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Centre of Development Studies


Contents of FAQs






What are the academic requirements for entry?

Prospective applicants should have a high 2:1 Honours degree from a UK university, a minimum GPA of 3.60 from students who have studied at a university that uses the US grading system or international equivalent (please use this website to find out the international equivalent)

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I do not meet the academic requirement, can I still apply?

This course is very popular and a high volume of applications are received every year. If you have not or are not predicted to achieve the required academic grades it is very unlikely you will be offered a place on the course.  If you do not achieve the required English Language scores you will not be admitted.

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What are the language requirements?

If you have not previously studied in the UK, it is important to check the equivalence guidelines for your country using the search function at

A fluent command of written and spoken English is essential. Adherence to this requirement is strict, especially for candidates on one-year courses. Students must be able to demonstrate that they are able to communicate in English at a level and in an idiom suitable to the subject.

Visit to see if you will need to provide a language test certificate.

Accepted English Language Tests and minimum levels

IELTS score of 7.5 (with a minimum of 7.0 in each individual component).

TOEFL score of 110 (with 25 in each element). 

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What supporting documents are required?

Please see How to apply.

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What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications for 2022 entry is to be confirmed.

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Do I need to submit a GRE/GMAT score as part of the application process?


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Is there an application fee?

There is an application fee of £75, for further details please consult

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Which college should I apply to?

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate university, and each college offers an extra dimension to student life.  All students are required to be members of a college.

Cambridge colleges are not associated with particular academic disciplines.  All teaching for postgraduate students is provided by the Centre or Faculty, not by the college. You are therefore free to apply to any college you choose. When you are choosing your college, you may like to think about the following questions:

  • Would I prefer an all-postgraduate college or an undergraduate college with postgraduate students?
  • How likely is it that the colleges I am considering will be able to provide me with living accommodation?
  • Do the colleges I am considering have large international communities?
  • Are these colleges able to offer travel or other grants?
  • (For women applicants) Would I prefer a women-only college or a mixed college?

When completing the application form for admission, you can indicate two college preferences for college membership or you can make an open application which will allow a computer program to make college choices for you.

The academic decision on whether to recommend you for a place on your chosen course is made by the Centre to which you apply, not the college. Your application papers will be sent to the colleges only after a formal academic offer of admission has been made by the Postraduate Admissions Office (Postgraduate Committee).

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Can I choose when I start my studies?

Our course starts in Michaelmas Term (beginning of October), unfortunately it is not possible to start mid-year.

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Is it possible to apply for more than one MPhil course?

It is possible to apply for more than one of the MPhil courses that the University offers. However, you will need to submit a separate set of application materials for each programme that you apply for.

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Does the Centre have mature students?

The Centre has a number of mature students, and there are no age restrictions.

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Are decisions regarding applications made on a rolling basis?

Decisions on applications are made on a rolling basis until the Centre has made all of the offers available; in previous years, the offer cap has been reached before the end of the admissions cycle so an earlier application is recommended. 

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When will I find out your decision?

Although applications will be considered on a rolling basis, it may be several months before the Centre makes a decision on your application.

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Am I eligible for funding?

The funding bodies are separate to the Centre, your eligibility will be subject to your own circumstances and by the terms of which each body award their scholarships.

The University holds two main funding rounds for all postgraduate applicants with deadlines in October and January for admittance the following academic year.

Please see 'Fees and Funding' for further details.

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Am I eligible to work during my studies?

The University does not allow students to undertake paid work while they are studying full-time, and you should not expect to accrue additional income in this way.

It is a requirement of the University that all full-time postgraduate students have their funding fully in place before they start their course. Students on one-year courses are not allowed to undertake any type of paid work during their period of study.

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How much will it cost?

As a postgraduate student at the University you are liable to pay a University Composition Fee (UCF) and you are also expected to have 'maintenance' funds to support your living costs whilst you are studying. The value of the UCF is dependent on your 'fee status', which is determined according to your nationality and place of permanent residence.

If you are made a conditional offer of admission to Cambridge, you will need to obtain sufficient funding for the full duration of your course. Evidence of funding is required before your admission to the University can be confirmed. This is known as a financial undertaking. 

Please see 'Fees and Funding' for further information. 

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I have missed the funding deadlines, are there any other opportunities available?

There may be other external funding opportunities, please consult the Cambridge Funding Search for further details.

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Who will be my supervisor?

If your application is successful we will search for an appropriate academic supervisor, please do not approach potential supervisors yourself.

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How many people are accepted onto the course each year?

For the the 2021 intake, approximately 175 offers were made, for approximately 85 available places.

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Can I bring my family?

If you have a dependent partner, or children, you can bring them with you to Cambridge but you should think through the implications before you do so. There will be financial considerations and you will also have to plan your time very carefully so that no aspect of your life suffers.

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Do I need to reside in Cambridge for the duration of my course?

If you are accepted for full-time postgraduate study at the University, you will be required to live in or close to Cambridge for at least the minimum period of study.

This means:

  • Living within ten miles of the city centre for research students and those taking most other postgraduate courses.

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How do I organise my accommodation?

The colleges are able to house many of their full-time postgraduate students, either in the colleges themselves or in postgraduate hostels or purpose-built flats. However, few colleges can house all their student members. You may prefer to find your own living accommodation independently of the college, or may have to do so; this can be the case if you come to Cambridge with a partner or children as there is only limited college accommodation for couples and families. If your college is unable to provide accommodation for you, you can get help from the Accommodation Service and the Postgraduate Union. The Accommodation Service is responsible for letting 360 University-owned properties. These are a mixture of furnished and unfurnished one-, two- and three- bedroom flats and houses located at different sites across the city. Demand for these is high and priority is given to those who are new to Cambridge.

 Accommodation Service

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Can I leave Cambridge during the academic year?

The University year consists of three terms. Term dates are published on the University's website. No full-time student can be a candidate for a Cambridge degree unless they have spent at least three terms resident in Cambridge; for a term to be 'kept' a student has to reside in Cambridge for a minimum number of nights (59 for the Michaelmas and Lent Terms and 56 for the Easter Term).

Please click here for Cambridge term dates. 

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