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Graduate Study FAQs

Postgraduate Study FAQs

Applying to Magdalene

How do I apply for postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge?

You should first peruse the course directory and find a course you would like to study. After this, you should make a note of any key deadlines, e.g. funding, and check to see what materials may be needed for an application. For instance, do you need to submit a piece of written work or a project proposal? After this, you can apply online via the applicant portal.

How does the Cambridge collegiate system work?

The University of Cambridge is comprised of 31 Colleges. The Colleges are a sort of home-from-home, offering accommodation (both onsite and offsite), dining facilities and academic and pastoral support. Each College is different: while some are situated in Cambridge city centre, others are further out, and whereas some Colleges have sprawling grounds and large student intakes, others seek to create a close-knit academic community by admitting a limited number of applicants each year. What is more, some colleges are open only to certain groups, such as mature students, postgraduates and women.

The Cambridge College system for postgraduate applicants

How do I apply to a College as a postgraduate student?

When completing your application via the applicant portal, you will be asked to choose two College preferences. It is strongly advised that, prior to putting a College down on the form, you think about what sort of educational experience you would like, what funding you may require, and how your college choice may help give you this experience.

More information on choosing a College is available on the Postgraduate Admissions website.

What support does Magdalene offer its postgraduate students?

Postgraduate students are as much a part of Magdalene College as undergraduates. To see what support, facilities and opportunities are open to postgraduates, please see the Postgraduate study section.

Does the College support students with families?

Magdalene welcomes all those with the ability to succeed, including students with partners and children. The College runs an annual family day, the purpose of which is to celebrate and integrate the families of College Members. Presently, however, there is no College-specific support for families and the College is unable to offer accommodation for those with children. Nevertheless, the University Accommodation Service not only advertises individual rooms and flats, but multi-bedroom homes that are likely to meet the needs of student-families. You can register with the Accommodation Service on their website.

The University's Childcare Information Adviser is also available to advise all students and staff with children and will be happy to provide information on local schools and nurseries, as well as university facilities and bursary schemes. In addition to this, the Adviser operates email lists to keep parents up to date with childcare information and in touch with each other. Parents interested in joining should email

Further information regarding university-wide support for families can be found on the Childcare Office website. The Cambridge Guide for Student Parents, with detailed information on University assistance, childcare, health, finance, accommodation and local parenting contacts, is also available on the Information Service for University parents webpage.

What is an MCR and what does the Magdalene MCR have to offer me?

MCR stands for Middle Combination Room. As suggested in the name, the MCR is indeed a room, although it would be more apt to call the MCR a place where the postgraduate community of the College can relax. In all Cambridge Colleges, the MCR is also akin to a society. Headed by a committee, the MCR hold social events and represent the interests of Magdalene’s postgraduate students.

The Magdalene MCR is a made up of warm, welcoming and lively individuals who want to show that life at Cambridge is not all about studying, it is about managing a healthy balance. To find out more on the Magdalene Middle Combination Room website.

How many postgraduates are there at Magdalene College?

Magdalene tends to have a postgraduate intake of 90-100 each year; currently, there are around 250 postgraduates in College.

How many applications does Magdalene receive?

For entry in October 2019, the College received 273 applications and made offers to 168.

Does Magdalene hold open days?

Yes, Magdalene participates in the annual University-wide Postgraduate Open Day held each year in November. Should you miss the open day but still wish to visit the College, you can arrange a visit by emailing

What difference does Brexit make to applicants from the EU?

The University’s position on Brexit and information for EU students can be found at, Brexit: Analysis and FAQs.

After applying and before arriving

Does Magdalene offer any scholarships?

We do, though it should be noted that a number of our scholarships require you to have already received an offer for a place before applying. You can find out more about what scholarships we offer and how to apply by visiting the Postgraduate Scholarships and Bursaries page.

When will I hear if my funding application has been successful?

If you are awarded funding, you will be sent a letter via email. Be sure to check your junk inbox regularly, as emails from colleges may be filtered as spam. For information on decision-making for non-college-specific scholarships, visit the Postgraduate Funding Competition page.

I have a conditional offer; when can I book accommodation?

You will be offered accommodation once you have met your offer conditions and your place has been confirmed by both the College and the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

For further information about accommodation, please see the Postgraduate Accommodation FAQs page.

