St Catharine's College, Cambridge

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St Catharine's College


 University:University of Cambridge

 Address:Trumpington Street, Cambridge. CB2 1RL

 Undergraduate Admissions Tel:01223 338319

Undergraduate Admissions Email:[email protected]

 Student Union/JCR website:

 Graduate/MCR website:

 Admittance:Undergraduates and Postgraduates (mixed gender)


Hi, I’m Amy! I’m a student at St Catharine's and also the Access and Admissions Officer for the JCR (our student committee) in 2020. We know that lots of people use TSR when applying, so we’ve put all the need-to-know info about Catz in one place for you. Each of these sections has been written by the relevant representative on our student committee. We hope you find it useful! If you still have a question, big or small, please email the Catz Admissions Office (details on website) - they’re happy to help.

St Catharine’s (affectionately shortened to Catz) is one of the most central Colleges with a supermarket and shops an ideal 5 ish minute walk away. The close proximity to other colleges also means you can’t go far without bumping into a friend, conveniently aiding procrastination and ultimately giving life here a really social, community feel. For the pub quiz enthusiasts among you - Catz was founded in 1473, making it the 10th oldest college in Cambridge, but this sense of history is also combined with a modern, friendly outlook, summed up by our unofficial college motto ‘for the wheel’. We know it isn’t possible for everyone to visit before applying, so we hope this TSR guide gives you a student overview of what it’s like to live, eat, work and socialise at Catz and why it might just be the place for you!

Student Statistics


  • Roughly 135 Undergraduates admitted each year
  • We have roughly 450 Undergraduates in total (2019-20) and this figure remains similar each year


  • 2018-19: 103 postgraduate students.
  • 2019-20: 108 postgraduate students.

Catz State School Intake from Home Applicants

2016 Applications Round: 71.96% (Cambridge average for this year was 64.1%)

2017 Applications Round: 77.3% (Cambridge average for this year was 65.2%)

2018 Applications Round: 73.08% (Cambridge average for this year was 68.7%)

Full data for those who applied in 2019 isn’t available yet as they don’t start their courses until Autumn 2020.

For all St Catharine's Application Statistics, the College breakdown on Cambridge’s Annual Application Statistics.



Right in the middle of Cambridge, at the end of Kings Parade, wedged between Kings College, Queens College and Corpus Christi. It is within easy walking distance of most faculties. Distances from Catz to various departments by bike:

  • Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic - 4 mins
  • Archaeology - 1 min
  • Asian and Middle Eastern Studies - 3 mins
  • Biology - 1 min
  • Chemistry - 3 mins
  • Classics - 3 mins
  • Computer Science - 9 mins
  • Economics - 3 mins
  • Engineering - 3 mins
  • English - 4 mins
  • Geography - 2 mins
  • History - 4 mins
  • Land Economy - 1 min
  • Law - 4 mins
  • Materials - 8 mins
  • Mathematics - 7 mins
  • Medicine - 14 mins
  • Modern and Medieval Languages - 3 mins
  • Music - 4 mins
  • Philosophy - 3 mins
  • Physics - 8 mins
  • Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion - 4 mins
  • Veterinary Medicine - 8 mins


First and third years live on Island site (the main site); whilst second years live at St Chad’s (a separate site – see below for full info).

 At Island site there are a large range of rooms, some of which are smaller, some with en-suites and others which are larger and more traditional – there is something for everyone. Those who share bathrooms typically share with 6-8 people and each room has a large basin and a mirror. Kitchens (or ‘gyps’ as we call them) are also shared between approx. 8 people and they are equipped with a microwave, hob, kettle, toaster and fridge. All college rooms are well-furnished with a single bed, desk, lamp, chair, wardrobe and some drawer space. All heating and lighting are provided.

 St Chad’s, where 2nd year students live is an offsite accommodation block, an approximate 10 min walk /3 minute cycle away. It’s just around the corner from the main University Library. Here, students choose to live in flats of 4 or 5 with their mates – flats are allocated in first year by a random ballot. Each flat consists of 2 bathrooms and a kitchen which additionally has an oven. Some of the flats have large corridors which students can use to make into a dining space. All rooms are modern and large, and as an extra bonus are in an octagonal shape (for our ‘wheel’ theme of course!).

