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Information Compliance


This page provides information about how we collect, use and share your personal information when you apply to study at the University of Cambridge.


Your personal information and how we use, share or disclose it

Personal information means any information which relates to you or identifies you as an individual.

The University of Cambridge will use, share and disclose your information as part of the application process with:

  • its Departments
  • its Institutes and Research Centres or Units
  • the Cambridge Colleges

The University and the Colleges are separate legal entities. The University and the Colleges share the personal information you give in accordance to agreed protocols. Any College that assesses your application may also give you details about how they will use your information.


The information we collect and use

The University and the Colleges will collect and use the information:

  • you provide in your UCAS application
  • you provide in the My Cambridge Application online form, the Postgraduate Applicant Portal or any other application form or system
  • you submit in any supporting documents
  • sent to us by your referees
  • from any admissions test or interview process

The University and the Colleges will also use information from third parties where relevant, for example, where we run an application process with another organisation.

This could be:

  • screening checks that we need for safeguarding purposes in courses such as Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
  • the results of admissions tests
  • the results of skills tests in numeracy and literacy that we need for PGCE courses
  • the results of any language tests or assessments completed with the Language Centre
  • details about relevant unspent criminal convictions

Read about the official checks we need for medicine and veterinary medicine applicants.

Find out how we use information relating to unspent criminal convictions for postgraduate applications  and unspent criminal convictions for undergraduate applications.


How we use your information

The University and the Colleges will use the information to:

  • identify you
  • process your application
  • verify your information
  • make decisions about offering you a place or funding
  • tell you the outcome and give feedback if appropriate

We may also use or disclose the information provided for statutory or public interest purposes. 

This could be to:

  • detect or prevent fraud
  • monitor equal opportunities
  • help us make any reasonable adjustments for a disability, if you have requested it
  • help us to consider future accommodation requirements
  • provide statutory information required by legislation
  • help with research, surveys and statistics

It will not be possible to identify you in any research and statistics we publish or disclose.


Why we need to use your information

It is necessary for us to use your information so that we can:

  • create a contract with you, for example, to assess your application to study with us
  • comply with a legal obligation, for example, to administer visa applications or check your eligibility to receive financial support
  • complete tasks that are in the public interest, for example, research into admission figures

We ask that you provide the required information, so that we can assess your application properly. Staff will assess your application. We do not automate decisions.


Sensitive information

When we ask for sensitive information (sometimes known as ‘special categories of personal data’), we’ll tell you why we are asking for it. These questions will often be optional. We may ask for information about your:

  • ethnicity
  • sexual orientation
  • religious beliefs
  • health
  • disabilities
  • unspent criminal convictions


Who we share your information with

As stated, we’ll share your application and related information with the appropriate staff at the University and the Colleges. We will also share your personal information, if it is necessary and relevant, with:

  • your referees
  • your school, college or training organisation
  • your examination or awarding bodies
  • your student support assessment body
  • your funders and potential funders. These may include the Student Loans Company, the Gates Cambridge Trust, the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust and any consortium partners. These funders and potential funders may need to assess your financial situation
  • the British Council or appropriate agencies for international applicants
  • UK Visas and Immigration
  • government bodies including local authorities, the Home Office, and the Department for Work and Pensions and its agencies
  • any organisations we work with to deliver your course
  • other Higher Education organisations and the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT), to assist with tracking and research into Higher Education
  • companies or organisations that provide specific services to, or on behalf of, the University or the Colleges, for example to administer admissions assessments


How we use your information if you’re accepted to study at Cambridge

Find out how we use your personal information if you're accepted to study at Cambridge. You’ll also find information on the relevant College website. You’ll receive further information in your offer of admission.

If you are accepted, the University will also send data about you to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA, which forms part of Jisc), as described on their website at  It will also send data about you to other external agencies and funding bodies, as required.


Access the information we hold about you

You have the right to access the personal information that is held about you by the University or a College.

You also have the right to:

  • ask us to correct any inaccurate information we hold about you
  • delete personal information
  • restrict how we process your data
  • object to processing your data, including receiving direct marketing
  • receive an electronic copy of the personal information you have given us

We will consider every request but conditions and exemptions may apply.

Find out how to access the personal information we hold.


How long we keep your information

We store your personal information for as long as necessary to complete the application process. 

If you’re successful, we’ll keep your information as part of your student record for the duration of your studies. We may use it as part of our assessment if you make any future application for further studies at Cambridge. 

If you’re unsuccessful, we’ll keep your information for around one year after the application process is completed. We’ll then delete or anonymise the information.

We may keep your information longer if you have applied for a course in certain regulated professions, such as medicine.

Read more about how long different types of information are retained by the University.


Contact us

If you have any questions about how we use your personal information, or if wish to exercise any of your rights, read the University’s data protection guidance

If you need further help, you can contact:


How to complain

You have the right to complain if you are not happy with how your information is being handled, or with the response you receive from us.


The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane


Changes to this page

We updated this webpage in March 2023. We review it annually and update it if necessary. We will publish any changes on this page.