University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is a public collegiate research university in Cambridge, England that was founded in 1209, and is the third-oldest university in continuous operation.

The University of Cambridge is a world-renowned public research university located in Cambridge, England. It is the third-oldest university in the world, founded in 1209 following a dispute between scholars and townspeople at the University of Oxford. Over the centuries, the university has grown to become one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.

The university is comprised of 31 constituent colleges, each with its own unique history and traditions. Among these are some of the most famous colleges in the world, including King's College, Trinity College, and St. John's College. Many of the college buildings are rich in history and tradition, and the gardens and grounds of the colleges along the River Cam are known as the “Backs,” offering a unique combination of large-scale architecture, natural and formal gardens, and river scenery with student boaters.

The University of Cambridge has a reputation for academic excellence across a wide range of fields, including mathematics, science, engineering, humanities, and social sciences. Some of the most famous names in science, such as Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, and Francis Crick, have studied or worked at Cambridge. The university library, with well over 3 million volumes, is one of a handful in the country that is entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain, and noteworthy collections include the papers of Charles Darwin and the Wade Chinese collection. Today, the University of Cambridge continues to be a world-class institution of higher learning, with a commitment to excellence in research, teaching, and scholarship.


The University of Cambridge has a history dating back to the early 12th century, when the intellectual reputation and academic contributions of monks from the nearby bishopric church in Ely had already earned Cambridge a scholarly and ecclesiastical reputation. The university was founded in 1209, largely inspired by an incident at the University of Oxford in which three Oxford scholars were hanged by town authorities without first consulting ecclesiastical authorities, who traditionally would be inclined to pardon scholars in such cases. As a result, Oxford scholars began leaving Oxford for more hospitable cities, including Paris, Reading, and Cambridge. By 1225, a chancellor of the university was appointed, and writs issued by King Henry III in 1231 established that rents in Cambridge were to be set secundum consuetudinem universitatis, according to the custom of the university. The university was described as a studium generale in a letter from Pope Nicholas IV in 1290 and confirmed as such by Pope John XXII's 1318 papal bull.

Cambridge quickly established itself as a global leader in the study of mathematics. The university's examination in mathematics, known as the Mathematical Tripos, was initially compulsory for all undergraduates studying for the Bachelor of Arts degree. The university maintained an especially strong emphasis on applied mathematics, and especially mathematical physics. The Cambridge Mathematical Tripos is highly competitive and has helped produce some of the most famous names in British science, including James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, and Lord Rayleigh. Pure mathematics at the University of Cambridge in the 19th century achieved great things, though it largely missed out on substantial developments in French and German mathematics. By the early 20th century, however, pure mathematical research at Cambridge reached the highest international standard, thanks largely to G. H. Hardy and his collaborators, J. E. Littlewood and Srinivasa Ramanujan.

The university also contributed significantly to the Allies' forces in World War I, with 13,878 members of the university serving and 2,470 being killed in action during the war. The university received its first systematic state support in 1919, and a Royal commission was appointed in 1920 to recommend that the university (but not its colleges) begin receiving an annual grant. Following World War II, the university experienced a rapid expansion in applications and enrollment, partly due to the success and popularity gained by many Cambridge scientists. The university began to award PhD degrees in the first third of the 20th century, and in 1856, the Cambridge University Act formalized the university's organizational structure and introduced the study of many new subjects, including theology, history, and modern languages. The university also received resources necessary for new courses in the arts, architecture, and archaeology from Viscount Fitzwilliam of Trinity College, who also founded Fitzwilliam Museum in 1816.

The University of Cambridge continues to be at the forefront of research in various fields and has made numerous recent advancements. In 2020, the university launched a new research center called the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, which focuses on studying the impact of digital finance on the economy and society. The center's research covers a range of topics, including cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding, and peer-to-peer lending.

Cambridge has also made significant progress in the field of medical research. In 2018, the university opened the Milner Therapeutics Institute, a research center focused on developing new treatments for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's. The institute brings together scientists from across the university, as well as industry partners and other academic institutions, to work on cutting-edge research projects.

The University of Cambridge is also home to the Cavendish Laboratory, one of the world's most renowned physics laboratories. In recent years, the laboratory has made significant contributions to the field of quantum computing, with researchers working on the development of quantum algorithms and building new quantum hardware. In 2019, a team of researchers at the laboratory demonstrated the first ever implementation of a quantum error correction code on a photonic chip, which could pave the way for more robust quantum computing systems in the future.

