Peterhouse

Everything you are about to read has been written by current and recently graduated students at the University of Cambridge, to give you honest information about what it’s like to be a student at Cambridge.

Peterhouse is the oldest college in Cambridge, being founded in 1284 and along with that title, Peterhouse is also the smallest undergraduate college with approximately 75 undergraduates per year. The College is situated very close to centre of town so that nothing takes more that 10 to 15 minutes to walk to, but it is also removed far enough that it can also be very quiet. It has a huge library, free gym, accommodation guaranteed for the whole time you are here and a large Deer Park too!

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Peterhouse

Credit: Cambridge University

Key facts

  • Distance to Sports Pitch
    10 minute bike ride
  • Gym
    Yes- free and brand new
  • Music Practice Rooms
    Yes
  • Prayer spaces
    No - but hopefully to be created soon
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Vegetarian: Every meal, every day Vegan: On request
  • Special Diets Main Meal
    Other dietary requirements: On request
  • Theatre space
    Yes - seats 180
  • Undergraduates / Year
    75

What is your favourite thing about Peterhouse?

Rama, Peterhouse, Medicine, 2nd year
Rama
Medicine, 2nd year

Being the smallest college, Peterhouse feels like one big family with everyone looking out for each other. Whether you need to fix a punctured bike tyre, some chocolate to get through essay writing, or some support for your sports team/play/concert- there’s always people happy to help out. The Hogwarts-esque buildings and gardens are incredibly beautiful- picnics in our deer park during summer term made exam revision much less painful! The college is very supportive of its students – from providing generous travel grants to ensuring the library is stocked with all the books you could need. Sorry that’s more than one favourite thing - it’s hard not to fall in love with Peterhouse!

Describe your College’s atmosphere

Tim, Classics, 2nd year
Tim
Classics, 2nd year
Atmosphere

I remember when I first arrived at the college, that the Porters already knew everyone by name. It is this sort of small detail which makes Peterhouse a very familiar place to eat, live and study very quickly. College does feel like having a large extended family because we are a smaller college, especially considering that you get to know the majority of your year in very soon after getting to Cambridge. This strong community also extends to sports and clubs with Peterhouse teams being some of the most enthusiastic that you will find on the pitches

What is the accommodation like?

Tommy, Peterhouse, Medicine, 2nd year
Tommy
Medicine, 2nd year
Accomodation

Peterhouse provides accommodation very close to college for the entirety of your degree. In first year there is the option of living in one building with all en-suite rooms, or in a row of terraced houses. Each house contains around 10 people with shared kitchens and bathrooms. Before starting the year you will apply for a specific band of room (either A, B, or C each at different costs) and will be assigned a room from that band. In second and third year rooms are then chosen by a ballot system determined by ‘room points’. These points are achieved through taking part in various activities such a sports, theatre, music and volunteering, in addition to your grades. The rooms available include sets in college where you have separate bedrooms but share a communal space with a friend, en-suites in our new building, and other terraced houses across the road. There are many options depending on what you want (and how many room points you have!). Room rent also varies depending on room- it ranged from ~£600 to £1500 per term in 2015.

How good is the food?

Tim, Classics, 2nd year
Tim
Classics, 2nd year

While in first year there are limited cooking facilities, the ability to be able to go to lunch and dinner with a large part of your year group means that you get to know one another over meals very quickly. However, outside of first year, there are cooking facilities available in all accommodation including hobs, sadly no ovens. Plus, if cooking is not your strong point, then the college does cater breakfast, lunch and dinner every day apart from Sundays when it only provides dinner. The food here is very good and slightly lower than the average food prices in the University. The college also caters for any dietary requirements and allergies with advance notice.

What about entertainment and extra-curricular activities?

Tommy, Peterhouse, Medicine, 2nd year
Tommy
Medicine, 2nd year

On the JCR committee there is an ENTS officer who will organise bops (college parties) and other events throughout the year. There is a freshers bop right at the start of the year which is a great way to get to know everyone else in college whilst wearing costumes! Other events may be run by college societies such as the recent Jazz night run by the music society in the college bar. There are multiple sports teams to join at Peterhouse, competing against other colleges, or you can join in casually - for example you can play on the free pool table in the JCR or book the college squash courts. As for more academic societies, examples include The Kelvin Society, the college Scientific society, which gives multiple talks each term, the most recent of which was given by the outgoing master of Peterhouse, the esteemed radiologist, Adrian Dixon. Other societies include a politics society, Heywood society (the college theatre society with our own theatre), choir in the beautiful college chapel, Christian union, and of course the boat club for any keen rowers.

What welfare support is there?

Tommy, Peterhouse, Medicine, 2nd year
Tommy
Medicine, 2nd year
Rama, Peterhouse, Medicine, 2nd year
Rama
Medicine, 2nd year

Tommy: Student welfare is a strong focus at Peterhouse, with numerous people available to provide any necessary support. Each student has a tutor, separate from their academic director of studies, who they meet with at least once a term to check up on how they are doing. We also have a welfare hour once a week run by the two student welfare officers (one male and one female). This is a drop in session with tea and goodies available and an opportunity to talk about any problems or just have a break from work. They also offer one-on-one chats and can provide sexual health supplies.

Rama: The welfare officers also organise events, including movie nights (with free pizza and doughnuts), tea and biscuits outside the library, yoga sessions, bike safety training, and visits from a welfare dog! You’ll also have helpful college parents from the year above.

What about your College would you change?

Rama, Peterhouse, Medicine, 2nd year
Rama
Medicine, 2nd year

Peterhouse is full of tradition and is quite set in its ways (our mascot is the dodo which says a lot!). In many ways this is wonderful and adds to its character - but does mean it can be quite difficult to get things changed. However this is not a major problem, and lots of progress has been made.

What has been going on at Peterhouse?

- Recent Events -

College Bop

Peterhouse went American style and we celebrated the end of term at our Frat Party. Cheerleaders, red cup galore and a live band took us across the pond to channel all things USA.

Welfare night

The team threw a welfare night and provided a variety of snacks: doughnuts, crisps and the much-anticipated bread/oil/balsamic vinegar combo, which didn't disappoint!

Open Mic Night

College members demonstrated their musical and comedic talent at our first open mic night in the bar. Chilled acoustic guitar and Oscar Powell's hilarious anecdotes made for a fabulous evening.

College Gallery

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