Philosophers think about philosophical puzzles big and small: free will, the nature of causation, justice. Philosophy in Cambridge gives you a chance to study both contemporary philosophy as well as its historical foundations.

Philosophy is amongst the smaller subjects in the University. With an intake of two students a year, Sidney has a thriving, friendly, and close-knit community of philosophers who enjoy thinking and arguing about puzzles and big questions.

Undergraduate Study

While we don't presuppose any philosophical knowledge, it is a good idea to come to the interview with some idea of what philosophy is. For this, you might want to look at some introductory books. Here are some recommendations:

  • Edward Craig, Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction.
  • Michael Sandel, Justice.
  • Jennifer Nagel, Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction.

For some classics, have a look at:

  • Descartes, Meditations.
  • Hume, Inquiry concerning Human Understanding.
  • Plato, Eutyphro, Meno and Phaedo.

There are also some excellent podcasts that can give you an idea of what doing philosophy is like: Philosophy Bites interviews philosophers on their research topics, including philosophers that you will likely be studying with in Cambridge. Watch out for interviews with Cambridge Philosophers Rae Langton, Huw Price, Tim Lewens, and Onora O’Neill. History of Philosophy without any Gaps gives a wide-ranging overview over the history of philosophy.

Written work

Two essays. We will send out more specific information about what is required after the UCAS deadline, but you will not need to write anything new specially for this.

Admissions assessments

Applicants are required to take a written assessment.


Two interviews, both with a focus on Philosophy. Each interview will last up to 30 minutes. In the interviews, we will discuss philosophical questions with you, but our aim is not to assess your knowledge of the subject – we won't assume that you have studied any particular area of philosophy. We want to find out how you think through problems and respond to objections.

Subject requirements

Learn about our standard entry requirements for Philosophy on the University website.

Please note that offers are set on an individual basis using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

Beyond the syllabus

Are you excited to learn more about the subject by delving beyond the school syllabus? Explore our Beyond the syllabus resource hub to discover interesting websites, podcasts, videos, and books related to the subject you love!

Typical undergraduate intake each year

1 - 2

Typical A-level offer


Typical IB offer

41-42 points overall, with 776 at Higher Level

Postgraduate Study

At the University of Cambridge applications for postgraduate study are processed centrally by the Postgraduate Admissions Office. The application form and supporting documents are submitted electronically via their website and the online self-service system, though academic decisions on applications are made by the Faculty or Department.


There are many funding opportunities at Cambridge from a wide variety of sources including the Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge, Colleges, Departments, Research Councils and central University funds. You can use the Postgraduate Admissions' Cambridge Funding Search to find out which type of funding you might be eligible for, and how and when to apply. They also operate a Postgraduate Funding Competition to co-ordinate some of these funding opportunities and make the process easier for you as an applicant.

To find information about the funds available for postgraduate students at Sidney, visit our Studentships and funding page.

Useful links

Course directory | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

Funding | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

How do I apply? | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

International students | Postgraduate Admissions | University of Cambridge

Opportunities to work, travel and study

The College is able to offer financial support for a number of student pursuits including:

  • Professional and research internships
  • Study awards
  • Vacation travel
  • Arts and music
  • Sport

While it will not be possible to provide support in all cases, current students are strongly encouraged to apply if they have a project which would benefit from financial support.

Discover more on our Opportunities to work, travel, and study page.