The fee was raised from £50 to £65 in 2018Louis Ashworth

The £65 application fee for postgraduate courses at the University has come under increasing criticism, with the Graduate Union President, Alessandro Ceccarelli, describing it as “a significant barrier to fair access to study at Cambridge”.

Raised from £50 in 2018, the fee has been seen as a potential deterrent to talented students applying to the University.

These concerns follow calls for Oxford University to abandon their postgraduate application charge which has been branded “elitist and arrogant” by an academic. A resolution to phase out the fee will come before Oxford’s governing body next month.

Many universities, such as Cardiff, Exeter, and York, do not levy an application fee, whilst others charge significantly lower rates. The University of Glasgow, for instance, makes postgraduate applicants pay £25 and this fee is not charged for every course.

Some universities, however, do have higher application fees than Cambridge, with Oxford charging £75 and applications for certain courses at UCL costing as much as £150.

Through UCAS, an undergraduate application costs £20, or £25 for multiple applications up to a maximum of five.

A University Spokesperson told Varsity, “To deliver an effective service we need to levy an application fee, just as other universities do, and UCAS does for undergraduates.”

“We are mindful of the obstacle this may create for some applicants, and so have expanded our application fee waiver scheme.”

“We are committed to widening participation at postgraduate level and have appointed an officer to take forward this work,” they continued.

The application fee is waived for students who, within the last four years, have been in receipt of full state support for maintenance, as an undergraduate student.

Asylum seekers and those with refugee status also qualify for the waiver, as do applicants from countries included on the UN’s list of Least Developed Countries, the World Bank’s list of Low Income Countries, and the OECD’s list of countries in receipt of Overseas Development Aid.


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If somebody applies for more than one course at the University, they are charged for each of their applications. The only exception to this is if they are applying to the Graduate School of Life Sciences, which enables three applications to be submitted with a single £65 fee.

The application fee is not waived under any other circumstance and is charged to students already at the University.

Speaking to Varsity, GU President Ceccarelli explained, “Over the last two years, the Graduate Union has helped to limit proposed rises in the application fee and has worked with the Graduate Admissions Office to expand the system of fee waivers.”

“There is still a lot of work to do,” he added.