A Guide to Student Life in Cambridge

Image of the University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is the third oldest university in the world, having been formed in the 13th Century, and has a long standing reputation for academic excellence and achievements.

Cambridge is one of the hardest universities in the world to get an offer for, but once you’re in it’s worth the effort. 90 Nobel Prize winners, across all categories, have come from the University of Cambridge and it has one of the highest graduate employment levels in the UK.

So, what else do you need to know about studying and living in Cambridge?

Where to study

If you’re living in Cambridge you’re of course going to be studying at the University of Cambridge, but you’ll have 31 colleges to choose from including Corpus Christi College, Magdalene College, and Trinity College.

Do your research into all of the colleges before making your choice. Some are easy to discount – for example women’s only colleges if you’re male, but they all have their pros and cons.

How much will it cost you?

Despite being one of the most prestigious universities in the world, it isn’t one of the most costly for students, particularly in comparison to London, Birmingham, or Manchester.

A 2014 HSBC study revealed that students at Cambridge spend roughly £218 per week on accommodation, food, travel, entertainment, and other student essentials.

Getting around

Famously the preferred method of transport for Cambridge students is cycling largely due to the compact, flat nature of the city.

There are also good bus routes and Cambridge is well connected to other parts of the country via the train system. Stanstead airport has a direct rail link for times when you want to go further afield.

Where to live

Many students stay living in student halls after their first year and there are plenty of catered and self-catered options.

In fact, all Cambridge colleges guarantee halls accommodation to all single (without dependants) students for three years and many colleges can house students on four year courses.

College communities at Cambridge are more than just halls of residence – they become ways of living that perfectly combine studying and socialising.

Party time

As you might expect from a university city there are plenty of options for downtime when you’re not studying.

Not only is there an overall Student’s Union but every college has its own student union. There are more than 100 sports clubs and societies associated with the Student’s Union and the university has excellent sports facilities.

As well as sporting clubs there are also 700+ clubs and societies affiliated with the University of Cambridge Student’s Union. So you’re bound to find like-minded people that share your interests.

If you like a good night out you’ll be pleased to hear that there are over 100 pubs, as well as several nightclubs, in Cambridge – not including university run student bars. Clare Cellars, Fez, and the perennial student favourite – Wetherspoons, are all popular night spots.

There are also four theatres, three cinemas, and two entertainment venues that offer plenty of events throughout the year.