Colleges of the University of Cambridge

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The University of Cambridge is composed of 31 colleges in addition to the academic departments and administration of the central University. Until the mid-19th century, both Cambridge and Oxford comprised a group of colleges with a small central university administration, rather than universities in the common sense. Cambridge's colleges are communities of students, academics and staff – an environment in which generations and academic disciplines are able to mix, with both students and fellows experiencing "the breadth and excellence of a top University at an intimate level".[1]

Cambridge Colleges provide most of the accommodation for undergraduates and postgraduates at the University. At the undergraduate level they have responsibility for admitting students to the university, providing pastoral support, and organising elements of their tuition, though lectures and examinations are organised by the faculties and departments of the central University. All degrees are awarded by the University itself, not the colleges, and all students study for the same course regardless of which college they attend.[2] For postgraduate students, research is conducted virtually entirely centrally in the faculties, departments and other university-affiliated research centres, though the colleges provide a central social and intellectual hub for students.

Colleges provide a range of facilities and services to their members in addition to accommodation, including catering, library facilities, extracurricular societies, and sporting teams. Much of sporting life at Cambridge is centred around college teams and inter-collegiate competition in Cuppers. Student activity is typically organised through separate common rooms for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Another important element of collegiate life is formal hall, which range in frequency from weekly to every night of the week during Full Term.

Colleges also provide funding, accommodation, or both, for some of the academic posts in the university, with the majority of Cambridge academics being a fellow of a college in addition to their Faculty/Departmental role.[3] Fellows may therefore hold college positions in addition to their academic posts at the University: these include roles such as Tutor (responsible for pastoral support), Director of Studies (responsible for academic oversight of students taking a particular subject), Dean (responsible for discipline among college members), Senior Tutor (responsible for the College's overall academic provision), or Head of College ('Head of House').

Colleges are self-governed charities in their own right, with their own endowments and possessions.

"Old" and "new" colleges[edit]

The University of Cambridge has 31 colleges,[3] founded between the 13th and 20th centuries. No colleges were founded between 1596 (Sidney Sussex College) and 1800 (Downing College), which allows the colleges to be distinguished into two groups according to foundation date:

  • the 16 "old" colleges, founded between 1284 and 1596, and
  • the 15 "new" colleges, founded between 1800 and 1977.

The oldest college is Peterhouse, founded in 1284,[4] and the newest is Robinson, founded in 1977.[5] Homerton, which was first founded in the eighteenth century as a dissenting academy (and later teacher training college), attained full college status in 2010.

Restrictions on entry[edit]

All 16 of the "old" colleges and 7 of the 15 "new" ones admit both male and female students as both undergraduates and postgraduates, without any age restrictions. Eight colleges restrict entry by sex, or by age of undergraduates, or admit only postgraduates:

No colleges are all-male, although most originally were. Darwin, founded in 1964, was the first mixed college, while in 1972 Churchill, Clare and King's colleges were the first previously all-male colleges to admit women, whilst King's formerly only accepted students from Eton College.The last all-male college to become mixed was Magdalene, in 1988.[8] In 1973 Hughes Hall became the first all-female college to admit men, and Girton first admitted men in 1979.

Newnham also places restrictions on the admission of staff members, allowing only women to become fellows of the college. Murray Edwards does not place this restriction on fellows.

Architectural influence[edit]

The Cambridge and Oxford colleges have served as an architectural inspiration for Collegiate Gothic Architecture, used by a number of American universities including Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis since the late nineteenth century.[9][10]

List of colleges[edit]

