Admissions overview: how to apply
Our standards are high and we are looking for applicants who can demonstrate a good professional and academic record, strong ambition and a willingness to work hard.
Entry into the programme is competitive. But through this, students will benefit from learning alongside a high quality and professionally strong peer group.
Please read all of the information provided in the various tabs on this page.
Specific minimum requirements
|Undergraduate academic achievement|| At least a high UK 2:1 or equivalent, although a First Class degree is strongly preferred.
If you studied your undergraduate degree overseas, you can check whether you meet the University’s minimum requirement. Please note that the University’s minimum requirement equates to a standard 2:1, whereas we require a high 2:1 for admission to the MFin. Therefore, the grades required for the MFin are likely to be higher than the minimum 2:1 equivalent stated on the University’s website. For example, we would require applicants who have studied in the USA to have a minimum GPA of 3.6/4.0.
|Professional experience|| A minimum of two years’ graduate work experience in a core finance or finance-related role.
If you have two years’ graduate work experience, but only one year of finance-related experience, you may still be eligible to apply. Please refer to the detailed requirements section below for more information.
|Maths & stats proficiency||A willingness to reach the necessary level of maths and statistics. Read specific guidance on the level of knowledge required|
|Skills & competencies||Ambition and a willingness to work hard, as there will be a lot to cover in the programme. Evidence of good interpersonal communication and teamworking skills, in addition to numeracy, problem-solving and reasoning skills.|
If you have mitigating circumstances for not meeting the minimum eligibility requirements and would still like to apply, please contact the admissions office to discuss your case.
A strong academic background; at least a high UK 2:1 or equivalent, although a First Class Degree is strongly preferred; any degree subject is potentially eligible. We are actively looking for those without a finance background at degree level.
If you studied your undergraduate degree overseas, you can check whether you meet the University’s minimum requirement.
Please note that the University’s minimum requirement equates to a standard 2:1, whereas we require a high 2:1 for admission to the MFin. Therefore, the grades required for the MFin are likely to be higher than the minimum 2:1 equivalent stated on the University’s website. For example, we would require applicants who have studied in the USA to have a minimum GPA of 3.6/4.0.
At least two years of finance-related work experience; this could be in a bank or financial institution, but could also be in financial accounting or finance-related legal work, or in the financial arm of a non-financial company. Ideally, at least one year of this should be in a front office finance role or equivalent.
If you have only one year of finance-related work experience you may still be eligible to apply. You must have one year of finance-related work experience, plus one additional year of professional experience relevant to a future career in finance (i.e. a total of two years’ graduate work experience). Please contact the admissions team for further information.
The MFin programme is taught entirely in English, and it is important that you can read, write, speak and understand English fluently. If you are a non-native English speaker you must provide us with evidence of your fluency in English.
We require you to provide test results that meet the requirements of one of the tests listed below. Your results must be from a test taken in the two years prior to starting the programme.
- TOEFL – 110, with no element below 25
- IELTS – average of 7.5, with no element below 7.0
- CAE minimum score of Grade A
- CPE minimum score of Grade A, B or C, minimum score of 200 with no element below 185
If you scored 7.0 on IELTS or between 100 and 109 on TOEFL, and you feel that you are a strong candidate, you are also welcome to apply. However, we reserve the right to ask you to either retake and improve your test scores, or attend an additional assessment conducted by the University, if we were to invite you for an interview.
We ask you to self-report your scores on the application form. If you are invited for an interview, we will ask you to bring the original English language test certificates with you.
The English proficiency requirement will be waived, at the discretion of the School, if you have completed degree level study in a majority English-speaking country within the past 30 months.
However, even if you have been granted a waiver, you may still need to sit an approved English language test as part of your visa requirements. If you are a non-EU student, the Home Office’s UK Visas & Immigration department requires you to provide proof of your English competency through one of these tests, unless you are a national of, or have studied at an undergraduate level or above in one of the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- New Zealand
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Maths & stats proficiency
The Master of Finance is open to graduates of any discipline, so long as they can show a willingness to reach the necessary level of maths and statistics. We have provided specific guidance on the level of knowledge required to complete the core courses taught on the programme.
For those with an advanced maths background and who wish to tailor their MFin degree towards a more quantitative direction we are able to offer some very demanding electives. Cambridge has several faculty members who are leaders in the areas of mathematical finance, advanced econometrics and computer modelling.
Skills & competencies
Ambition and a willingness to work hard as there will be a lot to cover in the course. Evidence of good interpersonal, communication and team-working skills, in addition to numeracy, problem-solving and reasoning skills. In addition, applicants must have the potential for a successful career in finance, and be willing to engage fully with the course; contributing to the student experience.
