St catharine's college, cambridge

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St Catharine's College

  Established: 1473
  University: University of Cambridge
  Address: Trumpington Street, Cambridge. CB2 1RL
  Telephone: 01223 338 300
  Student Union/JCR website:
  Graduate/MCR website: no
  Admittance: Undergraduates and Postgraduates (men and women)


St. Catharine’s (or Catz, as we are affectionately nicknamed), is one of Cambridge’s more central colleges, tucked in right next to Kings. We were founded in 1473, making us the 10th oldest Cambridge College, but by no means does this reflect the lively, modern and friendly atmosphere for which we are well-known. With around 130 Undergraduates per year, our community spirit is evident wherever we go, and we take much pride in chanting ‘For the Wheel’ (our unofficial college motto) at every given opportunity. You will recognise us by our large front gates, topped with our college symbol, the Catharine Wheel, but we recommend you come inside to see for yourselves just how special Catz really is; our General Open days are held during April, June and July but if you would like to visit at any other time, then please email us and we will be delighted to show you around.

Student Statistics

  • Total Undergraduates in 2007-8 = 467 (238 men + 229 women)
  • Total Undergraduates in 2006-7 = 462 (234 men + 228 women)

Undergraduates admitted to their current course:

139 in Oct 15, 129 in Oct 14, 139 in Oct 13, 133 in Oct 12, 130 in Oct 11, 130 in Oct 10, 133 in Oct 09, and 131 in Oct 08

  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 07: 153 (70 men + 83 women)
  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 06: 149 (78 men + 71 women)

Source: The Reporter Special Issue: Student Numbers 07-08

% of Acceptances from State Schools

53% in 2006, 57% in 2007, 55.7% in 2011, 66.0% in 2012, 60.9% in 2013, 69.2% in 2014 & 64.2% in 2015(source).

St Catharine's Application Statistics See College applications and admissions statistics

St Catharine's Application Statistics per subject See 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


All Catz students are guaranteed college accommodation for the first 3 years of their Undergraduate degree. First and third years are housed on the Island Site where there are a variety of rooms. In August after results come out you'll get to pick between 4 different price bands:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Ensuite (which are generally about medium-sized)

They allocate them as best they can according to preference. You don't find out what you've got (or exactly how much it'll cost for that matter) until you get there. Everyone is spread pretty evenly across the college (except Main Court, which tends to be 3rd years as they're mostly sets of two rooms). There's a lot of people in E and Goslin which are the main batches of ensuite rooms, and so those corridors are pretty sociable. On the other hand, the rooms in Sherlock Court are largely nicer since they're not 60s plain and boring (even though they aren't ensuite).

Don't worry about it until you've got the grades. Also bear in mind that although there are a couple of very small rooms in college, most of them that are in the small band are pretty comparable to most 1st-year uni hall rooms at other uniq. Medium and large rooms are ridiculously huge and come with mini fridges for storing goodies. Kitchens (or ‘gyp rooms’ as we like to call them) are also shared between 6-8 people, containing a microwave, hob, kettle, toaster and fridges, in addition to cupboard space. All college rooms come well-furnished with a bed, desk, lamp, chairs, wardrobe, shelving and/or drawer space. Heating and lighting are provided.

Second year students live off-site, a mere 5-minutes away at St. Chad’s. Here, students choose to live in flats of 4 or 5 with a group of friends (flats are allocated to each group via a random ballot). Each flat comes with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen, and some of the larger flats also have wider corridors which can be made into a dining space. All rooms are octagonal in shape (to fit with our ‘wheel’ theme!) and are large in size. The renovation of some of these flats has begun recently, with all new rooms being very well-furnished and modern. There are plans to continue these refurbishments over the next few years.

We are pretty unique amongst the Cambridge colleges in that we have an elected position on the JCR committee responsible for organising the room ballots each year - our Accommodation Officer. This makes the process of choosing rooms in 2nd, 3rd and 4th year very fair, and although there are 130 or so other people in each year, there is such a variety of rooms to choose from that no-one ends up disappointed. As our University terms only last 8 weeks, you don’t have to pay for accommodation over the holiday (although it can be a little tedious to have to properly move out at the end of each term) - we get used to it.

