Cambridge Acceptance Rates 2023 – The Definitive Guide

The University of Cambridge is notoriously difficult to get into, but we thankfully have data to understand exactly how difficult it is to do so. In this guide, we'll take a deep dive into this data, exploring the acceptance rates for every undergraduate course taught at Cambridge.

Last Updated: 24th April 2024

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The University of Cambridge is one of the most selective universities in the world, with a huge pool of highly competitive applicants across the 29 undergraduate courses on offer.  

With so many applicants and such a limited number of spaces, offer rates and acceptance rates at Cambridge are very low, especially for the most popular subjects. However, knowing the admissions data for your course will give you more context into how difficult the admissions process will be. 

In this guide, we’ll be taking a deep dive into Cambridge’s Admissions Statistics report to understand the acceptance rates of every undergraduate course currently available. Let’s get started!

University of Cambridge Acceptances Rates - overall

If you don’t already know, a university’s “acceptance rate” is the percentage of applicants who are admitted to study at said university in a given year. This is calculated as such: 

Number of admitted applicants/Total number of applicants

There are actually two key statistics that are important to consider though, as universities will have a different offer rate, which is the percentage of applicants who were offered a place. This figure is always higher than the acceptance rates, as not every who is given an offer will be admitted, either because they reject the offer or because the did not achieve the required grades in their exams. 

When it comes to Oxbridge applications (Oxford & Cambridge), offer rates are usually more important to consider as receiving an offer to study at either university is extremely difficult. When an applicant has received their Oxbridge offer, it’s more than likely that they will accept it and will hopefully be admitted, hence why the offer rates and acceptance rates are usually so close.  

First things first, let’s look at the overall acceptance rates for the University of Cambridge over the years. While there isn’t too much variance in rates, some years did have higher rates of acceptance than others for a variety of reasons (The year presented is the year of entry).

Cambridge Acceptance Rates (2019 - 2022)


Applicants: 22,470

Offers: 4,238

Acceptances: 3,544 

Offer Rate: 18.9%

Acceptance Rate: 15.8%


Applicants: 22,795

Offers: 4,260

Acceptances: 3,660

Offer Rate: 18.7%

Acceptance Rate: 16.1%


Applicants: 20,426

Offers: 4,710

Acceptances: 3,997

Offer Rate: 23.1%

Acceptance Rate: 19.6%


Applicants: 19,359

Offers: 4,694

Success Rate: 3,528

Offer Rate: 24.2%

Acceptance Rate: 18.2%

Interestingly, we can see that before the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, offers to study at Cambridge were much more common, with almost 25% of applicants getting an offer. These rates were still high in the 2020 application cycle, but since then, neither offer nor acceptance rates have risen above 20%.  

This goes to show that Cambridge has become harder to get into, and the trend has continued downward since 2020.

What Are Oxford's Acceptance Rates?

Compared to Cambridge, the University of Oxford tends to have slightly lower offer and acceptance rates, meaning it’s generally harder to get a place at Oxford. Here are the statistics for the 2022 Entry admissions cycle: 


Applicants: 23,819

Offers: 3,645

Acceptances: 3,310

Offer Rate: 15.3%

Acceptance Rate: 13.9%

There’s a smaller gap between the offer and acceptance rates, but Oxford generally sends out 600 – 800 fewer offers each year. You can learn more about these statistics in our Oxford Acceptance Rates Guide.

These statistics are for the overall admissions for Cambridge, so they aren’t necessarily representative of how likely you will be to get into your chosen course. Acceptance rates can vary greatly between courses, so let’s start off by reviewing the top 5 subjects at Cambridge in terms of number of applicants.

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Cambridge Acceptances Rates - Top Five Subjects

There are the five most popular courses taught by Cambridge based on the number of applicants (based on 2022 Entry admissions). Are they impossible to get into? Let’s find out: 

Cambridge Natural Sciences Acceptance Rate

Natural Sciences is one of Cambridge’s premiere courses, considered one of the best science courses in the world. This is reflected in the applicant numbers, commonly being the most applied for the course each year. 


Applicants: 2,695

Offers: 635

Acceptances: 568

Offer Rate: 23.6%

Acceptance Rate: 21.1%

As we can see, Natural Sciences actually has a fairly high offer and acceptance rate, both falling above 20%. With other 600 offers made and over 550 applicants admitted in 2022, this data proves that the most popular courses aren’t always the most competitive.