College
(with arms and scarf colours)[11]
Founded[a]
Head of House
Undergraduates
Postgraduates
Total[13]
Endowment
(2019)
Net Assets
(2019)
Assets per
student (2019)
Abbreviation[14]
(and short form)
Notes
Christ's College heraldic shield
Christ's
Scarf colours: brown, with two equally-spaced narrow white stripes
1505 Jane Stapleton[15]
Master since 2016
433 256 689 £127M[16] £197M[16] £287k CHR Re-foundation of Gods­house (est. 1439)
Churchill College heraldic shield
Churchill
Scarf colours: black, with two equally-spaced narrow stripes of brown edged with pink
1960
(1966)[b]
Dame Athene Donald[17]
Master since 2004
499 346 845 £109M[18] £181M[18] £215k CHU
Clare College heraldic shield
Clare
Scarf colours: black, with two equally-spaced narrow yellow stripes
1326
(1336)[c]
Loretta Minghella[19]
Master since 2021
519 289 808 £129M[20] £283M[20] £350k CL Formerly University Hall, then Clare Hall.
Clare Hall heraldic shield
Clare Hall
Scarf colours: black, with two equally-spaced narrow stripes of red edged with yellow
1966
(1984)[d]
C. Alan Short[21]
President since 2020
0 249 249 £29M[22] £35M[22] £140k CLH Post­graduate-only.
Corpus Christi heraldic shield
Corpus Christi
Scarf colours: cherry pink, with two equally-spaced narrow white stripes
1352 Christopher Kelly[23]
Master since 2018
294 259 553 £94M[24] £232M[24] £419k CC
(Corpus)
Formerly St Bene't's College.
Darwin College heraldic shield
Darwin
Scarf colours: blue, with two equally-spaced narrow sets of three adjacent red, Cambridge blue and yellow stripes, with the red stripes closest to the edge of the scarf, and the yellow stripes closest to the centre
1964
(1976)[d]
Mike Rands[25]
Master since 2018
0 755 755 £27M[26] £74M[26] £99k DAR Post­graduate-only.
Downing College heraldic shield
Downing
Scarf colours: black, with three narrow magenta stripes
1800 Alan Bookbinder[27]
Master since 2018
463 382 845 £50M[28] £197M[28] £233k DOW
Emmanuel College heraldic shield
Emmanuel
Scarf colours: navy, with two equally-spaced narrow rose pink stripes
1584 Doug Chalmers[29]
Master since 2021
512 206 718 £102M[30] £282M[30] £394k EM
(Emma)
Arms of Fitzwilliam College
Fitzwilliam
Scarf colours: maroon, with two equally-spaced narrow grey stripes
1869
(1966)[d]
Baroness Morgan of Huyton[31]
Master since 2019
486 413 899 £61M[32] £136M[32] £151k F
(Fitz)
Arms of Girton College, Cambridge.svg
Girton
Scarf colours: green, with two equally-spaced narrow stripes of red edged with white
1869
(1924)[e]
(1948)[b]
Susan J. Smith[33]
Mistress since 2009
516 292 808 £53M[34] £153M[34] £190k G Formerly female-only; mixed from 1976.
Gonville and Caius College heraldic shield
Gonville and Caius
Scarf colours: four equal stripes alternating black and Cambridge blue
1348
(1557)[f]
Pippa Rogerson[35]
Master since 2018
602 247 849 £227M[36] £348M[36] £398k CAI
(Caius)
  • Caius, pro­nounced "keys".
  • Formerly Gonville Hall.
Homerton College Shield for print.png
Homerton
Scarf colours: navy, with two equally-spaced narrow white stripes
1768
(1976)[g]
(2010)[d]
Lord Woolley of Woodford[37]
Principal since 2021
615 577 1192 £148M[38] £227M[38] £190k HO Formerly women-only; mixed from 1976.
Hughes Hall heraldic shield
Hughes Hall
Scarf colours: light blue with three equally-spaced narrow stripes, the outer stripes of Cambridge blue and wider, the central stripe of white and narrower
1885
(1949)[g]
(2006)[d]
Anthony Freeling[39]
President since 2014
150 711 861 £14M[40] £46M[40] £53k HH Mature-only.[h]
Jesus College heraldic shield
Jesus
Scarf colours: three equal stripes of red and black, with red in the middle on one side of the scarf, and black in the middle on the other
1496 Sonita Alleyne[41]
Master since 2019
513 411 924 £204M[42] £345M[42] £373k JE
King's College heraldic shield
King's
Scarf colours: royal purple, with two equally-spaced narrow white stripes
1441 Michael Proctor[43]
Provost since 2013
442 284 726 £100M[44] £377M[44] £519k K
Lucy Cavendish College heraldic shield
Lucy Cavendish
Scarf colours: eight alternating stripes of black and blue of varying width, with wide black and narrow blue stripes transitioning towards narrow black and wide blue stripes across the face of the scarf
1965
(1997)[d]
Madeleine Atkins[45]
President since 2018
120 320 440 £14M[46] £45M[46] £102k LC
(Lucy Cav)
Formerly mature-only,[h] and female-only; all-age from 2020, mixed from 2021.
