I figured now that I've signed up for the course and finished my first term's worth of lectures I would update this for anyone looking into it.
- You are a full Cambridge student in most ways that matter, you can sign up for the Mathmos library, have access to the University Library, and can do all the same societies and clubs. I've basically spent the last 2 weeks signing up for every freshers event and student event possible and the only ones that have told me 'no' were the Cambridge careers service. (Fair enough on that one.) At 4000 GBP a year, the networking possibilities are a bargain. Even the administrators of the Institute of Continuing Education were surprised at how much I'm actually allowed into, as most students are working adults who leave as soon as lectures are over, so they've never tried.
- You do NOT get a college, as part time undergraduates do not matriculate.
- As I recently found out, if you do make friends in the actual colleges however, you can wear a gown to the formals. (Peterhouse is the default undergraduate gown, and this is the one you must wear if you do not hold a BA elsewhere and you're doing an Advanced Diploma. Although everyone else on the course this year has a degree save 1 guy.)
- The qualification is a Cambridge qualification NOT an 'Ice Qualification', whatever that would mean. It's mentioned in the University's constitution as a qualification open to non members of the university. This might be pertinent to younger individuals who are hoping the Cambridge name gives them something of an early career boost.
- What you can research is extremely open ended and they will work hard at finding you an appropriate supervisor for your specialism.
- Most people on the course are significantly older than the average age of TSR users, I reckon. The mean age is probably around 35, but there are a significant number of retirees who already went to Cambridge years ago and who are just learning for fun. There's a lot of working adults who are using the qualification as a segway to a masters or return to research.
- If you pass the course with a high enough grade, it's potentially a direct route to an MST at ICE without need for a Bachelor's, as the two year 'complete' advanced diploma course. (It's divided into two certificates) is equivalent to a Bachelor's degree.
- They are fairly selective about who they let on the course, and they made that abundantly clear first day of lectures.