【School profile】University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge (informally Cambridge University or simply Cambridge) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two ancient universities share many common features and are often referred to jointly as "Oxbridge". Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 constituent colleges and over 100 academic departments organised into six schools. Cambridge University Press, a department of the university, is the world's oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world. Cambridge's libraries hold a total of around 15 million books, eight million of which are in Cambridge University Library, a legal deposit library. Cambridge is consistently ranked as one of the world's best universities. The university has educated many notable alumni, including eminent mathematicians, scientists, politicians, lawyers, philosophers, writers, actors, and foreign Heads of State. Ninety-two Nobel laureates, two Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and ten Fields medalists have been affiliated with Cambridge as students, faculty, staff or alumni.

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History

Examination in mathematics was once compulsory for all undergraduates studying for the Bachelor of Arts degree, the main first degree at Cambridge in both arts and sciences. From the time of Isaac Newton in the later 17th century until the mid-19th century, the university maintained an especially strong emphasis on applied mathematics, particularly mathematical physics. The Cambridge Mathematical Tripos is competitive and has helped produce some of the most famous names in British science, including James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin and Lord Rayleigh. Although diversified in its research and teaching interests, Cambridge today maintains its strength in mathematics. Cambridge alumni have won six Fields Medals and one Abel Prize for mathematics, while individuals representing Cambridge have won four Fields Medals. The University of Cambridge began to award doctorates in the first third of the 20th century. The first Cambridge PhD in mathematics was awarded in 1924.

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Curriculum

Cambridge has 31 colleges, of which three, Murray Edwards, Newnham and Lucy Cavendish, admit women only. The other colleges are mixed, though most were originally all-male. Darwin was the first college to admit both men and women, while Churchill, Clare, and King's were the first previously all-male colleges to admit female undergraduates, in 1972. In 1988 Magdalene became the last all-male college to accept women. Clare Hall and Darwin admit only postgraduates, and Hughes Hall, Lucy Cavendish, St Edmund's and Wolfson admit only mature (i.e. 21 years or older on date of matriculation) students, encompassing both undergraduate and graduate students. All other colleges admit both undergraduate and postgraduate students with no age restrictions.

Colleges are not required to admit students in all subjects, with some colleges choosing not to offer subjects such as architecture, history of art or theology, but most offer close to the complete range. Some colleges maintain a bias towards certain subjects, for example with Churchill leaning towards the sciences and engineering, while others such as St Catharine's aim for a balanced intake. Others maintain much more informal reputations, such as for the students of King's College to hold left-wing political views, or Robinson College and Churchill College's attempts to minimise its environmental impact.

There are also several theological colleges in Cambridge, separate from Cambridge University, including Westcott House, Westminster College and Ridley Hall Theological College, that are, to a lesser degree, affiliated to the university and are members of the Cambridge Theological Federation.

In addition to the 31 colleges, the university is made up of over 150 departments, faculties, schools, syndicates and other institutions. Members of these are usually also members of one of the colleges and responsibility for running the entire academic program of the university is divided amongst them. The university also houses the Institute of Continuing Education, a centre for part-time study.

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