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Answers to some of the most common questions asked by potential postgraduate applicants.

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FAQs for postgraduate applicants

Got a question not answered here? Please contact the Tutorial Office.


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

Applications are made online to a Department or Faculty via the Applicant Portal administered by the Graduate Admissions Office. Once a candidate receives a conditional offer, Graduate Admissions seek college membership. If you would like Wolfson to consider your application, you should make us your first choice college. You will be able to track your application via your CamSIS self-service page.

Does Wolfson have open days?

We welcome visits from potential applicants for College tours all year round – please contact the Postgraduate Administrator if you are interested. Prospective applicants are also encouraged to attend the Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day in early November.

What is the student body like at Wolfson?

The majority of our students are carrying out research towards postgraduate degrees, and we have about 190 mature undergraduates. Each college has its own character — you can read more about how the University and colleges work. This guide to making your college choice is aimed at undergraduates but postgraduate students will also find it helpful.

Why do I need to become a member of a College?

All students at the University of Cambridge are required to become a member of a college. It is our responsibility to ensure you matriculate (the formal registration process) at the beginning of your course and graduate at its completion. Once you have matriculated, and throughout your course, all the facilities and resources of the College are at your disposal, and you will remain a member of Wolfson College for life.

As explained in the Graduate Prospectus, if you decline the offer of a college place there is no guarantee that you will receive an alternative offer.

Can my spouse/partner/family participate in College life?

We make a point of welcoming the spouses/partners of our members and they are encouraged to participate fully in College life. Partners and children are welcome to accompany members to meals in college.

Our five family flats can accommodate a couple or single parent and up to two young children. There is usually a high demand for these flats. Help with childcare costs, on a needs basis, is available. Please enquire with the Student Finance Officer.

I have a disability. How will Wolfson College accommodate me?

Wolfson has accommodation suitable for students with special needs, for example ground floor rooms, rooms with en-suite bathroom or equipped with a private kitchen in case of food allergies. The College counsellor is available two days per week, and our College Nurse runs a daily surgery during term time.

The University Disability Resource Centre has a wealth of information on other support for students with disabilities.

We can offer a loan for a diagnostic assessment test for dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD. In cases of hardship, the test can be funded by a grant from the Hardship Fund.

Our Student Finance Officer can advise how to claim disability benefits.


Does Wolfson offer scholarships?

Wolfson College offers a number of scholarships and smaller awards and bursaries for postgraduate students; you can apply simply using one online form. You are welcome to contact our Student Finance Officer to find out more about these and other funding opportunities.

When will I hear the decision?

You will receive an email to let you know whether or not you have been successful. A formal letter to successful applicants will follow a few weeks later.

Do I have to apply separately for University funding?

By applying via the Applicant Portal, you will be considered for all University-wide funding (i.e. Gates and Cambridge Trusts) for which you are eligible and will be notified directly by the funding body. The Cambridge Trusts website has information on when you can expect to hear the outcome of your funding application, usually between March and July.

You will be required to sign a financial undertaking stating that you have the funds available to complete your course and should not come to Cambridge without funding.


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

When you have met all the conditions of your offer, the Graduate Admissions Office will confirm your place. We will write to confirm our offer of membership and will invite you to book accommodation.

We are fortunate to have a large number of rooms and many of our students live on site. Postgraduates pursuing a PhD are eligible to live in College accommodation for up to 3 years of their course but there is no guarantee of it being available in their first year.

We are able to offer accommodation to many MPhil students, but this is not always possible, particularly for those whose admission is confirmed very late in the year.

A few rooms usually become available in Lent and Easter, but we cannot promise housing for students who will begin their courses during these terms.

The College has a very limited supply of housing for couples and families with young children. These are in high demand and may not be available every year, as continuing students will have priority in booking these and often exceeds supply. If you are applying with a family, you are advised to contact the Tutorial Office for information about available accommodation.

If you prefer to live outside College, you are still fully entitled and warmly encouraged to participate fully in college life and will enjoy the same privileges as students living in. If you are interested in securing accommodation in the private sector the University Accommodation Service can assist. Please note, postgraduate students are required to live 10 miles or less from the centre of Cambridge.

What is the accommodation like?

Take a look at our Virtual Tour and our Accommodation pages.

What are the dining arrangements in College?

You can choose to take your meals in the College dining hall or use the shared kitchens. All students have access to a kitchen where they can prepare their own snacks and meals.  There is always wide choice at mealtimes and students receive a substantial discount.   Unlike many other colleges, Wolfson does not make a kitchen charge, so you only pay for what you eat.

Will I have internet access in my room?

All accommodation at Wolfson is wired for high-speed Internet access. Students may bring their own computer and connect to the College network. We also have fast Wifi across the site. Students may also use the College Library’s computer laboratory, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As a part-time student, can I book College accommodation outside my residential periods?

You can book College accommodation outside your residential periods through the Accommodation Office, subject to availability. This is particularly convenient for part-time students wishing to take advantage of the extended opening hours of the Lee Library facilities for quiet study.

Getting started

What is the role of my College Tutor?

The main responsibility of the College tutor is to support your personal, academic and financial welfare, and provide confidential help and advice on any matter. Your Tutor will be a constant contact throughout your studies.

What happens in the first few days after I arrive at Wolfson?

On arrival go straight to the Porters' Lodge (sign-posted from the main entrance) and our friendly porters will give you your room key.

Induction takes place the weekend before Michaelmas Term begins when a number of social events are organised to allow you to meet your fellow students, as well as the Senior Tutor, your personal tutor, key members of staff and the student association (WCSA). You will receive a welcome pack containing your University ID card, together with information about the College and University, and there will be sessions on College and academic life, as well as the matriculation photo which is taken of all new students.

Once you have paid your fees, you can matriculate with the Praelector, and you should also make an appointment to meet your Tutor.

Rent is payable termly, in advance; you need to visit the Finance Department to pay.

You need to register with a doctor; there is a list of surgeries (doctor's office) on the notice board opposite the Porters' Lodge. Most Wolfson students register with Newnham Walk Surgery, which is just a few minutes’ walk from College.  In addition, the College Nurse holds a daily surgery.

What are the opening hours of the Library?

The Lee Library is open 24 hours a day during term and vacations to all current students, fellows and staff of Wolfson College, as well as Visiting Fellows and Scholars. Access to the library is by your University ID card.

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

If you need to open a bank account, we can provide a letter of introduction to your preferred bank on arrival in Cambridge. Most main high street banks are represented in Cambridge city centre.

Instructions on how to change your 'Term Time Address' on CamSIS Self-Service can be found here.