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Cambridge University

UCAS Code: C05

Location: Cambridge, East Anglia Show on Map

Site: 29 constituent colleges and university teaching centres across city

World-class research-intensive university; member of the Russell Group of universities.

Student Population

Total Students:19,945
FE Students:0%


Total undergraduates:12,220
Full Time:98%
Mature on Entry:5%
UK Students:82%
State school entry:58%

Teaching Staff

1590 full- and part-time.

Broad study areas

Arts, education, social sciences, law, science (including engineering), technology, medicine, veterinary medicine


Admission Information:AS-levels accepted only in combination with 3+ A-levels. UCAS tariff not used.
Points on Entry (Mean):536
Drop Out Rate:1%
Accommodation:All undergraduates housed for 3 years


Founded:13th century
Structural features:Distinctive collegiate system. Each college is a self-governing community which elects its own fellows, admits its own undergraduates and provides academic, sporting and social facilities as well as accommodation. For most undergraduates the college is the focal point of their Cambridge life.
Site:Scattered throughout city centre. Most colleges and university facilities (faculties, departments, libraries, labs) and sports grounds within walking or cycling distance.
How to get there:Two mainline links from London (King’s Cross and Liverpool St), rail and coach links around the country; close to A14/M11. Within city, walk or bike; also 'Uni4' bus passes many university and college sites.
Special features:All staff and students of the university live within a few miles of city centre. University is committed to admitting the most academically able students.

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Pre-entry advice from colleges or from Cambridge Admissions Office. University counselling service, disability resource centre, childcare information and financial support administrator. Most other support services (eg welfare, religion) are college based.
Amenities:University provision for wide range of societies in addition to college facilities.
Sporting facilities:First class university sports grounds, boat club etc in addition to facilities in colleges
Accommodation:All colleges (except St Edmund's) guarantee to house all single undergraduates for 3 years. Provision and price varies between the colleges: approx £70–£120 per week without meals (ensuite £90–£130 pw) for 30-week year.

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:All students have access to at least three libraries: University Library (copyright library receiving all books published UK); department/faculty specialist library; and college library. Computerised catalogue links all three. Information provision, £426 pa spent for each student (FTE). Separate IT service. Students have IT access through college, department and university sites. University computer network links all colleges and departments; open 24 hours/day; most college rooms linked into it. Many IT courses (taught and self-guided) on use of internet, software applications, programming.
Other learning resources:Language centre (open to all students, computer-assisted learning). Eight specialist museums eg Fitzwilliam; Botanic Gardens.
Study abroad:Opportunity on some courses to study abroad, through exchange programmes with other leading institutions.
Careers:University careers service


Living expenses budget:Estimated minimum budget of £7170 pa (excluding tuition fees).
Term-time work:University does not normally allow term-time work for full-time students (terms are only 8 weeks long and very intense).
Financial help:Bursaries of £3500 pa for UK students whose family income is up to £25k pa, reducing down to £50 pa where family income is £40k−£42.6k pa; bursaries increased by 60% for mature students. Also 130 scholarships of £6000 fee waiver in Year 1, open to students whose family income is less than £12k pa, or where family income is up to £25k pa combined with other factors (student is a care leaver, is disabled, is a lone parent, or qualified for free school meals). Numerous university and college scholarships, awards and hardship funds available, particularly for self-financing students. Apply to the College for help in the first instance.
University tuition fees:Home students pay £9000 pa for first degrees. International students pay £11,829 pa (classroom-based), £15,480 (architecture, geograhy, music), £18,000 (lab-based), £28,632 (clinical).
College fees:Home and EU students who are publicly funded (eg are eligible for a student loan) are exempt from paying college fees; international students pay £4000–£5000 pa, depending on the college.


Academic features:

Teaching in university lectures, labs etc as well as in college. Courses are usually very broad for the first one or two years followed by more specialist final year(s) − a flexible system, which allows you to study additional subjects.

