skip to navigation skip to content

Applying for the MSt in Social Innovation

MSt in Social Innovation students on their laptops.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update

Please view our admissions FAQs relating to measures in force due to the virus outbreak >

Entry to the MSt is competitive, so we advise candidates to apply at an early stage of the admissions cycle – which typically runs from September to March. This is particularly important if you are planning to apply for funding.

Browse the below tabs to find out what are the minimum requirements expected from candidates to our programme, how to apply via the ICE applicant portal, and what happens after we have received your application. At the bottom of the page you can find further details about our requirements, such as how we compare degrees from overseas institutions to UK standards.

Professional experience

Applicants should have at least two years’ work experience (excluding vacation employment and internships during the course of their undergraduate degree).

Undergraduate achievement

At least a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent standard from an overseas institution.

English proficiency

If you are not a national from a List A country or you have not completed a three years course of continuous study in a List A country that finished no later than two years before commencement of your programme at Cambridge, you may be asked to take an IELTS, TOEFL, CAE or CPE test to demonstrate your language ability.

It is not required that you take a language test before applying. If you receive a conditional offer, we will inform you of whether you are required to take a test.

Below shows acceptable tests and required scores.

IELTS minimum overall score of 7.5, with not less than 7.0 in each element
TOEFL internet-based test (iBT) minimum overall score of 110, with not less than 25 in each element
CAE minimum score of Grade A or B (with at least 193)
CPE score of Grade A, B or C (with at least 200)

Skills and competencies

Ambition and a willingness to work hard, as well as a demonstrable enthusiasm and/or aptitude for social innovation. Evidence of good interpersonal, communication and team-working skills, in addition to numeracy, problem-solving and reasoning skills.

All applicants will need to give the details of two referees who can provide references written in English. Ideally, we would like to see one academic reference and one professional reference.

Internet access

You will require access to the internet and reliable hardware and software.

Detailed requirements

In recognition of the fact that social innovation occurs across all sectors, the MSt is aimed at middle and senior level leaders in NGOs, public bodies and the private sector.

You must have completed an undergraduate degree in a UK University with at least 2:1. If you have completed your first degree overseas, please check the equivalence guidelines on the University’s website.

Check the suitability of your qualifications on the University’s website

Applicants who do not meet the University minimum entry requirements can be considered by the admissions committee but, should they be recommended for an offer, they will be asked to take a GMAT/GRE test and show evidence of ranking above the 50th percentile in each of the elements of the test. It is not necessary to take this test before you formally apply online. If you require one, we will let you know either at interview stage or when an offer is made.

Applicants to the programme need to be fluent in English. If English is not your native language you may be asked to take an IELTS, TOEFL, CAE or CEP test. However you don’t have to include your English language test scores with your initial application documents; they can be forwarded on later in the process. If you are made an offer, one of the conditions of entry will be getting the required standard of language test score.

Whether or not you have to take a language test set will depend on a number of conditions, including your nationality and your most recent course of study. Check your language requirements on the University’s website.

View the latest University guidance for applicants regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, including advice on taking a language test.

We understand that many applicants have been out of the formal education space for a considerable amount of time. If this is the case, we will accept two professional references. As a guideline – we would expect at least one academic reference if five years or less has passed since graduating from your last academic course.

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 submitted by the referees via our online Referee Portal, and you will be notified when they have been submitted.

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.

Here’s an overview of the stages in the admissions process:

Ahead of submitting the application, applicants should:

  • identify their two referees
  • write up a statement of interest, (no more than 1500 characters)
  • decide on preferred College choices.
  • write up a summary of research interests and intended topics (no more than 3000 characters)*

*Please note: the summary of research interest and intended topics should describe current interests related to social innovation. A formal research proposal or a research assessment is not necessary at this stage.

All University of Cambridge students are also members of a College. This is a requirement. Applications for membership will be done on the applicant’s behalf by the programme team after a conditional offer has been issued. To inform this process applicants are asked to select their two preferred College choices from a drop-down menu in the online application form. Note that some colleges do not accept part time students.

Ahead of making a final decision on College choices, applicants should consult the programme’s fees and financing webpage because in order to apply for some of the studentships certain colleges need to be picked as first choice. College facts and figures can also be checked in the Graduate Admissions website. Applicants are advised to select a College with higher concentration of MSt in Social Innovation students and alumni in order to make the most of the collegiate experience. These colleges are currently Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, St Edmunds, Trinity Hall, Sidney Sussex, Emmanuel, Queens and Darwin College.

Once the admissions team has received an application and the supporting documentation, the applicant is notified if she/he has been shortlisted for a Skype interview with the Programme Director. The purpose of the interview will be to further gauge the candidate’s suitability for the programme.

The programme’s Admissions Committee makes a recommendation about the applicant, and this is submitted to the CJBS Degree Committee for approval.

When an applicant is successful, the Registry Manager of the Institute of Continuing Education will issue a formal offer letter. The offer of a place on the programme will tend to come with conditions attached. These might be financial (proving that the applicant has the funds to needed to pay for the programme), language related (proving that the applicant’s English language skills are proficient), and/or academic (submitting original documents). It is the applicant’s responsibility to meet these requirements and provide the necessary evidence.

This is the final stage of the applications process. Once you have met all the conditions and have the offer of a College place, you will be notified that you may begin your programme at the start of the academic year. At this stage you can start making arrangements such as visa, travel and accommodation.

While this programme is entirely delivered by Cambridge Judge staff and associates and on School premises (where practicable), applications are administered by the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) in the first instance.

Visit the Institute of Continuing Education website to apply

An MSt application guide is available from the ICE website. It is worth taking the time to read the instructions carefully as any mistakes in your application may make it invalid and delay the application process. 


Applications are now closed, but will open again in Autumn 2021