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CamGuides: Welcome to Cambridge

Being a student in Cambridge

a punt on the river Cam, by the colleges

A useful thing you can do before your course begins is to explore some of the principal websites and sources of information about the University of Cambridge, and about graduate study in Cambridge. In the midst of starting a new course and perhaps moving to a new city it's easy to miss some of the main places you can go for information, or to find out about support, training and other help available to you at the University.

There's a lot of aspects to being a graduate student in Cambridge. First and foremost, there is studying. But there's also a very rich social life, provided by my college, but also students' clubs and societies, and the town of Cambridge itself.

- MPhil (Part III) Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics student, 2017-18

Student business

  • You'll be expected to check your emails regularly - email is how the majority of university business will be communicated to you. There are apps available for Outlook for both Android and iOS, and some information here on forwarding your Cam email onto another address.
  • The log-in you'll use to access online resources, the wifi network, and much more is called Raven - it's probably exactly the same as your Cam CRSid and password, but it may not be activated until shortly before you arrive in Cambridge.
  • Camsis is where most of the official information about you, your course of study, and student records are kept. Although you will not have access to it until your course starts, you'll find it useful for the duration of your degree.
  • iDiscover is the university's main library catalogue - this is one of the principal ways in which you'll find resources, books, articles, and other information.
  • The University's virtual learning environment is called Moodle and it's where readings, lecture handouts, and other information directly related to your teaching will be kept. If you have your Raven password, you may be able to access Moodle before your course begins.
  • As a University of Cambridge student you will have access to two different wifi networks in University buildings, and perhaps an additional one in your College. The two University ones - UniofCam and Eduroam - have roughly similar coverage. You'll need a Raven password to access both - information about setting both of these up is here.

Definitely check your emails. That's my biggest advice.

- MPhil Linguistics student, 2018

Living and working

  • If you have a college, then your college website will have plenty of useful information on it about life as a college student and a list of the people to contact if you have questions about arrival or accommodation. You might, in particular, want to look at your college's MCR pages - this is usually the group of students who arrange events and other support for graduate students.
  • Your faculty or departmental website may provide information about courses running, events happening at the start of term, and a list of contacts if you have any questions about your course.
  • The Disability Resource Centre website provides information about support for students with disabilities from the point of applying to study through to graduation.
  • A glossary of Cambridge terms and phrases - many of these are very idiosyncratic and not always self-evident!

Training and support for study

  • The Language Centre supports and runs workshops for those seeking to learn another language; if you are an international student, the Language Centre also offers training and support in academic skills in English.
  • Much of the training available to you in Cambridge is brought together on the University's training pages. This list isn't exhaustive, so you might find that colleges or faculties and departments offer training through a different system - however, if you want to book a tour of the University Library, this is where to do that.
  • The Careers Service offers support and guidance on what you might do after your course finishes, and advice on the process of applying for jobs and attending interviews. 

Activities and welfare

  • Lots of information on your health and wellbeing in Cambridge is available from the Student Wellbeing webpage, including information on pastoral support, healthcare, and more. 
  • The Counselling Service website provides information on specific sources of pastoral support available in Cambridge.
  • The Graduate Union run events and offer support to graduate students, and as a graduate student you are automatically a member of it. They feature plenty of useful advice on what it's like to be a graduate student in Cambridge, and settling in to the city and your course.
  • You're also automatically a member of the Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU) - they offer support and services for all students at the University of Cambridge, and organise the Freshers' fair.

Image credits

CC0 by MemoryCatcher via Pixabay