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Image: Optical illusion of a duck or a rabbit head. Public domain.


  • Number of students per year: up to two
  • Typical offer: A*AA or equivalent; we accept a wide range of other qualifications
  • Essential subjects: none
  • Useful subjects: Mathematics, Religious Studies, Philosophy, English (language or literature), History, Languages (ancient or modern)

Jesus College has had a strong tradition of study and research in Philosophy; students are offered expert tuition and encouragement in all aspects of the Philosophy syllabus.

Find out more on the University webpage.
What we look for


Conditional offers are usually for an A* and two A grades at A-Level or equivalent, in line with the University standard.

You don't need to have had any previous formal teaching in Philosophy. Some students have A-Levels in Philosophy or Religious Studies, but many don't. Both arts and science subjects are welcome.

The Cambridge Philosophy course emphasises analytical rigour and focused critical thinking, including logic. It helps to have some A-Levels or qualifications that encourage this approach.

Written assessment

If you are shortlisted for interview you will be required to sit a written test. You do not need to register in advance for this. 

Applicants don't need to have any previous special knowledge of philosophy, but you should have read some modern analytical philosophy. It may also help to have read a very introductory logic book. You can find some suggested preliminary reading on the Faculty of Philosophy website.


In 2024-25, we’ll be interviewing shortlisted applicants virtually, with interviews taking place in December.

The interview process aims to assess your intellectual ability, potential, and commitment to the subject. Candidates are typically interviewed by at least three subject specialists, including the Director of Studies, and total contact time will be between 35-50 minutes in total. This could be in a single interview, or in two separate interviews. Further details will be made available to candidates closer to the time.

We aim to identify the most promising candidates: we're looking for academic potential and commitment to the subject. We'll be looking to see if you have done some reading in modern analytical philosophy and can discuss, in an intelligent and critical way, the sort of problems which concern analytical philosophers.

Find out more about the interview process on the University website.

Written work

You don't need to submit any written work.

International applicants

We mostly refer to A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate for our entry requirements, but we accept a wide variety of qualifications from all over the world. The University website lists the international qualifications we accept. We expect students to be on track to achieve the highest grades in whichever qualification system they are studying.

Deferred and post A-Level entry

We consider applications for deferred entry in Philosophy. The College also welcomes applications from mature students.

We are also happy to consider post A-Level applications from those who have already achieved (normally) A*AA at A-Level or equivalent. You'll have to go through the usual competitive process with the other applicants. We will also consider second time applications without prejudice.

Find out how to apply to study at Cambridge.