 On Island site, there are 2 laundry rooms – with a total of 7 washing machines and 7 tumble driers. At St. Chad’s there is also a laundry room on site – which is very convenient. These washing facilities are fairly good value for money, compared to other colleges – costing £1.80 for a wash. All rooms have radiators, but some rooms do not have double glazing (so an extra jumper may be needed in winter.)

 Unlike most colleges, our JCR committee is responsible for organising the room ballots each year, a process coordinated by our Accommodation and Facilities Officer which makes the process of choosing rooms very fair! Due to a large variety of rooms for people to choose from, no-one usually ends up disappointed. Rent for accommodation only lasts 8-9 weeks at a time (for the time that we are in Cambridge) and you have the option to pay for a longer contract which includes the holidays.

 You can do Virtual Tours of our sites and some of the bedrooms on our College website: (Though bedrooms look a lot more fun once students have moved all their stuff in!)

In 2019-20, room rents were between £1126 and £1719 per term (that includes heating, lighting, internet access and the Kitchen Fixed Charge (provision of the College's self-catering and communal dining facilities). (source:

It’s worth pointing out that this will probably look higher than some of the other College rent prices on TSR but the other Colleges haven’t updated their pages in quite a few years so this isn’t an accurate comparison!

Catz has various hardship bursaries to help with maintenance and living costs, scholarships and academic prizes, and funds for travel, sport, music, internships, societies, language classes etc. Please get in touch with Catz if you have financial concerns because there's lots of support on offer and they want to help.

You can go to this page to find out more about financial support:



Food & Dining

(For libraries and computing info, see ‘Academic Life’)

JCR Common Room

The JCR common room is an extra place where you can study or chill. It is a great a space with games, a PS4 and TV to hang out with friends or book out for events.

McGrath Centre

The McGrath Centre was newly opened in 2013 and contains a large auditorium used for events, talks, performances, and parties.

Music Practise Room and Chapel:

For those interested in music we have a music practise room in college (currently, in the process of being remodelled!) which contains speakers, amps, microphones, music stands and serves as a place to practise away from your room. All Choral and organ scholars as well as music students can request a piano or keyboard to practise with in their rooms (though if you fit neither of these categories, you may request one for the duration of term, if there is one available). We also have a chapel where the college choir practises daily and services are held here regularly. It’s a place to go and sit, regardless of faith. The college music society uses the Chapel to hold concerts throughout the year as well as for ‘Chill in the Chapel’ events – an evening event where all musical acts are welcome (with hot chocolate and biscuits afterwards!)

Sports Facilities

Unlike most other Universities, we have our very own gym on site which is free of charge to all college members. The gym is a decent size, containing plenty of weights, rowing machines and exercise bikes. For second years living at St. Chad’s, the gym is only a 5-minute cycle away, so it really is a convenient, cheap way of keeping fit. We also have an excellent range of sports facilities, ranging from our indoor Badminton and Squash courts to our Astroturf, Sports pitches, Netball courts and Boathouse. We have an elected JCR Sports & Societies Representative, a current student who ensures that our gym and sports facilities are up to date, and who organises gym induction sessions. (For more info on Sports, see the section on Sports & Societies below.)



Food in Catz can be a real delight, with hall offering both lunch and dinner, and breakfast available in the bar. There is always plenty of choice to suit the range of dietary requirements of the students, and we are always striving to improve the options so that everyone is represented. With a delicious brunch now being served on Saturday as well as Sunday, all hash brown desires can be met! There is also the choice of cooking for yourself in the shared gyp rooms, equipped with a hob, microwave, kettle and fridge. The lack of floor space can mean you get up close and personal with anyone else who might be cooking at the same time, but this can be a good way of getting to know the people living near you! The second year accommodation in St Chad’s involves an upgrade in both kitchen size and facilities, as you will also find an oven and a freezer in most flats. If you are celebrating something or just want to dress up nicely for dinner with your friends, there is the option of booking onto formal hall on a Wednesday or a Sunday, which costs just over £12 (in 2020) and involves the much coveted cheese course – this will be a source of great envy from friends from other colleges!

