Murray Edwards (formally New Hall) College is a women's college of the University of Cambridge. Characterised by its white bricks and dome, it is a modern and progressive college that admits only women. It is the only non-denominational college in Cambridge, so has no religious affiliation or chapel.
New Hall Library and Fountain Court
In her novel 'An Unsuitable Job For A Woman' P.D.James wrote that New Hall is "too distractingly pretty to be conducive to serious study". Now, this may be seen as quite a subjective statement by many people, but with its Fountain Court, gardens (that you can trample all over and fully enjoy!), Women's Art Collection and modern buildings it really can be beautiful.
New Hall at Night
Academically, Murray Edwards is going from strength to strength with their best ever Part II (finals) results achieved in 2011 (92% of finalists achieved a first or a 2:1). Going by the rankings, the college tends to lose out because it is a women's college - and women simply don't do as well in finals as men. However, as a woman at Murray Edwards you are likely to do better than women at most other colleges.
On the Murray Edwards Website you can take a virtual tour and read the history of the college.
Undergraduate Student Statistics
- Total Undergraduates in 2007-8 = 373 (0 men + 373 women)
- Total Undergraduates in 2006-7 = 387 (0 men + 387 women)
- Students admitted to their current course in Oct 07: 121 (0 men + 121 women)
- Students admitted to their current course in Oct 06: 118 (0 men + 118 women)
New Hall/Murray Edwards Application Statistics See College applications and admissions statistics
New Hall/Murray Edwards Application Statistics per subject See Appplication Statistics
56% of New Hall/Murray Edwards acceptances in 2007 and 57% in 2006 were from state school students (source).
A Women's College
Undoubtedly the fact that Murray Edwards is a women's college is a strong part of its identity - and a part that causes some people (especially pooled students) some anxiety. There is no need to worry, however. You are very much in control of how much, or how little, contact you want with the opposite sex. Murray Edwards is one of the 'hill colleges' in a group with Fitzwilliam and Churchill in the North of the city. Both Fitzwilliam and Churchill are predominantly male colleges, and there is a strong community between the hill colleges, with joint orchestra, drama society and sports teams. Fitzwilliam come to dine at Murray Edwards when they have formal hall and the Chruchill Pav (weekly club night) is strongly attended by Murray Edwards students. Your college is purely a base where you are accommodated, and Murray Edwards in no way bans males from the college. Your supervisions, labs, lectures, classes etc will be organised centrally so you will often be studying with men. Socially, there are many university-wide societies for you to join and socialise with men should you wish to.
As an all girls college, we're a very friendly, welcoming and easy going place. How much of that is the people, how much of that comes from being single sex and how much comes from being a modern college you'll have to work out yourself. Personally I'd say its the combination that works really well together.
Because of the uncertainty that some applicants have, there is an event called "Offer Holders'" where prospective students holding a conditional or unconditional offer are invited to stay at the college overnight. The Offer Holder will generally be put with a student in the first year who is studying their subject. Welcome events are put on, Offer Holders are usually taken to formal and to lectures by their hosts. Many Offer Holders are reassured by the event and look forward to coming to Murray Edwards when they make the grade in the summer.
Murray Edwards is one of the 'hill colleges' in a group with Fitzwilliam and Churchill in the North of the city. There is a strong community between the hill colleges, and there are joint orchestra, drama society and sports teams. It's a 10-15 minute walk from the centre of town so a bit further than other colleges but really not too bad. Murray Edwards is very close to the Mathematics buildings, Vets centre, (new) Cavendish labs and observatories, but about a half hour walk or ten minute bike ride to the main arts (Sidgwick site) and science (the New Museums Site/ Lensfield Road) teaching areas. The nearest shops are a 5-10 minute walk away and the Doctors Surgery on Huntingdon Road is next door. Aldi is a 5 minute walk away, so you can save a lot of money on food compared to everyone paying Sainsbury's prices in town.
