Cambridge, University of
Sunday 01 July 2012
University of Cambridge
History: Dates back to 1209, when a group of medieval scholars, driven out by townsmen in Oxford, migrated to Cambridge.
Address: Difficult to miss. The university and its 31 colleges dominate an increasingly congested, bicycle-thronged city.
Ambience: Cambridge retains a medieval atmosphere, with narrow winding lanes and church spires as well as green space including the Backs – landscaped lawns that extend from college buildings to the River Cam. A dynamic approach to exploiting research discoveries has led to "the Cambridge phenomenon", high-tech developments triggered by the university.
Vital statistics: Over 12,000 undergraduates and around 6,100 postgraduates. It is one of the top universities in the world for research. The collegiate system maintains the tradition of one-to-one or small group tutorials. A lot of the students went to private schools, but the university has been making efforts recently to widen participation. Fairly even split between arts and science subjects.
Added value: Its reputation attracts top students and academics.
Easy to get into? Heavens, no! This is a place for the brightest of sparks: students need top grades and an impressive interview technique.
Glittering alumni: Oliver Cromwell, Charles Darwin, Rupert Brooke, Samuel Pepys and Lord Byron. More recently: Douglas Adams, John Cleese, Sylvia Plath, Salman Rushdie, Sacha Baron-Cohen (Ali G) and Jeremy Paxman.
Transport links: London is one hour by train. Easy access by road. Half-an-hour from Stansted Airport.
Who's the boss? Sir Leszek Borysiewicz became the 345th vice-chancellor in October 2010.
Teaching: 3rd out of 116 for student satisfaction in the Complete University Guide in 2011.
Research: Unsurprisingly, came 1st out of 116 in the Research Assessment Exercise in 2011.
Overall ranking: It beat Oxford to the number one spot of this year's Complete University Guide.
Nightlife: Arts and cinema are excellent, as are college entertainments and the Bacchanalian round of May Balls. There are also loads of pubs and a few clubs in the town centre.
How green is it? Not brilliant - 96th out of 145 universities graded by People and Planet for their 'Green League 2012'.
Any accommodation? Loads. College accommodation usually includes full board and is available to first years, finalists and others.
Cheap to live there? A mixture. Student bars abound and are cheap as chips, but expect to pay about £80-130 a week for a flat.
Sports Ranking: Pretty good; 14th in the BUCS league table.
Fees: £9,000 per year for full-time undergrads starting in 2012. Fees for overseas students vary.
Bursaries: Students with a household income below £25,000 are eligible for a bursary of up to £3,500 per year. Visit the website for more details.
Prospectus: 01223 333 308 / www.cam.ac.uk
UCAS code: C05
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