Best Colleges at Cambridge

Every college has a unique “personality,” as well as unique amenities and lodging choices. Your college of choice will affect how you live on a daily basis, however you will still attend lectures and seminars in your university department. Over 800 years of educating some of the brightest and most daring minds in the world have helped Cambridge University acquire its well-deserved reputation. In 2020, Cambridge, the fourth-oldest university in the world, had more than 24,000 total students. It opened its doors in 1209. The university is made up of 31 colleges, each of which exclusively accepts its own applicants. These colleges provide students with housing, meals, and social opportunities while they are at school. Colleges offer “supervisions,” a kind of education that involves having students learn in small groups. In this article we shall learn about the best colleges at Cambridge.

Best Colleges at Cambridge.

The majority of Cambridge colleges contain undergraduate and graduate students who attend one of the university’s six schools, which cover subjects including the arts and humanities as well as technology and other sciences. Recent graduates from Cambridge benefit as well; within six months of receiving their degrees, 90% of alumnae were employed or enrolled in further education. It comes as no surprise that there is fierce rivalry for admission to this elite institution. For approximately 3,500 available undergraduate spots, Cambridge got nearly 19,400 applications in 2019. Here, we list the top colleges of the university, arranged in accordance with each institution’s position, a yearly list of Cambridge’s top colleges that places schools according to how well they did on final exams. Here are the best colleges at Cambridge.

Best Colleges at Cambridge 

10. Trinity Hall

This riverfront college, the fifth-oldest in Cambridge, with about 650 students. Established around 1350, Trinity Hall is conveniently situated. Although the college’s structures stretch back hundreds of years, new upgrades have been made within the last few decades. In 1998, a brand-new 30,000-volume library was added, and a few years later, the sports facilities were refurbished and now feature two squash courts. Other areas underwent rehabilitation in 2009, providing students with new housing options as well as new lecture halls, a music room, and other amenities. Nearly 30 different undergraduate options are available to Trinity students, including a mix of humanities and sciences. The about 260 postgraduates pursue research master’s and doctoral degrees while also teaching. Additionally, the college accepts part-time graduate students. Both full-time postgraduate students and undergraduates can find housing. Postgraduates can use some spaces intended for couples.

9. St. Catharine’s College

St. Catharine’s College adopts a multi-subject approach to education, welcoming students majoring in a variety of fields and providing them with a setting where they can interact and develop as individuals. All majors are accepted at the institution, sometimes known as “Catz,” with the exception of architecture, education, linguistics, and art history. Catz’s students don’t have to go far to access their department of study or the faculty because of the school’s convenient location in Cambridge. Like Trinity, St. Catharine’s combines elements of the past and contemporary by incorporating more modern amenities with the school’s older structures. The college expanded its housing stock throughout the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s as enrollment increased. St. Catharine’s launched the new McGrath Centre recently, which features a lecture room in addition to a bar and common area. First- and third-year students are guaranteed lodging by the college, and second-year students share a modern structure called St. Chad’s.

8. Selwyn College

Selwyn College, founded in 1882, has a long religious tradition but has evolved into a diverse, multidisciplinary community that accepts students from institutions that don’t typically send graduates to Cambridge. Selwyn accommodates both undergraduate and graduate students who pursue a wide range of academic interests, including history, music, engineering, and archaeology. Over a third of the college’s postgraduate population, or about 200 students, are from abroad. The institution describes this community as diverse and cosmopolitan. For the course of their study, Selwyn provides lodging for all postgraduate students. Students can join clubs like the college choir, play on various sports teams, and attend Sunday Tea in the common area every weekend. The only annual winter event at Cambridge, the Selwyn Snow Ball is one of the highlights of the college’s calendar year.

7. Emmanuel College

Emmanuel is one of Cambridge’s biggest colleges, with over 500 undergraduate and 150 graduate students. In the heart of the city, Emmanuel began operations in 1584 at a former monastery, some of which are still visible today. Over 90% of undergraduate students come from British and European countries, making up the majority of the student body. The diversity at the graduate level, however, is significantly greater, with about 60% of the students hailing from the UK or the EU. The college-wide “Green Duck Scheme,” so named for the numerous mallards that frequent Emanuel’s two ponds, will appeal to students who care about the environment. The program attempts to improve the college’s recycling and energy efficiency. The college has built recycling bins for various products and added energy-saving lightbulbs to the rooms. 

6. Queens’ College 

At the centuries-old Queens’ College, about 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students call it home. The college is conveniently placed in the heart of the city beside the River Cam, and a nearby bus stop offers quick access to the university’s Clinical School and West Cambridge science departments. Students at Queens can join the chapel choir or visit the Old Library, which contains around 30,000 texts from seven different periods. The college is also in the process of launching a brand-new program that will act as a springboard for students “who have faced scholastic adversity” to Cambridge or other colleges. Students from the UK can study the arts, humanities, or social sciences for free through the foundation year, a one-year residential program. Early 2022 is the deadline for submission of applications for the program’s first class.

