Pembroke College, Cambridge


Hello and welcome to Pembroke! I’m Rosie, an Access Officer on the College Junior Parlour Committee (a committee of students who represent undergraduates at Pembroke) and I’d love to introduce you to our wonderful College!

Pembroke is a warm and welcoming community - small enough so that no one is unknown but big enough so that everyone can find people they get on well and share interests with.

The College is known for its friendly atmosphere, beautiful gardens that feel like an oasis from the city, and of course the famous Pembroke brunch – a highlight of every weekend!

Student Statistics

  • Around 132 undergraduates admitted each year
  • Around 440 undergraduates in total


  • Around 90-100 admitted each October
  • Around 280-315 in total

Pembroke's Undergraduate state school intake (for Home applicants)

  • 2017 application round: 65.7% (Cambridge: 65.2%)
  • 2018 application round: 68.8% (Cambridge: 68.7%)
  • 2019 application round: data coming soon!

Each year Cambridge publishes full data for the most recent, complete admissions round on their website. Details for students who began their courses in October 2020 will be published in the summer of 2021. 

Pembroke is really close to the centre of Cambridge, on the corner of Trumpington Street and Pembroke Street. The back of the College is directly opposite the Downing Site, and the New Museums Site (which houses the University’s Student Services Centre) is on the other side of Pembroke Street. So the College is very central, and within really easy distance of lots of departments as well as the city centre!

Below are listed some distances from the Pembroke Porters’ Lodge to relevant places in the city:

  • c.160 metres miles to the New Museums Site
  • c.320 metres to the Downing Site
  • c.480 metres to Market Square
  • c.800 metres to the Sidgwick Site
  • c.0.7 miles to Cambridge University Library
  • c.1.1 miles to Cambridge Train Station
  • c.1.3 miles to the University Sports Ground
  • c.1.6 miles to West Cambridge Site

All our undergraduate students are guaranteed accommodation for the full three or four years of their degree (Medicine and Veterinary Medicine students can choose to stay in College owned accommodation for years 5 and 6, but most choose to live in private house shares with friends). All first years live on the main College site, and second and third years either live there or in College owned accommodation dotted around the city with friends.

The accommodation that is in the city is never that far away, as Cambridge is quite compact. There are no shared rooms in any of Pembroke’s accommodation, and most rooms have a sink (though there aren’t many en-suites). Bathrooms tend to be shared with up to four other students though, so it’s never a problem to have a shower when you want one! Some of the rooms are in beautiful old buildings, and some are modern – so there are options for everyone’s preferences. There are also two laundry rooms on the main College site, with eight washers and six dryers (and others in the College accommodation around the city).

The rooms themselves have everything you need, with a single bed, desk, lamp, chair, wardrobe and some drawer space. Heating, electricity, water, internet, and room insurance are all included in the rent. Students also only pay rent for the time that they’re in residence, which is usually between 27 and 30 weeks a year (or between 9 and 10 weeks a term).

In College, rooms are on ‘staircases’, with each staircase having its own kitchenette. These tend to include a fridge, cupboard space, hob and microwave, so if you’d rather not go through the dining hall some days then you can cater for yourself. The food at Pembroke is known for being really good though, so most students do eat at least some of their meals in the dining hall!

Accommodation prices at Pembroke are very reasonable, especially when compared to other Colleges or private rent in the city. Rents for 2020-2021 are between £99.50 and £153.01 a week, which includes heating, electricity, water, internet, and room insurance.

Food and Dining
The food at Pembroke is well known for being really tasty, especially the weekend brunches!

There are two options for students to eat in College; either the servery (where you then take your food to the main dining room, affectionally called ‘trough’), or in Café Pembroke (which becomes a bar in the evenings). Café Pembroke offers sandwiches, drinks, and snacks, with the servery offers three hot main courses with four side options, as well as hot and cold puddings, salads and snacks. There is always a ‘Simply Pembroke’ range, which is free of major allergens, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. If you’d like halal food, you can speak to the catering team and this can be arranged.

The College does have what is known as the Kitchen Fixed Charge (around £173 per term), which is essentially to cover the cost of provision of the College’s self-catering and dining facilities. Some students can apply for exemptions to this though – for more information visit the Pembroke website’s Kitchen Fixed Charge page.

To see examples of what type of food is on offer, have a look at the Servery menus which are uploaded online in advance.


Formal Hall
Formal Hall is a sit-down meal, where your food is brought to you rather than you going through the servery. At Pembroke it’s quite relaxed, but you do have your gown on over the top of whatever you’ve decided to wear. The food is excellent, which can be an issue in that everyone always wants to come to Pembroke formal. As you can bring guests, you’ll be popular with others on your course – though you may not get to go to many other College’s formals! Going to Formal is much cheaper than going out for a meal at a pub or restaurant, so loads of students choose this as a way to celebrate events like birthdays.