Nearly all accommodation (the only expections being one college owned house) is connected to the college network and have high-speed internet access via ethernet. (Images thanks to www.cambridge2000.com)
Old Block can be broadly split into 3 areas: A and B staircases are unrefurbished but are 39 week rent meaning that you don't have to move out in the holidays, C and D staircases are refurbished rooms with 39 week rent, E staircase is refurbished with termly rent, and F, G and H staircases are unrefurbished termly rent. The price of the rooms vary to allow for the difference between furbished and unrefurbished, and the size of the room. Most staircases have refurbished bathrooms and kitchens, there is generally 2/3 people per shower and toilet and around 8 per kitchen. Most of the second and third years will live in Old Block. Old Block is well heated but the grey brick walls in the unfurbished rooms can get depressing, however there are no restrictions on plastering the walls with posters, unlike in other accommodation. An unusual feature of Old Block are the 'split' rooms (split singles and split doubles) which have to be seen to be understood: they are rooms with a mezzanine floor - desk and bed (or sofa) downstairs, and bed upstairs. They also often come with a lovely shared balcony area. High speed internet access is via Ethernet cable only in most rooms, although those nearer the library/ bar/ dome can sometimes get WiFi/ Eduroam. If you want WiFi in your room, you can purchase a short-range router from most computer hardware stores.
Rooms vary in size, the L-shaped ones being slightly smaller, but all are ensuite! There are about 16 rooms per corridor, all sharing a kitchen (which we call gyp rooms), which can get a little bit cramped if everyone decides to make a cup of tea at once. However, they do have the benefits of having ovens and hobs - better than many other colleges. Many rooms have a lovely view over the beautiful gardens, and all have large windows and are very spacious - not the cramped, dark rooms in some of the older colleges. All first years live in Pearl House, which is great for fostering a sense of community and bonding in Freshers'. Also living in Pearl House is Jake, the college cat (and only resident male). All rooms have high speed internet connection via Ethernet. The laundry room and accommodation office are in the basement of the building.
Buckingham house has to be some of the nicest accommodation in Cambridge - with ensuites, amazing large kitchens with a large dining area for everyone to sit down and eat dinner/ socialise together, and modern furnishings. Because Buckingham House (Buck House) is part of the college's development portfolio, and used for conference guests outside of term, you have to move out much sooner than in any of the other accommodation in order to make way for conference guests. This means that you get a better quality accommodation for a slight reduction, but moving out right away is not always convenient - you often can't wait until the Saturday to move, for example. High speed internet access.
Canning and Eliza House
Canning and Eliza House
The newest build at Murray Edwards, this is a pricy but luxurious halls - again with ensuite rooms and large social spaces but is reserved mostly for graduate students, though this does not rule out the possibility that undergraduates can live there: though it is mostly finalists who live there. High speed internet access.
Murray Edwards owns several houses on Huntingdon Road and a couple within college grounds (Hammond House and Clover House). These are slightly more run-down, but because most people opt into these houses with a group of friends this seems to matter less. Most of the college houses have high speed internet access (only the houses on Huntingdon Road don't).
One of the nicest parts of Murray Edwards is its gardens. They've recently featured in a book, and Murray Edwards made the debut appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2007. You can walk on all the grass and picnic or study to your heart's content, which is a change from many colleges where there are strict instructions to stay off the lawn. The garden parties held in the gardens are often relaxed affairs, very enjoyable and are well attended with a good university-wide reputation
- Every lunch and evening (except Tuesday and Saturday nights). A very wide selection of warm and cold food. Reasonable value, a bit cheaper than eating out at lunchtime.
- Formal Hall. Every Tuesday, and once a month on a Friday (Superhall). Quite expensive as formal halls go, but has an exceptional reputation. Three course of excellent food, all waited silver-service. Desserts are particularly good thanks to our amazing chef, Bill Proudfoot.
We have a college bar like pretty much everywhere else. Ours is often pretty quiet when nothing specific is on, but then we have Band in the Bar nights, which are live music nights about once a fortnight when both the main bar and the upstairs section are pretty packed. There are also quiz nights and other socials, and societies sometimes use the bar as a relaxed place to meet up. In terms of facilities the bar is good for the chocolate vending machine in the middle of an essay crisis. They also make great paninis - great when you miss the time for Dome food or want to grab something quick. Oh and there's a MASSIVE flat-screen TV.
