Welcome to Darwin

Welcome to Darwin! We’re delighted that you will be joining our College community. This page aims to answer your questions, as a new student.

When you arrive at Darwin, come first to the Porters’ Lodge, at our main entrance on Silver Street.

The Porters will be able to help you with directions, and give you all the information you need. If you’re staying in College accommodation, you’ll be given your keys, bedding and a welcome pack before you’re shown to your room.

The Welcome Desk

A welcome desk will be open every weekday from 4th September- 3rd October in the Old Library.

Here you will be able to pay your fees, pay for your accommodation, get IT assistance, have your ID and visa checked, and have any questions answered.

Members of the Darwin College Students Association (DCSA) will also be on hand to tell you about Freshers events, sports and societies – and show you to the Bar!

Download our Welcome Booklet

Created by the Darwin College Student’s Association – click the link below to view the 2023 Welcome Guide (PDF format).

Welcome from the Dean

Darwin is the oldest and largest of Cambridge’s graduate Colleges, with around 750 current members from over 75 different countries. We were also the first College to admit both men and women as students and Fellows. Informal, inclusive and inter-disciplinary – our intake is generally around 50% scientists and 50% arts and humanities graduates – Darwin is a wonderful place to further your studies. Situated centrally, close to most University Departments and Faculties, our award-winning Study Centre and peaceful gardens overlook the River Cam. We also boast the finest College bar in Cambridge!

Dr Duncan Needham
Dean & Senior Tutor

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Meet the Head Porter

Derek Scott is our Head Porter. He runs the Lodge and oversees a team of Porters who are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Mail and Deliveries

You’ll be allocated a pigeonhole with your name on it in the Porters’ Lodge – this is where your post, messages, and any notices will be delivered. Try to check your pigeonhole regularly so you don’t miss anything important and it doesn’t get overstuffed!

Please use the College address (Darwin College, Silver Street, Cambridge, CB3 9EU) for your mail and any online deliveries (such as Amazon), rather than your hostel address. This means the Porters can sign for any packages, and allows the College to forward any mail which arrives after you have completed your studies.

If you receive a large package or letter, it will be kept at the Porters’ Lodge and you’ll find a card in your pigeonhole to let you know it has arrived. If you’re having something couriered, please send it from the Porters’ Lodge, making sure the address is clearly marked (preferably typed).

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There are washing machines and tumble dryers in most College accommodation. In the main building and Frank Young House there are a number of larger machines.

The washing facilities are free to use, and may be used by any College member.

We recommend that you wash your laundry at 30 degrees to save energy.

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How to access the WiFi in College?

The preferred wireless network for Darwin College members is eduroam which is available throughout the College and is linked to  the eduroam services available across the University and beyond.

In order to access the eduroam network, you first need to configure your device, as outlined on the Wireless Network Service page.

A guest network is also available – please ask at the Porters’ Lodge for a guest login and password.

If you wish to configure a smart speaker or other item for the Internet of Things please see https://webapps.dar.cam.ac.uk/support/ and then open new ticket with topic: IT Support / Network Issue(s) / IoT Network Registration

The MAC address of the device will be needed for a manual configuration.

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Reporting a maintenance fault or item for repair

Any emergencies should be reported to the Porters’ Lodge immediately.

Please report any other faults or maintenance issues in your accommodation by:

  • Filling out a maintenance request slip in the Porters’ Lodge and placing it in the Maintenance pigeonhole.
  • Calling the Porters’ Lodge on: 01223 (3) 35660 or Maintenance on: 01223 (3) 35688 – Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30 pm or
    Emailing the Maintenance Team directly on maintenance@darwin.cam.ac.uk

Housekeeping issues should be reported using the book in the Porters’ Lodge. Alternatively the College Housekeeping team may be contacted by telephone on: 01223 (3) 35686 or by email on: housekeeping@darwin.cam.ac.uk

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Accounts Department


While you are at Darwin you will have two accounts with the College:

  • a tuition fees account for your University and College tuition fees, charged annually;
  • a non-fees account for all other expenses, such as accommodation, meals, and miscellaneous charges.