There are lots of facilities available at Pembroke, some which you might expect, and others which you might not!

Social Spaces
Pembroke has what’s called the Junior Parlour, which is essentially a common room for students. It’s attached to Café Pembroke, which becomes a bar in the evening. It’s got comfy sofas, a football table, a pool table, and a TV room opposite. There are other bookable rooms that students can use as well.

Library and Computing
Pembroke has a really beautiful library, which is opened every day from 8am ‘til midnight. It has a lift for disabled access, and copies of books that lecturers and supervisors tend to recommend. If you need a book regularly for your course, you can also ask the library staff if they can buy it.

There’s also a computer room in College, with 30 communal PCs for students to use. This is in Foundress Court on the main College site, which also houses a lot of first year students.

Other stuff
There is a gym on the main College site, as well as a table tennis room, music practice rooms and a chapel (that is for use by students of all faiths, or none).

Off the main site, Pembroke has its own sports grounds with tennis, squash, volleyball and basketball courts, and football, rugby and cricket pitches. This is only 1.7 miles from the main site. The College boat club is right on the river, 1.3 miles from the main site.


All Cambridge students can join University level clubs and societies, but there are also loads at Pembroke that undergraduates can get involved in too. There are sports societies, music societies, poetry, politics, drama, photography, debate and subject societies too. These are all student run, and are a really good way to meet and make friends in the College.


Society Spotlight: The Pembroke Players:
Cambridge’s most active, friendly and dynamic College drama society, that welcomes of all levels of experience and enthusiasm!

Star-studded list of Pembroke Players alumni include:

  • Tom Hiddleston
  • Joe Thomas
  • Eric Idle
  • Peter Cooke
  • Bill Oddie
  • Tim Brooke-Taylor
  • And many more!

The society stages four to six shows per term in Pembroke’s own studio theatre, New Cellars, including the annual fresher’s pantomime!

To find out more, have a look at the societies page of the JPC (Junior Parlour Committee – like Pembroke’s own students union) website.

JPC (Junior Parlour Committee)
The JPC is a committee made up of current students, that represents the student view in Pembroke. They also provide peer support to other students, and organise socials and other events. There are officers for various roles, who are elected annually:

  • President and Vice-President
  • Welfare Officer
  • Women’s and Non-Binary Welfare Officer
  • Men’s and Non-Binary Welfare Officer
  • LGBT+ Officer
  • Women’s Officer
  • Ethnic Minorities Officer
  • Disabled Students Officer
  • Internationals Officer
  • Treasurer
  • Ents (Entertainment) Officers
  • JP and Bar Officer
  • Food Officer
  • Access Officers
  • IT Officer
  • Charities Officer
  • Green Officer
  • Sports Officer
  • Accommodation Officer

Hear from members of our JPC! 

Who are you and what is your role on the JPC?

Callum – LGBT+ Officer
Hi, I’m Callum (he/they). I’m the LGBT+ Officer on the JPC which means it’s my role to advocate on behalf of all LGBT+ students at Pembroke, amplify the more marginalised voices in the community and support all students who need me.

Safa – Women’s and Non-Binary Officer
Hi I’m Safa and I’m the Women’s and Non-Binary Officer for Pembroke JPC. My role includes running the Jo Cox Feminist Society, representing women’s and non-binary concerns, expanding menstrual product provisions, organising International Women’s Day events and Freshers’ consent workshops, and being a point of contact for women and non-binary people who have faced sexual harassment or misconduct

Izzy – Women’s and Non-Binary Welfare Officer
Hi! I’m Izzy and I’m the women’s and non-binary welfare officer, and my role is to listen to and represent the interests, needs and welfare of female and non-binary students and to do my best to make improvements to w&nb health and happiness :) This includes providing sexual health supplies, information and guidance; putting on fun events and campaigning for changes to make us safer, happier and more comfortable in college and Cambridge.

Hi, I'm Matthew. I'm the Food Officer on the JPC, which means I am responsible for organising 'superhalls', passing on student feedback to the caterers, and representing student interests in any food-related issue - such as making our food more inclusive and sustainable.

Heya I’m Lucy your accommodation officer, I’m here to help keep Pembroke accommodation wonderful and make it more sustainable, work on the ballot and making sure everyone feels at home

What projects are you currently working on as part of your role?


I am in planning stages with different speakers, including a Pembroke alum to talk on all things queer, with particular focus on being a queer of colour in 2021 Britain. Particularly aiming for Michaelmas next year, I have social events and bops (parties) in mind for the Pembroke LGBT+ community, Collabs (collaborations) with other Colleges, and much more.

I am in the midst of discussions for reforming the sexual harassment and misconduct disciplinary procedure which will hopefully make the procedure more transparent for students and ensure that it supports survivors in every step. I am also hoping to make information on the procedures much more accessible to students and less daunting so people do not feel too intimidated and feel that the option of following disciplinary procedures is open to them.