We require three references for the Master of Finance application:
- Professional reference from your line manager/supervisor
- Peer reference from a team member/colleague
- Academic reference
Automated reference requests will be sent to your referees once you have input their contact details into our online application system. Please note that you must provide your referees’ work email address in the contact information. We cannot accept references sent from personal email accounts. You will be able to track the receipt of your references online, once you have submitted your application.
The submission of a GMAT or GRE score is optional for anyone applying to the MFin. We assess the strength of an application based on all of the information the applicant provides us (including the application, transcripts and references). Therefore, in some cases a GMAT or GRE score can provide more information and potential strength to an application, particularly in cases where the academic score is border line for our requirements or if the scoring of academic qualifications is unfamiliar to us. However, we do not consider a GMAT or GRE score by itself as enough to accept or reject an MFin application and it cannot be presented as evidence of a strong academic record by itself. Please note we do reserve the right to request a GMAT or GRE score on the rare occasions where we feel it is necessary.
If you do wish to submit your GMAT score, please self-report your score on the application form.
We encourage our candidates to start researching all available financial options, saving and making the necessary plans to ensure that they have sufficient resources to finance the course as early as possible.
Financing your MFin is a major commitment, and an early application can help with securing financing, funding or bursaries. This is because many scholarships are awarded early in the year and you will need to have an MFin offer in place before you can apply for them.
The fees for the Master of Finance for 2021/22 are:
|Estimated living expenses||£14,830*|
*Estimated living expenses will be higher if you are bringing dependents. We recommend that you should budget an additional £7,880 for a dependent adult and an additional £4,770 for each dependent child.
There is an application fee payable of £120
We will ask you to demonstrate that you have funds to cover your accommodation costs and living expenses during your MFin (September to June) – approximately £14,830.
Additional accommodation and living costs will apply if you decide to stay in Cambridge for the summer term (July and August)
You should also consider whether there are additional costs such as:
- Set-up costs e.g. buying a laptop, a UK mobile phone, a bike etc.
- Travel to and from Cambridge.
- Utility bills if you decide to live in private accommodation
Payment schedule and expenses
You must send us your tuition fee in three instalments. The first two instalments act as non-returnable deposits, with the third instalment paying off the remainder of the tuition fee. The table below outlines the fee payment schedule:
|Fee payment schedule|
|Instalment 1: The first instalment of fees is due within one month of receiving your conditional offer||10 per cent of tuition fee|
|Instalment 2: Due by 1 June or when your unconditional offer is made (whichever is the latest)||20 per cent of tuition fee|
|Final instalment (i.e. total fee minus instalments 1 and 2). Due by the beginning of September (following your receipt of our invoice)||Remaining 70 per cent balance of tuition fees|
How students finance their Master of Finance
Below shows how the MFin class of 2020/21 funded the programme:
- Personal savings | 44%
- Family savings | 28%
- Loans | 11%
- Scholarships | 9%
- Employer Sponsorship | 8%
Various scholarships are available to Master of Finance students, ranging from Cambridge Judge Business School bursaries and University of Cambridge and College scholarships to external funding. If you need financial assistance with fees through scholarships, it’s essential to apply for the Cambridge MFin early.
In addition to the funding sources listed in this section, we advise you to explore all types of potential funding opportunities open to you, including employer sponsorship and loan and scholarship opportunities in your own country.
Cambridge Judge Business School scholarships
|MFin Programme Scholarships||Varies each year but awards are usually from £5,000 to £15,000.||All those who are offered a place on the programme maybe considered. Awards are academic merit and needs based.||Rolling until awarded|
|St Catharine’s College Benavitch Scholarship
Find out more
| All candidates with a first class degree or GPA over 3.7.
You will need to specify St Catharine’s as your college preference and apply to be a member of this College in order to be considered for this scholarship.