Cambridge Engineering Acceptance Rate

With just 23 fewer applicants than Natural Science in 2022, Engineering stands as Cambridge’s other iconic degree. How do the acceptance rates compare? 


Applicants: 2,672

Offers: 384

Acceptances: 344

Offer Rate: 14.4%

Acceptance Rate: 12.9%

Despite having nearly the same amount of applicants, Cambridge’s Engineering course had just over 250 fewer offers to send out, making this course a lot more competitive. However, only 40 of those offer-holders didn’t end up studying at Cambridge, so you’ll be a bit more likely to actually get your place if you receive and offer for Engineering. 

Cambridge Medicine Acceptance Rate

Medicine is one of the most popular degrees in the UK and is Cambridge’s third most popular course on offer. Medicine is infamously competitive due to the high standards of UK medical schools, but is Cambridge even more difficult to get into? 


Applicants: 1,971

Offers: 286

Acceptances: 271

Offer Rate: 14.5%

Acceptance Rate: 13.7%

These acceptance rates are still fairly low, but medicine isn’t the most competitive course Cambridge has to offer. Plus, most offer-holders confirm their place, with only 15 applications not being accepted in 2022. Interestingly, success rates for Cambridge Medicine are far higher than Oxford, which had an 8.6% offer rate and 7.9% acceptance rate in 2022. 

Cambridge Law Acceptance Rate

Law is the only one of the top five Cambridge courses to fall under the category of Humanities rather than STEM. Law is generally one of the most popular degrees in the UK however, so it’s understandable to see it rank in the top five. 


Applicants: 1,845

Offers: 245

Acceptances: 217

Offer Rate: 13.2%

Acceptance Rate: 11.8%

Despite the fact that Cambridge is more well-known for its STEM degrees, their Law course is currently the most competitive one we’ve seen with the lowest offer and acceptance rates in 2022. Entry into Cambridge’s Law course is slightly less competitive than Oxford’s, although not by a significant percentage.

Cambridge Computer Science Acceptance Rate

Lastly, we have Computer Science, one of Cambridge’s more recent degrees. However, it’s consistently one of the most popular at the university, so let’s take a look at the statistics: 


Applicants: 1,625

Offers: 151

Acceptances: 136

Offer Rate: 9.3%

Acceptance Rate: 8.4%

As we can see, Computer Science is the most competitive of the top five Cambridge degrees, with both the offer and acceptance rates falling below 10%. Despite having over 1,000 fewer applicants than Natural Sciences, applicants are more than 10% less likely to get an offer or place, showing just how desirable and competitive the field of Computing has become for students. 

Were you surprised to see any of these subjects at the top? While these subjects have a lot of applicants to compete with, they clearly aren’t impossible to get a place on (although some are harder than others). However, are these the most competitive courses Cambridge has to offer? Let’s explore the rest of their selection to see if there are any subjects that are easier or harder to get into.

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Cambridge Acceptances Rates 2022 - A-Z

There are 24 more subjects to cover, so let’s go through them from A – Z.

Cambridge Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 54

Offers: 28

Acceptances: 22

Offer Rate: 51.9%

Acceptance Rate: 40.7%

Already, we have come across the course with the least applicants for 2023, with extremely high acceptance rates to go with it!

Cambridge Archaeology Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 60

Offers: 30

Acceptances: 21

Offer Rate: 50%

Acceptance Rate: 35%

Another fairly uncompetitive course, Archaeology boasts a clean 50% offer rate, giving you a 50/50 chance of success if you apply! Oxford’s Archaeology & Anthropology course had more than twice the amount of applicants but ended up with only 2 more acceptances, meaning the course is far more competitive. 

Cambridge Architecture Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 583

Offers: 80

Acceptances: 66

Offer Rate: 13.7%

Acceptance Rate: 11.3%

Cambridge Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 160

Offers: 57

Acceptances: 54

Offer Rate: 35.6%

Acceptance Rate: 33.6%

Cambridge Classics Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 123

Offers: 58

Acceptances: 53

Offer Rate: 47.2%

Acceptance Rate: 43.1%

Cambridge Classics (4 Years) Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 97

Offers: 43

Acceptances: 37

Offer Rate: 44.3%

Acceptance Rate: 38.1%

Interestingly, the 4-year variant of Classics at Cambridge has a 5% lower acceptance rate, although the offer and acceptance rates are very good for either course. 

