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Cambridge students


Before you arrive

Your College, Faculty or Department will send you all the information you need to prepare yourself for your time in Cambridge, including College information, for example accommodation, course information, and similar work-related documentation.

You will be sent an email asking you to complete the University's annual Student Registration exercise. It will only take a few minutes.

Additional information is available from College, Faculty or Department websites.

Undergraduates might find it helpful to revisit the information published on the Admissions website about student life at Cambridge before coming up.


Freshers' Events in August and September

This summer, University Alumni Groups will be hosting online and in-person Freshers’ Events around the world for new students starting a course at Cambridge. These optional events are a great opportunity to hear from current and former students about their experiences of Cambridge and meet other new starters before the beginning of term.

Schedule of Freshers’ Events


Arrival and registration

Most courses start in October. The term between October and December is known as Michaelmas Term in Cambridge. Officially, the first day of the Michaelmas Term is 1 October and this date will be shown on your offer letter. Your College and/or your Department will advise you about when to arrive. Induction activities begin around 1 October for most students.

When you arrive in Cambridge, you should go first to your College. They will be glad to know that you have arrived safely and will advise you on what to do next.

The Cambridge Student Union offers a Fresher's Guide carrying a lot of useful information collated by students themselves. Further information can be obtained from your College undergraduate or postgraduate organisation, or from Cambridge SU.

You may also find the University map helpful.



Matriculation marks the formal admission of a student to membership of the University, and a College may not normally allow an unmatriculated student to be a resident member of the College ('in statu pupillari') after the Division (that is, the mid-point) of his or her first term of residence.

Every candidate for matriculation must subscribe to the following declaration by signing the Matriculation Registration Form:

I promise to observe the Statutes and Ordinances of the University as far as they concern me, and to pay due respect and obedience to the Chancellor and other officers of the University.

You can find the Statutes and Ordinances here.

A person is deemed to be matriculated from the beginning of the term in which a completed Matriculation Registration Form and satisfactory evidence of his or her qualification to matriculate is known by the College.



Cambridge is a residential university and students must normally live in Cambridge to obtain a degree. For the B.A. or full-time Ph.D. a minimum of nine terms is normally necessary.

In order to be able to count the term as a term of residence you must:

  1. reside within the Precincts of the University, which extend for three miles (measured in a straight line) from Great St Mary's Church (and Madingley Hall). (Registered Postgraduate Students and candidates for the MBA degree must reside within ten miles of Great St Mary's Church when keeping terms by residence.);
  2. be in residence for three-quarters of each term. Undergraduates are expected to reside during Full Term, which is a period equal to three-quarters of the term, since regular teaching and lecturing take place in Full Term. Further infromation for postgraduate students can be found on the Terms of Study page

If you come into residence later than the beginning of Full Term, or are absent from Cambridge for a few nights during the term, you must remain in residence for an equal number of nights after the end of Full Term in order that the term may be counted.



Many students take some time to become accustomed to the culture of the University and the town, and, in many cases, of the academic expectations of the UK university system.

Faculties, Departments, and Colleges provide induction sessions for most students, and the University also provides, centrally, induction in some specialist areas.

Faculty/Department induction sessions should aim to:

  • provide an overview of the institution and support services available, both at the course/Department/Faculty level (e.g. library opening hours and borrowing arrangements) and at the University level (e.g. Computing Service, University Library);
  • introduce appropriate academic staff;
  • explain the way in which the course is organised, who to refer to in case of difficulty, and the arrangements for student representation;
  • make certain that any specific health and safety requirements are made clear;
  • introduce the learning and working environment and resources available, including any possibilities for auditing other courses and skills development;
  • in the case of Postgraduates, they should draw attention to the Code of Practice;
  • provide information on the academic and ethical conventions and requirements pertinent to the field of study and draw attention to any compulsory training elements; and
  • provide an opportunity for students to ask questions.

College induction sessions should aim to:

  • explain the system of pastoral support within Colleges;
  • inform students how to access medical and other support facilities in Cambridge, such as the Counselling Service;
  • introduce the facilities that Colleges provide for learning support (e.g. computing facilities and libraries) and skills development;
  • set out arrangements for payment of fees and other bills; and
  • introduce new students to each other, to senior members and to a network of current students in the College.

University central provision includes safety courses.

The International Student Office offers workshops at the beginning of October for new students coming to the UK for the first time. The Language Centre's pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes course includes orientation and induction.