Cost of accommodation is between £849 and £1368 per term

Food & Dining

At Catz we have the best of both worlds when it comes to your preferred culinary choices. With a great dining hall serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, meals cost on average £2.00 - £4.50, and are a great option if you want to catch up with friends over food or if you just don’t want to cook for yourself! Additionally, on every corridor in college there are ‘gyp rooms’ (small kitchens containing a microwave, hob, fridges, kettle and toaster). Each gyp room is shared between 6-8 people, so the space can be a little bit limited storage-wise, but you’ll find this isn’t too much of a problem when you’re cooking as a corridor anyway! At St. Chad’s, each flat contains its own kitchen, with the additional luxury of ovens for those who are into baking. Recently there have been renovations to some of the flats in St. Chad’s, with the kitchens getting a well-deserved makeover, and of course this means brand new appliances. There are plans to continue renovating flats over the next few years, which will make a significant improvement to our current kitchen facilities. For special occasions there is also formal hall, which is available 3 times a week if you choose to go, costing £8.85 – a great price, since we are the only college with a cheese course!


On main site we have a laundry room containing 6 large washing machines and 4 tumble driers. All machines are coin-operated, meaning 20-pence pieces soon become very valuable amongst students! Our washing facilities are fairly good value for money compared with other colleges, although it does pay to find out quickly which tumble drier isn’t quite as good as the others... At St. Chad’s there is a laundry room on site – which really is convenient! Depending on the type of room you have, the bathroom facilities vary throughout college. There are around 100 en- suite rooms, which each have their own shower, sink and toilet. For those rooms without en-suites, you can expect to share a bathroom with 6-8 other people. These rooms without their own individual bathroom facilities are also provided with a sink and mirror. All rooms have radiators, though being an older college you may find that you still need to don an extra jumper in winter depending on the type of room you have (they didn’t have double glazing back in 1473, surprisingly).

Gym & Sports

Catz was declared the 8th sportiest Cambridge College in Michealmas 2009 by The Tab. Unlike most other Universities, we have our very own gym on site which is free of charge to all college members (after a £5 induction fee!). 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. For a fairly small college, 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. 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. It’s no wonder we’re so successful in the inter-collegiate leagues! See The Tab article: The College Cup revealed

Library and Computing


Here at Catz we are very lucky to have 2 libraries on site which are both open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Sherlock Library houses books for subjects such as MML, English Literature, and Art & Architecture. It is the older of the two libraries, being built around 1675-1677. In 1947, the library was re-equipped with new chairs and tables, on which the names of men who had died in the war were carved. The ‘New’ Library was opened in 1986, and contains books for all other disciplines including medicine, natural sciences, law, mathematics and engineering. With around 70,000 volumes in total, we certainly have some of the more impressive libraries amongst the Cambridge colleges! Of course, even with such an impressive collection it is impossible to hold every book in the world, but our Librarian does an excellent job in trying to fulfil book requests. Recently we had a new photocopier and printer installed into the New Library, which has really enhanced the facilities available.


Additionally, we have 3 computer rooms on main site, each with printers and scanners. All college members have access to these computers, and there is a wealthy range of software installed, saving students from having to purchase their own software for project work etc. Conveniently, at St. Chad’s there is a large computer room for second year students. Each term college gives us a small amount of individual printing credit each, which certainly comes in useful! We also have our very own computing office, so that if something goes wrong with a college computer or even with your own personal computer (if you have one!), there are experts available to help. All rooms have broadband internet connections.


Catz is a very friendly college and people really enjoy their time here. However that doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong sometimes. Some people find it hard to settle in a new environment, some encounter problems with work or with personal situations. At Catz there is an excellent Welfare team and support network available to ensure that if any problems arise, you can be provided with the services needed or pointed in the right direction.

On the JCR committee there are 2 elected Welfare Officers – one male, one female - whose role it is to look out for the students on the JCR and to provide support where necessary. They are able to provide students with contraception and pregnancy tests on a confidential basis. They are also available to approach about anything in confidentiality, whether it be just to get something off your chest, or to ask for guidance as to where to go next to deal with a particular problem. Welfare Officers will listen without judgment and will be able to point you in the right direction of one of the many support services available in Cambridge.

In College, you are also able to approach a wide range of people, depending on the situation and who you feel most comfortable talking to. The college nurse, chaplain, your tutor, your Director of Studies, or the Senior Tutor are all available for you to talk to about any issues you may be having and of course you can talk to your friends, too!

Cambridge itself has a great Welfare system with lots of services providing support and advice available to all students. One thing you can be sure of at Catz is that you will never have to be alone and everyone can have a fantastic time here.