Newly relocated to Old Block. The JCR has comfy beanbags and sofas - frequently used by groups of friends meeting up before a night out, societies having relaxed meetings (e.g. the popular Franklin Science Society's weekly tea and biscuit socials), and students wanting a change of scene from the library to do some work.
Snug (Froud Room)
A room with TV, DVD and video that you can book in advance to watch films with friends if you want a change of scenery from your college room. A wide selection of films is available to loan from the library, just across the corridor. Comfy sofas and a lovely view of fountain court.
The TV room, and also where a selection of daily newspapers are kept. A few large brown leather sofas, purple cushions and carpets - packed to the brim during X-factor and the like.
Library and Computing
Murray Edwards Library and Fountain Court
Rosemary Murray Library
Open 24 hours a day, you check your books in and out yourself. You are allowed 10 books, but the librarians are lenient if you need to go over. You can keep the books you borrow for the entire term. There is a photocopier conveniently located just outside the library.
Accessible with your swipe card, it's open 24 hours a day. There are a good amount of terminals and there is usually a free computer. A range of printers/ scanners/ photocopies are available for student use, with very cheap printing costs.
All college rooms can be connected to the college network, which enables high speed internet access, only the houses on Huntingdon Road don't have access.. It costs about £20 a term, and you are provided with an ethernet cable and a start-up kit (with anti-virus software and a comprehensive guide to getting your computer network ready) for free. There are download restrictions but these don't appear to be particularly limited since Skype video calls etc. work fine - better than most other colleges. The computer officers are on hand every week day and are very helpful - you can just pop in and they'll look into to problem almost immediately.
Murray Edwards/New Hall's ranking in the Tompkins Table (which ranks colleges by their Tripos exam results): 22nd (2011), 23rd (2010), 23rd (2009), 23rd (2008), 23rd (2007), 24th (2006), 25th (2005), 23rd (2004), 24th (2003), 24th (2002), 23rd (2001), 16th (2000). Murray Edwards tends to be a more relaxed college academically, although students are still given all the tools and support they need for academic success.
The welfare system at Cambridge, and Murray Edwards in particular, is personalised and your success (emotionally and academically) is their primary concern.
- Offer Holders: Because of the uncertainty that some applicants have, there is an event called "Offer Holders'" where prospective students holding a conditional or unconditional offer are invited to stay at the college overnight. The Offer Holder will generally be put with a student in the first year who is studying their subject. Welcome events are put on, Offer Holders are usually taken to formal and to lectures by their hosts. Many Offer Holders are reassured by the event and look forward to coming to Murray Edwards when they make the grade in the summer.
- College Mums: Even though as a single-sex college Murray Edwards can only offer College Mums, many College Mums pair up with Wives and it's possible that you find yourself in a highly extended network of College Aunts. Your College Mum is generally someone in the second year studying your subject. They will usually send you a letter before you come up to Cambridge introducing themselves and trying to put you at ease. There are mother-daughter events during freshers' week, and from there you build the relationship yourself. Some people don't see their college mum much after freshers' week and have had their questions answered, where others maintain strong friendships even after graduation.
- Directors of Studies: Every student at Cambridge has a DoS, who you will meet in your first week and after that you will generally email them, although some DoS's arrange termly meetings. They are there to organise your studies (supervisions and classes) and will often supervise you themselves at some point. Your DoS is your point of contact for academic issues, and they will support your learning. Sometimes this means they will give you a nudge if your performance could be better, but this is a rarity.
- Tutors: Your tutors and every administrator will help you wherever possible. Every undergraduate is allocated a tutor (who does not teach your subject, for the sake of impartiality) who you'll see a couple of times a term at least, or more if you need it. Again, they are easy to contact through email. The Senior Tutor, Dr. David Jarvis, is genuinely interested in your wellbeing, and will step in to support if things are less than peachy.
- The President: Unusually, the president endeavours to see each student individually each year to have a short chat and keep in touch. This is not standard practice at Cambridge, and shows how New Hall's senior staff are genuinely keen to ensure the welfare of their students.
- College Nurse: The College nurse, Dee, is on hand 3 hours per weekday. She is easily accessible by email and will, in some circumstances, give out her home phone number for emergencies.
