The University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and is regarded as one of the world's top five universities. The University of Cambridge is a member of the Russell Group, a network of research-led British universities; the Coimbra Group, an association of leading European universities; the League of European Research Universities; and the International Alliance of Research Universities.
The University of Cambridge is rich in history - its famous Colleges and University buildings attract visitors from all over the world. But the University's museums and collections also hold many treasures which give an exciting insight into some of the scholarly activities, both past and present, of the University's academics and students.
The University of Cambridge is one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known world-wide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges.
Many of the University's customs and unusual terminology can be traced to roots in the early years of the University's long history, and this booklet looks to the past to find the origins of much that is distinctive in the University of today.
The university occupies a central location within the city of Cambridge, with the students taking up a significant proportion of the town's population and heavily affecting the age structure. Most of the older colleges are situated nearby the city centre and river Cam, along which it is traditional to punt to appreciate the buildings and surroundings.
Cambridge is a collegiate university, meaning that it is made up of self-governing and independent colleges, each with its own property and income. Most colleges bring together academics and students from a broad range of disciplines, and within each faculty, school or department within the university, academics from many different colleges will be found.
Accommodation is served by each college individually, and varies strongly. Most colleges own houses and flats within Cambridge, but can also offer rooms for undergraduates for all three years of study. The Accommodation Service is also available to help organise private rented accommodation in the town.
The academic year is divided into three academic terms, determined by the Statutes of the University. Michaelmas term lasts from October to December; Lent term from January to March; and Easter term from April to June.
The University of Cambridge has research departments and teaching faculties in most academic disciplines. All research and lectures are conducted by university departments. The colleges are in charge of giving or arranging most supervisions, student accommodation, and funding most extracurricular activities.
The university has over 100 libraries. The Cambridge University Library is the central research library, which holds over 8 million volumes. It is a legal deposit library, therefore it is entitled to request a free copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland.
Cambridge University operates eight arts, cultural, and scientific museums, and a botanic garden. The Fitzwilliam Museum, is the art and antiquities museum, the Kettle's Yard is a contemporary art gallery, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology houses the university's collections of local antiquities, together with archaeological and ethnographic artefacts from around the world, the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology houses a wide range of zoological specimens from around the world and is known for its iconic finback whale skeleton that hangs outside.
The university's publishing arm, the Cambridge University Press, is the oldest printer and publisher in the world, and it is the second largest university press in the world.
The Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU) serves to represent all the students within the University which automatically become members upon arrival.
Rowing is a particularly popular sport at Cambridge, and there are competitions between colleges, notably the bumps races, and against Oxford, the Boat Race. There are also Varsity matches against Oxford in many other sports, ranging from cricket and rugby, to chess and tiddlywinks.
Numerous student-run societies exist in order to encourage people who share a common passion or interest to periodically meet or discuss.
The largest, and only independent, student newspaper is Varsity (Cambridge). Other student publications include The Cambridge Student, which is funded by Cambridge University Students’ Union and goes to print on a fortnightly basis, and The Tab.