Cambridge accepted 1,703 female students and 1,762 male students in 2018Louis Ashworth

35 female students were accepted to study maths at Cambridge, out of 234 accepted students — fewer than any year since before 2002.

Some Cambridge STEM subjects are seeing proportionately few women and ethnic minorities accepted, the University’s latest admissions statistics have shown. In Natural Sciences, the largest Cambridge subject with 430 accepted students in 2018, just three were black.

Here’s what you need to know about Cambridge’s latest admissions statistics.

Fewer female students in latest maths cohort

2018 had fewer female students accepted to study maths – 35 – than in any year since data has been available, in 2002. 

Cambridge’s admissions statistics have revealed a success rate for female maths applicants of 9.2%, 7 points lower than male students’ 16.3% success rate.

At 15%, the 2018 cohort had the second-lowest percentage of female students since data has been available: in 2015, female students made up 14.6% of acceptances.

The state of affairs

The proportion of privately-educated students has been steadily declining: 65.2% of students accepted during the last admissions cycle were state-educated, compared to 64.1% in 2017. The percentage increase is smaller, however, than that of the previous year.

In 2018, privately-educated UK students were also more likely to get into Cambridge than in 2017, with a difference in success rate from state-educated applicants of 7 percentage points, compared to 5.9 percentage points the year before.

Robinson’s private school intake increased in 2018, from 51.2% to 58.7% of its accepted UK students applying from fee-paying schools. It’s the college which accepted the lowest proportion of state-educated students in 2018 and the only college where over half of its accepted students were privately-educated.

Following Robinson in 2018 was Gonville & Caius, with 44.1% of its acceptances going to private school applicants.

Disparities in BME intake across subjects 

Across all subjects, disparities in success rates for ethnic minorities continue to persist: Black and Black British applicants had a 13.1% chance of getting accepted, while White and Chinese applicants had success rates of 24.7% and 25%, respectively.

Some Cambridge STEM subjects are seeing proportionately few women and ethnic minorities accepted, admissions statistics show. In Natural Sciences, the largest Cambridge subject with 430 accepted students in 2018, just three were black.

For the first time, Cambridge's admissions statistics included subject breakdowns by ethnicity, and which showed several subjects with large intakes – including English, History, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences – had cohorts where less than 2% were black students.

Over the past 12 months, Cambridge has made a number of national news headlines for new widening participation efforts: from its announcement of a foundational year programme, to its ‘Stormzy scholarship’ to fully-fund four black students at Cambridge, to its most recent decision to offer disadvantaged students who outperform in A-levels a second chance at acceptance via the UCAS ‘adjustment’ process.

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