• Christ's College, Cambridge

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Christ's College, Cambridge

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Christ's College
Established: 1505
University: University of Cambridge
Address: St. Andrew's Street, Cambridge, CB2 3BU
Telephone: (01223) 334900
Website: www.christs.cam.ac.uk
Student Union/JCR website: www.thejcr.co.uk
Graduate/MCR website: http://www.christsmcr.co.uk
Admittance: Undergraduates and postgraduates


Student Statistics

  • Total Undergraduates in 2014-15 = 415 (248 (60%) men + 167 (40%) women)
  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 14: 124 (72 (58%) men + 52 (42%) women)
  • Christ's had 32 mature undergraduate students in 2014-15
  • Total Postgraduates in 2014-15 = 223

Source: Student Statistics Planning and Resource Allocation

In 2014, 57% of Christ's home student acceptances came from state schools, compared with a Cambridge average of 62%. source)

Academic Performance

Christ's ranking in the Tompkins Table (which ranks 29 colleges according to their Tripos results): 14th (2015), 9th (2014), 8th (2013), 9th (2012), 6th (2011), 12th (2010), 13th (2009), 8th (2008), 2nd (2007), 6th (2006), 4th (2005), 2nd (2004), 2nd (2003), 4th (2002), 1st (2001), 1st (2000). Average (mean) Tompkins ranking 5.6


Christ’s, founded in 1448 by Henry VI, has a distinguished tradition of scholarship and places much emphasis on individual teaching and personal contact between its students and senior members. The College is small enough to be friendly and personal, yet large enough for all members to be able to find others with interests matching their own.

The College site is spacious and located in the centre of the city with easy access to all University departments and facilities. The College cherishes its links with the past, its learned heritage as the College of Milton and Darwin, and its historic architecture, but Christ’s is also a modern community with a wide range of facilities including comfortable accommodation, meals, libraries open 24 hours, computing equipment and a visual arts studio. The College is also a base for social activities with clubs and societies open to all; sporting facilities are available nearby at the boathouse and playing fields.

The College avoids, so far as possible, having rigid quotas for subjects or backgrounds and has a diverse community of undergraduate students, of whom currently 17 per cent are from outside the UK.

The College is able to offer accommodation in the centre of Cambridge to all undergraduates for their entire course (three or four years). This may be in the college itself or in houses nearby. Most living accommodation is in comfortable single study-bedrooms; there is no need to share. All rooms in College have sockets for cable telephone and direct broadband access to the internet.

Christ's was the last of the Cambridge Colleges to give out 'easy offers' (EE - the minimum requirement for any student to enter the university. Also known as a Matriculation Offer.) up until 2010 when it was phased out completely.


This is simply the best thing about being at Christ's. The college is central as you could ever want to be, yet still avoids the huge crowds of tourists that would annoy you if you were at, for example, King's.

Everything is within walking distance, from all the town centre shops (Grafton Centre is also close), the clubs (Cindies is opposite the Porter's Lodge, The Place opposite the side gate) loads of pubs, and most of the University Faculties are within 10 mins walk, the Centre for Mathematical Studies is around a forty minute walk away.

  • 0.67 miles to the Engineering Department on Trumpington Street.
  • 30 seconds from Cindies (if that)
  • under 5 minutes to New Musuems / Downing sites


Another huge plus at Christ's is that you can stay in college for your entire 3 years as an undergraduate. Some second years choose to live in college-owned houses on Jesus Lane, but this is again practically in college, being only a 3 minute walk away. This leads Christ's to have a great sense of community, especially across the year groups.

New Court is where first years usually live. It contains the newest accomodation in college, having been refurbished during 2008. Every bedroom is ensuite, although they are a little smaller than the rest of the rooms in college (you're given your own storage cupboard elsewhere however, which helps make the most of the space).

Other 'standard' accommodation is really very good, especially in Third Court. The college also gives special 'scholar's' rooms to those who get firsts in the preceding years, which are often roomy sets with their own kitchens and living spaces. These tend to be in the older parts of college, such as First and Second courts.

First-year accommodation is allocated randomly and the choice in subsequent years is by a ballot which is drawn part way through your first year then reversed when you pick 3rd year rooms, giving those at the bottom of the list when picking 2nd year accomodation a chance to get a nice room!

College rooms have modern amenieties, and many of the most recently built rooms have individual private en-suite bathrooms. However, only limited facilities for self-catering are availble, and students are encouraged to take advantage ot the meals offered and the opportunity which they provide to meet other students. The position of the College in the City Centre means that it is also very close to most of the University Departments where lectures and practical classes are held. Most places in Cambridge are within easy walking distance but most students find a bicycle to be a convenient asset.

