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Graduate Admissions


Academic References

All applicants will need to give the details of two referees who can provide academic references written in English. 

When you are completing the online application form you will be asked to provide the details of your referees, including their email addresses. A reference request can then be sent from the online application form to your referees. References are then submitted by the referees via our online Referee Portal, and you will be notified when they have been submitted. You can also send reminders to your referees via the online application form.

You should check that you have the correct email addresses for your referees and that your referees are happy and able to provide a reference for you. Institutional email addresses are preferred. Other email addresses can be used, and are sufficient at the application stage, but we would need to take extra steps to verify such references when we make an offer. This might include asking for the reference to be sent again, on paper, if authenticity cannot be confirmed by other means.

Your application will not be considered until two references have been received. If the references are not received by the course deadline, your application will be withdrawn.

If you do not have an email address for your referee, please follow the instructions below for submitting the reference on paper.

The Graduate Admissions Office are not able to:

  • accept references sent by email from the applicant;
  • use references from any previous application that you have made; or
  • send reminders to referees, or contact them to chase outstanding references (you can do this yourself via the online application form).

Who should you nominate as an academic referee?


Your First Referee

Your Second Referee

Are currently studying (or have recently finished studying) at undergraduate level

A tutor from your undergraduate degree course

A second tutor from your undergraduate degree course

Are currently studying (or have recently finished studying) at postgraduate level

A tutor or supervisor from your postgraduate degree course

A tutor from your undergraduate degree course or present graduate tutor

Have not recently studied

A member of academic staff from your most recent higher education course

Your employer or another person who can testify to your academic ability in a formal context

Submitting a reference on paper

We strongly recommend using the online referee portal to submit your references. In exceptional cases, where you do not have an email address for your referee, or your referee is unable to use the Electronic Reference System, please follow the steps below:

  1. Request the Academic Reference Instruction Form from (available in either PDF or Word format)
  2. Fill in Part I of the form, with your name as used in your application and your email address, and if the application has been submitted, the application number provided to you in your Applicant Portal
  3. Give the form to your referee
  4. The referee must then send the documents as a package:
    • their reference on headed notepaper with an original signature (we cannot accept electronic or scanned signatures)
    • the completed form
  5. The referee should send these in a sealed envelope, with their name signed across the seal, to the address given at the bottom of the form

Please note that if the form is not included with the reference we may have trouble matching it with your application.

References sent by post as above will still need to be received before your application can be considered.


What is a transcript?

A transcript is a list of all the courses you have taken (or are currently taking) during a programme of study, with the result you obtained, and sometimes the credit value of each course. If you have completed your study, the transcript should also show your final award (eg Bachelor of Honours, First Class).

What you need to send and when

When completing your online application you will be asked to upload copies of transcripts and certificates for each degree you have studied for, or are currently studying for, and you will not be able to submit your application without these.  If you are made an offer of admission you will be asked to post us either the original (which we cannot return), a certified copy, or an electronic version sent via a secure electronic transcript system. This enables us to verify their authenticity. 

If you need to apply for a visa to study in the UK, do not send us your only original as you may need to provide this to UK Visas and Immigration. Please ensure you have sufficient originals or certified copies for this purpose

Obtaining, translating and sending transcripts

You should request your transcripts from your institution before you begin your application, so that you have them ready to upload. The academic registry at your university will be able to produce a transcript of courses you have taken or are currently taking, but it may take a number of days for them to process and send this to you. You may be charged for this service.

If your documents are not in English, you must also upload a full translation of each document, prepared by a registered translator. Do not translate the documents yourself.

Please do not write on any of your documents before you upload or send them. If you do, we will not accept them.

Originals or certified copies should be posted to the Graduate Admissions Office.

Applicants who are registered as a University of Cambridge student should obtain an unofficial transcript from their self-service page for current students. The downloaded transcript is digitally signed and cannot be uploaded directly to the self-service; applicants will need to first print the transcript and scan it before being able to upload it.

Research Proposal

Most courses which contain a substantial element of research require applicants to provide a research proposal. These are used as part of the selection process.

The length and format of the research proposal depends on the course you are applying for. You will be able to see specific guidance on this in the Applicant Portal when you are completing your application, or in the course directory. If you choose to apply for more than one course, you must upload a research proposal for each application you submit, tailored to the individual requirements for each course.

Written Work

Some faculties and departments may ask you to provide written work so that they can make an assessment of your knowledge and of the level at which you are working. You need to check the information for your course in the Course Directory or on the departmental website to see if this is required. If it is required you will be requested to provide it as part of your online application.

Do not send written work unless your course specifically asks for it; the department will not use it for assessing your application unless it is required.

GRE Scores

Some departments will ask you for a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test. Please note that only the courses listed below will require one. If your prospective course is not listed, you should not request a GRE score to be submitted to the University of Cambridge, as your department will not retain or process the certificate. Please note that there is a charge for taking the GRE test.

The following departments and courses may require you to provide a GRE test result:


Judge Business School

When registering for the GRE test please use following relevant institution code:

  • 2433 U Cambridge Economics
  • 7020 U Cambridge Judge Bus Sch 

Further information on the GRE test can be found on the GRE website.

You should also check the application information on the department website for further instructions and the levels of GRE scores they require.

Please note that the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is not accepted by any courses.