Gym & Sports

Each college is responsible for organising supervisions for its students, and at St Catharine’s, we’re lucky enough to have some of the best supervisors in Cambridge. Many are actively involved in research, some lecture, and a large number are authors of books on reading lists across the university!

In terms of academic resources, we have two libraries (one more than most colleges!), both of which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Sherlock Library (built in 1675–1677; no, not ‘that’ Sherlock) houses books on most humanities subjects, such as modern languages, English literature, art and architecture. The new, or at least newer, library, called the Shakeshaft, contains the rest of the library’s collection, providing us with a massive 65,000 volumes in total! The college librarian is always very happy to receive requests for new books, making us quite lucky in comparison to other colleges with smaller libraries. We have access to two computer rooms on our main site (and another at St Chad’s, our second year accommodation), with scanners and colour printers installed. All college computers have plenty of software on them, saving you lots of money (and of course, a trip to the department). Our central location also means that both departmental libraries and the University Library (ten minutes’ walk away from the main site) are very accessible.

Each student has a Director of Studies (DoS for short), who is someone who works in your subject (usually one of your supervisors) and is responsible for overseeing your academic performance. Our College’s strong academic reputation is illustrated by our consistently high rankings in the Tompkins Table (an annual ranking of colleges by academic performance). But it’s important to remember that there is also lots of support available if you find yourself struggling with any aspect of your academic work, and that your supervisors will be understanding and willing to provide accommodations should you need them. Additionally, many subjects, such as natural sciences, maths or languages, have their own student-led societies within the college, which provide lots of opportunities to meet other people doing your subject and also to attend fun social events! With all of this, I think it’s clear why Catz students love studying here (myself, the Academic Officer in 2020, included!).

Library and Computing

We’re Alex and Anousha, the 2020 JCR Welfare Officers on the JCR. Catz’s reputation as a friendly college is definitely well-earned! As well as the many welcoming faces you see around college, Catz puts a lot of effort into its student welfare system which has your back every step of the way. From JCR welfare officers, to Ally (our lovely chaplain) to Mary (our very own staff Welfare Officer), Catz has a fantastic support network that puts the wellbeing of its students first.

College life is such great fun and students at Catz make such fab memories here. But like any stage in life, we encounter new challenges, problems and there can be hardship from time to time. As a college, we not only support our students with mental health but are committing to promoting and normalising this discussion in the healthiest way possible. Whichever difficulties you might face at university, you can always find advice, support or just somebody to talk to at Catz- no matter what the problem!

To do this, two people are elected every year to represent student welfare. We are friendly faces around college here to discuss whatever you have in mind- completely without judgement! Our job is to provide an open ear and help signpost you towards fantastic services both in College and the university at large. We provide free sexual health supplies as well as our famous college “Welfairies” you can order to make somebody’s day! Welfare events run throughout the year and cover everything from animal petting farms to trips to the Botanic Gardens, mindfulness sessions and yoga!

Friendliness at Catz isn’t just a Cambridge cliché. It’s backed up by the students, college staff and the welfare team who are here for you whenever, whatever.


The Liberation Officers are members of the JCR whose role is to provide supplementary support to different groups of people within Catz. They are there to ensure that all decisions made by the JCR and College are beneficial and helpful to the entire community, and to make sure that progress is being made to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible. Their job is also to listen to any concerns people who fall under their particular area may have, and to let everyone know about any Cambridge-wide events that might be particularly relevant to certain people.

When applying to Cambridge, it’s important that people know that they will feel comfortable in the environment they’re studying in. So we’ve included a few points on this page about what Catz specifically does to make everyone feel welcome.

BME Officers

For those of you who may not be familiar with the term ‘BME’, it stands for Black

(and Asian) minority ethnics. Our role as BME Officers is to be a voice for

those from BME backgrounds at Catz, representing BME related concerns and

perspectives. Each year new representatives are elected to represent the Catz

BME Community on the JCR.

Catz has been experiencing a growth of students from a range of minority ethnic backgrounds, and so it is important to make sure everyone feels welcomed in this new environment!

As BME Officers, we hold a range of events for current students, such as BME Chills and Socials, discussion panels, and intercollege BME Formals... with a lil more flavour. And for prospective students we hold BME Access Events, and create BME guides for incoming freshers to make sure everyone can feel comfortable in an environment which may feel different from what they are used to. Any ideas for events to make the Cambridge experience as fun and inclusive as possible are always welcome!

