Clare College Cambridge

Changing Subject/Tripos

The Tripos system enables students to read a variety of subjects during their time at Cambridge. However, you have been admitted to the University to read the subject for which you applied, and you have no automatic right to change subject – although permission will be given under the right circumstances. The College will support and encourage you to take advantage of the flexibility of the Tripos system for those changes which involve little more than a formal change of label (eg Computer Sciences for those who come up to read 1A Natural Sciences). On the other hand, you may feel that you wish to make a more significant change, involving a different discipline and Director of Studies. This is a serious step, and before reaching any definite decision, you should take the opportunity to discuss it thoroughly with different people, including your Tutor, your new Director of Studies and your current Director of Studies.

Whichever type of change you are anticipating, the first stage is to complete the appropriate form which can be found at the bottom of this page; it will have to be signed by your Tutor, your proposed Director of Studies, your current Director of Studies, and the Senior Tutor. This procedure may seem time-consuming, but it has been designed to ensure that you take full advice before going ahead. There is no specified order in which you should proceed, but these are some of the issues you will need to consider, and the people best placed to help you.

Not all changes of course are permitted, and your Tutor will check the University Statutes for the relevant regulations. It is also an excellent idea to explain to your Tutor why you wish to change course, as there may well be factors you have not thought about fully. In particular, please remember that if you want  to stay for an additional year, you will have to find additional funding; in that case, you should also contact the Financial Tutor, Dr Fred Parker.

You should also go to see your proposed Director of Studies, who will need to be convinced that you have suitable academic qualifications for the new course. He/she may contact your present Director of Studies, as well as your Tutor, and you will be expected to provide good evidence that you are well suited to a different subject. The procedures vary, but you may be asked to submit an essay for assessment, sit a test, or attend a trial week of lectures to ensure that you match up to the admissions criteria for that course.

Before committing yourself to a change, you must also consult your current Director of Studies, who may point out reasons why another course of action might be preferable; for example, some courses alter in nature substantially after the first year.

Finally, your form must be signed by the Senior Tutor, who will check that all the conditions for your switch have been satisfied.

Application form to change subject to be completed and returned to be signed by the Senior Tutor, Dr Jacqueline Tasioulas.