Accommodation images:

Social Spaces

The Bar is the main social gathering-point. Despite Cambridge folk-lore, it IS open at normal hours, till 11 every night (10.30 on Sundays). Other colleges may get occasional extensions which we don't enjoy, but I personally think this is made up for by the atmosphere of the bar. Don't expect a modern style building or décor like some colleges may have, with loud music etc. Our bar is a little more quaint and small, but has a much more friendly and approachable feeling about it.

New Court houses two social rooms for undergrads - the JCR (common room) has a stereo, itbox, table football, pool and Wii games console. The TV room next door has a brand new 50" television along with satellite tv and dvd playing facilities. There is also a table tennis table in the TV room.

Christ's is right in the middle of town so you can easily leave college to socialise at any other bars or pubs etc.

Library and Computing

Christ's Library is averagely well stocked for a college library I think (over 100,000 books), and open 24 hours. It can often be found with panic-stricken students in the early hours of the morning (often this wiki-editor) and provides a place to work away from distractions of your room (though beware of the wifi in there for accessing facebook - making even the library a distracting place).

In Exam Term, the college also opens other rooms for studying and revising for times when the library becomes full.

There is a computer room in the newest part of the college, Staircase Four, though most people do bring their own. This means the room is usually empty and you can get on a PC whenever you require one. All student rooms in College are provided with a socket for cable telephone connection (for which a charge would be made by the cable company). For students who have their own personal computer, each student room has a socket for a direct connection to a fibre optic ring which links the College to all University Departments and to the Internet. A small charge is made for connection, but at present no further charge is made for use of the Internet for email. Students do not need their own computer, as computer terminals are available 24 hours a day in the Library and in the computer rooms in the College.


The College provides optional meals, either in Upper Hall which is informal and self service, or in the medieval Dining Hall where a more formal dinner is offered in traditional surroundings. Communal meals are occasions when students can meet each other, members of other colleges and senior members of Christ's.


The college has the standard support network of Tutors, Chaplain and JCR (Student Council) Welfare positions, to provide support when it is needed. This is always being fought for by the JCR to improve and make sure Christ's is as a relaxing place to study as Cambridge can provide.

College Life

Christ's is distinctive amongst the Cambridge Colleges. It offers strong tutorial support to its students as they pursue their academic work. While excellence in scholarship is especially prized at Christ's, all members are encouraged to explore a wide range of outside interests, and innumerable extra-curricular activities flourish amongst the students: sport, music, drama and films, debating, and many, many more.

The College is small enough to be friendly and personal, yet large enough for all members to be able to find others with interests to match their own.

Basically it's a great place to work and live in, and find friends for life!

Chapel and Choir

As members of a college community, we often need space set aside for quiet reflection, prayer, meditation or worship. College chapel provides this space and Christ’s has a beautiful and ancient chapel, dating from the 16 century.

When you come to Christ’s, the chapel is your space and is not restricted to any particular ‘group’ or ‘faith’. It is used every day for chapel services, by members of college for private prayer, for stillness and also for music practice.

The chapel is a venue for many musical recitals and concerts during full term.

Christ’s College chapel has one of the finest mixed-voice choirs in Cambridge and there are three choral services per week coupled with many occasional services and events which demand a choral presence. The choir’s repertoire spans many centuries and it often performs, liturgically, works which have not yet been so previously in the UK.

The chapel is inclusive in ethos where everyone is welcome. The liturgy is usually relaxed, yet formal enough to be of high prestige in the University. There are many opportunities to explore through worship, how God relates to our particular needs or contexts and variety in our liturgies reflects this possibility.

There are thoughtful reflections and sermons and the quality of music allows the heart and mind to be open to the promise of the presence of God. A warm welcome awaits you in the College Chapel.

Gardens, Terms and Vacations

Although the College's site is in the very centre of the modern City of Cambridge, it nevertheless has some extensive landscape gardens which provide a quiet contrast to the bustling City streets outside. In the warmth of the summer sun, the Gardens can provide a relaxed place in which to study and they are also used on occasions to entertain visitors such as (above) returning graduates. Trees in the gardens include a mulberry reputedly planted in 1608, the year of Milton's birth, which still produces a good annual crop of fruit.


The College offers grants to encourage students to take part in expeditions or travel during part of the summer vacations.

Student Activities at Christ's College

Many student activities flourish in the College and it would be unlikely for any one member to find the time and energy to be involved in the full range. Principal activities are in the areas of music, sport, and drama, but there are also facilities for many other interests including a photographic darkroom and television and video/DVD equipment. All activities are organised by students and the relative popularity of different ones will vary with the interests of the current group of students.