A new mentoring scheme is also being introduced, in which freshers will be paired

with someone in either 2nd or 3rd year from a similar background, to provide a bit more insight into what life is like for them. It’s nice to have a friendly face around when you’re new, and also helps to foster a strong community throughout the years within Catz.

Obviously, everyone’s experience at Catz and Cambridge is different. It can take time to adjust to a new environment, and how quickly/easily you are able to do this will depend on a number of different factors. But Catz in particular is an extremely inclusive place of everyone, and is known for being very friendly, and we have certainly found it a warm and welcoming college to be at! Through attending the BME chills/socials we’ve also got to know students from a range of backgrounds across all the different years, and there is a sense of community. Many different initiatives have been suggested by students over the years to help improve the life for BME students, and the vast majority of these have been met receptively by senior members of staff - Catz is certainly a place which acknowledges different experiences and is keen to make them the best for everyone.


Disabilities Officer

Catz is here to help anyone who has a disability whether this be physical or mental and we work hard to be as accessible as possible to everyone with different needs.

As the JCR’s disabilities rep, my role is to look out, campaign for and support the disabled members of the Catz community. I work closely with the welfare reps help support and improve the lives of every member of the Catz community no matter their needs. Catz is a very supportive and open community that in my own experience is very accepting and willing to work to support you. 

Whilst at Cambridge you are also supported by the Disability Resource Centre (DRC), where you will have a specialist advisor to help guide you and give you advice throughout your time at Cambridge.

Catz Accessibility Guide:

Disabilities Resource Centre:


LGBT+ Officer

St Catharine’s College has a friendly and accepting environment. A much valued part of this environment is the Catz LGBT+ community. The college JCR has an LGBT+ Officer representing LGBT+ interests within the JCR, and through communication with the college administrative team. This is to enhance the welfare of the community here at Catz. You will be able to find and contact the Officer around college, through their email, and with regular meeting times they allocate in case you haven’t had a chance to raise something you’d like to, or in case you’d like a general chat.

As a college striving for progression, we always look for ways to facilitate the needs of the LGBT+ community. One such example of this is our Gender Expression Fund. The GEF is a medium through which individuals seeking to purchase resources for the purpose of gender expression, but are perhaps financially constrained in doing so, may apply for funding to acquire these items. This is done through communication with the JCR LGBT+ Officer and is done in strictest confidence. We believe there should be no constraint to the expression of one’s identity, and we seek that each person in college feels as comfortable and free as possible.


Women and Non-Binary Officer

Hello, my name’s Juliet and I’m the Women and NB officer here at Catz! Along with other members of the JCR, my job is to make Catz a friendly and inclusive college where everyone feels safe and at home. My role involves running the consent workshop (which you will attend in the first couple of weeks of arriving here), providing free sanitary products in bathrooms around college and organising events that celebrate Women and NB students at Catz, such as (hopefully) an equality discussion group and a musical ensemble. I help to run the annual International Women’s day dinner which is a lot of fun and a great opportunity to celebrate over 40 years since Women were first admitted to Catz! Other than that, I am simply another friendly face around college who is always happy to have a chat. Looking forward to meeting you all! ☺

Sports & Societies


One of the most impressive things about Catz is its variety in sports. Whether you fancy a relaxed kick-about or wish to train 3-4 times a week and compete to a high standard, Catz has everything to offer. Sports ranging from rugby to squash, tennis and climbing are all thriving with new enthusiasts each year. There are roughly 25 sports and all have their own appointed captain, so there is always somebody to ask if you want to get involved.  Besides, if there isn’t a sport for you, you are greatly encouraged to set one up!  My favourite thing about college sports is that you make lasting friendships with people in other year groups who you may not have come across otherwise - the most typical example of this has to be the infamous mixed netball team, who have games against other colleges on Sundays. This aspect of college life cannot be understated, and Catz certainly pride ourselves on maintaining the friendliest of atmospheres.  So many people throw themselves into as many sports as they can - it’s a great way to escape the academic pressure of term and go have a laugh with some friends on the weekend. 

