Covid-19 disruption & applying to Christ's this year

Advice for students applying in September/October 2020.

Christ's College, Cambridge, main gate on St Andrew's Street

This is a page for students who are considering an application to Christ's in October 2020 in the context of global Coronavirus disruptions. We very much hope that all will be well for you but we know that in these difficult times, you will have lots of questions.

We are aware that it's possible that you, your teachers or members of your immediate families could become ill. Your schooling and/or public exams will also have been disrupted. We understand that circumstances are difficult at the moment and that prospective students all over the world are affected.

We have produced this advice page to reassure and to help you in relation to an application to Christ's. We are updating it as things progress. Due to the worldwide circumstances, some details will inevitably need to change in the Cambridge application process this year, but we will guide you through the changes once information is confirmed and please be assured that the gist of the application process will remain the same as normal. Let's work through this positively - we want to receive your applications, to consider them and to make offers to another fantastic set of students who we can welcome to Christ's in Oct 2021 (or deferred 2022).

Updates box
  • 22 Sept: We are expecting the central office to update Covid 19 info later today so that it's more for applicants (check back end of day?)
  • 21 Sept: Booking has opened for a final webinar for students from EU countries.
  • 18 Sept: Cambridge Assessment (exam board) updates on assessments for Computer Science, Land Economy and Medicine (we recommend 'following' this article)
  • 16 Sept: This year more than ever, we advise applicants not to leave application forms such as UCAS, the SAQ etc. until the last minute (and to encourage your referee not to leave it to the last minute either). Remember that if you work on an application in advance, if you hit a problem there will be time to sort it out. We do need to be clear that we don't consider late applications (not even if you're only late by a minute).
  • 16 Sept: The Extenuating Circumstances Form is not to be used to communicate educational disruption relating only to Covid 19 - we don't want one for every applicant and Covid-19 disruption information will be collected elsewhere in the application process (details in due course). Many thanks.
  • 12 Sept: Dr Emily Tomlinson (the Christ's Director of Admissions) explained at our 11 Sept open day that speaking for Christ's specifically (we can't speak for other Colleges), we're expecting to make a normal number of offers to students applying this year and to admit a normal sized cohort next academic year.
  • 8 Sept: Registration is open for pre-interview admissons assessments. See info and how to register.
  • 27 August: Important Covid 19 updates for students sitting a pre-interview Admissions Assessment. In particular:
  • July update on interviews (university-wide): In order to minimise Covid-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can. An equivalent statement also available on the overseas interviews page, if relevant.
  • Some very helpful films from UCAS for prospective students applying this year in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Christ's College Third Court

As a prospective student, please keep a record / log of disruption

If you've had periods of not attending school or if your normal teachers could not teach you, please ensure that you keep your own written record of the actual disruption (including exact dates). Disruption might include, but is not limited to, periods of self-isolation, disruptive teacher absences, school closures and disruptions to any exams you were due to take.

Please also keep a log of what teaching & learning alternatives (if any) were/are provided by your school. Please note online learning resources or teaching provided, dates available etc.

16 Sept update: we will tell you when and how to give us this information during the application process. NB. We ask that you do not try to give us this Covid 19 disruption information via an Extenuating Circumstances Form (we do not want one of these for every applicant)- it will be collected in another way (detail in due course).

Students talking in the Library foyer

Starting the new academic year

  • Well done to all students who have done a period of study at home. As the new academic year starts, we wish you all the best with the return to school/college and hope you will be able to settle into this new academic year as soon as possible.
  • The application deadline for Cambridge is early: 15 October for most applicants, though students applying for overseas interview in Malaysia or Singapore apply by 20 September. We advise you to read the relevant Christ's subject page before making your application. These pages have information about applying for your subject and at the end there's a helpful resources section too. If you have questions do email us.
  • Keep an eye out for updates on the University's Covid 19 pages as well as on this page. We are expecting updates for applicants in the next weeks.
  • Watch the two interview films if you've not already done so: preparing for interview and the interview. Although we know you are waiting for detail on how interviews will work this year, the gist will stay the same so these films are still helpful.
  • If you've not already done so. please check on the relevant Christ's subject page to see if there is an Admissions Assessment for your subject and what it involves - read the applying part of the relevant subject page, and if there is an assessment, follow the links to the university admissions website, where you'll find format and content detail. Notes:
    • Those applying for History or History & Politics, please bear with us - we are waiting for an update for your subject pages.
    • Some recent updates on Admissions Assessments - see the 'updates' box further up the page.
Fellows Garden

Online Open Days have now finished except EU webinar

This year we've have to run all of our recent open days and events online. We hope that those of you who attended have found them helpful. The College remains closed to visitors.

We are sorry that many of you have not been able to visit. For students who receive an offer from Christ's, we hope to organise an offer holders open day if possible at a later stage so that you can see the College.