The College Dramatic Society (CADS) and the College Film Society both take advantage of the facilities of the modern New Court Theatre, which is technically well-equipped. Dramatic productions range from very serious and experimental plays to an annual light-hearted pantomime. An open-air production is quite often staged in the Gardens in the summer. Many students will get involved in the annual University Rag procession and other events used to raise money for local and national charities.

In addition to College societies, there are University-based clubs and groups which cater for almost every conceivable interest and activity.


Musical activities are very popular and serious musicians may be supported by Instrumental Awards or tutorial grants towards the costs of tuition. The College Musical Society (founded 1705) currently runs an orchestra which rehearses weekly and gives a Concert each term. There are also opportunities for musicians to form smaller Chamber groups. The practice facilities available include two general practive rooms equipped with good upright pianos and another room which houses a new grand piano. Regular weekly recitals are organised by the Director of Music each term involving some professionals as well as College musicians.


River-based activities are a feature of the life of many students at Cambridge, and these may range from punting gently along the `backs' on a sunny afternoon to more strenuous and competitive racing. Rowing races on the River Cam are known as `bumps' (see here and associated links) and each boat tries to catch the one in front. Previous rowing experience is not essential for success in this sport at Cambridge. The Christ's boathouse (illustrated below) is within half a mile of the College.

On the main College site, there is one modern Squash Court in New Court and also facilities for other sports, such as table-tennis. About a mile away, the College also has the most extensive College playing-fileds in Cambridge, which are shared with Sidney Sussex College. The playing-fields have good modern pavilion facilities and there are pitched for all the principal sports, together with tennis courts, etc. Over recent years, the College has had great sporting success and individual members have gone on to national success in many sports. Prowess and enthusiasm for sport, or any other non-academic activity, will not in itself be sufficient to secure admission to Cambridge, as academic ability is the foremost consideration. However, the College takes pride in those members who can combine their academic work with other activities and take advantage of the excellent facilities and opportunities which are offered. In addition to `serious' sport, there are many opportunities for participation at a more modest level where enthusiasm is as important as ability.

The gym could be better, but it's ok. There is the following equipment: 2 bikes (1 normal, 1 recumbent), 3 cross-trainers, 2 treadmills, resistance machines (Lat pulldown/low row, Bench/shoulder/incline press, Leg extension/curl, Triceps/biceps pull down/up thing, Multi-cable type thing with pull-up bar), a mat and a couple of Swiss balls. There are no free weights though. I think there are plans for some medicine balls as well. Generally, It's pretty empty people-wise, so you're unlikely to need to wait long to use anything. Link to fitness suite

Christ's was declared the 10th sportiest Cambridge College in Michealmas 2009 by The Tab. See The Tab article: The College Cup revealed

Overview of Christ's Facilities

  • Chapel (16th century) (image)
  • Canteen + upper dining hall for self-service meals
  • Medieval Dining Hall for formal (served) meals (image 1, image 2)
  • Bar
  • JCR room with TV and pool table and table football
  • General Library (24/7, over 100,000 books and Wi-fi)
  • Old Library with some 25,000 early printed books and manuscripts
  • Computer room
  • Graduate computer room
  • Yusuf Hamied Theatre (120 seats)
  • Visual Arts Centre (a gallery and 3 studios)
  • 2 General Music practice rooms with upright pianos
  • A third Music practice room with a grand piano
  • Gym with:
    • 2 bikes (1 normal, 1 recumbent)
    • 3 cross-trainers, 2 treadmills
    • Resistance machines (Lat pulldown/low row Bench/shoulder/incline press Leg extension/curl Triceps/biceps pull down/up thing Multi-cable type thing with pull-up bar)
    • a mat and 2 Swiss balls.
  • 1 Squash Court
  • Landscape gardens
  • Extensive playing fields (a mile away from the main site) with a pavilion, sports pitches and tennis courts
  • Boathouse on the river with erg machines:
    • 8 model c concept2 with pm2 (but with model D handles, I think)
    • 1 model d with pm3
    • 1 rowperfect (seems fairly old, not sure if the software fully works)
    • 1 model c with some sort of sweep rowing attachment
    • Free weights

Student's eye view

Christ's has a rather unfair reputation for being a workaholic college. Yes, there are many such students here, but to no greater degree than any other colleges. And equally, there are many undergrads here who can procrastinate with the best of them and spend more than enough time socialising.

Certainly, you will not feel like you have to stay in and work if you don't want to, and you can always find somebody to waste time with if you'd rather. In addition, there's loads of extra-curric going on, such as the very good Chapel Choir, loads of other music groups and some really super sport teams and rowers.

I think the best thing about Christ's is its friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The college size is big enough to find a firm group of friends yet not big enough to feel invisible or suffocated.

Look up Christ's in the CUSU Alternative Prospectus

Alternative Prospectus PDF


Christ's College map


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