• University of Cambridge

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    Welcome to University of Cambridge

    From the mathematical bridge to the riches of Trinity College, the University of Cambridge is steeped in history and is the oldest educational institution in the British Isles after the University of Oxford. Currently sitting top of both the Guardian and the Times university ranking tables, there is certainly no doubt over the pedigree of Cambridge University in terms of academic excellence.

    Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge broke ground when scholars from the University of Oxford moved north-east following a dispute with the local townsfolk. in the following 800 years, Cambridge has produced some of the most significant thinkers and artists in modern history. Notable alumni include Sir Issac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Lord Byron. Today, the university is linked closely with Silicon Fen - a region around the city of Cambridge renowned for high-tech business with a focus on software, electronics and biotechnology.

    Here you'll find an overview of the University of Cambridge. For a student-written perspective, take a look at the University of Cambridge wiki pages.

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    Courses and fees


    Undergraduate study at Cambridge focuses on extensive preparation for the infamous Triposes (examinations). The teaching schedule revolves around a series of lectures and supervisions, which, much like Oxford's tutorials, involve small study groups overseen by a college academic, who monitors undergraduate progress and personal well-being. There are 30 courses on offer at the University of Cambridge in a range of subject areas. The university's course listing page has the full list, or click an individual course below for an idea of what to expect:

    For a taster of academic life at Cambridge, click one of the links below:

    Tuition fees

    Tuition fees for all undergraduate programmes commencing in 2016/17 are £9,000 per year for UK/EU students.

    Year abroad tuition fees

    For UK/EU students undertaking a full year abroad in 2016/17, the tuition fee payable to the University of Cambridge during the year abroad is £1,350.

    Tuition fees for international and Islands students

    Tuition fees for overseas students (outside the EU) vary depending on the course you are studying. Students from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are classified as overseas students and are therefore also charged tuition fees at the overseas rate. You can find more info on this on the Cambridge Uni site.

    Financial support

    The Cambridge Bursary scheme offers UK and EU students from households of low financial income a non-repayable amount of up to £10,500 for three years of study. Individual colleges distribute grants and awards to assist undergraduate and postgraduate finances. You can find more information on financial assistance on the Cambridge Uni site.


    Academic facilities

    The University of Cambridge proudly boasts no less than 114 libraries, which offer a vast catalogue of books and state-of-the-art learning materials. Libraries at Cambridge fall into three broad categories:

    • College Libraries - all Colleges have a library which contains the standard texts needed for undergraduate courses, along with other subject-related materials.
    • Department Libraries - the libraries in the faculties and departments offer more specialised collections of books, journals, periodicals and electronic resources for particular subjects.
    • University Library - if you can’t find what you need in your College or department library, you can try the University Library (or UL). As one of the country’s six legal deposit libraries, the UL holds a copy of virtually every book published in the UK and Ireland as well as an enormous collection of materials printed overseas. Here you have access to more than eight million books, journals and other documents, written in over 2,000 languages and ranging in age from 3,000-year-old manuscripts to the latest electronic articles.

    Computing and IT

    Colleges and departments, together with the University Information Service, provide computing facilities to assist with academic work. This includes university email accounts and central file storage. Most student rooms are connected to the university network for personal computer use. The university also offers online help and free training courses.


    The University of Cambridge has a thriving sports scene and some of the best sports facilities in the country. This includes the brand-new Cambridge Sports Centre with its two full-size courts, a multi-purpose room and a fitness centre. On top of this, Cambridge has indoor and outdoor cricket pitches, tennis courts, swimming pool, athletics tracks, hockey and rowing facilities.

    Healthcare and welfare

    Most colleges have a nurse based on-site who meets with all freshers in the first week to give initial assessments. New students should also register with a local GP as soon as possible and the University Dental Service at number 3 Trumpington Road provides NHS dental treatment for students. The district hospital is Addenbrooke's Hospital on Hills Road

    The university also has an extensive welfare network. Services include: student nurses, college chaplains, JCR women's officers/ LGBT representatives, sexual health advice and the university counselling service. For more information, see the health and welfare at Cambridge

    wiki page.



    The majority of the University of Cambridge's 31 constituent colleges are self-governing with their own financial endowments and property. All students and most lecturers are attached to a college and the 29 undergraduate colleges provide accommodation for most students for at least three years.

    Colleges are not required to admit students in all subjects, with some maintaining a bias towards certain subjects. For instance, Churchill College is renowned for admitting science and engineering undergraduates. Others maintain much more informal reputations. King's College, for instance, is known to admit students of left-wing political persuasion. However, most colleges seek to admit students of all subjects, thus upholding a balance of personalities and interests.

    Find out more in our guide to choosing a Cambridge college or research individual colleges by clicking on the links below:

    Living costs

    Colleges at Cambridge generally offer a range of price bands in order to accommodate students of different backgrounds and budgets. You'll find more detail on living costs at the university and in the city itself on the university website.

    Open days

    For prospective applicants (exclusively Year 12 and postgraduates), open days will be held on 30 June and 1 July 2016. Booking is essential and the application period for open-day positions begins in April 2016. Visitors will have the opportunity to speak with staff from academic departments and colleges, while many colleges will be open for viewing throughout the period. You'll find more on the open day section of the Cambridge website.

    Term dates

    The academic year begins on 1 October and ends on 30 September each year. For undergraduates, the year is divided into three terms. The 2016/17 dates are as follows:

    • Michaelmas term: 4 October - 2 December 2016
    • Lent term: 17 January - 17 March 2017
    • Easter term: 25 April - 16 June 2017

    Living here

    The city of Cambridge

    Cambridge is a typical university town with about one-fifth of its population in higher education. It is also home to many high-tech firms, which translates into a buzzing graduate job market in the area. The city is only 45 minutes from London King's Cross station via non-stop train and has good connections to both Stansted and Gatwick international airports.

    As with most cities with large student populations, Cambridge offers scores of weird and wonderful festivals, pubs and places of entertainment. If you're looking relax, however, punting on the city's canals is hard to beat. Venture out a little further and you're just a stone's throw from the Fenland waterways and Cambridgeshire countryside.

    Student life

    With over 700 clubs and societies to get involved with, the University of Cambridge offers something for everyone. University sports societies can take advantage of state-of-the-art facilities, while the world-famous Footlights theatrical club has honed such comedy talents as John Cleese, Peter Cook and Simon Bird. The year culminates in the legendary college May Balls (actually held a couple of weeks into June after exams).

    More resources

    1. The language of Cambridge

      Our guide to the idiosyncratic and often confusing colloquialisms used at Cambridge

    2. Cambridge college pros and cons

      Measure up which colleges suit you best

    3. Example personal statements

      Stay ahead of rival applicants with our course-tailored list of personal statements

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