In addition to its scientific and medical research, the University of Cambridge is also known for its work in the humanities and social sciences. In 2021, the university announced the launch of a new initiative called the Centre for the Future of Democracy, which will bring together researchers from across the university to study the challenges facing democracies around the world. The center will focus on issues such as political polarization, the rise of populism, and the impact of new technologies on democracy.


Undergraduate Courses

The University of Cambridge offers a wide range of undergraduate courses across its 31 colleges and 6 schools. These courses are divided into two categories: arts and humanities, and science and technology.

Within the arts and humanities category, there are courses in subjects such as classics, English, history, modern and medieval languages, music, philosophy, and theology. These courses cover a broad range of topics, including literature, history, culture, language, and religion. Some of the most popular undergraduate courses in this category include English, history, and classics.

The science and technology category includes courses in subjects such as mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, engineering, and medicine. These courses cover a wide range of topics, including physics, chemistry, biology, computer programming, and mechanical engineering. Some of the most popular undergraduate courses in this category include mathematics, engineering, and natural sciences.

All undergraduate courses at the University of Cambridge are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, and practical sessions. Students are also assigned a supervisor who will provide guidance and support throughout their studies. Additionally, students are encouraged to undertake independent research projects, which can lead to published work and opportunities for further study.

Postgraduate courses

Master of Business Administration (MBA): The Cambridge MBA is a full-time, one-year programme that is designed for students who have significant work experience and wish to develop their business skills and leadership abilities. The programme is highly selective, with an average acceptance rate of around 17%.

Master of Engineering (MEng): The MEng programme is a four-year undergraduate programme that is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in engineering. The programme combines academic study with practical experience, and students are required to complete a research project in their final year.

Master of Science (MSc): The University of Cambridge offers a wide range of MSc programmes in various fields of study, including computer science, engineering, economics, finance, and management. These programmes are designed to provide students with advanced knowledge and skills in their chosen field.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): The PhD programme is a research-based programme that is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in academia or research. Students are required to complete a research project under the supervision of a faculty member and to submit a thesis based on their research findings.

Master of Education (MEd): The MEd programme is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in education. The programme focuses on the theory and practice of teaching and learning, and students are required to complete a research project in their final year.

Master of Laws (LLM): The LLM programme is designed for students who wish to specialize in a particular area of law, such as commercial law, human rights law, or intellectual property law. The programme is highly selective, with an average acceptance rate of around 15%.

Doctoral Programmes

There are more than 300 different doctoral programs offered at the University of Cambridge, covering a broad range of subjects including science, engineering, humanities, social sciences, and more. These programs are offered by the university's various faculties, departments, and research centers, and students are able to work with leading researchers and scholars in their chosen fields.

The duration of doctoral programs at Cambridge can vary depending on the field of study, but most programs take between three and four years to complete. During this time, students undertake advanced research in their chosen area and are typically required to produce a substantial thesis or dissertation that demonstrates their original contributions to the field. Doctoral students also have access to a wide range of resources and facilities, including research seminars, conferences, libraries, and specialist equipment.

In addition to the traditional PhD program, the University of Cambridge also offers a number of other doctoral programs, such as the Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Medicine (MD), and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). These programs are designed to provide advanced research training in specific areas, and often have a more applied focus than traditional PhD programs.

Global MBA rankings

In the 2021 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking, the Judge Business School was ranked 7th in the world, up one spot from the previous year. The program was also ranked 1st in the UK and 1st in Europe for entrepreneurship and alumni career progress.

The Economist's 2021 MBA Ranking placed the program at 7th globally and 1st in the UK. Meanwhile, QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2022 ranked the program 8th in the world and 2nd in Europe. The program was also ranked 1st in the UK for alumni outcomes by the 2022 QS Business Masters Rankings.

Job integration rate

According to the latest data available, the overall employment rate for graduates from the University of Cambridge is over 95%.

General information
University of Cambridge

The Lord Sainsbury of Turville (Chancellor)

Academic staff
1,000 - 20,000
Cambridge, England
The Russell Group, The Ivy League, The European University Association, The League of European Research Universities, The Cambridge-MIT Institute
The Old Schools, Trinity Lane, Cambridge, England CB2 1TN, GB
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