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In most UK universities, the Master of Arts is a degree awarded by examination. At Cambridge, the MA is conferred by right on holders of the BA degree of the University and on certain other senior members and is not available as a postgraduate qualification.

Possession of the MA, or any other Cambridge masters degree or doctorate, confers membership of the University Senate. This gives the right to:

  • participate in Discussions (part of the University's decision-making process)
  • vote in the election of a new Chancellor or High Steward
  • borrow books from the University Library

Many colleges also offer their senior members the opportunity to dine at High Table on a certain number of occasions each year.

This method of conferment of the MA also exists at the universities of Oxford and Dublin.

Getting your MA

A Bachelor of Arts may be admitted to Master of Arts not less than six years from the end of his or her first term of residence, provided that a supplicat for the latter degree may only be entered after the former degree has been conferred.

This removes the previous requirement for the B.A. Degree to be held for two years before the M.A. can be conferred.

Someone who qualified for the BA but has never had it conferred cannot be entered for the MA, even if the necessary time has passed since the end of their first term of residence, unless and until the BA has been conferred on them.  

  • Further details are available from your college, which will usually inform you when you become eligible.

The MA may also be conferred, under Statute B.II.2, on Heads and Fellows of Colleges and on University Officers who are not Cambridge graduates after (except in the case of Heads and Professors) three years in post.

Degrees by Incorporation

Graduates of the Universities of Oxford or Dublin who hold a post in the University of Cambridge or in a Cambridge College have the privilege of being admitted to an equivalent Cambridge degree 'by incorporation' under Statute B.II.2. Eligibility is similar to that for the MA under statute B.II.2.