Cambridge Economics Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 1,513

Offers: 165

Acceptances: 151

Offer Rate: 10.9%

Acceptance Rate: 10.0%

Although Economics is a very popular choice amongst UK applicants, the course at Cambridge isn’t quite as popular as some of the others on offer. Still, it seems to be one of the most competitive with its 10% acceptance rate, one of the lowest at Cambridge. Oxford’s Economics & Management received far more applications but had an even lower acceptance rate.

Cambridge Education Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 268

Offers: 50

Acceptances: 41

Offer Rate: 18.7%

Acceptance Rate: 15.3%

Cambridge English Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 776

Offers: 201

Acceptances: 185

Offer Rate: 25.9%

Acceptance Rate: 23.8%

Despite being one of the core subjects in UK schools, English hasn’t found the same popularity amongst Cambridge applicants compared to Science or Mathematics, especially when considering that Oxford’s course received over 900 applications in 2022. 

Cambridge Geography Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 491

Offers: 113

Acceptances: 96

Offer Rate: 23.0%

Acceptance Rate: 19.6%

Cambridge History Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 580

Offers: 192

Acceptances: 171

Offer Rate: 33.1%

Acceptance Rate: 29.5%

Cambridge History & Modern Languages Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 125

Offers: 32

Acceptances: 30

Offer Rate: 25.6%

Acceptance Rate: 24.0%

Cambridge History & Politics Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 335

Offers: 57

Acceptances: 49

Offer Rate: 17.0%

Acceptance Rate: 14.6%

History & Politics is the most competitive variant of History at Cambridge by a fair margin, despite having fewer applicants than standard History. 

Cambridge History of Art Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 96

Offers: 25

Acceptances: 20

Offer Rate: 26.0%

Acceptance Rate: 20.8%

History of Art takes the prize for the least amount of offers and acceptances for a course at Cambridge, with 3 fewer offers and 2 fewer acceptances than Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic. However, it dis have more acceptances that Oxford’s variant of the course, which only had 15 acceptances. 

Cambridge HSPS Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 1,482

Offers: 188

Acceptances: 168

Offer Rate: 12.7%

Acceptance Rate: 11.3%

HSPS stands for Human, Social & Political Sciences, and is one of the most popular Humanities courses at Cambridge, only behind Law and Economics. Some consider it the Cambridge equivalent of Oxford’s PPE

Cambridge Land Economy Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 487

Offers: 72

Acceptances: 64

Offer Rate: 14.8%

Acceptance Rate: 13.1%

Cambridge Linguistics Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 143

Offers: 44

Acceptances: 31

Offer Rate: 30.8%

Acceptance Rate: 21.7%

Cambridge Mathematics Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 1,515

Offers: 537

Acceptances: 252

Offer Rate: 35.4%

Acceptance Rate: 16.6%

Mathematics is the first of only 3 STEM subjects not in the top 5 subjects amongst Cambridge, only missing out on the 5th spot by around 100 applicants. Not only that, but Mathematics also displays the largest variance between the offer rate and acceptance rate. The data shows that less than half of offer-holders for this degree were accepted in the end.  

Cambridge Modern & Medieval Languages Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 336

Offers: 155

Acceptances: 144

Offer Rate: 46.1%

Acceptance Rate: 42.9%

Cambridge Music Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 153

Offers: 79

Acceptances: 71

Offer Rate: 51.6%

Acceptance Rate: 46.4%

Cambridge Philosophy Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 308

Offers: 59

Acceptances: 51

Offer Rate: 19.2%

Acceptance Rate: 16.6%

Cambridge PBS Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 939

Offers: 102

Acceptances: 87

Offer Rate: 10.9%

Acceptance Rate: 9.3%

PBS stands for Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, and is on the higher end of competitiveness at Cambridge, with few than 90 acceptances across over 900 applicants.  

Cambridge Theology, Religion & Philosophy of Religion Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 107

Offers: 47

Acceptances: 43

Offer Rate: 43.9%

Acceptance Rate: 40.2%

Cambridge Veterinary Medicine Acceptance Rate

Applicants: 402

Offers: 79

Acceptances: 64

Offer Rate: 19.7%

Acceptance Rate: 15.9%

Despite being the least popular STEM course at Cambridge by more than 500 applicants, Veterinary Medicine still has a fairly low acceptance rate, although the offer rate is slightly more favourable.  

