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Change of Tripos

The Tripos system is designed to allow students to be examined in different subjects over the course of their undergraduate career. Undergraduates are, however, admitted to study for a particular Tripos for which they have demonstrated their ability and potential. Any request to change Tripos will be assessed carefully to promote the academic development of the individual student while protecting their interests and preserving the integrity of the admissions process.


The following principles apply:

  • First year undergraduates requesting a change of Tripos are expected to complete the first year in the subject into which they were admitted. 

  • University regulations setting out the allowable paths in each Tripos must be followed (see Chapter IV of the Statutes and Ordinances).

  • Subject changes are normally only possible between academic years. However, a change intended to take effect in the summer may be agreed earlier in the academic year. Conditions may be attached (eg examination results).  Early discussion is strongly encouraged.

  • If a student on a Tier 4 visa wants to change Tripos the College must check with the International Office whether the change is permissible under their visa conditions. Changes requiring an additional year (or a year less) may not be allowed.

Procedure to be followed by a student requesting a change of Tripos:

  • A student considering requesting a subject change is strongly encouraged to explore the content and structure of the prospective subject in detail, for example by attending lectures, reading online course guides and talking to current students of the alternative subject.

  • It is also very important to explore the full range of possibilities within the current Tripos; in most subjects there are many divergent paths, with opportunities to specialise in later years on a wide variety of topics and to borrow papers from other Triposes. Here too, lectures, course guides and more senior students can provide helpful perspective.

  • A student wishing to pursue this consideration should consult with their Tutor, their current Director of Studies, and the prospective new Director of Studies.

  • The Director of Studies in the proposed new subject will want to assess the student’s motivation, ability and potential, and is likely to set a test or written assignment. 

  • The student should normally also meet with the Senior Tutor to discuss their reasons for requesting the change. *This is not necessary for (i) Medics taking different Part II courses; (ii) those in a planned progression to Chemical Engineering, or in an ‘Ancient World’ combination of Classics and Archaeology; or (iii) those taking Management Studies as a fourth year.

  • Students should be aware that not all requests to change Tripos are successful.

  • If a change is agreed, it may be subject to conditions (eg. examination results).