What is a 'Collegiate University'?

How does a Collegiate university, like Cambridge, compare to a non-Collegiate university?

At Cambridge, a Collegiate university …

  • Your accommodation building is on-site at your College, or in town but still owned by your College – and you rent through them, not a private landlord. You can be a mix of ‘catered and non-catered’ (you have a small kitchen, and your College cafeteria)
  • You live with other students who are members of your College
  • You have an academic tutor called a Director of Studies who is also a member of your College and is there to look after you and your peers also studying your subject
  • You have smaller-scale College based events, societies and sports teams
  • You’re a member of your College, as well as University, for life – being invited back for dinners and events


At a non-Collegiate university…

  • Accommodation buildings on-campus are called ‘halls of residence’, and can be catered or self-catered. If you live off-campus, you tend to live in a private house in the same city and rent off a private landlord
  • You tend to live with other students who also go to your university
  • You have an academic tutor based at the university faculty for your subject who you can go to for support


At Cambridge and a non-collegiate university…

  • Your degree is awarded from the University you attend (ie. The University of Cambridge, The University of Sheffield, The University of York)
  • Your course content, exams and teaching are organised by the University subject departments (also known as ‘faculties’)
  • You attend lectures and group teaching sessions with students from across the university
  • You can get involved in university-wide societies and sport
  • You have access to central university-organised services – such as a careers service, financial support, counselling services and a student union

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