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Undergraduate Study


A home from home

Cambridge guarantees most students College-owned accommodation for three years, and many Colleges provide for fourth-year students too, so you don’t have to find private accommodation after your first year. Much more than just a hall of residence, your College is where you do a lot of your studying and socialising.

  • Top 10 for good accommodation (Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2017)
  • Shorter contracts – Colleges offer 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 – accommodation is close to the city centre and within walking or cycling distance of departments.

Accommodation guarantee applies to single undergraduates without children at all Colleges except St Edmund’s. All single undergraduates without children are usually expected to live in College-owned accommodation where possible and all students must ordinarily be available to study in Cambridge for the full duration of their course (with the exception of a year abroad where part of the course).

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. See individual College websites for details of the locations of accommodation.

What's the accommodation like?

There’s 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 (see also Facilities and resources).

Somewhere to relax

The 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 fields, gyms, practice rooms and performance venues (see also Sport and Music).

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 (see also Living costs).

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 (see individual College websites for details).


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 contact about any problems in College or if you need any information.

How much does it cost?

The cost varies from College to College, and usually depends on the type and style of your room (size, en suite etc) but the cost generally covers utilities (water, electricity, heating), cleaning, internet access and basic self-catering facilities.
The table below shows how our accommodation costs compare to regional and national average costs for university-provided accommodation. You must refer to individual College websites for full details. See also Living costs for more information about costs at Cambridge.

How does Cambridge compare?




Cambridge Colleges (shared bathroom)[1]



East of England average[2]



National average[2]




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

[2] Figures relate to institutional accommodation and are taken from the NUS/Unipol Accommodation Costs Survey 2014-16. The average accommodation contract in the East of England is 40 weeks, and 41 weeks nationally. East of England excludes London.

Choosing a College

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