Awarding body:

University of Cambridge

Main undergraduate awards:

BA, MB/BChir, MB/VetMB, MEng, MSci

Length of courses:

3 years; others 4 years eg languages, MEng, MSci; 6 years MB/BChir

Main subjects offered:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Akkadian
  • Anatomy
  • Ancient History
  • Anglo-Saxon
  • Animal Science
  • Anthropology
  • Arabic
  • Archaeology
  • Architecture
  • Art History
  • Asian Studies
  • Astrophysics
  • Biblical Studies
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Catalan
  • Cell Biology
  • Celtic Studies
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese
  • Civil Engineering
  • Classics
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Control Engineering
  • Developmental Biology
  • Dutch
  • Earth Sciences
  • Ecology
  • Economic History
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Egyptology
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronic Engineering
  • Energy Engineering
  • Engineering (General)
  • English
  • Environmental Engineering
  • French
  • Genetics
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Geoscience
  • German
  • Greek, Ancient/Classical
  • Greek, Modern
  • Hebrew
  • History
  • History/Philosophy of Science
  • Human Biology
  • Islamic Studies
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Land Economy
  • Latin
  • Law
  • Linguistics
  • Management
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Science
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Molecular Biology
  • Music
  • Neuroscience
  • Oriental Studies
  • Pathology
  • Persian
  • Pharmacology
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Politics
  • Portuguese
  • Production Engineering
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Russian
  • Sanskrit
  • Semitic Languages
  • Social Anthropology
  • Social Science
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Structural Engineering
  • Theology
  • Veterinary Science
  • Zoology


There are 29 undergraduate colleges - see list below. Three accept women only: Lucy Cavendish (mature only), Murray Edwards (previously New Hall) and Newnham. All others accept both men and women (Hughes Hall, St Edmund’s and Wolfson accept only mature students). Each college has its own prospectus, in addition to the university prospectus. Most colleges admit undergraduates to study all the subjects at Cambridge.

Student view

Andy McGowan, CUSU Access and Funding Team (2nd year Law)


What’s it like as a place to live? Theoretically a city, Cambridge feels like a large campus, which sprawls over the town. It’s easy to get round, with most accommodation, lecture halls, social activities and shops within walking distance.  By far the most common mode of transport is bike, with nearly every student owning one.

How’s the student accommodation? Accommodation varies between Colleges but practically all undergraduates receive accommodation for the entirety of their degree. Some Colleges have new ensuite accommodation, the majority of rooms each have a sink in the room and you tend to share a kitchen and bathroom between three other people (on average). A bonus is that each College has a maintenance team, who will fix any dripping taps, blown fuses or other day-to-day issues.

What’s the student population like? Cambridge really does have a fairly diverse and international population. There are people from state schools, people from private school, people from cities, people from the middle of nowhere.  In terms of extra-curricular activities and interests, Cambridge is equally diverse, with over 600 University-wide sports clubs and societies.

How do students and locals get on? There’s an historic town vs. gown divide − locals are irritated by the students and students are irritated by the tourists − but it doesn’t go so far as any antagonism.  In reality, though, relations are absolutely fine.


What’s it like as a place to study? The courses are pretty much all academic subjects, with a lot of work involved – but there is plenty of time for fun as well! The facilities within Colleges and on a University-wide scale are impressive. Every College has its own library which tends to be stocked to suit most students’ needs. The faculties have extensive libraries, with a good range of journals and online resources, and there’s the University Library, which hosts every book published in the UK.

What are the teaching staff like? You really are being taught by leading experts in your subjects. More often than not you will be lectured or supervised (taught in smaller groups of 1−3) by academics who have written the leading textbooks on the subjects! Despite being so intelligent, they are all willing to help you and are genuinely interested in what you have to say.