This is also the last course on our list, so now it’s time to look at some findings from this data: 

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Cambridge Acceptances Rates - What Can We Learn?

We’ve covered a lot of information here, and there’s much more to be found on the official Cambridge Admissions Report which can be found online. If you want to take an even deeper dive into the 2022 admissions cycle, be sure to check it out.

For now, though, let’s look at some of the most pressing questions applicants tend to have. 

Cambridge's Most Competitive & Least Competitive Courses

Applicants are always keen to learn which courses are the easiest and hardest to get into. While no course at Cambridge is actually easy to get into – you still need to put in a lot of work to meet the required standards – we’ll assume that courses with higher offer and acceptance rates are easier to get into. So let’s look at the top 5 courses for each: 

Hardest Cambridge Courses To Get Into

Firstly, let’s look at the courses with lowest offer and acceptance rates:

Lowest Offer Rates At Cambridge 2022

CourseApplicantsOffersOffer Rate
Computer Science1,6251519.3%

Lowest Acceptance Rates At Cambridge 2022

CourseApplicantsAcceptancesAcceptance Rate
Computer Science1,6251368.4%

With this data, we can confirm that Computer Science was the most difficult course to get into in 2022, the same as Oxford. As we can see, the most competitive courses at Cambridge remain fairly consistent between offer rates and acceptance rates, with only Law and Architecture being swapped out between the lists. 

One thing to note is that none of the top 3 most popular degrees at Cambridge feature here, meaning they are less competitive despite having so many more applicants. This goes to show that you shouldn’t be put off by the amounts of applicants that apply each year, it’s all about how many offers are actually given out each year. 

Easiest Cambridge Courses To Get Into

On the opposite end, let’s look at the courses with the highest offer and acceptance rates:

Highest Offer Rates At Cambridge 2022

CourseApplicantsOffersOffer Rate
Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic542851.9%
Modern & Medieval Languages33615546.1%

Highest Acceptance Rates At Cambridge 2022

CourseApplicantsAcceptancesAcceptance Rate
Modern & Medieval Languages33614442.9%
Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic542240.7%
Theology, Religion & Philosophy of Religion1074340.2%

As expected, most of the courses with high acceptance rates are more niche subjects with lower applications and acceptances – only Modern & Medieval Languages had over 100 offers and acceptances. It’s worth noting that, this year, no course accepted more than half of the applicants despite some having a 50%+ offer rate. 

This information is incredibly useful for those planning on applying to any of these subjects, but let’s look at a few more general data points to see what we can learn about how Cambridge tackles their admissions process.

Cambridge Acceptance Rates: STEM vs Humanities

We’ve already seen that Cambridge offers far more Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences courses compared to STEM (referred to as ‘Sciences’ by Cambridge) courses. This should mean that applications and acceptances for Humanities applicants greatly outnumber those of STEM, but the data provided by Cambridge says otherwise:  

Cambridge Humanities Application Statistics 2022

Applicants: 10,122

% of Total Applicants: 45.0%

Offers: 2,020

% of Total Offers: 47.7%

Acceptances: 1,765

% of Total Acceptances: 50.4%

Acceptance Rate: 17.6%

Cambridge STEM Application Statistics 2022

Applicants: 12,348

% of Total Applicants: 55.0%

Offers: 2,218

% of Total Offers: 52.3%

Acceptances: 1,759

% of Total Acceptances: 49.6%

Acceptance Rate: 15.8%

Despite being less than 25% of the courses available at Cambridge (7/29), STEM degrees accounted for 55% of applicants and 52% of offers in 2022. This is evidence of just how in-demand Cambridge’s selection of science-based courses are.

Despite this, the acceptance rate for STEM courses is slightly lower, although the difference isn’t particularly high. 

Cambridge Acceptance Rates: State Vs Private School

One of the biggest issues surrounding Oxbridge admissions is the success rates between State/Maintained Schools and Private/Independent Schools, as well as the proportionality compared to student numbers in the UK. Cambridge has been working on increasing state school admissions over the years, although they have recently decided to remove their state school admissions targets. However, it’s now common to see a greater percentage of state school applicants being admitted over private school.

