skip to content

Undergraduate Study

 

Cost-effective living

'Living costs' cover whatever you need to pay for, excluding tuition fees, while you're at university. For example:

  • accommodation
  • food
  • course costs/study materials
  • personal expenses
  • transport

The table below gives an indication of typical costs. You should allow for increases in subsequent years. The weekly accommodation cost will vary across the 29 undergraduate Colleges.

Living Costs 2019-20

Accommodation (including any kitchen charges)

£110-£180 per week1
£130-£210 en suite, per week1

College meals

£4-£7 per meal

Additional course costs

Dependent on course (see below)

Transport in Cambridge

Cheap or free!

We’ve estimated that in 2020-21 students should allow approximately £9,6702 for living costs in Cambridge for the year (though this will vary depending on lifestyle, and students should allow for increases in future years). Living costs for international students and those who choose to stay in Cambridge during the vacation periods will be higher. See International fees and costs for more details.

Accommodation

Most Colleges offer a range of accommodation to suit your preference and affordability. The table above details the median weekly costs across our 29 undergraduate Colleges. The weekly rate and the length of your accommodation contract will vary depending on your College choice – minimum contract lengths in 2019-20 range from 27 to 39 weeks. Please see individual College websites for details about accommodation costs, contract lengths and additional charges.

See the Accommodation webpage for general information about accommodation.

Food

Colleges provide basic self-catering facilities as well as cafeterias/dining halls. Some levy a separate charge towards the running costs of the College kitchens – the kitchen facilities charge – while others include this within their accommodation costs. A small number of Colleges require you to have a certain number of meals in the Buttery or dining hall each term (see individual College websites for details).

  • Individual meals typically cost £4-£7.
  • Many Colleges have regular 'formal halls' (three-course dinners) that are also great value, usually at around £9-£15 at most Colleges.

Additional course costs

These costs are in addition to tuition fees and living costs and will vary depending on your course but may include you having to pay for your own:

  • personally-owned equipment (eg calculator, lab coat)
  • photocopying
  • study materials (eg paper, pens, books)
  • travel costs (eg field or dissertation research trips)

The level of additional course costs will usually increase annually in line with inflation, except where a rise in directly attributable expenses warrants an above-inflation uplift. Specific additional course costs can be found on the relevant course entries.

The University’s numerous libraries and IT facilities help to keep your costs down, and many Colleges and some departments offer grants to help with particular costs (see individual College and department websites for details).

Personal expenses and transport

What you spend on food, clothing, transport etc depends on your lifestyle. However, there are lots of free recreational facilities plus loads of College-based and student-run activities that don’t cost very much. What’s more, Cambridge is a small place so transport is cheap or free – most students walk or cycle and there’s a ‘Universal’ bus service that offers discounted fares to students.

College fees

Unlike overseas fee status students and Islands students (from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man), Home fee status students who are eligible for public support don't normally have to pay an additional College fee, unless they're studying for a second undergraduate degree (affiliate students). More information about College fees is given on the international fees and costs webpage.

--

1 Figures based on the median room costs for first year undergraduate students in 2019-20. Students should allow for price increases in subsequent years of study. A choice of shared bathroom and en suite rooms is not available at all Colleges and figures do not include any deposits that may apply. Costs have been rounded up to the nearest £10. Please see individual College websites for further details.

2 Figures rounded up to the nearest £10.