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E-mail: access@cusu.cam.ac.uk
Telephone: 01223 333313
Fax: 01223 333179

Access Officer,
Cambridge University Students' Union
Old Examination Hall
Free School Lane
Cambridge CB2 3RF

Glossary

Bursaries

Bursaries, scholarships, grants: they're all free gifts of money. If you receive a bursary from the University or the government, you won't be asked to repay it (unlike your student loan). Cambridge has an extensive bursary system, which gives money based on your household income. Colleges and some departments may offer grants for things like travel, sport and music or to reward exceptional academic achievement.

College

A College is a mini hall of residence or campus. There are 31 Cambridge Colleges in total, 26 of which admit standard-age undergraduates.

Extenuating Circumstances form

The extenuating circumstances form allows students who have experienced substantial disruption to their education to provide greater context in their application. This additional information allows the University to assess candidates fairly and to make appropriate offers.

Director of Studies

A Director of Studies (DoS) is a tutor in your subject who monitors your progression, helps you with your academic choices and organises your small-group teaching, known as supervisions.

Department

A department (or faculty) is the name for both the physical building and the collection of students, lecturers and staff that make up your subject

Dissertation

A dissertation is essentially an extended essay. Undergraduate dissertations tend to be anywhere from 5,000 words to 15,000 and will require a considerable amount of self-directed study. In many subject, a dissertation is optional and can be taken in lieu of an exam.

Ent

An 'ent' is a Cambridge term for an organised social event in College, usually involving music.

Formal Hall

Formal Hall or Formal is the name given to a three-course, waiter-served meal in the College hall. These are part of the more traditional side of Cambridge, but (at roughly £6) are good options for birthdays and special occasions.

Mature Student

A mature student is any student who will be over 21 on the first day of their undergraduate studies.

Postgraduate

A postgraduate (or graduate) student is studying for a second advanced degree, having already completed a degree course.

Practicals

Practicals are laboratory sessions that form an important part of scientists' timetables. Practicals allow hands-on scientific work.

Supervision

A supervision is a one-on-one or small group teaching method. Supervisions last an hour and allow you to focus on aspects of the course that you find particularly interesting or challenging. You'll often submit work prior to the supervision, on which you will receive detailed feedback.

Tripos

This is the term for the three part structure of the Cambridge degree. Degrees are split into Part I and Part II, with University exams at the end of each. Part I tends to be broad and general; Part II allows you to specialise.

Undergraduate

A student studying for a first degree, usually after sixth-form.