What are student societies like? There are hundreds and hundreds of societies – ranging from the normal ones (football club, drama societies etc) to some of the more obscure (Winnie the Pooh Society, Assassins Guild etc) There is no central students’ union, but instead each College has its own bar. In terms of sports and music, you can get involved on a College level, which caters for a range of standards from complete beginner to competitive, or a University level, where you get professional coaching and very high standards.

What’s a typical night out? It really depends on the person – maybe start off at the college bar with friends, play a few games of pool in the common room or watch TV, have a few drinks then off out to one of the nightclubs. However, other people may prefer to go and see a gig or watch a production or eat with friends and watch DVDs.

And how much does it cost? College bar £1.70 a pint, Pool 50p a game, Entry to nightclub £3−4, Drinks once inside £3 each.

How can you get home safely? Most colleges are within walking distance so groups of students walk back together. For those living outside of the centre, there are buses and also numerous taxi services with a taxi rank in the centre by the clubs.


Is it an expensive place to live? Cambridge isn’t as expensive to live in as some people think. College subsides your room rents so rent can be anything from £50 a week to £100 per week and you only pay for it when you’re there and not during the vacations. Food in college is cheap as well (meal, dessert & drink for about £3.30).  There are also very generous bursaries so money should never be a big issue for people.

Average price of a pint? £1.70.

And the price of a takeaway? A cheese burger is about £2.70 from the food van. The curry houses do student deals which are quite cheap, and there are several pizza chains.

What’s the part-time work situation? As a rule of thumb, you’re not allowed to have a part-time job during term time, because the terms are shorter than everywhere else. However, there are occasional exceptions (working in college bar etc) where college may allow you to work for a maximum of six hours per week.  There are exceptional bursaries, so if you find you do need the extra money, the College will help you out.


What’s the best feature about the place? It would have to be the people – you meet some great friends and you are taught by world-class academics. The accommodation does tend to be nice as well (especially when you consider how old some of the buildings are!)

And the worst? There is a lot of work to do – but as long as you balance your time properly, you will be fine.

And to sum it all up? I’m really glad I came to Cambridge. You get a top-class education and plenty of opportunities to get involved in activities, especially things you haven’t done before. You meet loads of great people.

Past Students

Milton, Charles Darwin, Dame Frances Dove, Marlowe, Coleridge, Ethel Sargat (research botanist), Rupert Brooke, Keynes, Pepys, Erasmus, William Wilberforce, Isaac Newton, Byron, Constance Herschell (chemist), John Cleese, the Spies, Mary Archer, Pitt the Younger, Margaret Drabble, A A Milne, Miriam Margolies, Joan Bakewell, Rajiv Gandhi, Lord Mountbatten, Bertrand Russell, EM Forster, Sylvia Plath, Griff Rhys Jones, Graham Greene, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Clive James, Germaine Greer, Shirley Williams, David Attenborough, Diane Abbott, Brian Redhead, Carol Vorderman, David Baddiel, Jeremy Paxman, Sandi Toksvig, Ian McKellen, Baroness (Mary) Warnock, Phillipa Pearce and Tristan Jones.

More info?

Get Alternative Prospectus from Cambridge University Students’ Union, tel 01223 761691, email access@cusu.cam.ac.uk, website www.applytocambridge.com.


You need to submit your application to UCAS by 15 October, specifying Cambridge University as one of your choices. You should include the appropriate campus code for the college you have chosen, or 9 for an open application. Once your application has been received, you will be sent an email asking you to complete a Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ), so the university can ensure it has consistent information about all applicants. (If you are applying from outside the EU, irrespective of your nationality, you should check the university website as there is a special form to be completed and maybe an earlier deadline).

You may not apply to Oxford as well as Cambridge in the same year, unless you are an applicant for an organ award or an affiliated student.

Click the Colleges tab above to see a list of (and links to) the colleges you can apply to.



University of Cambridge


01223 337733





Student enquiries:

Cambridge Admissions Office, Fitzwilliam House, 32 Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1QY, Tel 01223 333308, www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate; or the Admissions Tutor of any Cambridge college.



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