Do postgraduates and undergraduates live together?

No, postgraduates and undergraduates live in separate accommodation.

Can the College offer accommodation for my partner and I?

The College offers a very small selection of one bedroom flats, you can find out more on the Postgraduate Accommodation page.

What if I have a disability?

Magdalene is dedicated to providing an accessible and welcoming College environment. To find out how Magdalene can accommodate your needs, please visit the Building Accessibility page for more information.

With regards to accommodation, the College has two rooms in Cripps Court which have been specially adapted for wheelchair users and those with other disabilities. There are also two rooms on the ground floor of Benson O which may be suitable for some students with specific disabled access needs.

What financial information do you need from me?

Once you receive an offer of a place at Magdalene, you will be sent the College Financial Information Requirements form (CFIR). The CFIR asks you for full and accurate details of the source(s) of your funding for both your fees and living expenses. You must provide supporting third-party evidence of the source(s) of funding. Copies of the CFIR documents can be viewed below:

CFIR Evidence Information

CFIR Information Sheet

What advanced charges are there?

Self-funded students with an offer of a place at Magdalene will be required to pay fees in advance of having their place at College confirmed. There are different arrangements depending on your course, whether you are applying for a postgraduate loan and your fee status. These are summarised below and further information can be provided by the College Office via


  Accommodation deposit Fee
One year postgraduate course £100 Full-year fees paid in advance
One year postgraduate course Postgraduate Masters Loan £100 1/3 of fees paid in advance
PhD £100 First year of fees paid in advance + £2000 fee deposit
PhD with Postgraduate Doctoral Loan £100 1/3 of first year fees paid in advance + £2000 fee deposit

*PGCE applicants should contact for more information


  Accommodation deposit Fee
One year postgraduate course £100 Full-year fees paid in advance
PhD £100 First year of fees paid in advance + £10000 fee deposit

*PGCE applicants should contact for more information.

What happens if I withdraw after accepting my offer? Will I be charged?

If you withdraw from your place at the University before the start of term your advance payments will be returned to you. International students should be aware of exchange rates and bank charges that may affect the amount returned. We can only return payments to the bank account from which we received them.

When should I come to Cambridge?

As classes and supervisions will begin immediately, and you may need to get accustomed to the city before embarking on your new programme, you should aim to arrive in Cambridge on the weekend before the first week of term. If you are planning to stay in College accommodation, rooms will not be available until the last weekend in September. Students are permitted to arrive from 28 September.

What items are provided in College accommodation and what do I need to bring?

Obviously, packing lists will differ depending on the person or persons moving into Magdalene College accommodation and, indeed, whether or not they are moving into College accommodation. Nonetheless, you may still find the Student Union’s packing list to be of use.

In addition to this, see below for more information on what College accommodation does and does not cover.

All Magdalene College rooms should contain:

  • Bed
  • Duvet and pillow
  • Desk
  • Desk Chair
  • Wardrobe
  • Chest of Drawers
  • Waste bin
  • Lamp
  • Curtains

College rooms do not contain:

  • Bedlinen
  • Towels
  • Clothes hangers
  • Cutlery, crockery and kitchen utensils

What are the dining arrangements in College?

There are a number of dining options. You can choose to eat in the College cafeteria, formal hall, or in your own accommodation. The College provides appropriate appliances in all ‘gyp’ rooms. A gyp room will typically have a sink, hob, kettle, toaster and microwave. Most gyp rooms now have induction hobs, so students will need to bring suitable cooking equipment.

Magdalene strives to meet the needs of all students, including those with specific dietary requirements. For more information on this, as well as the College’s dining facilities in general, visit the Catering page.

What is a gown and do I need to buy one?

A gown is a piece of academic clothing which denotes your degree status to other members of the University. Various characteristics of the gown, such as sleeve detailing and length, will vary depending on your age and academic history. A traditional and formal item, gowns are worn to College dinners, chapel, matriculation and graduation; you will always be told in advance when a gown is required.

To find out more about gowns, including which type of gown is for you, visit the Gown Guide page.

At the beginning of the year, the MCR may sell second-hand gowns or assist new postgraduates with purchasing a new one. For more information on this, see the MCR freshers’ guide

Will I need to leave my College room in the holidays?

