Welcome from the Dean

We are delighted that you are considering joining us at Darwin.  As the oldest and largest of Cambridge’s postgraduate Colleges, with around 800 current members from 80 different countries, Darwin is a wonderful place to further your studies.

The first Cambridge College to admit both men and women, Darwin has always dared to be different. In the centre of the city, our peaceful riverside gardens, award-winning study centre, student-run bar and excellent food provide an ideal home for your time at Cambridge.   Since our foundation nearly 60 years ago, we have formed an international, interdisciplinary and informal community of scholars and researchers, where everyone is made welcome.

Part of the role of a College is to provide the individual support that a large institution like a university may not always be able to offer.  We take this seriously at Darwin, with College Tutors, Deanery staff and a Head of Wellbeing committed to your welfare.

Any College is shaped by its members.  At Darwin we are fortunate that those members continue to take us in exciting new directions, while maintaining the elements that have made us distinctive since 1964.  Why not come and help us shape the next chapter?

Dr Duncan Needham
Dean & Senior Tutor

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Darwin College is pleased to consider applications from students wishing to study for any postgraduate degree.  We are a wholly postgraduate College and do not admit students studying for undergraduate degrees.  Students join us from all over the world – at present over 80 different countries are represented in our student body.  If you would like to speak to a current member or a Darwinian in your field of research about the College please email the Dean on djn33@cam.ac.uk.

If you wish to come to Darwin you must first be accepted by a Department of the University.  University applications are mostly handled by the Postgraduate Admissions Office.  There are a few applications for Graduate Membership which are not handled centrally and these are listed in the Cambridge Admissions Prospectus.

Once you have been offered a place in a Department, the Postgraduate Admissions Office will send your application papers to the College which you have nominated as your first choice.  If that College does not offer you membership, your papers go to your second choice.  After that your application will be directed to a further College.  Please remember that once you have been successful in obtaining a place in a Department, the University guarantees to find you a College, though this may not be one that you have chosen yourself.  Darwin gives preference to those students who nominate Darwin as their first or second choice College.  The earlier you apply, the better are your chances of securing admission at the College of your choice.

An offer of membership by Darwin College is conditional on you fulfilling all academic and financial conditions laid down by the Postgraduate Admissions Office in their offer to you.  In general, the College’s admission criteria will be the same as those imposed by your Department.

Darwin does not currently admit MASts in Astrophysics, Materials Science and Physics

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Admission offers and acceptance

The Offer:

An offer of a College place will be emailed out to all successful applicants, together with other information. If you have any queries relating to your College offer please contact the Deanery Office as soon as possible.  Any questions about your admission to the University must be made directly to the Postgraduate Admissions Office.

Acceptance slip:

This lets us know that, circumstances permitting, you intend to take up your place. It should be returned as soon as possible. If, at a later stage, you are unable to take up your place then please email to let us know. You will also need to withdraw via your self-service page or by contacting the Postgraduate Admissions Office directly.

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Applying for accommodation

Applications need to be made via the StarRez portal, a link to which can be found in your offer letter. Rooms will be allocated at the beginning of August and you will be notified by email.

All room keys will be available for collection from the Student Support Desk in the Old Library. Please remember to sign and return a copy of your licence.

Darwin has a limited amount of accommodation suitable for couples and families. We recommend that anyone interested in this type of housing should also be aware of the University Accommodation Service.

Full details of Darwin College accommodation can be found here.

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Student Registration exercise

All students who have had their admission confirmed will receive an email from the Student Registry regarding this mandatory process. This is done purely to ensure that information held about you is correct. If you hold a confirmed offer this should appear in your in-box from the middle of August. This information is sent out by the Student Registry on a weekly basis, so those confirmed after this date will still be included.

For those new to Cambridge, completion of this exercise also enables you to obtain your passwords (Raven) early. Please complete this as you will need your passwords to log on to the wifi network in Cambridge (eduroam).

For further information on IT please follow this link.

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Getting to Cambridge

Cambridge is well served by public transport links from all major UK airports.  The nearest airport to Cambridge is London Stansted, followed by London Heathrow and then London Gatwick. From London Stansted the rail transfer to Cambridge takes approximately 30 minutes.

Travel from all other UK airports to Cambridge is also fairly straightforward but may take longer.

Cambridge railway station is approximately 20 minutes’ walk (around one mile) from the city centre. There are a taxi rank and bus stops in front of the main entrance, and buses run every 10 -20 minutes to all University sites.

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Student Services / Welcome Desk

When you arrive, you’ll be directed to a registration point where all new members can complete the various formalities involved in joining the College.  We’ll need to check your ID (passport or other photo ID), and will give you your student card and information to help you settle in.


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Darwin College Students Association (DCSA)

The DCSA is a group of students responsible for organising welcome activities for new members, as well as regular social events, clubs and societies. They also provide additional welfare support.

Welcome events start at the end of September and run for two to three weeks at the beginning of term.

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Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day

For those of you who are new to Cambridge, the Postgraduate Open Day is an opportunity to find out more about the University, Departments and Colleges, enabling you to get a feel for our wide-ranging postgraduate community.

This year, the University-wide Virtual Postgraduate Open Day will run from 23 October – 3 November 2023.

A virtual tour of the Colleges is available here.

Darwin College will host an in-person Open Day for prospective postgraduate applicants on Friday 22 September.

The Senior Tutor will lead a College tour at 11am, which will be followed by the opportunity to meet current students over tea and coffee. A buffet lunch will be available at 12.30pm.


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Visiting students

Darwin welcomes applications from postgraduate students visiting Cambridge as part of their studies elsewhere, particularly overseas. If you would like to apply to Darwin as a visiting student, please contact the Dean directly.

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