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Admission requirements

Academic requirements

Applications are welcome from British, EU and international students. Minimum qualifications are a solid 2.1 honours degree and an excellent command of English. All candidates for admission to the MPhil are expected to be of PhD potential and to have degree results in at least the top quarter of the graduating cohort at their previous university.

It should be emphasised that the entry system for the University of Cambridge is a flexible one, notwithstanding the requried minimum academic standard. The Centre of African Studies does not follow mechanical rules to judge applicants; instead, for each individual, it considers: the level of academic achievement, relevant work experience, the research proposal, the suitability of the MPhil in African Studies course to the applicant’s academic and professional needs, and the applicant’s academic references and writing sample. We look for evidence of the ability to write good quality essays and of the capacity to carry out and write up a research project to a high standard. The research proposal is especially important for assessing applicants’ preparedness for the academic demands of the MPhil in African Studies, and consideration is also given to the ‘research fit’ between applicant and potential supervisor. For this reason, applicants are encouraged to plan their research carefully, and if possible to identify a supervisor with whom they would like to work. A suitable supervisor must be available for any given applicant to be offered a place on the course.

Information about the minimum academic requirements for international students seeking entry to the University of Cambridge is available here.

English language requirement

The University of Cambridge requires all applicants to demonstrate competence in the English language at a very high level before they begin their proposed course of study. Adherence to this requirement is strict, especially for those applying for 9-month courses such as the MPhil in African Studies. 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. Full details of the University’s English Language requirements are available here. If you are national of one of the countries on this list, or have completed a three-year qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree within the last 2 years in one of these countries, you would not normally be required to take an English language test.

The minimum standard required for admission is an IELTS overall band score of 7.5, with not less than 7.0 scored in the individual elements or TOEFL score of 110 with a minimum of 25 in each element.


Financial condition

Course costs comprise the University composition fee and a College fee; students are also expected to have 'maintenance' funds to support their living costs while studying. When an offer of admission is made, students are asked to complete a Financial undertaking form, in order to meet the financial condition of admission. More information about course costs is available on our Course fees and funding opportunities webpage.

MPhil Office

Centre of African Studies
Alison Richard Building
7 West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DT
For a map, click here
MPhil administrator: Ms Victoria Jones
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 334396