A Message from Mike Rands, Master of Darwin College

Darwin College embodies a rich mix of scholarship, learning and social activity. Our College community is intellectually vibrant, international in its outlook and membership, interdisciplinary, informal, inclusive and supportive. We have a distinguished Fellowship, a dedicated and professional staff, an inspiring student body and a worldwide diaspora of alumni.

Founded in 1964, Darwin was the University of Cambridge’s first postgraduate-only College and the first College to admit both men and women. It was established in the family home of Charles Darwin's son (Professor Sir George Darwin, a barrister and astronomer) and grandson (Sir Charles Darwin, a physicist) on the banks of the river Cam. The College offers central city accommodation, excellent food and catering, a quiet Study Centre, a lively student-run DarBar and wide range of student societies and beautiful tranquil gardens: the perfect mix for graduate study.

The Colleges are one of Cambridge University's great strengths. Every student is a member of a College that has responsibility for welfare, providing accommodation and a social home, while the University and the College have joint responsibility for academic performance. Darwin College has 65 Fellows who hold faculty or research positions in the University and associated institutes, and about 650 students who come from over 70 countries.  Our students study for PhD and Masters degrees in disciplines spanning all aspects of the arts, humanities, sciences and technology.

Darwin fosters an informal and egalitarian atmosphere for this multi-disciplinary, international community. Students and Fellows meet and talk at academic get-togethers and seminars, over meals and at social and sporting events, and in running the prestigious annual Darwin College Lecture Series . Unlike most other Colleges, our students and Fellows are not segregated (we do not have a High Table) and students play an active role in the governance of the College.

Like many of our students arriving for the first time this year I am new to Darwin, having taken up the Mastership on 1st October 2020. As we start this academic year in the middle of the pandemic, there are undoubtedly difficult challenges in which we will all need to support each other. But as we lift our eyes to the horizon, there are also new opportunities to collaborate and innovate. The College takes great pride in the scholarship of its Fellows, students and alumni and provides a stimulating, relaxed environment in which to think, debate, listen and learn. In so doing, we believe it enables Darwinians to help reimagine and change the world.

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Darwin.

Dr Michael Rands, Master

October 2020