Sports & Societies


Catz has an amazing reputation across the University where Sports and Societies are concerned. By fielding teams for every college sport - Rugby, Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Athletics, Water Polo, Squash, Rowing, Badminton, Netball and Tennis (to name but a few!), we are ever present in the college sports leagues (inter-college divisions played at the weekends) and tend to enjoy winning division titles and the ultimate inter-college knock out tournaments, ‘Cuppers’. Alongside our motto ‘For the Wheel’ we also like the phrase ‘Why Not?’, and as a member of Catz, if you show any interest in a sport at all you can expect to be dragged into at least 8 new ones throughout your time here! We have a strong reputation for our Hockey successes (at one point we’d played 53 games unbeaten!) and, despite a recent dip in form, we also have a strong Rugby team.

St. Catharine’s sports facilities are just fantastic. We have two squash courts, a basketball court, two badminton courts, a netball court, a football pitch, a rugby pitch, an Astroturf pitch, a newly extended Boathouse and access to the University Athletics ground and swimming pool. We also have a College Gym, which is free of charge after a £5.00 induction, and is fixed up with weights, exercise bikes and rowing machines. The annual sports calendar in Catz comes to an end in April with Acheson-Gray Day. Every year, a number of alumni return to take on the current Catz teams at sports including Rugby, Cricket, Netball, Football and Hockey, with the day ending in a formal dinner in college. Essentially, if you’re looking to play sport at University, Catz is the perfect environment, whether you’d consider yourself to be a professional or equally if you’ve never played before! There is also great financial support available in the form of generous bursaries for our keen sportsmen and women, which helps towards the cost of equipment and sports kit.


As for Societies, we really are a plentiful college! There will never be a time when you aren’t tempted to buy Fairtrade cakes outside hall at lunch, when you don’t fancy a cup of tea with the Tea Society or when you feel like watching a film with the film society one evening. Our societies range from our own internal Amnesty International group to our Careers Society, meaning you can get involved with just about anything, and with societies available for our chess players, scientists, young entrepreneurs, charity workers and, of course, musicians, we really are a unique place in which you can try something new in addition to your studies. Additionally, our college Society’s Fund means that if you have your own idea for a new Society, then the chances are you will be able to fund it! As a society member you can expect to attend talks from well known academics, dinners with subject experts and the chance to spend time with people with similar interests. Where Sports and Societies are concerned, Catz really does provide it all.


Charity is a big part of the lives of many Catz students, with countless ways to get involved. Within college there is the role of Charities Officer, an elected position on the JCR committee. They head up the Charities Committee who organise college- based events throughout term.

Events in the past have included formal dinners, pub quizzes and our annual male beauty pageant. Anyone can get involved, either helping with events or organising your own. There are also societies for specific charities that also organise their own events for you to get involved in, including Amnesty International and out very own CatzSAFE (Catz Southern Africa Fund Education).

Within the University there are also an incredible number of different charitable organisations. RAG raises money for 10 different charities each year, through University- wide events including RAG Blind Date, Jailbreak and our weekly ‘raids’ (bucket collections often done in fancy dress). There are also other charitable organisations such as Student Community Action and the Hub, which offer volunteering opportunities. With so many ways to spend your time helping good causes there’s something for everyone, whether you want a role with responsibility or just want to get involved once in a while.

Academic Performance

St Catherine's ranking in the Tompkins Table (which ranks colleges by their Tripos exam results): 5th (2009) 11th (2008), 5th (2007), 3rd (2006), 1st (2005). It has a mean Tompkins rank of 10.4 placing it 9th of the 29 Colleges. Please note that performance in the Tompkins Table does not accurately represent the academic atmosphere of a college, and is often very much dependent upon the demographic of the college in terms of subject - for example a high number of Mathematics students often increases a college's number of Firsts. Catz tends to have the best NatSci students on account of its involvement with the International Olympiad.


  • Chapel with organ (image)
  • Cafeteria and Dining Hall
  • College bar with jukebox, pool table, table football and quiz machine.
  • New Library (24/7)
  • Sherlock Library (English and MML, 24/7)
  • 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 (at the sports' ground)
  • Badminton, Squash and Volleyball courts (at the sports' ground)
  • Washing machines and dryers exist
  • Cooking facilities in college amount to two hotplates and a microwave per corridor