Additionally, thanks to the generosity of college alumni, there are bursaries available to both undergraduates and graduates to assist with extra costs of competing in sports at a high college or University level, be it for travel expenses or accommodation for training camps. Here at Catz, we’re really very lucky to have such a great range of support available for those with sporting goals!



College societies are vital to almost every student’s life and seem to pick up on things you yourself didn’t even know you wanted.  A free smoothie from smoothie society on the weekend goes a long way in the middle of a hard day of work, or a cup of tea and a biscuit from tea society yields some of the best chats you’ve ever had. There are a vast number of societies, some bigger than others, all for their own purpose. And if there is something you think is missing, start the society yourself! You receive lots of support from JCR (student committee) members and college staff, and it’s an easy way to make friends with new people


Choir: Catz is known for not only having a really good choir, but also one of the friendliest and most welcoming choral environments in Cambridge. We meet 3/4 days a week, and sing all sorts of music for services in the chapel, and concerts in the wider Cambridgeshire area. Catz choir usually tour twice a year too, including visits to France and Italy in the last two years. You have to audition first, but that can easily be arranged with Edward Wickham, the Director of Music. 

Catzapella: An acappella group which meets once a week in Catz chapel and sings more popular music, and is a great deal of fun to be part of. No auditions, and a really flexible group allowing for people to come in and out whenever they want.

Jazz Catz: Our College's jazz band. We play at lots of balls and events, and rehearse once a week. There are auditions, and it is a very rewarding group to be part of.

Trumpington Street Orchestra: An orchestra which is a combination of Catz, Pembroke and Peterhouse students. They meet once a week and play one concert a term. It's a fun group to be in and they play a wide range of music.

Smaller groups: Each year, you may be asked if you want to join a smaller instrumental group (eg. string quartet, wind octet) with other Catz members. This is a really fun project to do and usually results in playing concerts in the Master's lodge or the chapel. 


Academic Performance

There are lots of little changes we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint and as the Ethical and Environmental Affairs Rep on the student committee I try and make these as easy as possible for everyone. This is done in a variety of ways from using your keep cup in the bar or to fill up with (free!!) coffee at brunch to making it clear what can be recycled and how. There are also events that I want to put on in 2020-21 including a plant sale so we can all have a little bit of green goodness in our rooms, a second-hand clothes sale to keep fashion funky and sustainable and hosting scoop - a zero-waste food group. There are green working group meetings held regularly, which people are welcome to get involved in. These are chaired by the chaplain who is both a super eco-warrior and a never-ending ray of positivity who makes working towards a greener Catz a hopeful and exciting experience. As the future is uncertain, many issues surrounding the environment and wider ethical problems have never been more important. I’m sure many people are interested in these areas and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved with this discussion in college during your time here!

There are countless ways to get involved in charity work at Catz, both within college and in the wider Cambridge community. Within Catz, this is coordinated by the role of the Charities Officer, an elected position on the JCR (student committee). Along with other JCR officers and members of the wider Catz community, I organise college-based events throughout the term. These include pub-quizzes, formal dinners and other events. There are also schemes such as end-of-term food donation points, that enable students to leave their left-over food in boxes around college, which is then donated to ‘Jimmy’s Cambridge,’ which is a 24/7 homeless charity in Cambridge.


  • Chapel with organ
  • Cafeteria and Dining Hall
  • College bar with jukebox, pool table, table football and quiz machine.
  • New Library (24/7 with a self-check out station for borrowing books at any time)
  • Sherlock Library (24/7 with a self-check out station for borrowing books at any time))
  • 4 computer rooms with printing and some scanning facilities
  • Common Room with large TV and Sky
  • MCR (Graduate Common Room) with newspapers, TV, video and DVD, two computers to check email and a small kitchen.
  • Small theatre and concert auditorium
  • Music Practice Rooms
  • Sick bay and Nurse's clinic
  • Gym
  • Astroturf Hockey pitch and Sports Pavilion (at the sports' ground)
  • Badminton, Squash and Volleyball, Netball, Tennis courts (at the sports' ground)
  • Football and Rugby pitches (at the sports' ground)
  • Washing machines and dryers
  • Cooking facilities