Both accounts use your CRSID number, issued by the University, for reference. Your fees account number is your CRSID followed by the letter F.

Accounts Department – Tuition

The combined University and College tuition fee is charged annually. Payment is due within 28 days of receiving the invoice, which will be issued after you have arrived in College.

Students on certain courses at the Judge Business School (MBA, EMBA, MFin, MSt in Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, MAcc) pay tuition fees directly to the Judge Business School rather than to College.

If you have a Postgraduate Loan or American Federal Loan, you can arrange to pay your tuition fees in instalments, to coincide with the dates your loan is issued.

Instalment arrangements will otherwise only be agreed in exceptional circumstances. If you require special arrangements to pay your tuition fees you will need contact Mr Chris Millward as soon as possible after you arrive in College.

When you arrive, you will be asked to complete a form explaining the funding arrangements for your tuition fees. If your fees are paid partially or fully by external organisations or research councils, you may be asked to provide appropriate evidence of this agreement. The external body responsible for your fees will then be invoiced directly – you will only receive an invoice for any portion of the fees which you are funding yourself.

Accounts Department – Accommodation and Meals


If you’re eating in College, you can pay by UK debit card at the till or swipe  your University card, which should be linked to UPay. If you have any difficulty in using your University card to pay for meals, please contact the Accounts Office.

You can also book Formal Halls through UPay.

At the end of each month, your meal charges, as well as credit for any cancelled bookings, will appear on your monthly statement. This is payable within 14 days.

See: Setting up your UPAY account


Invoices for your accommodation are usually issued quarterly (every three months). If you would prefer to be billed monthly, please email accounts@darwin.cam.ac.uk.

Accommodation invoices are payable 14 days from the point of invoice.

The weekly charge will show on your accommodation licence. Accommodation is then charged by the day.

If you live in a College-owned flat, you are liable for gas and electricity used. You’ll be billed each month for your estimated use, and then each quarter you’ll either be charged or credited according to actual usage.

A deposit of £400-£500 is required for all flats and will be returned on departure, subject to the “schedule of terms”.

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Travel and Transport

Within Cambridge

The easiest and most common way to get around Cambridge itself is by bicycle. Darwin College is close to the city centre and within walking or cycling distance of most Departments, Faculty buildings and shops.

Cambridge Cyclestreets will help you plan the best route.

Cambridge also has an excellent bus network, and the University’s U bus stops just outside the main College entrance on Silver Street.

Travelling to Cambridge

By Rail

Cambridge is accessible by train from across the UK. You can plan your journey here. The College is around a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute cycle from the station, so if you are arriving with lots of luggage you may want to take a taxi. There is a taxi rank immediately outside the station.

By Air

The closest major airport to Cambridge is London Stansted – about half an hour by road or train. There is also an hourly bus service. The same bus service goes to London Heathrow (about two hours away) and to London Gatwick (about three hours).

The Cambridge bus/coach station in Drummer Street is about 10 minutes walk from Darwin.

By Road

Driving in Cambridge is not recommended due to the congestion and one-way systems.

This map, provided by the University, shows the routes into the city centre by road. The usual motorway approaches are via the M11 (from the South), or the A14 (from the North, East or West).

Please note that there are no public parking spaces in College. Drop-off for loading and unloading luggage is via the main Silver Street entrance.

Please be aware that Silver Street has a bus gate installed and so should not be used for access to and from the College.

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Your Tutor

Every student is assigned a Tutor – a College Fellow who you should feel free to ask for advice and support on any non-academic problems you may experience during your time at Darwin. With the help of the Deanery, your Tutor may also direct you to specialist support if necessary.

If you have an academic enquiry, you should consult your Supervisor, Department or Director of Studies, but your Tutor may advise you in case of difficulties. If you need urgent advice, you may wish to contact the Deanery directly. The Dean provides support and advice to Tutors and is available to take over complex issues as required.

