How Much Does it Cost to Study at Cambridge?

October 24, 2023
5 min read
Cress Warnell

When you’re considering whether to become a student at the University of Cambridge, it’s important to know how much you can expect to pay.

Knowing how much it costs to study at Cambridge helps you to understand the investment you’re looking to make. It’s good to see it as an investment - both in time and money - because getting a degree from Cambridge should help you establish a career in whichever discipline you choose to pursue.

There are three main components to the costs of studying at Cambridge University. These are:

  • Tuition fees
  • College fees
  • Living expenses

This guide helps you to understand all three, and how they might change depending on your circumstances.

The figures in this guide relate to 2023-24. While the numbers are likely to change for future years, this is still a valuable guide to the expenses you should budget for.

Tuition fees for studying at Cambridge University

These are the fees you are required to pay for taking a specific course at the university. They will vary depending on whether you’re classified as a Home or International student, and if it’s a first or subsequent degree.

You are usually considered a Home student if you are a UK citizen and have been resident in the UK for at least three years.

All these fees are for one year.

Home student first degree tuition fees: £9,250

Home student second degree tuition fees: From £9,250 to £11,60.

International student tuition fees: From £24,507 to £63,990.

The International fee varies depending on the subject being studied. Medical degrees are the most expensive.

For courses that include a year abroad, the tuition fee for that year is different. For first degree Home students it’s 15% of the full year fee.

If you’re a Home student you may qualify for UK student loans or grants, depending on your circumstances. Wherever you’re from, you may have the option to apply for scholarships, grants, loans or other forms of financial assistance.

College fees for studying at Cambridge University

Every student at Cambridge University must also belong to a college. Each college has its own fees.

If you’re a Home student studying your first degree, you do not pay a separate college fee. All other students are presented with two separate figures for tuition and college fees.

You’ve already seen the tuition fees (above). Annual college fees vary from £8,750 at Clare Hall and Darwin, up to £11,750 at Murray Edwards. Some of these fees are fixed for the three or four years of your course, while others are reviewed each year.

Living Expenses at Cambridge University

Unlike the tuition and college fees, there’s not a fixed charge for your living expenses. What it will cost you depends on the lifestyle you want to live while you’re at the university.

Here are some of the more common expenses that Cambridge students spend money on:

  • Rent
  • Groceries
  • Study costs
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Socialising
  • Clubs and societies

Because Cambridge is relatively small, travel is unlikely to be an expense of university life. Most students walk or cycle between college and university venues.

Rent is usually the single largest expense you’ll be paying, which could be up to £200 a week for an 8-week term.

It’s not unreasonable to budget to spend up to another £200 a week on other living costs. However, you can get away with spending less if you manage your money carefully. It’s also very easy to spend a lot more, particularly if you have a very active social life.

University guidance is that Home students should budget for around £11,000 of living expenses in a year. For international students, who are likely to spend more time in Cambridge, the guidance is to budget for £14,600.

If you’re a Home student you may qualify for a student loan, grant or scholarship which could cover some of your living expenses.

Examples of the cost of studying at Cambridge University

To help you see how much it costs to study at Cambridge, here are three examples. All are fictional students who intend to study at the University of Cambridge in the year 2023-24, with an indication of what it will cost them and how much they are expected to pay.

Geoffrey, age 18, UK student studying History of Art

Geoffrey wants to enjoy his Cambridge experience, but is keen to minimise his expenses, which means he’ll be going home outside of term time. These are his first-year costs:

Tuition fee: £9,250

Living costs: £10,950 (Based on University guidance)

Total costs: £20,200

Because it’s a first degree, Geoffrey is entitled to a tuition fee loan. He can also apply for a maintenance loan of up to £6,412. This means he’ll need to find £4,538 to cover his costs for his first year.

Polly, age 18, UK student studying medicine

Polly is highly ambitious, so she expects to be staying in Cambridge to study for some weeks outside of term time.These are her first-year costs:

Tuition fee: £9,250

Living costs: £13,140 (20% above University guidance)

Total costs: £22,390

Because it’s her first degree, Polly is also entitled to a tuition fee loan. She can also apply for a maintenance loan of up to £4,651. It’s lower than Geoffrey’s because her family household income is three times his. This means she’ll need to find £8,489 to cover her costs for her first year.

Yasmin, age 23, International student studying Veterinary Medicine

Yasmin is keen to learn all she can while she is studying at Cambridge. She will remain in Cambridge for the duration of her course, meaning her living costs will be higher. These are her first-year costs:

Tuition fee: £63,990

College fee: £10,336 (Trinity College)

Living costs: £14,600 (Based on University guidance)

Total costs: £88,926

Yasmin is looking for loan, grant and scholarship options available from her home country.

These three examples are only illustrations of what it may cost to study at Cambridge. Your situation is likely to be different, but you can use these as a guide.

Experience studying at Cambridge University

Summer Schools give students the opportunity to experience learning at one of the world’s top universities, including Cambridge. This can help you decide whether a particular course or university is right for you, along with giving you a deeper understanding of your chosen subject.

Discover Cambridge - or another leading university - for yourself. Find out more about our Cambridge University Summer Schools courses.

Cress Warnell

Cress is a skilled copywriter who transforms ideas into captivating content. With a passion for words and a keen eye for detail, she crafts compelling copy for Summer Schools, helping students explore their options in education.

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