Magdalene College heraldic shield
Magdalene
Scarf colours: navy, with two equally-spaced narrow lavender stripes
1428
(1542)[i]
Sir Christopher Greenwood[47]
Master since 2020
382 190 572 £63M[48] £179M[48] £312k M
  • Magdalene, pro­nounced "maudlin".
  • Formerly Bucking­ham College.
MurrayEdwardsCollegeCrest.svg
Murray Edwards
Scarf colours: three equally-spaced narrow stripes separating two black areas towards the edge and two blue areas in the middle, the outer stripes of yellow and the central stripe of red
1954
(1972)[d]
(2011)[j]
Dorothy Byrne[49]
President since 2021
376 189 565 £46M[50] £105M[50] £186k MUR
(Medwards)
  • Female students-only, mixed fellowship.
  • Formerly New Hall.
Newnham College heraldic shield
Newnham
Scarf colours: grey, with a central broad band of navy, itself divided in two by a narrow gold stripe
1871
(1917)[e]
(1957)[k]
Alison Rose[51]
Principal since 2019
416 290 706 £59M[52] £219M[52] £310k N Female-only.
Pembroke College heraldic shield
Pembroke
Scarf colours: dark blue, with two equally-spaced narrow Cambridge blue stripes
1347 Lord Smith of Finsbury[53]
Master since 2015
475 285 760 £80M[54] £259M[54] £341k PEM Formerly Pembroke Hall.
Peterhouse coat of arms
Peterhouse
Scarf colours: four equal stripes alternating white and blue
1284 Bridget Kendall[55]
Master since 2016
292 178 470 £204M[56] £328M[56] £698k PET
Queens' College heraldic shield
Queens'
Scarf colours: dark green, with two equally-spaced narrow white stripes
1448
(1465)[c]
Mohamed A. El‑Erian[57]
President since 2020
521 500 1021 £60M[58] £123M[58] £121k Q
Robinson College heraldic shield
Robinson
Scarf colours: from one edge of the scarf to the other, the first third grey, then three equal stripes of blue, gold and grey, and then the final third blue
1977
(1984)[b]
Richard Heaton[59]
Warden since 2021
412 252 664 £21M[60] £93M[60] £140k R
St Catharine's College heraldic shield
St Catharine's
Scarf colours: burgundy, with narrow pearl pink stripes
1473 Sir Mark Welland[61]
Master since 2016
481 287 768 £68M[62] £146M[62] £190k CTH
(Catz)
Formerly Catharine Hall.
St Edmund's College heraldic shield
St Edmund's
Scarf colours: blue, with two equally-spaced narrow stripes of Cambridge blue edged with white
1896
(1965)[g]
(1998)[d]
Catherine Arnold[63]
Master since 2019
121 452 573 £18M[64] £41M[64] £71k ED Mature-only.[h]
St John's College heraldic shield
St John's
Scarf colours: navy, with two equally-spaced narrow stripes of Cambridge blue edged with red
1511 Heather Hancock[65]
Master since 2020
658 319 977 £542M[66] £835M[66] £854k JN
Selwyn College heraldic shield
Selwyn
Scarf colours: maroon, with three narrow gold stripes through the middle, the central stripe slightly narrower than others
1882
(1883)[g]
(1958)[b]
Roger Mosey[67]
Master since 2013
419 249 668 £68M[68] £122M[68] £182 k SE
Sidney Sussex College heraldic shield
Sidney Sussex
Scarf colours: two equal halves of dark-red and navy
1596 Richard Penty[69]
Master since 2013
380 247 627 £28M[70] £132M[70] £210k SID
(Sidney)
Trinity College coat of arms
Trinity
Scarf colours: navy, with three equally-spaced narrow stripes, the outer stripes of yellow and slightly narrower, the central stripe of red and slightly wider
1546 Dame Sally Davies[71]
Master since 2019
722 332 1054 £1,286M[72] £1,532M[72] £1,454k T Founded by merger of King's Hall (est. 1317) and Michael­house (est. 1324).
Trinity Hall heraldic shield
Trinity Hall
Scarf colours: black, with two equally-spaced narrow white stripes
1350 Vacant[73]
Master resigned 2021
376 226 602 £287M[74] £321M[74] £532k TH
(Tit Hall)
Wolfson College Crest
Wolfson
Scarf colours: red, with two equally-spaced narrow golden stripes edged with white
1965
(1977)[b]
Jane Clarke[75]
President since 2017
180 832 1012 £26M[76] £67M[76] £66k W
  • Mature-only.[h]
  • Formerly University College.
Totals: 12,354 10,893 23,247 £4,101M £7,424M £319k
University and Colleges Consolidated Information
Institutions(s) Founded Head
Undergraduates
Postgraduates
Total[13]
Endowment
(2019)
Net Assets
(2019)
Assets per student
(2019)
University of Cambridge c. 1209 Stephen Toope[77]
Vice-Chancellor since 2017
12,354 10,893 23,247 £3,020M[78] £5,145M[79] £221k
Colleges 1284–1977 (See list) " " " " " " £4,101M £7,424M £319k
Totals: 12,354 10,893 23,247 £7,121M £12,569M £541k

