Facilities and resources
We admit the most academically able, motivated and passionate students to our courses and provide them with inspiring teaching that’s world class. We’re also confident that we offer the best resources and facilities to support their learning.
You certainly won’t be short of libraries at Cambridge – the University has 114! They fall into three broad categories:
- College – all Colleges have a library which contains the standard texts needed for your undergraduate course, along with other materials relating to your subject.
- Department – the libraries in the faculties and departments offer more specialised collections of books, journals, periodicals and electronic resources for particular subjects.
- University – if you can’t find what you need in your College or department library, you can try the University Library (or UL). As one of the country’s six legal deposit libraries, the UL holds a copy of virtually every book published in the UK and Ireland as well as an enormous collection of materials printed overseas. Here you’ll have access to more than eight million books, journals and other documents, written in over 2,000 languages and ranging in age from 3,000-year-old manuscripts to the latest electronic articles.
To ensure you get the most from the University’s libraries, the UL offers a range of practical sessions and one-to-one help through its Research Skills Programme. These include introductory tours, sessions to highlight the resources available for particular subjects and disciplines, and information skills classes giving tips and strategies for searching online.
If you’re looking for a specific title, library staff will be happy to help you locate it, or you can search the online catalogue (accessible from anywhere in the University).
For further information, visit the University Library website.
Computing and IT
Your College and department, together with the University Computing Service, provide computing facilities to help you with your academic work. This includes a University email account, and access to central file storage for your work and for publishing web pages.
You can use your own computer, if you have one – most student rooms are connected to the University computing network and internet, and wireless hotspots are available throughout the University and Colleges. However, you don’t have to have your own; all Colleges and many departments provide networked PCs and Macs in their computer suites, with access to a range of general and specialist software, as well as printers and scanners.
Further to this, the Computing Service offers a comprehensive range of support, including:
- a service desk and extensive online help information
- a programme of free training courses, ranging from introductory to advanced levels
- Assistive Technology advice and training for users with specific requirements
For further information, visit the Computing Service website.
The University’s Language Centre provides opportunities for all students, regardless of degree subject, to start or continue to learn a language.
- Taught Classes – through the Cambridge University Language Programmes (CULP) - mix face-to-face and online tuition, with seven languages currently offered from basic to advanced levels. Students who successfully complete a basic or intermediate course receive a Certificate of Proficiency from the Language Centre, and those completing advanced level courses receive the CULP Award from the University.
- Self-study – the Language Centre Advising Team offer one-to-one appointments to discuss learning strategies, formulate a learning plan, and can support you while you learn.
- Conversation Hours – for students who wish to keep up and improve their conversation skills.
- Conversation Exchange Scheme – language learners and native speakers are paired up in order to practise the new language.
As well as the above, the John Trim Resource Centre houses multimedia self-study resources in over 150 languages from beginner to advanced level, and staff are available to help and guide users in their choice of materials.
For overseas students, the Centre also offers the English for Academic Purposes (EPA) programme, designed to support the development of language and related academic skills. Attendance may be included as a condition of some offers.
For further information, visit the Language Centre website.
Museums and collections
Cambridge is extraordinarily fortunate in having nine specialist museums and collections, all of which are open to the public. These provide extensive resources for study and research, or simply for enjoyment.
The fascinating exhibits range from dinosaurs to modern art, and rock samples to Rembrandt. Even if none relate directly to your course, a look at the whale skeletons, classical sculpture or the totem poles from Vancouver has to add something to your time in Cambridge!