Student Registry


Graduate Course Costs and Fee Status

As a graduate student at the University you are liable to pay a University Composition Fee (UCF) and a College Fee, and you are also expected to have 'maintenance' funds to support your living costs whilst you are studying. The value of the UCF is dependent on your 'fee status', which is determined according to your nationality and place of permanent residence.

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Important information

  1. University and College fees and other costs are set yearly and are subject to an annual increase, which may be substantial. At the present time, these increases are of the order of 5% per annum. Therefore, students whose courses are longer than twelve months, and/or which span more than one academic year, will not have a constant fee rate over the entire period of their course. Students should ensure that they have available in advance adequate financial provision for the whole of the duration of their course (including any possible over-run), taking into account likely increases in both fees and other expenses year on year, at least in line with inflation, and, where relevant, also taking into account fluctuations in currency exchange rates.
  2. Non-payment of fees to your college constitutes grounds for removal from the student register.
  3. If it is considered that the financial undertaking form that you submitted to meet your offer conditions was made in bad faith, the college may recommend to the Board that you are removed from the register. If your sponsor fails to honour their commitment you will need to provide documentary evidence from the sponsor to this effect.
  4. You should not expect the University or your college to provide funding to help to make up the deficit if your financial support breaks down.

Course costs comprise the University Composition Fee (UCF) and a College Fee, and you are also expected to have 'maintenance' funds to support your living costs whilst you are studying. Fuller explanations can be found below. Fees and other costs are applied annually for the duration of your course. This is usually up to one year for an MPhil and three years for a PhD.

Candidates for MSts, the MBA, the Executive MBA, the MFin, the PGCE and the MEd, should consult either the Institute for Continuing Education, Judge Business School, or faculty of Education websites to find out course costs.

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When you are made an offer of admission or continuation you will be asked to complete a Financial Undertaking form in order to meet the financial condition.

The financial element of your conditional offer will include the following elements.


University Composition Fee

This is the fee levied by the University for the teaching and supervision you will receive from your department or faculty. The value of the UCF is dependent on your 'fee status', which is determined according to your nationality and place of permanent residence.

You are liable to pay the University Composition Fee (UCF) for the following minimum number of research terms:

Course Full Time terms Part-time Terms
PhD (NOTAF, CPGS) 9 (3 years) 15 (5 years)
MLitt, MSc 6 (2 years) 10
MPhil 3 (1 year) 6 (2 years)

After the minimum number of terms have been completed you will be automatically exempt from payment of the UCF.

See 'Fees Listings' for the UCF rate by academic year.

Exceptions to this include:

  1. If you are approved for Leave to Work Away from Cambridge and you began your PhD study before October 2010, you may be eligible for exemption from fees. Note this does not apply to students beginning PhD study on/after October 2010.
  2. Research Councils and other external sponsors: if you have extended funding beyond the minimum period your sponsor may expect to pay fees for you. These funds are usually dedicated for fees and cannot be used for other purposes. If this applies to you, either you or your award administrator should email the Graduate Fees office to request an extension of your date of exemption to match your funding end date. We will collect full fees for you to the end of your sponsorship period, or submission of the thesis, whichever is earlier.
  3. Your faculty may request the continued payment of fees beyond the minimum period if you are making substantial use of University facilities, beyond the minimum period.
  4. Your PhD course is of longer duration (eg. certain courses in Physics).

Graduate Fees Team (

Your College Accounts office is informed of your fee liability each term, and collects payment for both the UCF and College Fee on an annual/termly basis. If you have any queries about payment of the UCF please consult your college.


College Fee

The College Fee is mandatory and covers the cost to your college of providing a range of domestic and pastoral services, but does not include accommodation. All fees (including the UCF), and any living costs incurred in college (rental of college accommodation, food taken in college) are collected by the college; the college will make clear to students how these payments are to be made and by what deadlines. Some colleges collect the fees for the whole year at the beginning of the course and may require some payments for rent of college accommodation in advance.

Please note: while the Student Registry determines your liability for the UCF, your liability for the College Fee is determined by your college. The college will usually, but not always, follow the UCF. You will need to talk to your college directly about applying to be exempt from your College Fee.

See 'Fees Listings' for the College Fee by academic year.



This is an absolute minimum estimate of your likely basic living costs and personal expenses, including your college accommodation bill if you live in. Your maintenance sum should be budgeted to cover food, books, domestic bills and travel around Cambridge, personal computer equipment and fieldwork costs for some courses. We require evidence of a minimum maintenance sum since the cost of living is expensive in Cambridge and we are keen to prevent students falling into financial difficulty should they lack the funds to support themselves throughout the duration of the course.

Many research students continue their course into a fourth year and we would recommend that your budget reflects this possibility although you will not be required to provide financial evidence should you overrun. The maintenance sum required in your offer does not include travel to and from Cambridge.

See 'Fees Listings' for the minimum Maintenance level set by academic year.


Non-UK settling-in figure

This is an additional cost added to the minimum maintenance sum for overseas students to cover the costs of settling in or travel.



Additional provision for accompanying dependants should be made in accordance with the figures in the course costs table. These figures are minimum amounts per academic year with no reduction offered for a shorter course. The financial condition specified in your offer letter takes account of your statement about accompanying dependants in the Graduate Application Form. Scholarships do not usually provide maintenance for dependants. You may not bring additional dependants to Cambridge before evidence of the extra financial support required has been supplied and the consent of your college obtained.



The cost of childcare in Cambridge is extremely high. Full-time nursery care for pre-school children costs up to £10,000 per child per year, and after-school clubs for children of school age cost up to £2,000 per child per year. These costs are in addition to the figures requested for your financial guarantee.


Other costs

If you undertake a course involving abnormally expensive laboratory materials, you may be expected to contribute towards the cost of your research (in addition to the University Composition and College Fees). The Admissions Office will let you know about this when it makes you an offer. Some courses may involve extra costs for special elements such as conference visits or field trips. Please check the course application information to find out if you will need to make additional provision for this.
Please note: the payment for these course costs is arranged through the department, not the Student Registry.


Part-Time Course Costs

As a part-time research student you will be charged both the University Composition and College Fees for each year of your course. In order to be admitted to your course you must provide evidence of an ability to cover your finances for the entire duration of the course i.e. it is not possible to provide a financial guarantee for a five year course on an annual basis.

You are not required to show evidence of maintenance costs but you should make provision for travel and accommodation expenses at various times during your course.

Part-Time PhD, MSc, Mlitt, CPGS

For the part-tme PhD, MSc, Mlitt and CPGS the fee is 60% per annum of the full-time fee for both the University Composition Fee and the College Fee.

Part-Time MPhil

For the part-time MPhil, taken over two years, the fee is 50% per annum of the full-time fee for both the University Composition Fee and the College Fee.

For further information about part-time graduate study please see 'Part-Time Programmes'.