Pembroke College, Oxford

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Pembroke is located on St Aldates, and is a minutes walk from the Cornmarket Street/ High Street crossroads. It is relatively central, and very close to Sainsburys. The college is a 20 minute walk from the University Science Area.


All undergraduates all on site in college for three years. Rent is slightly more expensive than many other colleges, although rooms are generally good quality. There are six bands of room:

A = small room (average size 11 square metres)
B = medium room (average size 15 square metres)
C = large room
D = medium room with ensuite
E = large room with ensuite
F = large room with double bed and ensuite

A room in Pembroke

2016/17 annual charges per room

A =£3145.93
B = £3679.99
C = None available this year
D = £4867.09
E = £5773.88
F = £5959.63

There is also an annual £360 utilities charge.

Those who hold College scholarships (i.e. those who get a distinction in Prelims) get £1000 off their rent from 2nd year onwards, and College Exhibitioners get £500 off their rent from 2nd year onwards.

The college has a brand new quad, which is joined to the old college via a bridge. The new quad offers ensuite rooms for 90 students, some with beautiful views. This means all students live in college accommodation for the length of their degree.

In rooms without an ensuite, toilets and showers are shared between 2 and about 6 people. There are a couple of baths in college, but they are rarely (if ever) used, and are probably best avoided.

A typical band D room in Pembroke.

Finalists and second years may also choose to live in the GAB (Geoffrey Arthur Building) which is a modern building by the river, a 5-10 minute walk from the main site. Finalists have priority for accommodation choices, and most finalists choose to live in the GAB as they don't have to move out at the end of every term. The GAB rent for 2016-17 is £1616 per term (£4848 for the academic year).

Those on a four year course with a year out are guarenteed college accommodation in their final year. Japanologists (5 year course, 4th year optional year out) are guaranteed college accommodation in 3rd and 5th year if 4th year is taken out.

Social Spaces

JCR and common rooms

Despite being one of the poorer colleges in the University, Pembroke has the richest JCR (junior common room.) This is the body which represents students views to the college, organises many social events, and plays an important role in student welfare. JCR meetings are very well attended, largely because of the plentiful free beer, cider, alcopops, J2Os and fizzy drinks, as well as sweets, chocolate and 16-20 dominoes pizzas. The Junior Common Room itself, is a reasonable size and is comfortably furnished. There is a free pool table, plentiful newspapers and board games. The Ward Perkins room is a smaller communal room, with free table football, a couple of cheap arcade style games (House of the Dead 2 and virtua tennis), chocolate and drinks vending machines, lots of sofas, and most importantly a huge, huge flat screen tv with freeview channels, and during term time, a Wii on loan from a second year. The Macmillan building has its own common room with a tv and dvd player, and ping-pong table. 'The Pantry' is open morning - evening, and serves sandwiches, hot drinks, chocolate, and hot breakfasts.

The MCR has two wood paneled rooms overlooking the mob quad, and they have their own bar and sometimes invite jcr members up for a drink. it's a very international graduate community, which can be fun.


The college bar is cosy and cheap, and is in a great cave like basement under the hall with stone arches. A great place to start a night out, with a friendly bar man and an enthusiastic darts team.

The Senior Common Room (from outside)


All first years without very specific food requirements (severe allergies/Kosher) are required to pay for evening meals during their first year at college. These are £5.68 per meal, formal hall is 3 times a week, informal is also 3 times a week, with no meal on Saturday nights. The hall is quite big and impressive, and meals are one of the most sociable times of first term, so although having to pay in advance is a bit of a drag, it's very good for helping you to meet people. there is also a cafe in the new quad which offers light meals when formal hall (gowns, prayers, silver etc) is a bit too much. Second and third years living on site are not required to pay for meals. The GAB is self-catered if you want, and the kitchens are large and well equipped.

Library and Computing


The Pembroke library is open 24 hours a day. There are six computers with internet access for anyone to use, (graduates have their own computer room) and all desks have ethernet points and power sockets for laptops. The library is pretty well supplied with core texts for all subjects, and a successful 'suggest a book' scheme is in operation for subjects where important books are missing.


There is a computer room in the Macmillan buildling, which is not hugely reliable, but useful. There are several communal printers in college. Internet connection is included in the price of the room, and is very fast and fairly reliable.


The JCR welfare reps change every year, but because of the JCR's wealth, welfare provisions are consisently of a high standard. Free condoms, tampons and rape alarms are readily available. This year, the college has participated in the 'peer-support' scheme, training several undergraduates to counsel and advise others in an informal way. The junior deans are young, friendly and relatively approachable. Many of the other staff, such as those in the academic office are very friendly, and helpful when approached by undergraduates with problems they wish to discuss.


A Quad at Pembroke

Pembroke is where Tolkien wrote lord of the rings, but it's more the shire than mordor. The hall is imposing and the buildings are classic Oxford old, but it's not a scary place. The college is widely acknowledged as a friendly one, and with no strong political leanings, the college is accepting and diverse.

Pembroke is average in the %state school intake tables, the balance between state school and private school students is around 50:50. This by no means affects attitudes in college, as staff and students are keen and regular participators in Access Scheme events.

Although work is taken seriously, 'Broke seems to be a rather relaxed college in this sense, neither excelling academically, nor doing badly. The college is currently 14th (2016) in the Norrington table, which rates the academic performance of colleges.


One of the boatiest colleges on the river, Pembroke spend a lot of time and money on their training - fielding as many as 12 crews in Summer Eights.


College facilities are pretty good, OK washing machines etc. Free pool table, free table football, table tennis table, couple of cheap arcade style games, and a massive flat screen TV with freeview in the ward Perkins room (like a mini JCR). Students have easy access to seminar rooms and the lecture theatre for society events or revision during the evenings.

Student-eye view

Advantages of Pembroke


Not full of wannabe politicians - 'hacks'

Attractive (particularly the gardens in summer)

Small physical size means you see nearly everyone all the time, easy to meet people in first year.

Active JCR and MCR, good social events, good welfare provision.

Very friendly college staff (academic office, porters etc)

Decent food

Very good for rowing, and very close to the river

Close to the centre, but also right next to Christchurch meadows, so a nice balance of city/green space

New facilities in the Rokos Quad including a cafe for students to use. This is open late on weekday evenings.


Quite a walk/cycle from the science area

Slightly more expensive than some other colleges (although this is literally by a few pounds a term in many cases.)

Difficult to park nearby (more a problem for people coming to visit.)

Not having the option of not paying for food if you're just a fussy eater or don't like hall.

Vegetarian food can become quite repetitive.

Varying position in the Norrington table? Recently been bottom for 4 years.

Lots of conference events.


Biological Sciences
Computer Science
Earth Sciences
Economics and Management
Human Sciences


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