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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
  • Essential subjects: none
  • Useful subjects: none

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 sit a one hour written test. Cambridge Colleges use a standard format for this test, you can find examples of past papers on the Undergraduate Study website. The test is divided into two parts: the first is a 20 minute multiple choice test designed to assess your logical reasoning, the second is a 40 minute written test in which you'll write a short essay.

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 2023-24, 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.

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.