No. Postgraduate students, particularly those studying for a PhD, are expected to work throughout the year; therefore postgraduates will not be expected to vacate their rooms for the holidays.

After arriving

What happens in the first few days after I arrive?

When you arrive, you will receive your University ID card, the keys to your accommodation and a pack of information for new students. The College MCR will also contact you to advise you of freshers’ events that may be of interest to you.

During the first week of term, all graduates will be required to attend matriculation, register with a doctor, meet with their College tutor and provide proof of identity.

What is matriculation?

Matriculation marks the formal admission of a student to membership of the University of Cambridge and their relevant college. Every candidate for matriculation must subscribe to the following declaration by signing the Matriculation Registration Form:

I promise to observe the Statutes and Ordinances of the University as far as they concern me, and to pay due respect and obedience to the Chancellor and other officers of the University.

I need to open a bank account in Cambridge; can you help?

The University Finance Division provide some useful details on what documents you will need before opening up a bank account.

Shown below is a list of banks in Cambridge, taken from the international guide provided by the University.


Branch Address



9/11 St Andrew’s Street


63 – 64 St Andrew’s Street


3 Sidney Street

Metro Bank

3 Christ’s Lane


21 Petty Cury


60 St Andrew’s Street


6 St Andrew’s Street

The Academic Office can provide you with a letter confirming your student status and current College address which you can then use to open your account. Please email to request this prior to the start of term.

Where does my mail go?

You should put the Magdalene address down as your mailing address. The College Porters will then place your letters in your pigeon hole.

Do I need a bicycle?

Whether or not you need a bicycle is a matter of personal preference, but Cambridge is the city of bikes and seldom will you cross a road without first checking if one is heading your way. Although the arms of the University span across several miles, public transport in this environmentally conscious city is frequent and reasonably priced. That said, with the city being a reasonably flat one, and with a majority of roads featuring a cycling lane of some sort, cycling does tend to be the quickest and most efficient form of getting from A to B.

For advice and tips on cycling around Cambridge, and where to buy a bike, visit the Student Union’s advice page.

What if I want to change College?

You are able to change your College preferences within 14 days of submitting your application, as long as a formal offer to study has not been made, by contacting the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

Once you have been accepted at a College, it is only in very exceptional circumstances that students will be allowed to transfer to another College. You will need to get in touch with your personal tutor if this is something that you would like to look into.

What study spaces are available and when are these spaces open?

For information on study spaces and library opening hours, visit the College Library section.

Is there a choir?

For information on the College choir vists the College Choir section.

What is the role of my College Tutor?

Your College Tutor is your first point of contact should you face any difficulties during the course of your studies; they are every student's advocate, and are there to provide support and information with both practical and personal issues as they arise. Your College Tutor, for instance, may write recommendations for things such as work-related extensions, travel bursaries and hardship grants.

Who can attend Chapel?

All Members of the College community, whatever their religious beliefs, are welcome at all Chapel services. Members of the public are welcome at Sunday services and Choral Evensong on Thursdays. See the Chapel page for more information.

What sports clubs and societies can I join?

Every College has a large collection of clubs and societies; for more information on what Magdalene has to offer, see sports, music and drama section. Even if Magdalene does not have what you are looking for, there are lots of university-wide societies, teams and schemes. See here for a list of university registered societies.

What is a College bill and what does it include?

You can view an example College Bill at the links below.

Example College Bill for Postgraduate in College Accommodation

Example College Bill for Postgraduate out of College Accommodation

All students are required to pay a deposit to the College of £300. This is known as ‘caution money’ and is held by the College until students are eligible to graduate or leave College, whichever is the later. This will be charged to each student on their first College bill.

Included in the student room rent for students living in College accommodation is a contribution towards the costs of College catering facilities. All students who do not live in College accommodation are subject to this termly Establishment Charge which contributes to the maintenance and overheads of the College Kitchens, Buttery and Bar, and allows the College to subsidise significantly the cost of meals taken in College. The charge is paid regardless of the number of meals taken in College.

Students are also charged for MCR membership at £15 a term. Other charges depend on usage and include printing services and late library returns.

Further information on fees and costs is available in the postgraduate fees section of this site.