Get to know your Tutor. Then keep all relevant contact details to hand, and update your Tutor with your progress and any difficulties you might encounter. You should aim to see your Tutor at least twice each academic year, either in a group or individually as necessary.

Your Tutor is a source of general advice and support. He or she is always happy to listen to your experiences of studying and research, to offer advice where appropriate, and to help you to find academic staff and students in College with similar interests.

Your Tutor will have access to reports submitted online by your Supervisor concerning your academic progress, and to any self-assessment exercise you complete via CamSIS. He or she will liaise where necessary with academic supervisors and Departments/Faculties, particularly if you are experiencing difficulties. If you are worried by what a report says, or want a different perspective on your work, talk to your Tutor.

More commonly, if you fall ill, your work has been disrupted or you need to take time out for personal reasons, your Tutor will help you explain your circumstances.

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International Students & Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Collection

If you are in the UK on a student visa, the International Student Office website has all the information you will need. You should take the time to familiarise yourself with your responsibilities as set out here.

As a Cambridge student you will be able to collect your BRP at the University or College. In order to do this you must enter a particular code, called an Alternative Collection Location (ACL) code, in the relevant section of your application form. This code will be provided by the International Student Office after your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) has been issued. UK Visas and Immigration advises students to use the University as the collection point for their BRP.

If you’re arriving in Cambridge in either the Lent or Easter Term, or you’re studying for the PGCE, MBA or MFin students, you should use the ACL code for the Cambridge Post Office.

The College is required to upload scans of your passport, entry vignette and your BRP to CamSIS for the International Student Office/UK Visas and Immigration. If you enter the UK via the e-Gate system, then we’ll also need a copy of either your boarding pass or flight ticket (named) to validate your date of arrival.

If you have asked for your BRP to be delivered to the University then it will be scanned by the International Student Office before being given to Darwin.

If you need to provide documents we will let you know by email. If you have any questions please email the Deanery Office: deanery@darwin.cam.ac.uk

If you’re already in the UK and need to apply for a leave to remain visa, we will need a scan of your new BRP. However, as it may be a while before your BRP arrives we will also need to see “proof of application/payment” before your course begins.

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Darwin College does not have its own nurse, so you are advised to register with a local GP practice close to where you will be living as soon as possible after you arrive.

A list of GP practices in Cambridge can be found here and in your registration pack. Once you have decided on a practice please contact them directly to register as a patient.

Further information on healthcare in the UK is available here.

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Partners and Families

The partners and families of current members are welcome to visit the College, make use of the gardens, and benefit from subsidised rates in the Dining Hall by applying for a family card. Please contact the Catering Manager for further information.

The Student Association (DCSA) has an active families group aimed at members with children, with regular get-togethers, games days and picnics. Please email them for more information.

Unfortunately partners and family members may not use the Library or Study Centre – these resources are restricted to current members only.

Also, alcohol licensing regulations mean that partners or family members may not use the College Bar unless accompanied by a current member.

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Fire safety

Please make sure you understand the fire instructions in your College accommodation and familiarise yourself with your nearest escape routes and assembly point.

If you discover a fire:

  • Sound the Fire Alarm immediately by pushing the ‘break glass’ on a call point.
  • Evacuate the building.
  • Inform the Porters’ Lodge (Tel: (3) 35660.
  • Report to the assembly point.

You must only attempt to put out the fire if it is safe to do so. Do not put yourself or others at risk.

All corridors, stairwells, landings etc, must be kept clear at all times. Any items found in these areas will be removed immediately (only the hoover and ironing board are allowed to be stored in the designated area). Door closers are not to be disconnected and fire doors must never be wedged open.

It is a criminal offence under UK law to tamper with or disable fire-alarm equipment or fire extinguishers.

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Electric scooters

These should not be brought inside College properties. It is against our fire safety rules to charge these anywhere on College grounds.

In light of recent incidents, the safety of our members is of utmost importance.

Please read here for further details:



Any electric scooters found inside properties, whether being charged or not, will be removed.

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