|25 February 2021|
|The Central Bank Scholarship||Varies but normally around 20 per cent of the MFin tuition fee. The central bank will need to make a matching scholarship contribution.||Applicants must work at Central Banks or other ‘Official Sector’ organisations, and must return to their employer on completion of the MFin. This scholarship is intended mainly for emerging economy institutions.||Rolling until awarded|
|LIFE Lebanon Scholarship||£12,000 towards tuition fees||Candidates must demonstrate exceptional academic merit, be ordinarily resident in Lebanon and demonstrate a desire to use the skills gained from the MFin in Lebanon after graduation. Preference will be given to candidates in financial need.||TBC|
|Scholarship||Amount||Eligibility||Find out more|
|British Council Scholarships||Varies||Candidates from approximately 160 countries are eligible to apply.||Find out more|
|British Marshall Scholarships||Tuition fees, various living expenses, airfares to and from the US||US citizens who are graduates of US universities and graduated with a GPA of 3.7 or above after April 2018.||Find out more|
|Cambridge Society Bombay Scholarships||Up to Indian rupees 250,000||Candidates domiciled in the Indian states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa who have secured admission at a college at the University of Cambridge for undergraduate, postgraduate or short duration courses.||Find out more|
|Chevening Scholarships||Varies from part to full funding||Applicants must be resident in their home country at the time of their application, and must return to that country on completion of the programme.||Find out more|
|Colfuturo Scholarship/Loan||Up to US$25,000||Colombian citizens over 25 years of age who must be bilingual and have at least one year of work experience. Candidates must return to Colombia within one year of finishing their programmes in order to qualify for a scholarship comprising a 50% waiver of the loan.||Find out more|
|The Fulbright Commission Postgraduate Award||Tuition and maintenance||Awards for US citizens to study in UK.||Find out more|
|General Sir Monash Awards||AU$70,000||Australian citizens||Find out more|
|Jean Monet Scholarship Programme||Varies||Turkish citizens.||Find out more|
|SIM-You Poh Seng Scholarship||Up to SGD 100,000 for tuition fees and study allowance.||Singaporeans with a 2:1 or above and strong leadership skills.||Find out more|
|Rotary International Global Grants||Up to US$30,000||Citizens of countries in which there are Rotary Clubs.||Find out more|
Please note: this list of external scholarships is not exhaustive and we recommend that you research whether organisations in your country provide scholarships or loans for those studying an MFin. While we aim to ensure the utmost accuracy, these scholarships are not administered by Cambridge Judge Business School, so you must contact the organisations directly for more detailed information.
For all candidates holding a conditional offer for the Cambridge MFin:
Prodigy Finance loans
The Prodigy Finance Loan Programme is available to help you finance your MBA or Master of Finance programme at Cambridge Judge Business School.
The Lendwise Loan Programme is available to help you finance the Master of Finance programme at Cambridge Judge Business School. Once you have been offered a place on the programme you can apply directly for a loan through Lendwise’s website.
For information on other loans available to University of Cambridge students, please see the University’s Graduate Admissions website.
- UK Government Postgraduate Loans
- UK Private Graduate Loans (Professional and Career Development Loans)
- Canadian Loans
- US Federal Loans
The University of Cambridge is not a lender and is not recommending, endorsing or in any way connected with the above loan providers or their products. The University is providing this for information without guarantee of accuracy. We recommend that candidates investigate all financing options available to them, including local options.
Questions about applying
When is the best time to submit my application?
Admissions will open in early September and close on 31 May. As demand for places is likely to be strong, we recommend you apply as early as possible. Early application also helps to assist with College placement and visa applications. Some scholarships also require applications to be submitted by earlier deadlines.
What is the deadline for applications?
Application submissions for the Master of Finance programme will be accepted for consideration until all the available places are filled, provided they meet the required criteria. We will not accept any applications after 31 May. All three of your references must also be received by this deadline.
Is there an application fee?
Yes, there is a non-refundable application fee of £120 payable at the point of application submission. Payment can be made by credit or debit card through our online application system.
Do you offer any application fee waivers?
We offer an application fee waiver for candidates who are serving in the military and candidates from countries receiving overseas development aid. If you would like to request an application fee waiver, please contact the Admissions Team before submitting your application.
Do undergraduate internships count towards the minimum work experience requirement?
No, all work experience must be post-graduation.
Do part-time jobs count towards the minimum work experience requirements?
In most cases no; for example, if you are applying for 2020 entry you must expect to have at least two years’ full time, post-graduation work experience by 30 September 2020. However, please tell us if there are extenuating circumstances which mean that you have only been able to work part-time or on temporary contracts, such as bringing up a family or caring for an elderly relative.
How are references submitted?
Please nominate three referees – an academic, a peer and a supervisor – in the “References” section of our online application form. Your chosen referees will be sent an automated email asking them to submit your reference to us directly, via our online system.
I don’t want to tell my current line manager that I am applying for the MFin. Can I submit an alternative reference instead of the professional one?
We understand that sometimes it is not possible to ask your current line manager for a reference, in which case we are happy to accept a reference from a former line manager/supervisor. Failing this, we will accept a reference from a customer, supplier or adviser with whom you work on a professional basis.
