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Undergraduate Study


A home from home

At Cambridge, the Colleges provide student accommodation for most undergraduates for at least three years. Much more than just a hall of residence, your College is also where you do a lot of your studying and socialising.

The Cambridge Advantage: Accommodation guarantee

Unlike many universities, Cambridge guarantees most students College-owned accommodation for three years, and many Colleges provide for fourth-year students too. This means that you don’t have to find private accommodation after your first year. In addition:

  • No.1 for good accommodation (Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2014)
  • Short contracts – Colleges oer shorter annual accommodation contracts (26-39 weeks), so you don’t pay rent during the vacations unless you choose to stay in Cambridge.
  • Not far to travel – College accommodation is close to the city centre and within walking or cycling distance of departments.

Accommodation guarantee applies to single undergraduates without children, and at all Colleges except St Edmund's. All single undergraduates are expected to live in College-owned accommodation where possible.

Where is the accommodation?

Some Colleges have all their accommodation on their main College site. Others have some on their main site plus a range of College-owned flats/houses around the city. Either way, most accommodation is within easy walking or cycling distance of the University departments and facilities, and the city centre.

What's the accommodation like?

Colleges have a variety of accommodation available – rooms vary from medieval to modern, and you usually have a choice of en suite or shared bathroom facilities. Whatever the style, you have a room of your own, and access to a shared kitchen and laundry room. All Colleges provide a library and computer suite too.

Somewhere to relax

The main social hub of every College is its common room and bar (also known as a JCR, or Junior Common/Combination Room). Many offer TVs, newspapers, pool tables or computer games. Colleges have a wide range of sports and music facilities too – such as playing elds, gyms, practice rooms and performance venues.

Somewhere to eat

At Cambridge, you don’t have to choose between ‘catered’ or ‘self-catered’ accommodation. Basic self-catering facilities are available if you want to cook for yourself, and all Colleges provide dining facilities where you can buy cafeteria-style meals as well as three-course dinners (known as ‘formal halls’) at a reasonable price. The Colleges encourage communal dining; it’s a chance to catch up with friends and meet new people. A small number of Colleges require you to have a certain number of meals in the Buttery or dining hall each term.


Every College has a team of Porters to maintain the safety and security of staff and students. One of the linchpins of College life, the Porters are often a first point of call about any problems in College or if you need any information.

How much does it cost?

The cost varies from College to College, and depends on the type and style of your room (size, en suite etc – most Colleges offer accommodation in a range of price bands to suit different budgets) but the cost usually covers utilities (water, electricity, heating), cleaning, internet access and basic self-catering facilities.

The table below shows how our accommodation costs compare with regional and national average costs for university-provided accommodation. See Living costs for more information about costs at Cambridge.

How does Cambridge compare?
  Weekly Annually
Cambridge Colleges (shared facilities)* £95-£120 £2,850-£3,600
East of England average** £143.57 £6,604.22
National average** £118.49 £4,858.09

* Based on the typical College accommodation contract of 30 weeks (2014-2015).
** Figures taken from the NUS/Unipol Accommodation Costs Survey 2012-13. The average accommodation contract in the East of England is 46 weeks, and 41 weeks nationally. East of England excludes London.

Choosing a College