5. Churchill College

Churchill, the largest college campus in Cambridge and one of the newest, was established in 1960 as an homage to the late British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill College has only been educating pupils for around 60 years, yet because to its academic concentration on technology and science, it has produced 32 Nobel Prize winners, including nine in only physics. The student body currently consists of 485 undergraduates and 375 postgraduates. By law, 70% of the academic staff and students at the college are majoring in engineering, the natural sciences, or mathematics. Additionally, master’s and doctorate students must make up a third of Churchill’s student body. Churchill provides corporate leaders from all around the world with a customized executive education curriculum through the Mller Institute for Continuing Education, going above and beyond typical education. The program’s earnings go toward higher education and student support.

4. Peterhouse

Since its establishment in 1284, Cambridge’s oldest college has produced ground-breaking scientists, Nobel laureates, and other notables. Since Peterhouse only accepts about 80 undergraduates a year, admission is competitive. With the exception of veterinary medicine, education, and a few other fields, it welcomes students pursuing degrees in most academic fields. A little over 130 students, including those seeking master’s and doctoral degrees, make up the postgraduate community. Depending on their degree, graduate and undergraduate students at Peterhouse are guaranteed lodging for stays of one to three years. The college offers numerous chances for students to interact with one another outside of the classroom, including a variety of athletic teams, academic societies, and extracurricular outdoor activities. The Chapel Choir is open to student vocalists, and Peterhouse also maintains a music society and a chamber music presentation series.

3. Pembroke College

Pembroke, the third-oldest college in Cambridge, thrives as a result of its commitment to welcoming a broad set of students who interact with faculty, staff, and alumni. Pembroke College, founded in 1347, is home to the first college chapel in Cambridge as well as a Victorian library building with 42,000 books as well as rare and special collections. Recently, Pembroke refurbished some of its buildings, notably its hall, allowing its about 440 undergraduate students and postgraduates access to both storied and contemporary settings. Pembroke University welcomes international students from various colleges and universities for its standard two-semester study abroad program or the Pembroke Cambridge Summer Programme. Additionally, students can enroll in the Online Summer Research Programme to receive the advantages of a Pembroke education without having to leave their homes.

2. Trinity College

Trinity College, not to be confused with the older Trinity Hall, has likewise been a part of Cambridge for hundreds of years and has a similarly esteemed academic past. The institution, which was founded in 1546, has roughly 600 undergraduate and 300 graduate students as well as a distinguished alumni list. There are 27 degree options available to the roughly 200 undergraduates that are admitted to the college each year. Trinity provides post-doctoral students with a Junior Research Fellowship that enables them to work on academic assignments or research. In addition to a descendent of the apple tree that is said to have inspired Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity, the college’s 36 acres of gardens offer students a chance to get some fresh air when they are not in class. Many of Newton’s papers are kept in the university library. Newton attended Trinity College and received his degree from Cambridge in 1665.

1. Christ’s College

When attending Christ’s College, students can join a legacy that includes luminaries like Charles Darwin and John Milton. The college, which has been a part of Cambridge since the mid-1400s, now provides undergraduate instruction in all of the university’s fields save veterinary medicine.  According to the college, research students pursuing doctorates or master’s degrees leading to doctorates are preferred. Those who enjoy gardening might join Christ’s Horticultural and Botanical Society to assist in maintaining the college’s gardens. At this Cambridge constituent college, there are many chances to participate in the performing and visual arts.


Overall, though, the likelihood of receiving a Cambridge admission offer is unaffected by the college preference of top applicants. If your top application is still reviewed even if you are not admitted to your first choice college, the Cambridge Admissions staff may allocate you to a different college. You can submit an open application as well, in which case the university admissions staff will choose a college for you. The Tompkins Table lists the rankings for Cambridge colleges. This is a ranking of undergraduate students’ exam results from their senior year. In other words, the Tompkins Table does not rank accommodations, money, or facilities; it solely displays the intellectual rigor of a college. If you place a high value on academic achievement, the Tompkins Table can help you decide which college to attend. Most recently, Trinity and Pembroke were in a close tie for first place with Christ’s College. However, college life is much more than just academic success. Instead, rate the colleges in Cambridge according to your top three priorities, which may include having an ensuite, engaging social activities, or top-notch sports facilities. Trinity College was the most sought-after school in 2020, with Jesus College and St. John’s College following closely behind. These universities are frequently the most sought-after because of their renowned “Cambridge” architecture, convenient locations, and ample financing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Cambridge college you attend does it matter?

In practice, no. You just need to be aware that certain colleges have unique requirements for applicants and some are misleadingly far from the town center.

How do I select a Cambridge college?

select about six candidates. To learn more about the features, amenities, and other things that you believe are most essential to you, look at their websites. If you have any questions, get in touch with the admissions offices of colleges; the personnel would be pleased to help you out.

How does Cambridge compare to Harvard?

Oxford is ranked second, Cambridge and Harvard are tied for third in the 2022 QS World University Rankings, and Harvard is ranked fifth. In contrast, Oxford is ranked first in the Times Higher Education Rankings, followed by Harvard and Cambridge, who are tied for second.

Should I enroll at Cambridge or Oxford?

Oxford is livelier and busier than Cambridge if you’re looking for a busy city, but it’s still small enough to navigate on foot. The city’s museums and galleries, as well as its increased number of stores, may appeal to culture enthusiasts. With more bars and clubs, Oxford has a better nightlife than Cambridge.

Can you apply to as many colleges as Cambridge?

Yes. Any of the 29 undergraduate colleges will accept your application.