Do you have an upper age limit?
No, we do not have an upper age limit.
When do I need to submit degree transcripts and other certificates?
Please upload a copy of your degree transcript (front and back pages) in the “Academic information” section of our online application form. If you are invited for an interview, we will require you to bring the original transcript certificates with you. If you are unable to provide the original documents, you must have copies authenticated by a public notary or lawyer who has seen the original documents. Please prepare these documents now, as we sometimes invite candidates to interview at short notice. Transcripts should be written in English, or be certified translations into English.
Do I have to take an English language proficiency test?
Fluency in English is a pre-requisite for the Cambridge Master of Finance. If English is not your first language, you must have taken the recognised English proficiency test IELTS or TOEFL in the two years before 30 September of the year you are applying for. Full details of the tests we accept can be found in the guidance notes that accompany the application form.
We may, at our discretion, waive this requirement if you can provide clear evidence that your English is fluent (e.g. you have been educated at degree-level in a majority English speaking country within the past 30 months). Visit the Our Criteria tab for more information and details of our minimum score requirements.
I want to do a PhD afterwards. Is Master of Finance the right programme for me?
The PhD requires a substantial amount of research methods training at masters’ level, which is not covered in the Master of Finance programme. Candidates interested in an academic career should consider one of the School’s research MPhil programmes.
Would you consider my application if I do not have a degree?
Our programme is intellectually demanding and the training received at the undergraduate level is considered appropriate preparation for masters’ level academic study. Although we might consider applicants with special circumstances on an individual basis, they will need to provide evidence of sufficient academic ability to cope with the intellectual demands of the programme.
Do you require a GMAT score as part of the application process?
The submission of a GMAT score is optional for anyone applying to the MFin. We assess the strength of an application based on all of the information the applicant provides us (including the application, transcripts and references). Therefore, in some cases a GMAT score can provide more information and potential strength to an application, particularly in cases where the academic score is border line for our requirements or if the scoring of academic qualifications is unfamiliar to us. However, we do not consider a GMAT score by itself as enough to accept or reject an MFin application and it cannot be presented as evidence of a strong academic record by itself. Please note we do reserve the right to request a GMAT score on the rare occasions where we feel it is necessary.
Questions about admissions
How do I know that you have received my application and supporting documents such as transcripts and references?
Please check your application status by logging into our online application system to verify that your application is complete. Please note that your application will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee until we have received your application fee and all three references.
When will I hear if my application has been successful?
Approximately three weeks after we receive your completed application (including your three references), we will send you an email notification as to the status of your application.
Do I have to come to Cambridge for an interview?
Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend an interview day in Cambridge, and are expected to attend at their own expense. For those who will find it difficult to attend an interview in Cambridge, we may also carry out Skype video interviews.
What happens after the interview?
We will usually inform applicants if they have been successful within three to four days of the interview.
Which College am I likely to join?
There are 31 Cambridge Colleges and Master of Finance students are put forward for the membership in the same way as other postgraduate students. Candidates can only be considered for a College place once the conditional offer of a Master of Finance place has been made. The Master of Finance admissions team are responsible for working with colleges to find places for the programme’s students and it is very difficult to say which college this is likely to be until nearer the time.
What is the difference between the conditional and unconditional offer?
If your application is short-listed you will be asked to take part in an interview. If after the interview you are offered a place on the programme, your place will be conditional on you providing evidence that you can fund the course and on you having a College place. Once these conditions have been satisfied your offer will progress to an unconditional offer.
Questions about the MFin programme
What is the duration of the programme?
The programme lasts for 12 months and consists of nine months of taught courses and an individual project carried out over the summer. Between July and September students are required to complete a mandatory summer activity.
When does the programme start?
The Master of Finance programme starts at the end of September each year. It is not possible to start at any other point in the year.
Do you offer a part time/distance learning MFin?
No, the MFin is a full-time programme.
Do I need to live in Cambridge during the MFin year?
Yes, the regulations for the MFin degree require that you are in residence at the University for all three terms of the programme. Formally, this means that you must be resident within 10 miles of the University Church of Great St Mary for at least 59 days of the Michaelmas and Lent terms, and 56 days for the Easter term.
Please note that students are still expected to work on assignments/projects/exam preparation during term breaks. Although we understand that you will need to take a break sometimes during the year it is strongly advised not to plan to be away from Cambridge for a long time.
Questions about contacting the MFin Office
How do I contact MFin Admissions?
