Your college J/MCR
Each college has at least one elected resident committee. These are often known as JCRs (Junior Combination or Common Room) and MCRs (Middle Combination or Common Room), the former representing undergraduate students and the latter representing postgraduates. They work with Cambridge SU to help us represent your interests, so make sure you get involved!
Be part of your community
As well as working, it’s vital you allow some time to enjoy yourself. Make sure you balance your work and social life, as keeping happy and healthy during your studies is essential. Cambridge is an incredibly diverse city, so take some time to investigate the numerous museums, gardens, restaurants, shows, venues, volunteering opportunities and much more! It is also no secret that clubs and societies are the lifeblood of the student experience, so be sure to check out the societies available to join either on the Cambridge SU Clubs & Societies Directory– be sure to pop by the Freshers’ Fair too! You can meet many of these groups at the Freshers' Fair but if you want to find out more in the meantime, check out our directory.
You can also get involved with SU Campaigns, these are communities that represent and advocate for students from marginalised backgrounds. They campaign for a more inclusive and safe Cambridge that supports students who self-define with specific identities. Each Campaign has its own events, activities and campaigns that they run and are a great place to meet people with shared experiences. There are seven SU Campaigns:
Your Teaching and learning
At Cambridge, weeks start on Thursday. This means that if you arrive on the weekend, you have four days before lectures start. Before this you’ll have time to meet your Director of Studies (DoS) who will go over your timetable and give you some advice about starting work at Cambridge. If you’re lost or confused, the Student Advice Service will be able to send you in the right direction. Teaching and Learning take place in multiple different ways at Cambridge, ranging from one-on-one supervisions in some subjects all the way to lectures with a few hundred people in them. Your teaching at Cambridge will be split between your college and your department. The easiest way to understand this is to think of the department being in charge of lectures, practicals and exams, and College being in charge of supervisions (small group teaching which sets your term-time work assignments). In your college, you will have a Director of Studies (DoS) who organises supervisions and is there to provide help and support for any academic problems you have. They can also liaise with the department if you have any special requirements or need supervision on a specific topic not provided in your college.
Teaching sessions that are guided by an academic or PhD student. These can be one to one basis, or in groups of up to five students. You’ll usually be expected to prepare work ahead of the supervision which will be reviewed and discussed during the session.
Usually delivered in large groups, lectures will provide you with the main course content. Humanities students will have fewer lectures per week than science-based subjects, which will likely have lectures 9-5 most days, including Saturdays. This year lectures will be available in-person with some deparments offering online lectures too. You can find more information on your lecture times on the University’s online timetable from late September.
Seminars & labs
Depending on your subject, you may also have teaching in medium sized groups. If you do a science-based subject these are likely to be practical sessions where you solve problems or perform experiments under supervision. Humanities students may have larger group discussions or language lessons in medium sized seminars.
You will be expected to spend a lot of time doing independent work during term, this is especially the case for humanities students who will have less lecture time. You can find study space in your College and your department, as well as at the University Library.
Find your faculty
The university has a very helpful A-Z directory of departments to help you do this. Many of the websites have a newsfeed that contains interesting stories relevant to your area of study, so is a great way to keep up to date with current developments.
Most academic representation takes place within faculties, in the form of Faculty Reps. These representatives sit on Faculty Board, the most senior decision-making committee within a particular faculty. If you want to get in touch with your Faculty Rep, find their details on the Cambridge SU website or email your Student Rep Coordinator to find out who they are!