University of Cambridge

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Place Category: TraditionalPlace Tags: academic, Medical School, Medicine, Museum, Nobel Prize Winners, oxbridge, PPE, research, Research Intensive, Russell Group, TEF Gold and Traditional

  • Profile

    Cambridge is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious universities. Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the second oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a highly traditional university with a world-leading reputation across its academic subject areas. It is research-intensive and a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research intensive universities. Its alumni include a number of Heads of State, Prime Ministers, politicians, scientists, and over a hundred Nobel Prize winners.

    Like the University of Oxford, Cambridge is a collegiate university meaning it is made up of a group of colleges. Undergraduate students apply to Cambridge in the usual way (through UCAS) but need to put their applications in earlier than for other universities (generally by October) due to the longer admissions process. Students tend to apply to a particular college although the University often offers successful students a place in a college which is different to their original choice.

    The colleges in Cambridge University are:

    Christ’s College, 

    A traditional Cambridge college dating back to 1437. It is located centrally within over  a dozen ancient buildings. It has some of the highest academic standards within the university and is where Charles Darwin and John Milton were educated (as well as the likes of comedy geniuses such as Sacha Baron Cohen!) It is highly traditional with gowns worn and grace said before dinner.


    Named after Sir Winston Churchill and focused primarily on Science, Engineering and Technology. The college is situated on the outskirts of Cambridge and is less formal than most other colleges at Cambridge. It tends to have more students from state school than other Cambridge colleges and one third of its students are postgraduates. As well as the focus on Science, Technology and Engineering the college admits students from a range of other disciplines to ensure a well-rounded cohort of students.

    Clare College

    Confusingly there is Clare College and Clare Hall (postgraduate only). Clare College is the second oldest college in Cambridge dating back to 1326. Despite its ancient history it is renowned for being liberal and progressive and for its transparent admissions process. Clare College is great for students who are very musical with a renowned choir, orchestra, and musical society.

    Clare Hall

    Clare Hall (not to be confused with Clare College – which used to be called Clare Hall) is a college solely for postgraduate students, post-doctoral and visiting researchers. Many students are accompanied by their families.

    Corpus Christi 

    Corpus Christi or, to give it its full name, “The College of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary” is one of the older colleges of Cambridge founded in 1352 and has a rich and interesting history. It is relatively small college with fewer than 500 students (including undergraduate and postgraduate). The College has formal dinners several times a week where students wear formal gowns.


    Darwin college is a relatively new college (founded in the 1960s) and named after Charles Darwin. It is located on the banks of the River Cam and has around 650 students, a large proportion of whom are postgraduates. It also has one of the highest proportion of overseas students.


    Downing college is known as the “oldest of the new colleges” and the “newest of the old colleges” being founded in 1800. It has a particularly strong reputation for Law and Medicine. A significant number of the students have become very active politically.


    Founded in 1584 in a former monastery. Graduates from Emmanuel were instrumental in establishing institutions of North America, including John Harvard who founded Harvard University. The college is particularly active in sports and social activities.


    The College was founded in 1869 with a focus on attracting academically gifted students without the finances to attend Cambridge. The college has expanded to become one of the largest, most diverse of Cambridge’s colleges with superb facilities and modern buildings. It has a strong academic emphasis on natural sciences, politics and criminology.


    Girton College, established in 1869, was the first female college at Cambridge. It now accepts both male and female students. It is located about 4km from the centre of Cambridge in victorian buildings with extensive land and facilities, including and indoor swimming pool. Its graduates include Sandi Toksvig and Arianna Huffington.

    Gonville & Caius

    Often referred to as Caius this college is one of the oldest and wealthiest in the University. It has graduated an astounding number of successful students, including fourteen Nobel prize winners, particularly in the medical and Mathematical Sciences. Graduates include: John Caius (who gave the college the caduceus in its insignia) and William Harvey. Other famous alumni in the sciences include Francis Crick (joint discoverer, along with James Watson, of the structure of DNA), James Chadwick (discoverer of the neutron) and Howard Florey (developer of penicillin). Stephen Hawking, previously Cambridge’s Lucasian Chair of Mathematics Emeritus, was a fellow of the college until his death in 2018.

    Formal dining, with gowns and grace each evening. The college also enforces the system of “exeats“, or official permissions to leave the college. Students wishing to be absent from college overnight during term time must obtain leave to do so from their tutors, and “terminal exeats” must be obtained before the end of term


    Hughes Hall, 



    Lucy Cavendish, 


    Murray Edwards, 







    Sidney Sussex, 

    St Catharine’s,

    St Edmund’s,  

    St John’s, 


    Trinity Hall, 


  • More Info
    Cost of Living: Low
    Location: uni town or small city
    Entry Difficulty: 5
    University Size: medium
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  • Cost of Living
    Cost of Living: Low
  • Location
    Location: uni town or small city
  • Entry Difficulty
    Entry Difficulty: 5
  • University Size
    University Size: medium