We are always interested in hearing from you, so please do not hesitate to contact us directly. However, you may find the answer to your question in our frequently asked questions section. If you cannot find the answer to your question on the website, please use the contact details published on our Contact us page.
Can I visit the School?
The Master of Finance Meet us page publicises events and open days taking place at the School.
Do you hold events outside of Cambridge?
Any upcoming events will be publicised on the Master of Finance Meet us page.
How can I contact MFin alumni?
Contacting our alumni is a great way to find out more about the MFin student experience. Alumni can answer your questions on life as an MFin student before, after and during the degree. Please visit the Contact MFin Alumni page on our website to get in touch with previous students.
Questions regarding overseas candidates
Do I need a visa to visit/study at Cambridge?
The following websites provide information on whether you will require a visa to study in the UK or to travel to the UK for interview. These sites include information on how to obtain a visa, and the paperwork you are required to submit. Also included is the location of your nearest British Embassy or Consulate:
Are the fees different for overseas students?
No, fees for all Master of Finance students are the same.
Questions about financing the programme
What is the cost of the Master of Finance programme?
The tuition fees for 2021/22 are £48,000. In addition, candidates should budget £14,830 for living expenses. Those who are offered and accept a place on the programme are asked to pay an initial deposit of 10 per cent of the tuition fee within a month of being notified of the offer, followed by a second instalment of 20 per cent of the tuition fee to be paid by 1 June or when your unconditional offer is made, whichever is latest. Both of these are offset against the programme fees.
In addition, you will need to budget to cover accommodation and meals, textbooks and computer and software.
What scholarships do you offer?
For details of scholarships, bursaries and loans visit our Fees & financing tab.
Completing your application
Please download and review the Application Guidance Notes before starting your application.
We advise that applications are submitted as early as possible, particularly for those who will be reliant on scholarship funding. Submission of an early application also gives greater flexibility on interview scheduling, and assists with the college placement, visa application (if necessary) and other admissions administration. The availability of college places and accommodation will become more limited later on in the admissions cycle.
What happens next
Stage 1 – Application review
Once we have received your application it will be reviewed and a decision made about whether to shortlist you for interview.
We aim to complete this process within three weeks of the date your application is completed (i.e. we have received your application and all necessary supporting information including all three references).
We regret that, due to the volume of applications we receive, we cannot provide feedback on individual applications that are unsuccessful. However, an admissions appeal can be made if you believe that there has been an administrative error, or if you believe you have been treated unfairly because of bias or prejudice, or if there are circumstances unknown to Cambridge Judge Business School that might have affected the decision.
Stage 2 – The interview
Due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, we anticipate that most interviews for this admissions year will take place via video. This will be reviewed regularly in line with government guidance.
If we decide to short list you for interview we will contact you directly via email to let you know and to arrange the interview.
Interviews take place on a set day every month and in most cases the interviews will take place here in Cambridge or via video. In some instances, it is possible for interviews to be conducted off site. You can discuss this with the Admissions Officer once you have been shortlisted.
Interviews will be conducted by the MFin Director or other members of the Finance faculty. Candidates who attend the interview in Cambridge will get the opportunity to meet with faculty, MFin staff and have a tour of the facilities at Cambridge Judge Business School.
Please note that the Master of Finance attracts considerable interest, and the competition for places is intense. It is the policy of the MFin Office not to provide feedback on final interview decisions.
Stage 3 – Conditional offer
A decision to offer you a place on the programme will normally be made within a couple of days of the interview process. The initial offer is called a conditional offer and the following conditions must be met before we can convert this to an unconditional offer:
- Receipt of the first instalment of fees (10 per cent of the tuition fee)
The deadline for this payment is one month after the offer is made.
- Receipt of completed financial declaration forms
Students will be asked to complete a financial declaration form and provide evidence of how they will fund the full cost of the programme. It is therefore very important to think about how you will fund the programme, and to apply early for any financial assistance if necessary.
- Award of a College place
Every student who is offered a place on a degree programme at the University of Cambridge must also be awarded a College place. It is the responsibility of the MFin Office to find college places for students and students should not try to arrange this independently.
- Satisfying any relevant verification or reference checks
The Admissions Office will conduct relevant verification or reference checks on a sample of candidates. This might involve contacting a student’s referees, or engaging a third-party to verify academic transcripts.
Stage 4 – Unconditional offer
This is the final stage of the admissions process. We will send you a letter confirming that you have reached this stage. Documentation for those who need student visas will be issued at this stage. A second instalment of 20 per cent of the tuition fees is due by 1 June or when the unconditional offer is made, whichever is latest. Both tuition fee instalments are non-refundable.