A number of my jobs/projects include things related to sexual health - sourcing contraception for the college, raising awareness, helping organise consent workshops and welfare talks in fresher’s week. I’m carrying on the amazing work done by Vic, alongside Safa, to address the College’s sexual assault reporting procedures. I also plan to put on a women’s and non-binary social this term, get safe spaces back up and running, and put on other welfare focused events - hopefully some Zumba, maybe a pamper night?

I am working to make the food served more inclusive for Muslims, pushing for more sustainable food packaging options and making preparations for the first formal halls this year (fingers crossed!)

With the wonderful access officers, we are putting together better resources on accommodation options. I help direct people to support/maintenance. I’m also working on seeing whether we can have more biodiverse lawns with wildflowers (particularly the rather less used foundress lawn) and about a College cat.

What do you love most about Pembroke?


The students

The buildings and gardens are so pretty and such a lovely environment to live in. The people at Pembroke are extremely friendly too!

I always love just stepping out of my staircase in New Court, feeling the warmth of the sun, seeing the dappled light on the New Court lawn and the contrast of the gorgeous buildings against the blue sky. The only thing that tops those moments is being able to enjoy them with my amazing friends and all the lovely people around College!

The people are what really make Pembroke great - from staff to students, everyone is friendly and positive in their attitude to all parts of College life. The gardens are beautiful and peaceful - and we're really well situated for wherever you need to go in Cambridge!

I love the beauty of this place, both the stunning gardens which are a real sanctuary and the supportive atmosphere. It is so wonderful to be part of such a friendly community.

Looking after student welfare is key to life at Pembroke, because you become part of this close-knit community there are many people who care about you and are there to look out for you.

Welfare officers put on events to support student wellbeing but are also able to be contacted for 1 on 1 support, advice or even just a chat. They are also well equipped to point you in the direction of other people who can help – such as the University’s Counselling Service or the Disability Resource Centre.


  • The Porter’s Lodge is open 24/7 for a friendly chat, practical help and to point you in the right direction, whatever your needs.
  • Students are well known to pop in there for a cup of tea – whether mid essay or working through exam stress – the porters will welcome you there!

Tutor and Director of Studies:

  • When you arrive at Pembroke you will meet your tutor – a college fellow dedicated to supporting your welfare throughout your degree.
  • Contact your Director of Studies (DoS) about any worries relating to how you are finding your course, workload and supervisions. If things become stressful, they are there to support you and work with you to find a solution.


  • Revd Dr James Gardom is our College chaplain – and is there to support students of any or no faith.
  • The chapel is welcome to all and is a peaceful space where you can take time to unwind from the business of Cambridge and reflect.

College Nurses:

  • Our wonderful College nurses, Sarah (General College Nurse), and Jan (Wellbeing and Disabilities Nurse) are always available for a chat, friendly advice and support for problems big or small.
  • College has its own counsellors who our nurses are able to refer you to, to provide specialised support and counselling sessions.

Financial Support:
All the Cambridge Colleges are committed to ensuring everyone can make the most of their Cambridge experience no matter their financial background.

Pembroke offers a wide variety of grants and bursaries which benefit a large number of students every year:

Support for your course

  • Book grants – up to £75 is available each year for you to buy books for your course that are not available in the College library.
  • Vacation study – if you would benefit from using the College as a study space during the holidays, Pembroke will cover 75% of your rent.
  • Course trips – College can contribute up to 75% of the travel costs of fieldtrips that are an essential part of your course, including travel in the country of your target language for language students, up to £450.
  • College can help with the cost of important materials required for your course (e.g. up to £200 for Engineering students for projects, societies or training)

Internships, research, and travel

  • Pembroke can help with the cost of research experience and internships that are helpful to your academic development – and these don’t have to be in Cambridge!
  • Pembroke can help support general educational travel which doesn’t have to be directly related to your degree. Grants cover up to 50% of the costs up to £350.
  • Some examples of amazing opportunities funded by Pembroke in recent years include conservation projects in Madagascar; dissertation inspiration in Lagos; student researcher at Caltech; vet and medic electives in Krakow, Sydney and Vietnam.


  • 1996 Mill Lane Award – grants totalling up to £2000 to help students contribute to College extracurricular life.
  • Language lessons – 50% of the cost reimbursed following completion of a course at the Language Centre.
  • Grants to cover 50% of music lessons (up to £400/year), and singing lessons for members of the College choir.
  • Grants for playing university level sport – up to £350.

The key message is: don’t let financial worries prevent you from applying or getting involved in College life - there is so much support available! For more info, have a look at the financial support pages of the Pembroke website.

Student-eye view
Look up Pembroke in the CUSU (Cambridge University Students’ Union) Alternative Prospectus to find out more!

Current Pembroke students also write a College specific Alternative Prospectus that talks about Pembroke from a student perspective.

Other Links