There are also several theological colleges in the city of Cambridge (for example Ridley Hall, Wesley House, Westcott House and Westminster College) that are affiliated with the university through the Cambridge Theological Federation. These colleges, while not officially part of the University of Cambridge, operate programmes that are either validated by or are taught on behalf either of the university or of Anglia Ruskin or Durham Universities.[80]

Timeline of the colleges in the order their students are presented for graduation, compared with some events in British history.

Heads of colleges[edit]

Most colleges are led by a Master, even when the Master is female. However, there are some exceptions, listed below. Girton College has always had a Mistress, even though male candidates have been able to run for the office since 1976.

  • Mistress: Girton College
  • President: Clare Hall, Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish College, Murray Edwards College, Queens' College, Wolfson College
  • Principal: Homerton College, Newnham College
  • Provost: King's College
  • Warden: Robinson College

Also see List of current heads of University of Cambridge colleges.

Former colleges[edit]

The above list does not include several former colleges that no longer exist. These include:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Principal date given is the date of establishment acknowledged by the university.[12] Additional later dates are explained by further footnotes.
  2. ^ a b c d e Date of recognition by the university as a constituent college.
  3. ^ a b Date of re-foundation by later benefactor.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Date of royal charter, and of recognition by the university as a constituent college.
  5. ^ a b Date of royal charter.
  6. ^ Date of royal charter re-founding Gonville Hall as Gonville and Caius College.
  7. ^ a b c d Date of first formal recognition by the university, but not yet as a constituent college.
  8. ^ a b c d Mature-only colleges admit only postgraduate students or undergraduate students over the age of 21.
  9. ^ Date of royal charter re-founding Buckingham College as Magdalene College.
  10. ^ Date of supplemental royal charter re-founding New Hall as Murray Edwards College.
  11. ^ Date of supplemental royal charter, and of recognition by the university as a constituent college.

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