  • Students applying from EU countries can sign up for an EU webinar on Thurs 8 Oct on our open days page.
  • The visiting Christ's page has suggestions on how to find out more about / "visit" Christ's online.
  • Remember also that as some people live a long way away, we have many students each year who make a successful application without ever setting foot in Christ's beforehand so if you haven't been able to visit Christ's, please don't be put off. If you have questions for us, Kristy, Jan and Ellie will do their best to help - do send an email to


If you were due to take any exams this summer, we realise that in many countries around the world, exams were cancelled, the format was changed or grades were calculated a different way. Please remember first of all that you are not alone - that there are many other students in the same position and guidance will be on the university Covid 19 pages.

Students in the Garden, Christ's College, Cambridge

Work experience

Some of you have mentioned that you had a work experience placement lined up which has subsequently been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Please do not be concerned about this in the context of a future application. We will obviously understand that applicants who apply this year may have had work experience placements cancelled (this will affect a lot of students). Please also be assured that none of our courses require work experience before the start (not even Medicine). There are a range of ways to explore your interest in a subject, and work experience is only one of them.

A second point: here at Cambridge we have long vacations between our intensive eight-week terms, so if you would find it helpful to get some work experience once you have started a degree here, there will be time to do that. We have a very helpful careers service that helps current students to find placements during their degree (as well as careers after graduation).

If you're interested in Medicine there is an article here from the Medical Schools Council with advice for relevant experience during the Covid 19 pandemic

I've heard that large-group lectures will be online in 2020-21

Although it doesn't affect you as applicants for 2021 entry and beyond, we wanted to give a bit of information as you may be aware that one aspect of our teaching, the large-group University lectures, will be online for our students next academic year (whilst you are applying). Lectures are arranged by your University faculty or department and you would normally attend them with all students in the university (across all Colleges) who are taking the same course option. Some of the lectures have 200+ people attending. They are normally a one-way delivery of information (the lecturer talks, you take notes or fill in a handout/worksheet). You can find out more about lectures in CamGuides: lectures.

Lectures are only one part of the rich education that Cambridge offers. You may also have read about the small group supervisions, language classes, lab work and practicals, which are the more interactive sessions. If you're not sure what these other forms of teaching normally involve, a good place to look is:

Then there are also the social aspects of living in the College community, societies and sports etc. The CamGuides were written before the Coronavirus disruptions, but they provide a useful introduction to the different aspects of student life, and do also read some student profiles. The University and College is working hard to make sure they can run as well as possible next year and, as always, we will welcome applications from bright students from all backgrounds and support you through the admissions process. The section below has information relevant to making an application.

Christ's College, Cambridge Undergraduate Common Room (JCR)


The How to apply page sets out the timeline and details of the application process (and there are some extra support pages for students applying from the UK and for students applying from outside the UK). We will update you later this month on exactly how and where your Coronavirus disruption information should be given in your application, in the meantime please proceed with application as normal.

  • If you were due to sit one or more A levels this year, please see UCAS updates.
  • It is likely that there will be some additional instructions for applicants added relating to Coronavirus disruptions, in order to ensure that we have the information we need to assess each applicant as fairly as possible.
  • We will run the application process as closely as we can to normal, but will keep you updated here if there are any changes needed due to Coronavirus.
    • Change 1 (1 July): The following university-wide statement has been issued: 
      In order to minimise Covid-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can. An equivalent statement is also available on the overseas interviews page, if relevant.
    • Change 2 (27 Aug): Covid 19 updates for students sitting a pre-interview Admissions Assessment. In particular:
    • Change 3 (10 Sept): The most observant of you will notice that we've extended the interview period listed on our How to apply page - it is currently looking likely that the interview period may need to continue a bit further into December than normal, though we'll only use the later dates if we need to. More detail on interviews in due course once available. 
    • Change 4 (16 Sept): A restriction on use of the Extenuating Circumstances Form - this is not to be used to communicate educational disruption relating only to Covid 19 because Covid 19 disruption information will be collected elsewhere in the application process (details in due course). We do not want to recieve an Extenuating Circumstances form for every student.
    • Change 5 (18 Sept): Assessments for Computer Science, Land Economy and Medicine will be delivered on computer, no change to content though. See exam board article and we strongly recommend 'following' this article.


Useful links at this time


UCAS updates on Coronavirus; UCAS films for students applying this year (very helpful!). UCAS is being helpful on Twitter too.

Cambridge University

Coronavirus information for prospective students and offer holders, See also the FAQs. Most information here is for offer holders at the moment, but more details for students applying should be available as we get further into September / the applications period.

Finance updates Coronavirus Student Finance updates (UK students)
Please follow the guidance issued by the authorities in your country. For example UK Guidance. This includes info for social distancing, self isolation, and household isolation. The University also has a dedicated page.

Thank you for reading. We hope that this page has been helpful - we encourage you to refer back to it for further updates as we progress through the year. We would also like to wish you our sincere best wishes in these difficult times.

Back to the Undergraduate Admissions Page  / How to Apply / Subjects at Christ's  /  Why Choose Christ's