Cambridge State School Application Statistics 2022

Applicants: 10,134

% of Total Applicants: 45.1%

Offers: 2,324

% of Total Offers: 54.8%

Acceptances: 1,986

% of Total Acceptances: 56.0%

Acceptance Rate: 19.6%

Cambridge Private School Application Statistics 2022

Applicants: 3,909

% of Total Applicants: 17.4%

Offers: 816

% of Total Offers: 19.3%

Acceptances: 737

% of Total Acceptances: 20.8%

Acceptance Rate: 18.9%

This data only covers home applicants, but we can see that State schools outnumber private schools in every metric. When looking at just UK applicants, those from state schools made up 72.9% of acceptances compared to 27.1% for private schools. This is the highest the divide has ever been.  

It remains to be seen how Cambridge’s decision to remove its targets will affect 2024 admissions rates, but for now, we can definitely dispel the myth that “No one at Oxbridge is from State Schools”

Cambridge Acceptance Rates: International Applications

Despite the financial incentive for universities to admit more international applications, overseas applicants have generally had a much harder time being admitted to Oxford or Cambridge in recent years. There are a number of factors that can be attributed to this, but it seems that both universities generally have a preference to admit those living in the UK. 

Cambridge has presented the data for the top 25 countries for applications, so let’s look at the 5 Best and 5 Worst-Performing Countries from 2022. 

Best Performing Countries for Cambridge Admissions 2022

CountryApplications% of International ApplicationsOffers% of International OffersAcceptances% of International AcceptancesAcceptance Rate
Hong Kong5727.6%14114.2%11415.4%12.8%

Worst Performing Countries for Cambridge Admissions 2022

CountryApplications% of International ApplicationsOffers% of International OffersAcceptances% of International AcceptancesAcceptance Rate
Russian Federation500.7%40.4%30.4%6.0%

These rankings are based on the acceptance rate, so we can see that there’s a fairly big variance between the best and worst-performing countries.  

Starting with the best, we can see that applicants from Singapore actually had a better acceptance rate than home applicants at 19.9% compared to 18.8% in the UK (Singapore also had the highest acceptance rate at Oxford with 13.2%). Other countries here had far fewer applicants but a greater level of success, helping them achieve a top spot. All of the countries in the top 5 typically perform well for Cambridge admissions, with Singapore frequently achieving 17% – 19% acceptances and Hungary once achieving over 24%.

Looking at the bottom of the list, these results may be surprising, as most entries here are major players in the Western world. Italy’s performance in 2022 was unusually low, as it usually achieves an acceptance rate of 5% – 6%. However, the United States of America is on par with previous years. The placement of the Russian Federation in this list is somewhat surprising, as it typically does not fall within the top 25 countries, meaning it is included within the ‘Other International’ entry. 

The last thing to note is that China had the highest number of applicants, offers and acceptances among all international applicants.  China had almost 4 times more applicants compared to Singapore, with over 2,100 applicants in 2022. However, despite receiving 224 acceptances, China’s acceptance rate landed at a fairly average 10.3%.

Overall, international applicants made up only 33.6% of Cambridge applications and 20.8% of acceptances in 2022, with an overall success rate of 9.8%. This shows that overseas applicants still face an uphill battle when trying to get a place at Oxbridge. 

You should now have a better idea of what the success statistics look like for Cambridge applicants. This information will be useful in helping you decide what to apply for and understanding what kind of competition you’re up against. 

Of course, you should work hard on your application no matter how high the acceptance rates are for your course, as no one is guaranteed a place at Oxbridge, especially not without an Oxbridge-quality application. This data is best used to contextualise your application and help you understand that you need to be amongst the top 16% of applicants in the world to get your place. 

If you’re looking for more information about Cambridge applications, be sure to explore our wide huge of guides, covering every step of the Cambridge admissions process. Alternatively, you could explore our Oxbridge Programmes to learn how you can enrol and receive the most comprehensive and effective Oxbridge application support available, boasting a 57% success rate. Either way, we wish you the best of luck with your Cambridge application!

Less than 19% of Cambridge applicants were offered a place, but 57% of UniAdmissions students got their Oxbridge offer.

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