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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
  • costs/study materials
  • personal expenses
  • transport

The table below gives an indication of typical costs. Figures are per year unless otherwise stated, and you should allow for increases in subsequent years.

Living Costs 2017-18

Accommodation1 (including any kitchen charges)

£3,300-£6,000 en suite

College meals

£3-£6 per meal

Additional course costs

Dependent on course, see the relevant course information


Cheap or free!

1 Figures based on the most common College accommodation contract (30 weeks) in 2017-18 – see individual College websites for full details and costs.

We’ve estimated that Home students should allow approximately £9,160 in 2018-19 and £9,420 in 2019-20 for living costs in Cambridge for the year (though this will vary depending on lifestyle, and students should allow for increases in future years).


As a rough guide, the rent for a 30-week year for single study bedroom is currently as follows:

  • £75-£195 per week with shared bathroom
  • £110-£200 per week with en suite

See individual College websites for details about accommodation and costs.


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 £3-£6.
  • Many Colleges have regular 'formal halls' (three-course dinners) that are also great value at around £8-£15.

Additional course costs

The cost of study materials (sometimes referred to as ‘course costs’) varies depending on your course but may include:

  • 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 faculty or department website – see course entries for details.

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.