Wolfson College, Cambridge

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Wolfson College, Cambridge

Wolfson college is a graduate college which also admits mature undergraduate students (students entering their first degree after their 21st birthday).


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Established: 1965

University: University of Cambridge

Address: Barton Road, Cambridge CB3 9BB

Telephone: +44 (0)1223 335900

Website: http://www.wolfson.cam.ac.uk

Student Union/JCR website: no

Graduate/MCR website: no

Admittance: Mature undergraduates and postgraduates


Undergraduate Student Statistics

  • Total Undergraduates in 2014-15 = 162 (106 men + 56 women)
  • Total Undergraduates in 2007-8 = 100 (61 men + 39 women)
  • Total Undergraduates in 2006-7 = 119 (58 men + 61 women)
  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 07: 44 (33 men + 11 women)
  • Students admitted to their current course in Oct 06: 38 (20 men + 18 women)

Source: "The Reporter Special Issue: Student Numbers 14-15 Source: The Reporter Special Issue: Student Numbers 07-08

Wolfson Application Statistics See College applications and admissions statistics

Wolfson Application Statistics per subject See Appplication Statistics

50% of St Catharine's acceptances in 2007 and 67% in 2006 were from students edcated at state schools (source).


  • Wolfson is in the Newnham area, apparently one of the most desirable areas in Cambridge (house price tags seem to confirm this) - Newnham is QUIET, so no drunken sods being noisy at weekends, pleasantly green, close to Grantchester etc. And no tourists!
  • Not in the town centre (20 min walk or 7 min cycle from the market)
  • Not far from the Sidgwick Site (with Classics, MML, History, Law, Economics, Philosophy, Divinity, English, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies departments) and West Cambridge Site (Engineering, Physics, Maths, Vet Med, Material Science and Biotechnology).
  • The best thing about Wolfson is that it's close to Grantchester. I used to go there fairly regularly, it's a pleasant walk.


All of Wolfson's accommodation is on the same site, which really helps with the college community and atmosphere as everyone lives close together. It's also convenient as the bar, cafeteria, library, laundry machines and porters etc are only a short stumble out of bed away. Wolfson accommodation is for the full period of an undergraduate course or three years of a PhD, and is priced below the University average. They let you choose between termly contract (you live there in term and a few days either side) and period contract (if you want to stay during vacations). You can look around the Wolfson accommodation in a 360 degree virtual tour.

  • New blocks (image)(circa-late 90s)

The inside looks like an ugly Holiday Inn, but they are nice, the rooms are the same size but most have ensuite bathrooms. Singles in the New Blocks might be marginally larger that in the Old Blocks, but they have smaller kitchens. Shared sets in the New Blocks are an interesting phenomenon. They have one outer door, which opens to a long, narrow hallway. Two doors facing the outer entry lead to good-sized rooms with nice wood furniture. At one end of the entry hall is the bathroom; on the other, the World's Smallest Kitchen. This is not a problem if you plan on eating primarily in the canteen or subsisting on pasta. The New blocks are further away from the bar, so less drunken late night conversations out the front of your window…The New Blocks feel more comfortable than the Old Blocks: the furniture is definitely nicer, and there's even a heated towel rack in the bathroom.

  • Old blocks (image) (circa 70s)

The old blocks are built in the ‘traditional’ Cambridge stair-case style (i.e. twelve rooms, four on each floor, sharing a common stair-case) rather than on corridors. I think they feel a bit darker and more cramped, and the décor is more 1970s than 1990s. But the room sizes are pretty much the same (small!), and the actual facilities/ functionality of the rooms is very similar i.e. all have the same internet connection and fairly decent heating. If money is an issue, then choose the old block, but if you want a slightly more modern room, choose the new block. My ensuite single in the Old Blocks was about 150 square feet, including the bathroom. My room in the Old Blocks had a single bed, three bookshelves above the head of my bed, a desk / plastic chair, a medium set of three drawers, a standing bureau, a padded arm chair for reading (or holding laundry in my case). I like the Old Block kitchens much better than the ones I saw in the New Blocks, but that could be in part because my flatmates were generally considerate about washing up & putting away their cookery.

Social Spaces

Wolfson has a variety of social spaces which are open to all students with no separation for age or level of study. There's the central club room which was newly refurbished by architecture students in 2018, which has a coffee bar in the day and a student-run drinks bar in the evening, sofas for chilling and tables for working, as well as two pool tables, table football (all free-to-play) a TV and a piano/keyboard. Events take place here across term including the "Wolfson Howler" comedy nights, bops (Big Open Parties), Jazz nights, quiz nights and much more. There's also the Lee Room which has a full-size snooker table, board game cupboard and PS4, and is the standard location for after parties when events at the club room finish. The small TV room is a cosy space for group viewings of the latest David Attenborough programmes (actual FB event); and the KSJ (Karin Sparks Jones room) is a quiet space with a coffee machine where many students choose to study together.

Library and Computing

The Lee Library is open 24/7 and has a computer room with printers and a scanner. There's free tea in the lobby, a coffee machine downstairs, and you're allowed to bring your own food and drink inside as well. The Head Librarian is really helpful and can order in books you need for your course (if Wolfson doesn't have them already), as well as advise on finding articles online. There's also an Information Skills Librarian who leads the "skills for academic success" programme with different courses to help you boost your studies and research. You can read more information for mature undergraduates and postgraduates on the Wolfson website.

Academic Performance

Wolfson's ranking in the Tompkins Table (which ranks colleges by their Tripos exam results): 27th (2008), 27th (2007), 27th (2006), 23rd (2005), 28th (2004), 28th (2003).


Wolfson has 12 sports teams and ‘one of the two best college gyms in Cambridge’ (the other one being at Jesus – an opinion apparently held by virtually all University-level athletes). In 2018, Wolfson's boat club won the Michell Cup for the best overall performance during the year's competitions, and the Pegasus Cup for the best performance in the May Bumps. In the same year the football team also won double, coming top of the University league and winning the MCR Champions Cup.


  • It's a very friendly college, definitely international but also British (lots of students from everywhere imaginable, but lots of home students as well).
  • No old buildings and less traditional formal halls (no "high table" like in other colleges, gowns recommended but not required etc). But, you know, this is exactly the thing many people I know in Wolfson (myself included) appreciate about it, that it is relaxed and has a different atmosphere.
  • The orientation activities at Wolfson are, compared to my fellow grad students at other colleges, exemplary.
  • The only possible downside is that I think it is far from the market (a 20 minute walk or 7 min cycle), but even so, the walk (or ride) is enjoyable. It's still on of the closest Colleges to the Sidgewick Site (Arts and Humanities), the West Cambridge Site (Sciences) and Grantchester Meadows.
  • The college is uber-relaxed
  • I think the best way to describe Wolfson is "functional" if you want "glamour" then it probably isn't the best place for you. However if you want all accommodation, library, gym, tennis court etc on the same site, friendly porters and "accommodating" staff (e.g. finance office) and don't mind living in a small room then Wolfson is a safe bet.


  • Canteen and dining hall
  • 24/7 Lee Library (image)
  • Computer room with printers and scanner
  • Clubroom and bar
  • Lee Hall (for concerts etc) (image)
  • Lee Room with newspapers, TV, email terminals and snooker table
  • Gym
  • All-weather tennis court
  • Laundry
  • Sundial Garden (image 1image 2)
  • Betty Wu Lee Garden (image 1image 2)



Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic
Modern and Medieval Languages
Natural Sciences
Politics, Psychology and Sociology


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