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Postgraduate Study


You will need to cover your living expenses for the duration of your course.

You can find information below about the types of costs this may include. If you have dependents, you will also need to cover their living expenses.

Before you are admitted to the University, you will need to confirm that you can cover your living expenses (known as the ‘maintenance requirement’) in addition to your course fees. If you are made a conditional offer, you will be asked to do this by completing a PDF Financial Undertaking Form

Living costs for 2024/25

We have estimated average, basic living costs for a full-time student without dependants for 2024/25 to be £18,625.

This estimate is based on a detailed survey we carried out with our postgraduate students, to find out how much they’re spending and on what.  The different areas of spending included in our 2024/25 estimate are shown in the table below.

Estimated monthly living costs 2024/25





Personal items


Social activities


Study costs





(Costs in the table are rounded up to the nearest £5)


About these estimates

Our estimate of living costs for 2024/25 was made in May 2023, using current Bank of England inflation forecasts. We will do a further check in November, but applicants should be aware that because the estimate relies on forecasts calculated in advance, living costs may rise above the suggested figure before they arrive in Cambridge.

The annual estimate above is included in the ‘minimum financial undertaking’ that you commit to via the PDF Financial Undertaking Form.

The estimates in the table are based on an average (median) student. In reality, total expenditure and expenditure by category will vary significantly from student to student and you should plan for any additional costs from your lifestyle and preferences.

  • Food (Food and beverages): Food costs include food and beverages, which enable an individual to have three meals in a student cafeteria or by self-catering per day. Eating out is factored into social activities (see below).
  • Accommodation (Housing utility, furniture, and maintenance): Accommodation costs include rent, utility bills, and any routine maintenance, which is cross-checked with the latest College median rents and the recent survey reports. Please note that college accommodation costs take into account a range of factors, and the impact of inflation on these costs will therefore vary from year to year. Private sector rental costs may vary also.
  • Personal expenses (Clothing and footwear, health, transport, and communication): Personal items include clothing and footwear, health costs, toiletries, personal transport, and subscriptions.
  • Social Activities (Recreation, culture, restaurants, and hotels): Social Activities include recreation, culture, eating-out, and going to events.
  • Study costs: Study costs include books, course related equipment and materials. They also can include course-related travel costs e.g. conferences.  Your own course may require some specific additional expenditure: check the entry in the Course Directory and talk to your Faculty or Department if you are unsure.
  • Miscellaneous costs: Miscellaneous costs include other small costs which do not fall under any categories above.

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.

Part-time students

We do not provide an estimate of maintenance costs for part-time students, as these vary widely between different home locations and circumstances. If you are offered a place for part-time study, you will need to make your own estimate when completing the Financial Undertaking Form. Further guidance can be found at Maintenance costs for part-time students.

Arriving in Cambridge

Arriving in Cambridge from overseas and starting here as a student will have some costs. For example, travel costs and potentially Visa and Health Surcharge costs, which are not included in the figures above. You should budget for these costs separately. It’s worthwhile planning for these in advance, so they don’t come as a surprise or cause financial problems. Further guidance on costs of arrival can be found on the International Students website


Additional provision for accompanying dependants should be made. You should allow approximately 50% of the above estimate for an accompanying adult and 30% for each accompanying child. The financial condition specified in your offer letter takes account of your statement about accompanying dependants in your 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 around £10,000 per child per year, and after-school clubs for children of school age cost around £2,000 per child per year. These costs are in addition to the figures requested for your financial guarantee.

You can find out more about childcare in Cambridge on the University's Childcare Office website.

Other costs

If you undertake a course involving expensive laboratory materials, you may be expected to contribute towards the cost of your research (in addition to the University Composition Fee). You can find information about this by visiting the finance tab on your course page in the Course Directory. 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 your department, not the Student Registry or the College.

Family Portal

This page is part of the portal for Applicants with Families