- College Counsellor: Mary Cavander-Attwood is the current College Counsellor. She has been the College Nurse for many years before she became the Counsellor and is familiar with problems that people may face in the Cambridge system.
- Sexual health: Condoms and pregnancy tests are avaiable for free from the Welfare pigeonhole, which is stocked up by the welfare officer.
- Bursaries: As a small and fairly new college, it doesn't have enormous funds but invariably helps poor students and provides travel bursaries, Blues sports funding, and other funding besides. If you are in genuine trouble it will pull out all the stops. All the usual university wide bursaries (e.g. Isaac Newton bursary) are available to Murray Edwards students. Murray Edwards also offer 'Gateway Challenges Funding' for students participating in enriching activities over the summer vacation and who have attended several Gateway Programme events throughout the year (see below). Students who achieve a first in any part of the tripos receive a 400 pound scholarship.
Murray Edwards has a unique Gateway Program for undergraduates at the College. It is a scheme that has a lot of support from the current Senior Tutor, and covers things from "how to write an essay" to organising internships through the unique Internship Initiative. By attending the Gateway Program you can also access funding for your own projects and goals, for example diving in the Red Sea, travelling to China, volunteering, summer research projects and internships.
Murray Edwards was declared the 16th sportiest Cambridge College in Michealmas 2009 by The Tab. See The Tab article: The College Cup revealed Students of all abilities are able to participate in a wide range of sports at any level - from Blues (university level) sports funding to relaxed teams like Mixed Lacrosse (with Peterhouse College).
Initially strange and daunting, everyone mellows into the single-sex environment fairly swiftly. Murray Edwards has a friendly and supportive atmosphere. It's very pro-female and everyone wants you to do the very very best you can. When you first start at the university, snide people from other colleges will say "Oh, were you pooled there?" But they grow out of this by the second year and Murray Edwards is very favourably viewed by those who give it a chance.
We have Band in the Bar nights, which are live music nights about once a fortnight when both the main bar and the upstairs section are pretty packed. We also have ents, usually called Trash or Dome Life once a term that are well known across the university as well as our annual sell out garden party. So social life wise there's plenty going on, and unlike some colleges it's not all college centered, Murray Edwards girls are involved with activities and social stuff all over the city and the uni.
Murray Edwards participates in the university leagues, competing against other colleges in Rugby, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Rowing, Football, Hockey, Lacrosse, Netball, Pool, Ultimate Frisbee....
There are many subject-specific societies such as the Franklin Science Society to encourage students from different year groups to meet up and help each other. They also sometimes organise events such as swaps with other college's related societies or careers related events.
The Drama Society is called 'The Madhouse'. Productions include
- Feb 2009 - The Heights by Jess Hyslop at the Judith Wilson Drama Studio (in the English Faculty)
- June 2007 a May Week production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland staged in the College gardens.
- Feb 2005 - (combined with the other hill colleges) The Glass Menagerie and Two Short Plays by Tennessee Williams and B.S Johnson staged at Fitzwilliam Auditorium
- Jan 2004 - Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde staged at Wolfson Hall, Churchill College.
The drinking society is called the Harlots....
And yes, there's loads more - read about it here
(£1 a go)
The nearest shop is the Nasreen Dar shop on Histon Road (about 2 mins walk from the Porters' Lodge). Nasreen Dar sells nearly everything and is great in an emergency. At the end of Histon Road is Aldi and Iceland - excellent for cheap food deals.
The Gym is quite good, it only costs about £30 a year for membership.
- New Hall/Murray Edwards Undergraduate Prospectus Entry
- Murray Edwards Alternative Prosectus PDF (written by the students)
- Look up New Hall/Murray Edwards in the CUSU Alternative Prospectus
- Murray Edwards Student Union website
- Murray Edwards wikipedia entry
- Murray Edwards profile at www.push.co.uk
- Youtube Channel - Murray Edwards College Boat Club
- Youtube clip - Murray Edwards College 2011-2012
- Youtube clip - New Hall Boat Club
- Youtube clip - A New Hall/Murray Edwards porter telling stories
- Youtube clip - Murray Edwards as a conference venue