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Undergraduate Study


At Cambridge, rather than choosing a hall of residence for your first year of study, you live in a College for the full duration of your course. The majority of students are guaranteed accommodation in College-owned property for three years, and many Colleges provide for fourth-year students too, so you don’t have to find private accommodation during that time.¹ Your College is where you do a lot of your studying and socialising, and each College community offers pastoral and academic support.

Not far to travel

Accommodation is close to the city centre and within walking or cycling distance of departments.

Shorter contracts

Annual contracts for College accommodation are normally in the range of 27 to 39 weeks, so you don't have to pay rent for a full calendar year, and you won't be charged for some vacations unless you choose to stay in Cambridge.

Where is the accommodation?

Some Colleges have all their accommodation on their main site. Others have some on their main site plus a range of College-owned flats/houses around the city. All College accommodation is within the University 'precincts', an area covering a three-mile radius around Great St Mary's Church.

During term time, students are required to live in this area unless given permission to live elsewhere by their College. All students should be available to study in Cambridge for the full duration of their course (with the exception of a year abroad should that form part of your course). 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. Whatever the style, you have a room of your own and access to a shared kitchen and laundry room. Many Colleges offer accessible rooms for students who need them. All Colleges provide a library and computer suite too, amongst a range of other facilities (see also Facilities and resources).

Somewhere to relax

The main social hub of every College is its common room and/or bar (also known as a JCR, or Junior Common/Combination Room), usually offering 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 (College cafeteria) 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. Check individual College websites for full details. See also Living costs for more information about costs at Cambridge.


¹ Accommodation guarantee applies to single undergraduates without children at all Colleges. Students are usually expected to live in College-owned accommodation where possible.

Choosing a College at Cambridge