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Typical offer: A*AA including A* in English Literature (or equivalent)

Required subjects: English Literature (English Language and Literature may be accepted as a substitute)

Number of undergraduate students admitted per year: Up to 10

English is one of the most vibrant and active subject communities in College. Our recent students have performed strongly in their academic studies, as well as staging plays, publishing novels, and speaking at academic conferences.

The BA in English is internationally renowned, and balances a strong grounding in the core of English literature with the chance to specialise or branch out from that core into the literature of other parts of the world, such as the USA or South Asia, other art forms, the English language and related intellectual traditions. Many graduates pursue careers in information management, teaching and academia; others go on to work in media and the creative industries.



Part I of the course introduces students to a broad range of literature written in the English language from 1300 to the present. Alongside this, students will study ‘practical criticism and critical practice’ with the intention of challenging students to consider what literature is, how it works and how it can be discussed. Students will be examined on three papers at the end of each academic year of Part I.

Part II has three compulsory components. One is a dissertation of a topic of your own choice, one is the further examination of ‘Practical Criticism’, and one if the study of ‘Tragedy’. Students then have the option to take two additional papers of their choosing, or one paper and an additional dissertation. At the end of final year, students will either sit four exams and submit one dissertation, or sit three exams and submit two dissertations.

Further information can be found on the Faculty and University websites.

Typical offers require

  • A-Level: A*AA including A* in English Literature (A* in English Language and Literature may be accepted as a substitute)
  • IB: 42 points, with 776 at Higher Level including 7 in HL English Literature (7 in HL English Language and Literature may be accepted as a substitute)
  • Advanced Highers: A1, A2, A2 including A1 in English

For other qualifications see the main entrance requirements pages on the University website

Subject Requirements


Required: English Literature

Highly recommended: English Language and Literature, if unable to take English Literature; and other essay-based subjects


Required: English Literature

Highly recommended: English Language and Literature, if unable to take English Literature; and other essay-based subjects

Mature students and those taking other qualifications are encouraged to contact our Admissions Office (at to discuss the entry requirements for their qualifications.

Written work

Applicants are required to submit two pieces of written work. Please see our guidance document for more information on the submission of written work. 


Applicants shortlisted for interview are required to sit a Cambridge College registered admissions assessment. Applicants do not need to need to register themselves for this assessment in advance.


Interviews allow us to distinguish amongst excellent applicants by assessing the skills and aptitudes essential for successful study in higher education, and your academic qualities – essentially, how do you think?

For 2024 entry, interviews for all applicants to Lucy Cavendish will take place virtually. The aims and content will still be the same as in-person interviews. You can read more about Lucy Cavendish's online interviews here and you can read the University's information on interviews here.

Each candidate typically has two interviews, lasting between twenty and thirty minutes. In some cases, you will be given preparatory material beforehand.

In a few subjects, you will be interviewed by more than one College or in the Faculty. You will be notified of this in your interview invitation.

Supracurricular exploration is an important way to expand your knowledge of your subject, explore your interests and develop your skills. Our new webpage contains guidance on supracurricular exploration and a comprehensive source of resources, grouped according to undergraduate degrees at Cambridge. 

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Attend an open day or event

Our Events and Open Days page advertises regular events held by Lucy Cavendish College. If you can, join us for a College Open Day to discuss your application with a member of our admissions team.