical offer because our Admissions Tutors haven taken your individual circumstances into account.
To find Churchill’s normal A Level and International Baccalaureate offer ranges, select your target degree from the University’s Course List , go to the Entry Requirements tab, then look for our entry in the downloadable “Entry Requirements by College” pdf. For additional guidance, check out the University’s Entrance Requirements webpage and any of the International Entry Requirements links that may be relevant to you.
Fees and costs
Cambridge University tuition fees are the same as most other universities in England. Living costs are often cheaper because undergraduates are usually only in residence – and only pay rent – during our University terms; a total of 30 weeks per year.
Please note that international students and home students undertaking a second undergraduate degree are required to pay an extra College Fee. This is not to be confused with College charges, explained below, which are paid by everyone. For details about College Fees, if these are potentially relevant to you, see the “Undergraduate Tuition Fees” documents on the University’s Tuition Fees webpage.
At Churchill, College charges are billed monthly, with the exception of rent which is billed termly in advance. These cover your rent (if you live on-site) and any additional charges you incur, like meal purchases, printing, and electricity.
Your rent includes central heating, internet access in your room, wireless internet around College, and use of catering services and other facilities on-site (the gym, for example). Each room is banded and rents in the academic year 2023-24 range from £156.70-242.60 a week. Rents are determined annually, in agreement between College and student representatives.
Rent is normally payable for just 30 weeks, which covers the periods of residence dates set by the College. Rent is paid termly, in advance, at the beginning of each term.
Termly rent is normally made for a minimum of 10 weeks. If you accept a room in College, you will be liable for rent for the whole academic year. This does not include vacation periods, which are outside the 30-week periods of residence. During vacation periods and subject to availability, it may be possible for you to remain at Churchill, though not necessarily in the same room you have during term-time.
Every student at Churchill is required to pay a Membership Bond of £250. This will be returned at the end of your studies, as a refund against your final bill.
Other College charges include:
- Food purchased in the Dining Hall and Buttery
- Electricity (not heating) used in your room
- Competitive room contents insurance (about £15 per annum) against theft of belongings from your room
- Printing charges
Every two weeks during term, you will be sent an email with a breakdown of the food and drink you have purchased in College using your University card, so you can keep track of your spending.
Application process and deadlines
Cambridge Colleges, including Churchill, have a common application process, which is explained on the University’s Applying to Cambridge website and the pages linked from it. Read these carefully.
Also, review application dates and deadlines – some of your application may require contributions from other people that need to be completed within strict timeframes.
It is your responsibility to make sure that all parts of your application are completed in full and on time. Regretfully, we cannot continue with applications that include late or missing components.
All applications received by the relevant deadline(s) are carefully and holistically considered before we make conditional offers to those students who are most competitive within our gathered field. We will typically invite around 3/4 candidates to interview before making conditional offers.
How we select undergraduates
Churchill runs a data-driven admissions process in which we heavily prioritise exam results as a key indicator of your academic potential.
We actively encourage applications from students from a great diversity of backgrounds and we know that not all applicants have the same educational opportunities. To address this, we carefully and holistically review every application we receive, placing your results within your educational context and paying close attention to what is written about you by your teachers or lecturers in your UCAS reference.
We assess applications as objectively as possible, with application profiles being moderated at both College and University levels. Our assessment considers:
- Recent academic achievement, as evidenced by GCSEs, A Levels, other school-leaving qualifications, and high school transcripts;
- Quality of UCAS references and predicted grades, noting our comments above about conditional offers;
- Evidence of interest in the target degree and of engagement with it outside the classroom;
- Contextual factors, such as signalled in the UCAS application, My Cambridge Application, Extenuating Circumstances Form (where relevant), etc.;
- Geo-demographic data and school-level indicators;
- Where relevant, performance in admissions assessments and/or supporting materials, such as written work, portfolios, etc.;
- Where relevant, performance in standardised tests of English language proficiency, like IELTS and/or TOEFL;
- Performance at interview, if invited.
In comparison with the University’s applicant fields by subject, the students we invite to interview have normally done very well in one or more of:
- Public examinations and assessments;
- Grade predictions, underpinned by convincing supporting evidence;
- Admissions assessments and/or submitted written work.
Most interviewees are also supported by UCAS references which assert that they are very high performing in context.
After we have carefully and holistically considered all the applications we receive, we make conditional offers to those that are most competitive within our gathered field. These applicants often combine the highest grade achievements and/or predictions with UCAS references which indicate, with evidence, that they have been consistently and unequivocally performing at the absolute top of their cohort(s). The most outstanding applicants tend to present exceptional performance in other areas too, like admissions assessments (where relevant) and/or interviews.
At Churchill, we usually interview between 2/3 and 3/4 of our undergraduate applicants each year. All our interviews are conducted online, using Zoom. Most interviewees have a single interview, typically with two interviewers (occasionally a third person is present as an observer). Our interview slots are normally 45 minutes long, though the actual interview duration tends to be in the range of 30-40 minutes.
Some interviews require pre-reading or a preparation exercise, in which case we will assign time for this before the interview proper.
To check for any details about the interview format in your chosen course, see our Courses webpages.
Admissions interviews are not interviews in the conventional sense. Rather, they are interactive aptitude tests, pursued by discussion.
We’re often asked about the backgrounds and profiles of our undergraduates, so here are some recent key data.
These percentages are for the undergraduates we admitted in the October of each given year, correct as of the end of the preceding August (when the previous UCAS cycle formally ends). Gender and fee status are given as percentages of total entrants. School type and contextual data are given as percentages of entrants with home fee status.
Inquirers are regularly interested too in how many students apply and are admitted annually, both to each course we offer and to the College overall. As a rule of thumb, if Churchill offers entry to a degree then we’d ideally wish to admit at least one undergraduate to it per year (though this isn’t always possible, especially in small subjects). If you’d like to know more, there’s an interactive graph generator which shows these and other data on the University’s Application Statistics webpage. To be clear, knowing these data doesn’t confer any advantage in the admissions process, for the reasons explained on that page, namely the University’s pooling system of applicant moderation.
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